the great Mystery.

MS is the biggest mystery of my life.

The cause and origin of Multiple Sclerosis are unknown and this drives me crazy. At what precise moment did this disease make my body its new home? Neurologists seem confident I contracted MS somewhere around the age of 16. I picture myself driving my ’84 silver Honda Prelude with the windows rolled down and a lit cigarette and the radio blasting and whoop! MS flies into my mouth or my blood or my soul in an instant, without anyone being the wiser. Or maybe I was just sleeping. The possibilities are fascinating.

Many people with Multiple Sclerosis have other family members who have been diagnosed and there is certainly a hereditary thread that can be a common denominator. Even two of my support group members are a mother-daughter team who were diagnosed within just 1 year of one another. But both sides of my family tree are conspicuously missing any sign of the MS leaf. That I know of, of course. Am I the only one of generations upon generations to be the privileged MS prizewinner?

I recently watched a round table discussion with Demi Moore and her daughters and they dived deep into several topics. Sensitive and thoughtful, her girls tried to articulate childhood and learned emotions – both bad and good – that pass down from mother to daughter. Some obvious, some seemingly through osmosis. The older of the two talked about the moment she realized that one of her lifelong insecurities was, in fact, her mother’s issue and not her own.

My mother and I were exceptionally close and after her passing I became acutely aware that some of her baggage is now mine. I have taken it on, like a good daughter and an even better friend, carrying the weight for both of us. The separation of what’s “hers” and what’s “mine” is proving to be more difficult than one would think. The emotional assimilation of it all is fascinating.

I wonder how MS magically seeped its way into my veins, like the pain and history of my mother. Somehow I know the scars on my brain and the scars on my heart are not mine alone. Both of these are gifts and teachers. There is patience and empathy and love and gratefulness and compassion to be found here if you just let it guide you. I am still learning to let these things lead the way.

In the meantime I lie here, filled with wonder about the fascinating mystery of it all.

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