I went to my surgeon today for a follow-up check as well as my first fill. (I've now lost 44 pounds total, yay!) While in the waiting room, I got to talking to a couple other women who were also waiting. We compared notes, traded food ideas, and even chuckled at some of mistakes we've made. In the midst of the conversation, a very friendly woman in a wheelchair added "Being in this chair makes it harder, though. I have MS"
I immediately turned and looked at her. I know that there are millions of us with MS worldwide, and I'd be willing to bet there's likely just as many (if not more) Lap-Band patients out there. But for someone reason, I was truly shocked to find myself sitting in my surgeon's office only to find the woman next me was also both banded and had MS. I smiled at her as I then replied "small world... I have MS, too".
Of course at that point her and I started trading as many MS stories as we were Lap-Band stories just a few moments before. She told me how she could stand, even take a few steps, but spent most of her time in the wheelchair due to weakness. We discussed being dizzy and weird phantom sensations that keep us awake at night, as well as how we both hoped losing weight would help better combat the MS. After a slight pause in the conversation, she noted I wasn't in a wheelchair or using any walking aids. I said that was true and I was thankful for it but added I did have to use my cane some days when my balance is particularly bad. That is when things took a slight turn, at least in my own mind they did. The woman mentioned being secondary progressive and I responded that I was still relapse/remitting. At that point, she looked at me with a faint chuckle as she said "I don't have the luxury of being relapse/remitting"
Ouch. I am still not even entirely sure why that stung, but it did. My mind started wandering silently as I considered this unexpected remark and then I started to feel anxious. I smiled politely as I replied "well I am thankful for it, that's for sure". It was about that time her ride came, we said our good-byes, and she left. However just because she left doesn't mean I stopped thinking about it.
I couldn't figure out why I was feeling so anxious, possibly even agitated. I really had no reason to, yet there I sat, fidgeting and feeling very uneasy. I considered the closing remark the woman made about not having the luxury of being relapse/remitting...and then it hit me. I was feeling so anxious because speaking to her was forcing me to face one of my biggest fears- turning secondary progressive and losing considerably more than I already have to this crappy disease. Her comment suddenly made sense, because as much as I looked at her with fear and dread, I'm sure she was looking at me with envy and longing. Neither one of us were right or wrong, just both processing our emotions. She was missing her past while I was trying to avoid my future.
It's funny, really. I believe life is one huge learning experience and sometimes God will lead people into our lives to teach us a lesson. I believe today the lady from the surgeon's office and I were each other's lesson. I know what I must do now- I need to let go of my fear of the future and simply be thankful for today. I can only hope she was able to see her lesson in our meeting, too.
Be well all :)