Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending; beginning

It's the last day of 2011. Seems mandatory, almost, to make a year-closing blog entry.

OK. So where are we?

I still have M.S., and it still seems to be getting worse.

I have no idea what the "income" side of the future holds. That, not the M.S., terrifies me.

Hardly seems like a "closing moment."

And here's this: tomorrow is the only January 1 of the year. The next day is the only January 2. Every day marks the beginning of a year.

So, each and every day marks, year-wise, an end: and a beginning.

So then, each and every day: happy new year!

Why not?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sensible vs. honest

Today was a "I just want to lie here" day.

I didn't want to read, I didn't really want to watch anything, I just wanted to lie down, in the bed, under several sets of blankets in a vain attempt to warm my legs, and sleep.

Usually, I've only had these "I need to stay right here, in bed" days when I was acutely ill. Usually, this time of year, by an invasion of what the Chinese medical system would call two of the External Pernicious Influences. Usually, an attack of Wind and Heat.

I've been completely Wind/Heat-attack free this year, for the first time in a long time (might be the new herbal formula). And, since I've got "progressive" rather than "relapse/remit," I can't really call this an "M.S. attack." Especially because it's nothing like what I've read (and been told) "M.S. attacks" are like. I just... want to stay in bed. Under the blankets. And sleep.

'Course that doesn't last all night. Last few nights, I've been very awake between 2 and 4 AM. Twitching. In terror, in fear for how I'm going to make it next year, income-wise. That has been a very interesting confrontation of lack of faith; to lie there shaking, and the "sensible mind" says "The proper road already exists. It always has. You just need to find it." and the "honest mind" says "I know that. But I don't believe it. If I did, I wouldn't be so scared."

The M.S. Journey has brought me into very sharp confrontation with my inner flaws/demons/choices. As the Islamic saying goes, the inner jihad is the great jihad. And I know from kyudo that one of the first things you gotta do is to get out of your own way. And offer yourself. And open your hands.

But I'm still scared. Terrified.

A very interesting gift of M.S.... A disease that's neurologically all about "againstness," as the immune system is chewing pointlessly, and harm-creatingly, on your own nervous system; that is bringing me into direct confrontation of my own self- and ego-imposed againstness. Againstness that I'm fighting so hard to maintain.

Ah, for a funny herbal formula that'd help address that againstness. Can't imagine how it would taste, though... Good? Foul? Both?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking into the wind

I don't often feel "disabled."

Has my life been changed, by this disease? Or as the Science of Mind church used to call them, "Dis- Ease?" Heavens, yes. Scratch that—[string of expletives] yes. Are there things that I just can't do any more? At least at the moment? Repeat string of expletives, twice—yes.

But I don't often feel "disabled." With that specific label.

But I do... today. Right now, I feel disabled.

Walking at all... Getting out of a chair—Everything minor and "normal" is much harder than usual.

I performed at a Christmas Eve service last Saturday night, and nearly fell over every time I tried to get up. And nearly fell out of my drum stool every time I sat on it.

At left, a picture of me, behind the timpani, at Oneonta. Before the Christmas Eve service.

And before a long series of "almost falling over" moments. And moments, during the service, that I avoided falling over and having all sorts of loud equipment joining me on the floor.

Well, I thought as I narrowly avoided disaster during one hymn, That'd sure put a new meaning to the singing of "Silent Night," now wouldn't it?

I don't really want to get out of bed. I'm trying to start a "I can do most of the work this project will require from a comfy chair" web-based project, that when I started working on it, I thought would be fun and fulfilling. Well, there's no reason that it won't be either of those things, but all I want to do is lie in bed under the blanket.

I feel like I can't do anything, any more. Being terrified about my future, having decided that there's just no choice and I have to leave the employment that I'd always told myself (and anyone who asked) that "I never have to look for another job," that (except for the parts that were killing me) I'd always truly loved—and parts of which I still truly love—plus the "squashing" effect Winter always has on me, plus the squashing effect that the current battery of M.S. Malfunctions are having on me...

I'm feeling disabled. And you've read my blog, I know I go dark every once and a while, but I do spend most of my time in the spiritual world, and I always think that the M.S. Highway is a spiritual one. And I still do.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus was walking on the water; he calls to Peter and tells him to walk on the water. Which he does! ... Until he looks into the wind (in some translations, he looks down at the water, but he always looks away from the face of Christ); and he is afraid, and he begins to sink.

