My journey through chronic illness has felt very similar to descending a long, winding staircase. There have been multiple losses along the way, which reminds me of consecutively going down a staircase.
Some of these losses have been predictable, whereas others have completely caught me off guard. Periodically, such losses actually stabilize; these periods are analogous to finding yourself on a relatively solid landing, between two series of steps.
From time to time, I’ve found myself getting rather comfortable on any given landing. My symptoms, after all, had appeared to stabilize. I’d feel increasingly confident about my ability to cope with my current impairments. I was, as the expression goes, adapting to my new normal.
Fast-forward any given period of time, from minutes to hours to days, and the apparently solid landing beneath my feet was starting to shift, once more. As before, I’d face the unwelcomed realization of descending to even deeper levels of illness-induced loss.
With a notoriously unpredictable disease like MS, one never knows just how many additional steps you’ll need to descend before you reach the next landing. Of course, the worst nightmare that could manifest itself would be that there are no more landings to even be discovered.
This is exactly why those very first few months after my MS diagnosis were so very terrifying; I feared nothing but a continuous decline in my body.