Tuesday, August 18, 2015

muck talk.

In less than 2 weeks, I will be mucking it up at MuckFest MS through 19 muddy obstacles over a 5K course with my team of both ill- and well-prepared MuckNuggets, all to raise funds and awareness for the National MS Society.

...man, this is hard to write... here we go. As you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a little over 3 years ago. MS is a chronic and often debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system. It can cause an array of symptoms; MS is unpredictable and affects every individual differently. I have been fortunate in so many ways. Fortunate to have excellent medical care. Fortunate to have the most incredible support system. Fortunate to be feeling really, really good. (Not to brag, but have you seen my yoga moves?)

I first heard about MuckFest MS last fall. I had seen ads for Walk MS and Bike MS and Run MS, and always thought, "Nope. Not me." Partially because I hate to run, don't have a bike, and barely tolerate walking to the train to get to work. But then I got an email about MuckFest MS in Chicago. I thought maybe I could do that. It looks like a muddy jungle gym. I love playgrounds. It was almost a year away and registration wasn't for months, but I forwarded it to my sister and said, "Maybe would you do this with me?"

For the next few months, I went back and forth about whether I really wanted to do it. It wasn't the athletics that were holding me back, either. A few weeks after I was diagnosed in 2012, the Walk MS event was in Chicago. I considered it for a moment, but I wasn't even ready to accept the diagnosis. I didn't know what MS was going to look like for me in 3 weeks - in 6 months - in 2 years - in 5 years... I was too afraid to be face to face with any "worst case scenarios." I was already living my worst case scenario. Worst case scenario at that time was just having MS at all. I wasn't ready for more.

Now after three years, three different medications, countless needles and banging MRI machines, cutting out gluten (mostly), rotating vitamin combos, and one hilarious spinal tap (thanks to Todd), I kind of feel ready to do something public. I wasn't hiding from my diagnosis. I didn't avoid it if it came up in conversation. But to participate in the community is something completely different.

So I bit the bullet. I registered and started a team. And the next thing I knew, we had a crew of 14 Chicken MuckNuggets! I didn't initially plan to do any fundraising, but the reaction from my friends/family and their enthusiasm to join me in this muddy adventure lit a fire inside me. To date, we have raised $3,000 in support of the National MS Society and their mission. Every time we receive a new donation, no matter the size, my heart fills with pride and love and so many feelings. My eyes well with tears every. single. time. I am overwhelmed by the generosity I have seen from people. And "Thank You" just doesn't even begin to express the extent of my gratitude.

Like I said, I am fortunate in so many ways. I have been living with MS for over three years. I have accepted my new reality for now, but the thing that keeps me from fearing the next "worst case scenario" is learning about the medical breakthroughs that happen everyday. I believe that we will find a cure for MS in my lifetime. That is where all of these fundraising dollars are going. To end MS forever. But for now, I am celebrating my health at MuckFest MS next weekend with my incredible team, who I love so much. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for being a friend.

To make a donation to our team, visit my fundraising page!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

getting unstuck.

I'm stuck. Not stuck in a sad way, but stuck in that way you get stuck when you are anticipating the unknown with both excitement and trepidation. I have passed a number of milestones in life already, but for some reason this next chapter has me standing like a deer in headlights.

According to the rules of life, I am a grown up. I am over 30, employed, insured, married, and I just finished paying off my car loan. Writing it out like that makes it look way more responsible than I actually feel. There are still many things that I don't do that a grown-ass-woman probably should. Like make dinner occasionally (on the stove or in the oven - not in the microwave), get out of bed before 11am on the weekends... or before 8am on the weekdays, shower regularly (kidding... not really...), go to the dentist, maybe to the gym, maybe the unpack those last few boxes from when we moved two years ago... am I painting a clear picture for you? For every responsibility there is an equal and opposite irresponsibility. Isn't that what Newton said? No?

We have one year left on our current lease, and while we love our apartment and our neighborhood we can't help but think forward to the next phase of our life. Do we buy something and put our money towards property that we own, or continue renting until we are ready to leave the city? When would we want to leave the city? And that leads to the question that people inevitably start asking after you've been married for two years (if they've even waited that long) - what about kids? When? How many? If we buy a house next year, would we regret leaving the city so soon? If we buy a condo, it would need to be baby-hauling friendly. Babies don't care if they have a yard, but I definitely care about lugging a stroller and other baby accouterments (oh, and also the baby) up and down multiple flights of stairs - no matter how gorgeous the balcony may be and how close we are to the Square. Can we even afford any of this? How do you know? WHAT IS A BUDGET?

Picture me now like when Dr. Grant and Lex are nose to nose with the T-Rex in Jurassic Park: "Don't. Move. He can't see us if we don't move." "He", in my scenario, I suppose would be Life? Father Time? The Responsibility Monster? It's hard to tell. At least I'm not being chased by a T-Rex. We've gotten away from the point.

I think I am so afraid of making the wrong decision that I have found myself too afraid to make any decision at all. I can't even help decide where we should go on vacation this year, because it all seems too overwhelming. What places do we want to see "before we have kids"? What about before I am pregnant? Will I be pregnant next year?? Oh god, should we take a BIG trip this year? Oh god, is this our last summer before we're having kids?? And now it's August and we have made no plans. Any suggestions?? Seriously. I need help.

I know this probably seems frivolous to some, and maybe relatable to others, but it's where I'm at. Feeling like I've hit a roadblock and I'm stuck here trying to figure out how best to climb over it (ladder? chair? catapult?) and what could possibly be on the other side, when I should really just walk around it and let things happen.