*Uncensored 1

 I love holding Jordan's hand. It seems so 6th grade, I know, but it still gives me butterflies when he reaches over and takes my fingers in his. They tingle and I look to see whose digits belong to whom...I never can tell. Even though his are clearly much larger and darker than mine.
  As hard as he works when he farms or busts bags on his "Friday job" they're still so soft. His nails are always clean and trimmed. I try to keep my hands neat and clean as well, not just for me, but for him. When he holds my hand I want it to be warm and inviting, soft and welcoming. He holds mine as if they're precious gifts made of gold, just like he did the very first time he ever held my hand.
  I used to wear acrylic nails but that got kinda old...expensive, really. I'd rather spend my money on makeup, ya know. ;)  Plus, I was always popping one or two off doing laundry. Ah, housewifery is a dangerous business.
  I like big gaudy rings on my fingers; the bigger and flashier the better. But nothing ever takes the place of my wedding set...those are the most special of all of my rings....and the only real ones. I'm not a materialistic person, I just like to play dress up, I guess. Jordan gets tickled at my rings.
  I have my daddy's hands. If you measure them up against one another they look like carbon copies, only mine are feminine and much smaller than his. Yes, I keep mentioning the size of my hands...they're pretty small, and my fingers are chubby. They still look like baby hands with dimples in place of my knuckles. They get the jobs done that I need to accomplish. A homemaker is nothing without her hands.
  Have you ever looked at your own hands? Not just with your eyes, but have you REALLY looked at your hands?  Have you thought about what all they do for you and help you achieve in your every day life? Hands and fingers. I think we take them for granted. I know I did....until recently.
  It's been almost 4 months since I had my last blip. Early April. May. June. July. Total freedom...............Aug.......<blip>......ust.......here we go 'round the mulberry bush! Oops, I stepped in dog poo. Yep. It had been coming on for several days. I could feel it, but I ignored it and chocked it up to symptoms. Then I kept getting sleepier....my brain foggier.....my face numb....my eye blind.....my hearing muffled........my leg more and more weak and tired....my hand weak....numb.......my foot hanging on the bed at night, seeming lifeless............
  Saturday I woke up unable to put all of my weight on my right leg and I couldn't hold myself up with my right arm or hand. Well, here he was. The beast had again regained his strength and reared his ugly head.
   I hobbled down the hall to the bathroom where Jo was in the shower. (I call Jordan "Jo" sometimes for those who don't know.) I tried so hard to be brave.....I really did. I used the bathroom and could barely pull myself up; I had to hold onto the door in front of me and pull my pants up one side at a time. Still, they're just symptoms, Bran. But after a few minutes of denial, I got a good look at myself in the mirror and realized that there was no denying it. Three months or 3 years, Bran: You've got MS. This thing is with you forever.
   My heart was crumbling into a thousand pieces and I was so broken, well, let's just be frank here, I didn't FEEL like praying or praising God. (I'm not perfect, ya know...I don't have all the answers and sometimes I get a little down about turning into an old woman before my time.) I felt alone. I felt like I'd been betrayed. I got angry and then began to cry uncontrollably as I limped back to the bedroom, leaning against the wall so I wouldn't fall. I didn't want to upset Jordan and I needed some time. I was hurt and I wanted to cuss REAL bad. (But I didn't.)
  "I can't do this. I just can't. I'm tired and I can't anymore.....I just can't." I could hardly breathe my heart was aching so badly, my stomach was in knots and I was calling dinosaurs any minute. Then I heard Him......
  "Yeah....you can. I'm here, I haven't left and I don't plan on it. I'm teaching you. I'm strengthening you. Just have some faith in me, Bran. I've got this."
  Every single morning since this demon of a disease entered and took over my body, and I've been aware of what's going on, I've had to remind myself of that. I look fine, I don't look sick. I don't act sick. People think I'm perfectly normal and when they find out what's really going on they say, "Oh, how brave she is! Look at her faith! She is so optimistic!" Yes, I'm optimistic. Yes, my faith is unshaken, that one is for sure. But I'm not brave at all, friends. Truth is I'm more scared than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. This is not exactly easy.....in fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever been through. Worse than when my great grandmother died, although, part of my heart still grieves for her....it's been 4 years.
