It has been some days since the doctor declared me MS free. I knew that this meant that my body was going to begin the healing process. I planned on a few signs along the way, and we have celebrated them here already: my cognitive thinking improvements – which returned to me the joy of reading a good book, the ease with which I found myself able to write longhand for more than ten minutes at a time. Writing anything at all has become a much easier task for me, as I do not have to pause and search for words in my brain like I once did. I also realized that I could handle the heat of a hot shower and that was great!
Now, let’s talk about what happened today when the good doctor gave me the green light to leave the hospital grounds and give this new, still a little wobbly, body a good road test. I am just going to use bullet points here, and those who have watched me decline over the years will immediately know just how cool some of this stuff is. Please remain seated until the end of the show, as I will expect a standing round of applause at the finish. Are you ready? Let’s go:
- First off, it is cold in Russia. I knew this, so I wore my coat. That’s not weird for anyone. What is weird for me is that, CANE FREE, I strolled along like a regular person and, WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING, found the zippers, buttons and snaps needed to bundle up. All while walking, no pausing and with no cane!! Anonymous people walked passed me, clueless as to the miracle they were witnessing. I was dumbfounded.
- There were puddles in the road, and I did not stop for a second to examine the puddle, decide whether to side step, grab Eric’s arm, or just go ahead and get my foot wet. No, sir, I just stepped right over those puddles, like a regular person.
- I have to repeat a bullet point here that this was all done CANE FREE and I was not swaying to and fro and making Eric’s steps miserable with his constant need to balance me.
- The marketplace here is really just a row of shops and each one has about 5-10 steps to get in. Because I was being extra cautious about germs, I used no handrails, but then I realized, I DIDN’T NEED THEM ANYWAY.
- We stopped into one little shop to buy me a new pair of gloves, because I cannot walk with my hands in my pockets because I need my arms swinging to keep me upright. Silly us. I still got the gloves, because they were cool and, oh so Russian chic, but I still managed to keep my hands pocketed all the same, just because I couldn’t believe I could.
- We went into a little cafe, the one Eric has been frequenting during his long days, and sat and had some tea. I sat there, marveling at how easily I added sugar to my tea, and handled the tea bag with no sloppy mess. I kept looking around, wondering if anyone else was noticing just how HUGE all this was, but they just kept at their chatting, totally unaware.
- We popped into a little make-up shop, because I am still me and I wanted a splash of makeup to help me feel prettier about this bald head and I walked around that place and took my sweet time. I am used to rushing from task to task to conserve energy for the day – always conserving, but not today.
- It was about this time that the stem cells in my legs were really beginning to flex their muscles and I began to feel the fatigue of the chemo and all, so we began our walk back to the hospital. Eric escorted me and my packages back to my room, both of us elated at what we knew was to be the first of many, many days with no more MS getting in the way of a good time.
- I think that the best part of this whole post is that I am just getting started. I still have to get over the chemo and I still have months of physical therapy and rehab ahead of me. I am just getting started and this is a pretty cool place to get started.
Now, you may applause. Applaud God for His great and tender mercy. For how He has bared his teeth at the enemy on my behalf and on behalf of my family and how He has given me this whole new shot at being me, only a different me. I love you all. Mean it.