I know just how he felt. I have, many a time, been commanded to walk on the water. I truly feel that now, I have just received that very call.

And I'm looking into the wind. And I'm afraid. And I'm beginning to sink.

M.S. is a disease that is full of the most surprising gifts. And as much as it has pissed me off, it hasn't failed me yet, in that regard.

If I'm brave enough to open my hands, and reach out...

I wonder what gift is trying to find its way into my hands, right now?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lying down

I am SO tired.

Tomorrow, I have to play timpani/percussion, and sing, at a Christmas Eve service. The chairs I will have to sit in are not going to be comfortable or easy to spend an hour in.

But since I'll be stationed behind the choir... I actually could get away with lying down; nobody would see me, not even the organist. On the floor. It'll be cold, nasty cold, 'cause the floor is stone, but... lying down. That might be nice. Or necessary.

Hope it doesn't come to that.

I've been working at (poking at, sometimes) Possibilities For The Future. It's been interesting going in new directions, going to new places (mentally). But exhausting. And although a lot of the ground I've been traveling has needed traveling, right now I ain't really going anywhere besides the Land Of Learning About Things, rather than the Land Of Accomplishing Things. And I suppose learning things is accomplishing things, even knowing the maxim that "all writing is rewriting" doesn't mean that when you're metaphorically rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting, and not visibly heading towards the finish line... it's hard.

Especially when you're tired and vacation time is the time that, theoretically at least, you're supposed to spend your energy on recovery.


Well, all I feel like I want to do is lie in bed, and I keep coming to the "I gotta lie down" place both physically and emotionally, so whaddaya think? Maybe tomorrow I'll stay in bed until it's time to put on the tux and head down to perform for Christmas Eve. They're playing a lot of my music, both arrangements and compositions, so it should be at least a little fun. I hope. I should be getting recordings (oops--gotta not forget to take the recorder!) and I'll post them here, if they come out OK.

And I make it through the service OK.

Well, that is one of the gifts of M.S. If it teaches you nothing else... it's how to make it through the hard spots.

And really, looking back at all I've lost, and given up, and the rough road I've walked (and continue to walk) and the physiological failures/miscues/unwelcome surprises...

Making it through one Christmas Eve service?

Yeah. I can do that.

And as I do my best to make the seating comfortable enough—and certainly, if I do have to make use of the "this is my chance to lie down" opportunity... you know, I'm going to smile. Because, as I say very, very often... comedy like that, you can't write.

And smiling at yourself while you're lying on the floor... that is definitely a gift of M.S.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lying down

Interesting days, these last few days.

I'm on vacation, thank goodness. So I don't have to have the alarm get me out of bed at 7:00AM for a while. Not that the cat doesn't have enough ideas about when it's appropriate to talk to me and ask for rubbing, but at least I don't have to get up.

And I'm very grateful for that. Because I'm having an awful time simply being out of bed, not to mention getting up and walking around. Today, I had so many wonderful ideas about "I really should work on project X," something that wouldn't take any physical labor, it'd just be typing into a machine or (now here's an idea) actually writing something on a piece of paper with a pencil.

But no. When I was finally able to get up, I made a Japanese tamago-yaki omelette, fried up some mushrooms, grated some daikon and added it to some natto. A lovely Japanese breakfast. Except before I was done, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep standing through the whole cooking process. I wasn't able to make the tea. I had to get off my feet, before I hit the floor. And that was getting way too close for comfort.

Several times today, I had to retreat to the bed. Because merely "sitting down" wasn't enough. I tried sitting down. It didn't work. I had to lie down.

I've been doing a great deal of thinking about "Well, I'm leaving my job in a half year or so, what am I going to do instead?"

When those thoughts are interrupted by "Crap... I gotta lie down. NOW. Before I fall down," it does give some poignance to the planning process.

Well, the very good news is... I don't have to answer the question today. Today... I can just lie down.

And y'know, on the M.S. Highway... Even a small kindness like that one, is a kindness. And I'll take it. Gratefully.

And now... (You knew this was coming...)

Please excuse me. I gotta lie down.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Five minutes

Y'know, I've been doing the "Chinese herbal medicine" thing for... decades. It'd take a while to figure out how many. But decades. Many schools; Eight Principle, Three Treasure, and the unique but wonderful system of my current herbalist.