  Blips don't promise a visit every day of the week, every week of the month or every month of the year. They also don't promise the opposite. They're not wrapped up in a pretty package with a big red bow and tag reading, "Happy BLIP Day! Open when ready!" though they do come unexpectedly they're not a surprise; they're unwanted.When they arrive, they're right the opposite of a neat little package.
  I've explained what blips entail, but over the past few months I was starting to forget, I guess. I remembered what I went through last year, who could ever forget that! Being a little skittish was putting it lightly about how I felt in May. Initially my blips were coming about once a month or just lasting almost the whole month. So when they ceased, I started to gain some confidence. I even thought remission was in sight, though that can take years....again with the unshaken faith. I still believe God can do what He wants. ;)
  As I said earlier, this blip has been coming on for a couple of weeks, but I've been ignoring it. I'm taking my shots faithfully, I thought. It's nothing, just some symptoms. I'm good. I tried to brush it off when I couldn't make a fist one of those days.
  Saturday was my Nanna's 74th birthday. Mom, Lilli and I were taking her to Cracker Barrel. Oh, how that woman loves her CB! I woke up about 9am. Still in a sleepy stupor I swung my feet over the side of our high king size bed. I scooted until my feet hit the cold hardwood floor. But my right foot didn't feel the tingly cool that my left foot felt....and my right hand didn't clutch the bedspread to keep me from falling. I slid until the left side caught all of me, before my whole body ended up on the floor, instead of just my feet. Even then I was in total denial until I hit the bathroom.
  This is what multiple sclerosis is. This is what I do with it. I open my eyes in the mornings and wonder if I'll be able to feel that floor beneath me. Sometimes I feel like I'm miles above it it's so intimidating. And will the hands that have never failed me in the past catch me if I fall? So this is where leaning on the "unseen hand" comes in...this is where my faith kicks into overdrive.
  I worry (though I'm not supposed to) about what is inside my head. These lesions growing on my brain, eating away at who I am, are they going to destroy me altogether? How in the world can this not kill me? Am I going to end up a crumpled mess? I wonder if my hands will always be able to hold Jordan's.....if they'll be able to touch his face and actually feel him. Will I be able to hold my sweet Lilli's hand and fix her hair today, and what about the next baby? Will my arms be strong enough to carry it?
  I'm afraid of wheelchairs. If people are in them they don't bother me, but an empty one? That's another story. I feel like it's just biding it's time until it can take over my life. I get a little sweaty around empty wheelchairs. My heart races and my stomach turns. When I get really nervous about things my hands actually ache...it's weird, but I've always been like that. The walkers and canes are just as bad. I see myself, in flats (ugh!) pushing a walker with little green tennis balls. Fold it up and sit it up against the wall because when I get up I'm gonna have to have that thing or I'm just gonna have to stay put.
  This is what YOU see in MS, the things YOU worry will happen to me: YOU see me with a cane, walker or wheelchair. But there's so much more that I worry about, so many questions that fly around my ever so slowly deteriorating brain. 
  Am I gonna remember the words to the song I've gotta sing? Can I paint you a picture or an ornament? Will I be able to hear music let alone sing it....because without my hearing I can't sing for my God, the One who gave me this talent that I SO love and NEED to just be able to BREATHE in and out. My voice.......will I get to keep it? I tell my husband I love him, and my child and family and friends with my voice....and my God........I sing to my Father with it.......How do you praise God if your body and voice don't function? Oh, I'd find a way. Sometimes I'll hum and touch my throat with my hand just to feel the vibrations in the incredibility of the voice and its box.
  Will Jordan be okay with reading to me when I can't see anymore? I know he would and when I was diagnosed and he knew all that we could possibly go through he said to me, "I promised you 'in sickness and in health' and I meant it."
  So I threw it out there for him: "What if I have to wear a diaper and YOU have to change it?" He didn't miss a beat, "I love you don't I? You'd do it for me. I'd do anything for you." Now, really, who wants an almost 30 year old baby? This is NOT what he signed up for....but he disagrees. "I signed up for all of it, Brandi. Diapers for babies OR you." Again, he always reminds me of our vows and the promises we made to each other that will never be broken.
  There are so many other aspects to MS. I've kept them to myself until now.  I'm gonna give you all of it; it's painful and scary, but the best part is where the Father's blessings are all in it and my hope and prayer is that you'll see HIM covering the face of the MonSter. So if you don't like "raw" don't finish reading anything with a star. There's my fair warning.



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