Friday, 13 September 2013

A day from your adulthood..

My life changed on January 14th 2007. Months later, and days before my 19th birthday, my friend and namesake accompanied me to a hospital appointment during which I were to be given the final word on the tests I’d had over the previous number of months.
As we sat in front of the bald, bespectacled doctor whilst he shuffled through a thick file that contained my medical history, I looked at Mehdi and gave an awkward, expectant smile.

"All the tests have confirmed what we’d been expecting, I’m afraid."

He turned his computer monitor towards us and pointed to a picture of me that I’d never seen before.

"You can see that there are lesions here, here and here."

 As he said this, I was momentarily distracted by curiosity. My brain looks like this? And it has lesions? What the hell are lesions anyways?

 "I’m sorry to have to inform you that you have Multiple Sclerosis.”

 As though he’d rehearsed what he would do next, Mehdi grinned, shook my hand and said: "Congratulations, Mehdi.. you have an official illness!”
 We both chuckled and looked at the doctor who appeared to be slightly puzzled by our less-than-horrified reaction to the life-changing news he’d imparted.

 I had been expecting the diagnosis to be exactly what it was. Within minutes of being seen by the neurologist who first examined me almost five months prior to that day, I was informed that my symptoms are very similar to those of MS sufferers. I wasn’t shocked or upset. It was just a truth I had to come to terms with.

Though it has been almost seven years since I was diagnosed, sometimes I forget that I have a disease that’s slowly and unpredictably gnawing at my central nervous system. It has taken a significant yet hard-to-detect toll on my physical and mental abilities. I find it difficult to process slabs of information the way most people do without even trying. My brain’s wiring has been mixed up a little and I find myself pronouncing a sentence differently to how I had planned to. Eventhough the onlooker may fail to spot such linguistic lapses, I always do. If it upsets me, I pick myself up and plough on. I have no choice but to.

 Ever since I felt the very first symptoms -tingling/numbness from my chest all the way down to my toes; reduced balance, as well as a host of other strange and sporadic episodes- I’ve tried to remind myself of the importance of appreciating what I have. I had never envied the effortlessness with which people walk until I found it to be slightly -at times extremely- laborious to do so. I’ve had to adapt to living life whilst carrying a hidden hindrance that hardly anyone seems capable of understanding. 

I’m not bitter. I don’t feel like I’ve been unfairly treated by God. I don’t wish I had it any differently. In fact, I’m deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to get a fleeting glimpse of what life is really about. Disheartening though they can be, my countless hospital visits serve to remind me of the futility of materialistic possessions and wafer-thin ambitions. I stopped dreaming of cars, careers and a high credit rating, and have opted to pursue personal peace, happiness and fulfillment instead.

 My life changed on January 14th 2007.. for the better..


Ghadeer said...

This is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your optimistic thoughts with us. They say diseases bring out what's dominant in a person- the best or the worst. It's clear that you've handled yours with grace.

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