Crisis of Faith

For so long I have lived in fear of acquiring some sort of  “super” bug as a result of being on such intense immunosuppressant therapy such as Tysabri. Well, fear no more. Following my last infusion in early November I began to feel increasingly worse and what had began as a flu had migrated into full blown bronchial pneumonia. Despite antibiotics, steroids, albuterol and a nebulizer I steadily declined. Until today. It’s been exactly 20 days of living with every symptom under the sun and even though the majority of them are still present, I feel a modicum of strength I have not yet experienced.

As you can imagine, and well know, living with MS and the more aggressive forms of treatment, we often live in a world filled of fear, uncertainty and worry. Although well founded and completely justified, I am finding it both counterproductive and short of faith.

Do you believe in self fulfilling prophecies? I do. I am a firm believer that what you put out comes back to you tenfold and always prided myself on my optimism, however, I was a fraud. While I was thinking all of the right things I was most certainly not digesting and metabolizing it. While I can easily spout off every positive cliché’ and be of immense service to others, I found I, myself, was living encapsulated in fear.

Well, I had an epiphany.

I found there was a direct correlation between my fear and lack of faith. This is not to say this was deliberate, yet purposeful or not its impact was the same. With every fear, with each doubt and in every tear I cried I was moving that much further away from my faith. I immediately began to pray every time I felt any one of the myriad of emotions we so often feel living with this beguiling disease. Within a few minutes I not only felt relieved I felt a resurgence of faith. Where there had been a chasm in my spirit it was now filled with hope, praise and contentedness. Where there had been a crisis of faith there was renewal and I knew that, despite all I contend with, I would be okay.

I am still living with pneumonia and the fallout from MS but gone are the fears and doubts about where I will be tomorrow or five years from now. Wherever this disease takes me I will be on the right side of His glory and on the right side of my faith.

Sounds of the Soul

People often ask me how I maintain such a positive attitude. While I go could into a litany of spiritual and cognitive practices I can easily answer that question with one word today; music.

As I type I am listening to Christina Perri's, "Arms", as it reminds me of someone special. Depending on my mood I will match it to any of the over 100 play lists on my ipod and lapse into sort of musical coma. I venture to a time and place reserved only for me and relish memories, thoughts and emotions not so easily accessed without the sounds and harmonies. Once enveloped, I can be lost for hours, only to come to by the shrill of a phone call or alarm.

I believe my love of all things music began at a early age as my parents either had me involved with an instrument or played music throughout the house. My Mom was quite proficient at both the guitar and piano and we'd often sit and sing folk songs while she played. I began piano lessons at 5 and played in recitals throughout my adolescence. Yes, there were days when I didn't want to practice but all in all I am very grateful I stayed with it.

If I were on a deserted island I think I'd be okay without the everyday provisions but without music I'd be certifiable. Music is the story of my soul, the very reason I smile, cry, laugh and listen. I get lost in lyrics and melodies as they take me to a place and time only I can savor. And savor I do. I find myself listening to music hours on end without so much as a desire for television.

Unlike so many other things out there today, music is a 'healthy' addiction of sorts. I wish more kids would take up an instrument or listen attentively to the music of yesteryear as there was so much more to a song then techno-lyrically-challenged sounds that are all too prevalent today.

Do I sound old? Good. When it comes to music appreciation I'll be old-school any day.