Herbalism isn't really designed to turn corners fast and hard, except when it's applied to acute and desperate conditions. It's more of a "slow banking turn" approach to changing your state from sickness to health. And I've always found it to be effective, trustworthy, and (aside from occasional "tummy music") side-effect free. Its effects have even amazed Western MDs, who were shocked that something with no side effects could work as well, and as fast (or faster), than their pharmacopoeia.

But with M.S., it's a different task. My current herbalist is trying to clear up all sorts of junk that's karking out my immune system, and try to get it to quit cross-reacting to a dishearteningly long list of things that are all-too-common in today's world. It's going to take a while to get to the "repair" phase. And, alas, we're not there yet.

He's been quite successful in slowing down the "getting worse," but getting better? Not yet.

Although last night, for about five minutes, I was walking around the house not clutching walls. Walking not briskly, but not tentatively... very nearly... normally.

Did it last? Nope. Did I need some help this afternoon, my wife very sweetly and kindly pushing me about in my transport chair. Oh yes. Is it going to happen again? Well, it's possible, but... who knows? Certainly not me.

But those five minutes... ah, those five minutes. They were... wonderful.

And in for we who travel the M.S. highway—even for all of our brothers and sisters in this world who aren't traveling on our neurological highway—wonderful is... wonderful.

And there's nothing wrong with wonderful. Even for five minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cold cold COLD

I love my herbalist.

He spent nearly an hour coming up with this month's formula. This month's set includes cordyceps (finally, something with a side-effect: it's a performance enhancer, it's banned by the Olympic committee because it increases oxygen uptake in muscles, among other things) and licorice, something I've gotten in many a formula before, which adds quite an odd flavor to the formula. I gotta tell you, though, it beats the taste of gall bladder and turtle-shell-wax that my old Eight-Principle herbalist used to give me. He diagnosed some autoimmune oddities this month (and they're very odd) and he summed up his experience with M.S. patients this way: "This thing is damned complicated. All you can do is keep peeling the onion, and eventually wear it away."

And he suggested a specific herb to take nightly, because it actually helps your nervous system. (At least, he says it'll help my nervous system, and that's good enough for me.)

He hopes this formula will do something reasonably soon (and it may be doing something already), but he gave me directions on doubling (and tripling) the dose if certain changes don't arise in a week.

And I'm hoping that one of those changes will be in cold-sensitivity. I live in Southern Freaking California, where winters have always been deliciously, unseasonably warm. Now, it's New Haven CT that's unseasonably warm. When I was in college, I left LA at 80 degrees, and landed in New York City where it was 8. Today, New Haven is warmer than LA. And... I have enough trouble walking, even with my walker. The temperature is making it harder.





Insert your favorite expletives, shouted angrily at the heavens


The "hot-water test," the old stand-by for diagnosing M.S.? Bring it on.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Winter is definitely not my season. Never has been. I do love Christmas music, and making Christmas music, but winter... I do not love.

Now, if I were able to take winter completely off... to do less, to spend more time in bed, maybe more time in warm baths (having a bathtub that I could fit into would, of course, help), to do the sort of thing that nature intended us to do in the winter—that being, of course, less—I might like it more.

But "less" doesn't seem to be an option. Right now, at least. So, I take what "less" I can. I didn't go to the store on the way home, as I usually like to do, because the cold (and today the wet, quite rare here in L.A., even in the winter) is making walking, even in a heated house, more than usually difficult. Make that very difficult.

Winter... squashes me. Makes it very difficult to start new projects. That's more of a ... season-of-spring kinda thing.

But I can't wait that long to start some new projects. Again, "less" doesn't seem to be an option. Well, at least a little less, it's gonna have to be, but it's gonna be as little "less" as I can make it.

Well, we do what we can. When we can. As we're able. Again, the human condition.

And the M.S. Highway.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Music; voices; the Question

A very clear indication that crossing my employment Rubicon was the right decision...

I can just sit down, any time I want to, and start writing music. And music... just flows. Easily. And beautifully. I've been living in Creative Drought Hell, for at least three years—maybe more—only extracting a few drops here and there, when it used to come in a Ten-Commandments-Parting-The-Red-Sea-grade flood.

