Friday, January 23, 2009

No Kidding

My husband and I do not have children. People think this is because of my disability but we actually didn't really want to have children. My diagnosis finalized this decision. People feel sorry for you when they think that you cannot have children but it's a different story when they learn you didn't want them. After all, normal people want children and there's obviously something wrong with people who feel otherwise.

I know that in my situation, children would've been a very bad idea. My disease is incompatible with the mommy lifestyle. Granted, I do stay at home but I have to pay somebody to take care of me. I am not physically able to care for a child and I lack the stamina to be with children for any length of time. MS fatigue is real and I usually take a nap after breakfast until at least 10:00 AM. Finally, my body is a serious superfund site of chemicals needed to keep my disease in check. I shudder to think that I might be worse off without them. Basically, I'm saying that I am perfectly content being the aunt of five nieces and nephews with another one on the way. I send them presents, receive pictures and even visit them occasionally. I'm the auntie in the wheelchair who doesn't really do much.

So, you may be wondering if people with MS can have children? The answer isn't a simple one and really needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Women are more likely to have the disease, so there is data on MS and pregnancy. The remarkable thing is that most women do very well during their pregnancy, but experience a relapse five or six months after delivery. This is why female hormones are being studied so closely as potential MS therapy. For that reason, I am glad that some people with my disease are having children. We need everything we can find to fight this disease.

At lunch today, my aide and I were seated near a table of mommies and their brood of little ones from an infant to four-year olds. They were cute, but what a commotion. I was glad to see them leave. Besides, at least one of them was staring at me the entire time. I just add to keep reminding myself that these children are our future and will eventually be part of the workforce needed to keep my Social Security checks coming. God bless the children!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Past Transgressions

I am not thinking about the new year yet. I have been pondering my past instead, my distant past. The 1980s encompassed my high school and college days and thanks to the social networking tool, FaceBook, I have been reconnecting with people and places from that time. I wouldn't go so far as to say that those were the best days of my life, but they were simpler. Back then, my life was full of possibilities and now it's more inevitability. I am finding it difficult to reconcile my past with my present.

My problem is that I only want to reminisce with my old friends and acquaintances about the Lydia from the 80s and not the current crippled Lydia with multiple sclerosis (MS). I don't like having to answer the question "what are you doing now?" The answer is a real downer. I was diagnosed in 1997 and my life has pretty much been downhill from there. Kind of awkward, and not a great conversation starter. There's a friendship you might not want to reestablish.

In a lot of ways, the core of who I am hasn't changed much. I'm still pretty sarcastic with a dry sense of humor. My situation has provided tons of material to feed my cynicism. I understand why people would feel sorry for me, but I'm not looking for pity. The reason I went on FaceBook in the first place was to keep in touch with friends, find old ones and maybe make some new ones. Because I can't work, I miss out on a lot of normal social interaction. Although I have always been a bit of a loner, it was isolation by choice and now I'm just isolated. The online world changes all that. With my laptop, I can participate just like everyone else and no one even needs to know about the MS unless I choose to tell them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be taking a roll down memory lane.