Friday, April 25, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

I apologize for the long delay in between posts. Life in Denver has been keeping me busy as of late. However, I was able to get away for about 25 hours and travelled back to Dallas last weekend to be with my family during Passover. It was the first Lifshen Passover I have been present for in several years. It was also the first time seeing the majority of my family since disclosing my MS diagnosis. Naturally, I was a bit nervous and apprehensive while waiting for the family to arrive for the Seder.

As I have discussed before, people react to bad news in a variety of ways. I didn’t know how my aunts, uncles, cousin, grandmother and family friends would treat me during my visit. Although I didn’t want to spend the weekend talking about MS and answering the oft-asked, “How are you feeling” question, I understand that people only ask out of natural curiosity and because they care.

Despite my initial concerns, I was happy that my family conducted themselves well during my trip (somewhat of an accomplishment if you know my family). We schmoozed before the meal started, and not a single person made me feel uncomfortable or awkward by asking me in-depth questions about MS. I was able to enjoy dinner and, if you can believe it, actually forgot about MS for a while.

During the post Seder schmooze-fest, I got into some more in-depth conversation with a few family members about MS. I still find it extremely difficult to describe to people just how MS feels: Sometimes pins and needles, sometimes tingling, sometimes sore, sometimes numbness, sometimes tired, sometime a nasty combination of any number of those sensations. We talked about how my medications made me feel and how hard it is some mornings to get out of bed and moving around.

Overall, I was really impressed with the way that my family handled the situation. Although I was diagnosed the week before I was home for Thanksgiving, I chose not to tell people during that visit because I did not want to detract from the fun that everybody had from being together again. After worrying about the same thing for this visit, my fears were put to rest by the wonderfully supportive and non-invasive stance that my family has developed.