But now, if I want to create music, I just sit and write. And write. And write.

'Course, with the decision to change your income source comes the closer-every-day deadline to find a new source. And, sad to say, with the M.S. has come very, very clear indications of roads that can no longer be taken. But, I must say, some of those roads, I've spent way too much time already, and M.S. or not, I'm done with them, so being unable to re-travel them because of The Disease... well, that is a gift of M.S., isn't it?

We M.S.ers, we confront so much sorrow in the face of the long list of "what you can't do any more." But each time that this very firm (and, we think, uncaring in its firmness) voice tells us "You can't go that way anymore!" there is also a sweet and gentle voice—one that is hard to hear, given the shouting of the first voice—that is softly telling us "No... go this way, instead."

So, that is my new mission. Yes, I'm going to be doing some homework, calling the M.S. Society with some logistical questions; talking to my creative/supportive team about some ideas we're kicking around; and whenever possible, definitely writing some music. But my real mission is to listen. Now that I've stopped the internal noise of struggling in a fight I never should have been having in the first place, I can listen for the voice of the Universe; listening for the answer to the question that all of us M.S.ers whisper quietly, and often shout angrily, all the time:

"OK... What now?"

There is an answer, for each of us, for all of us; and for me. And to hear it, all I have to do...

is listen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Big difference

Wednesday, I crossed the Rubicon; I told my employer that this would be my last year with them. I'll always be a member of the community, we both want that, very much; but after this year's over, I can't work there any more.

It was very hard to come to—and even more so, to act on—that decision. But now that it's done... I haven't felt this good in a very, very long time.

I still can't walk without a walker. Even with the walker, every once and a while I come way too close to falling down. I've got a lot of let's-not-talk-about-them below-the-waist dysfunctions. Oh, I can go on and on with the "what's not working" list...

And of course, there's gonna come a time, I'm gonna have to come up with a way to replace that income, and exactly how that's gonna happen has not yet revealed itself to me...

But I feel better. M.S. and all, it's a very, very, VERY big difference. To feel ... better. Who cares if the physical isn't better... I feel better.

And, y'know...

I'll take that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three moments

Three interesting moments, today.

The first: I was talking with a psychologist, and was asked, "When you got The Diagnosis [capitalization mine]... did you ever ask 'Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?' "

"Actually," I said... "No."

"NO?!?" she asked, quite surprised.

No. Not on the day of The Diagnosis, and actually, never since. Have I been pissed off at it? Yeah... Grieved because of it? Not enough, but yeah... but asked, "Why?" Honestly, I really don't think so. The question's just never come up. I told her, I'm an organist—I've never asked myself, why do I play the organ? Why would I? I just do.

"Well, I guess it's just not in your psychology," she said; and, I guess, that was that. I suppose it didn't mean as much as she thought it might. Well, M.S. is full of surprises, but I hadn't thought they would extend to other people.

Thing two: I was telling one of my students what I frequently tell seniors who are applying to college. There's nothing you can do to make them want you. You can make them not want you; but you can't make them want you. And if they reject you, just remember... if they don't want you, you don't want them. I have never in my life ever been proven wrong on that. And I've often found out after the fact just what a blessing it was to not have been sucked up into whatever it was, because the situation I avoided turned out worse than I ever imagined. So don't worry: If they don't want you, you don't want them.

Hours later, I realized... no wonder I've been suffering for so long. I forgot my own advice. It was clear that they didn't want me... why was I trying so hard to buck the tide? They didn't want me... and clearly, given how much I suffered, I actually didn't really want them, either. I was right, and didn't even know it; and also, didn't listen to my own words of comfort. Physician, heal thyself, as the saying goes. This made me feel even better about my decision to cross the Rubicon yesterday.

And the third thing: I'm at a gas station on the way home after the day's adventures, filling up the truck, and as I'm standing at the gas pump, my bladder starts yelling at me, "I gotta go! I gotta go! I gotta go! Now now now now NOW!!!"

Great, I think. Ambulation triggers micturition—or at least, it claims to. But doesn't really. Or does it? Bladder clearly doesn't know, but I'd sure like to. Hell of a system. What will it think of next?

And then, I think... A day of realization, of moments during which important changes of consciousness "click" into place, and we end the day... with a pee joke. Well, I don't ask "why," but sometimes I want to ask, "A pee joke. Really—that's the best you can do? Create the starry heavens and all life, and ... you go for the pee joke."

