July 25, 2016 Washing dishes in our kitchen sink waiting for my husband Dan to come home from his morning doctor’s appointment. Hoping to hear some good news for once. We had both been eagerly biting our nails about whether or not Dan would get his dream job at one of the local mills in town. The doctor discovered during the routine medical checkup for the hiring process that Dan’s reflexes were off. Dan went for further testing. One CAT scan and MRI later Dan’s family doctor shared the devastating news that Dan had Multiple Sclerosis. The words Multiple Sclerosis and my husband’s name attached I fell to the ground crying in fear. Wondering about the future ahead of us and where this left Dan in regards to employment. His previous workplace had an explosion and was shutting the doors with no indication of reopening again. He was laid off. Job security and benefits are everything. We were very much on top of the world. We were ready to invest in our future, the cabin. The closeness of the water brushing against our sun bathed skin and the smell of the cabin wood vanishing right before us. All I could think of was why us? Why now? What did we do to deserve MS in our life?
One year later, both of our lives have changed. Today, Dan uses a cane to support his mobility. Stairs can be a challenge for him. We switched our high paced lifestyle. We have gone organic and think green for our health. Communication has become a big thing for both of us. The ability to speak our truth while the other one listens can test our patience and our ability not to overreact. Sometimes causing a war zone between us where words feel like knives. I have had to work on being attentive and non-judgmental when Dan shares. I am learning to allow Dan his process and accept that it is his body, not mine. Seeing Dan in pain, struggling with daily life has been difficult for me. I am centre stage observing, and all I can do is watch the love of my life struggle.
There are two ways to look at Dan’s MS diagnosis. We can fear it, or we can embrace it. I promised him by the creek side; I would love him “from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part". The journey ahead of us is unknown, but our love and our faith can create miracles. I hold this truth to my heart regardless of what the world around me says. Appreciation can do wonders. At the beginning accepting the news that Dan has MS was difficult. Today I am thankful. If it weren't for the physical exam, we wouldn't have known as soon as we did that Dan has MS. Like many people, we would have to wait for further testing, placed on waiting lists sometimes up to a year. Luckily it was detected soon enough. Progressive MS can deteriorate the body. One thing MS cannot take away from us is our morning routine together. It may not be coffee for Dan but he can join me, and we can continue our ritual of starting our day together, me sipping my coffee and Dan drinking his tea.
All my love Dan, Casey