Even though multiple sclerosis is kicking her butt right now, my sister is tough. She has the will to fight through her disease and finish strong.
She was diagnosed over two years ago, but I didn’t know about her illness until recently. When she told me about it one Friday afternoon on the phone, I cried a little. I think what hurt most is that she’d been dealing with the pain and steady decline in her abilities all this time without my being available to her for support. She has a husband, as well as a strong network of friends nearby, but I was sorry that as her brother, I had not been there for her to lean on if she wanted that.
Shaky, wobbly, legs requiring a walker, and fingers that have a mind of their own are only a few of the things she’s had to endure. She had to quit work last year because she would often bump into walls, as well as forget important details after just a few minutes. Her depression deepened at this point. An occasional seizure and the inability to drive have also added to her problems.
Through this all, however, she has remained steadfast. Too many times to count, I’ve heard her say, “But that’s OK.” Tripping over a rug and crashing to the floor — But that’s OK. I’ll make it through. Isolation and boredom — But that’s OK. I’ve got my cat. Another medication to try, maybe one with awful side effects — But that’s OK. I’ll take it moment by moment.
I remember a particular Peanuts comic strip from when I was a kid. Charlie Brown is talking with one of his friends and he remarks that he used to take life one day at a time, but now he’s down to only half a day at a time.
This reminds me of my sister. When you’ve got nothing but time, all you can focus on is the next moment or you’ll drive yourself crazy with the what ifs.
She’s been an inspiration to me in her illness. I’m dealing with my own physical problems, the outcome of which is unknown at this point. I look at her and think, If she can deal with her disease and all that comes with it, then I can handle what little I’ve got in front of me.
She’s shown me what to say to myself when I’m faced with yet another challenge. But that’s OK. Those words have power; they bring the spirits up. I can say that because I’ve used them.
An unexpected bill in the mail — But that’s OK. God will provide just like He always has. Feeling helpless when I wrap a hand around my wrist and my fingers almost touch because there’s so much less muscle there now — But that’s OK. God’s overseeing all this. He has a plan.
Neither she nor I are experiencing anything He doesn’t already know about — that’s for certain. If He believes in us enough to allow these circumstances, we can both push through. Whatever comes our way, we can both make it — But that’s OK.