That's funny. Chalk up another one in the "humor you can't write" column. But, after all that I've gone through in the last couple of days, I end by laughing at myself... Even on the M.S. Highway, that's a good way to end the day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Againstness; openness; and gifts

A major removal of "againstness" from my life, happened today. "Againstness" being what we on the M.S. Highway are mired in, neuro/immunologically speaking (definitely on those levels, among many others), and reducing againstness is devoutly to be sought, whether you're sharing the road with us or not.

This is my herbalist's first tool: stop throwing things at the immune system that make it go "wacko." Before you can start fixing things, you've got to stop messing them up.

So, I took a big step today. I told my employer that this chapter, my full-time employment in this particular role, is at an end. Not on-the-spot quitting, but that this is going to be my last year in this role, and when this school year comes to an end, so does this chapter in our journey together. I want to remain a part of the community—and I think the community very much wants me to remain a part of it—but "the enterprise," the faceless, nameless, non-human entity that keeps the organization qua organization alive, doesn't want me; and truthfully, I don't think it ever has. So, it's better for it, and certainly for me, to remove this dissonance between its hopes and mine, its expectations and mine, its desires and mine. Time for this chapter to end; if for no other reason... because only this way, can another one begin.

I feel better than I have in months. Years, even. Do I do good there? Yes, I do. And always have. But for the humans, for the young people... not for "the enterprise."

I'm not saying "goodbye forever." But I'm changing our relationship. And, I think that both I and "the enterprise" are happier.

So, what's next? Actually... I think that's the fun part. Never... never... has the Great Machine of the Universe failed me. Something big has happened... and that very "bigness" had precisely the right power, direction, and timing, to create a new chapter in the Great Adventure. And, that particular chapter was exactly what I needed. And, I think, exactly what the Great Machine needed for me to do, for it.

I've actually seen some evidence of my encounter with M.S. being of this nature. But, even after The Diagnosis, I was still hanging on to My Same Old Life. When that Same Old Life was trying to leave me. Much of it had, but I was doing my best to not let all of it go. Because... I was afraid.

I've been living a "Gethsemane moment" for years. Christ's plea in the garden, "Take this cup away from me." But even Christ eventually realized that it was time to stop fighting; finally, he was willing to say, "Not my will, but Thy will be done."

And it only took him one evening. Me, I've been making that prayer for years... not about M.S., but about not being willing to face the choice that I knew I needed to face, and that I haven't been able to face until today.

And face it, I did. With calmness; and honesty; and sincerity; and open-heartedness. And kindness. And even forgiveness. It was a beautiful hour, an hour of telling the truth... with love.

And facing this thing that I've been so afraid to face, I faced... with precisely the things that living with M.S. has strengthened. I never would have been able to face the truth of this moment, and the truth of having to face this moment, and to face both of those with open hands and open heart, had I not been "afflicted" with M.S. And spent the time I have on the Neurological Highway, and being changed by not by the neurological malfunctions, but by the journey.

They were truly... gifts of M.S.

Amazing thing, this "disease," isn't it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tomorrow, I will be taking the first step of a Big Change. A Very big, Big Change. And, only the first step. But it's a Big Change. One that has been overdue for far too long.

More details tomorrow. I'm sharing what I am, right now, to bolster my courage. Because I have to do it. I've known that I was going to have to do it for a long time, and I haven't been willing to cop to the truth that my heart, and the entire Universe for that matter, has been trying to tell me.

My kyudo teacher once told the class, "Nobody will give you anything if your hands are clenched. Before you can receive, you have to open your hands."

I need to open my hands.

One of the gifts of M.S. is sensitivity—given that I was already too sensitive for my own good before The Disease hit, you can believe I'm really sensitive now. Which means that when I take the leap... the fear before the moment of the leap itself is going to hurt even more.

But, as Eustace said in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, of the way Aslan pulled off his dragon's skin, "It hurts like billy-oh when it's coming off, but it feels so good once it's gone."

The change is upon you—that's the first thing we have to deal with, as M.S.ers. The change has already happened.

So, what do I do now?

Oh, I dunno... how about...


Easy to say, ain't it. OK, then... with you, my friends, as witnesses:

It's time to do it.

So... here we go, then.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Warmth, in the middle of devastating winter

I commemorated the Storm That Trashed Pasadena another way, this morning: I composed a new anthem for Oneonta Congregational Church, an arrangement of Gustav Holst's carol, In the Bleak Midwinter.

You can guess from the title why I was immediately drawn to this text, given that the church (as so many still are) is without power, which means no organ, no light, and no heat. And yet, even if we can't warm the body, we can warm hearts, and warm the hearts of one another.

Some of my dear readers may not follow the Christian path; but this music is for you too. Not because I want to convert you, but no matter your spirit path, the last phrase speaks of what you can give, no matter what other roads your life takes you down.

And it's something that all of us M.S.ers can give, because for all the malfunctions that beset us, this is the one thing that no disease can ever touch; because it is beyond the limitations of the world.

Friday, December 2, 2011


For days... weeks... I have been going back and forth on "where I'm supposed to go," career/employment wise. Many doors have been closed by the M.S.-related physical changes; some have been closed simply by age (even though there's a "come on, you're only 51, what's this 'age' crap?" factor, but it's there anyway); some have been closed by choice, brought on by experience and, as I occasionally like to think of it, wisdom provided by suffering and not wanting to suffer again. Some roads I've traveled, and have been glad to have traveled them, and am even more enthusiastic about not going down them again. You know what I'm talking about... we all have invisible "combat medals" that we won by surviving the battles that made us who we are today, and that we So. Don't. Need. to win more of.

Earlier this week, Pasadena was devastated by higher-than-gale-force winds. People went without power (myself included), streets were littered with broken branches, sometimes entire trees were felled by the wind and left strewn about the roads. Or, sadly, crushed entire houses. One thing was very, very clear; the planet is bigger than you are. Compared to the planet, and the forces in play on the planetary level, you ain't nothing. Planet doesn't even know you're there. And when you see just how small you really are, it's hard to get your own knickers in a twist about "You don't understand, this is really important" when whatever it is has nothing to do with life, or health, or home, or simple survival.

Really... I just saw a tree that's older than both of us uprooted and hurled onto the ground, dozens of yards from where it has been growing for decades, maybe centuries. There are people not all that far from us who no longer have homes or food. And you're telling me that making sure that this form is filled out properly, or justifying this argument you're making about some mental model of yours being superior to someone else's, is "important?" Really? Really?

And the evening after Pasadena was hammered by the wind, I performed at a concert celebrating the lives of AIDS/HIV victims, in support of the Pasadena Pride Center. They spoke of loss, and courage; and what really connected with me was what they said about the Pride Center. They spoke of young people who wondered whether they were "normal," whether it was "normal" to feel the way they felt—who were unclear about even what it was that they were feeling. And they spoke of how important it was to have a place for people to talk, and to be reassured that they weren't "broken," but that their orientation, their feelings, their questions, didn't have anything to do with their worth as people; whatever state they were in, for them, it's normal. And they're normal. And they're worthwhile, they're beautiful, just because they're people. And what's really important... is to be true to yourself. To be true about yourself, to yourself. Because you are who you are.

Don't we M.S.ers need to be true to ourselves about ourselves? That for us, where we are right here, right now, is now "normal?" That whether all the equipment works the way it used to or not, we're normal, and our malfunctioning equipment has no bearing on our worth as people; and that we have things to offer, we have things that we were born to offer, regardless of the state of our nervous systems. That we're normal, and we're beautiful, just because we're people. I'm beautiful, and worthwhile, because I am me. And the way my nervous system works has nothing to do with that... and it never will.

Lemme tell you... watching the wind rip the city apart, with a power that absolutely dwarfed anything that I've seen, that I am, and that I'll ever be; and then hearing people talk about life and death struggles with diseases, and with the life or death struggle simply to accept oneself, because it's definitely no life if you can't live a life that loves yourself as you are, as you were born to be... well, that puts wrestling with "how am I going to deal with this 'job' thing" in a different light. Do I need to deal with it? And with how M.S. affects my career choices, my employment future? Of course. Not to deal with those questions is the height of foolishness. But... are they that "big"? On the scale of the forces the planet itself wields? Really? Really?

Have my questions been made easier to answer? Also no... but they have been made a lot smaller. And maybe that alone will make them easier to answer... We'll see.