“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey
21st August 2006 was an important day in my life. In fact every 21st of August is important date for me as its my birthday. However in 2006 it was extra special as I was sitting having my breakfast in Mauritius with my new wife looking at the Indian Ocean - it was an outstanding morning for lots of reasons, too many to mention on this short blog, but i was very satisfied with where I was in my life at that time a few days after my great wedding celebration back home in Ireland.
Around 10.15am a pain shot up my right arm and over the next 24 hours, my body started to spiral out of control and do silly things it shouldn't have been doing. I had pins and needles and numbness all over my body, pain in my chest and a weird sensation in my brain, and was subsequently rushed to hospital. I spent the next week in hospital and arrived back home in Ireland, still alive but in a terrible state. That went on for the next twelve months when on 21st August 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ON MY 29th birthday - lovely.
Between 2006 and 2010 I struggled every day with all sorts of pain and mental stress. Life was miserable and I wished for just one day that I would even feel half-normal again. My recovery and fight against MS is well covered, and from 2010, I decided to get back on the horse, put a plan in place, and slowly but surely, fight back against my MS and try and get control of my body and my mind. Sticking doggedly and rigidly to my plan I continue to mesmerise my neurologist with my recovery from where I was then, to where I am now. Its been amazing to be honest but thats where we are.
My MS is now under control and I do this by the food I eat and a fairly aggressive exercise regime which is riddled with adventures and challenges to make sure I keep challenging myself and don't get complacent with my health. I still have MS symptoms namely pins and needles, head pain, and other weird sensations but for the most part I am doing very well and things are under control.
Yesterday though I struggled and It was a reminder of how debilitating MS can be and moreso how quickly it can sneak up and bite you on the ass. Over the last 24 hours I have had some disease activity resulting in energy loss, numbness in my head with pins and needles dancing all over my skin from head to toe. When it comes on you its a little frightening, but normally for me when this happens, it passes on through and Im hoping that in a few days it will feck right off for another while.
You see all of us take our health for granted until something happens. Its amazing but that appears to be the way it is. Most people I know treat their bodies like a trash can, eating/drinking all sorts of crap and not exercising the vital organs which are the very things that keep us alive. I would say most of us check the oil in our cars more than getting a vital checkup of our bloods and organs at the doctors - how does that work?
In the last 24 hours Ive got another reminder of how debilitating and disruptive ill health can be. In 7 weeks I'm competing in one of the toughest endurance challenges a man can face in IRONMAN, so the last thing I need is an MS relapse rearing its dirty head again. Hopefully it passes very soon, and I can continue on with my plans and complete my #Against All Odds campaign in September.
In the next few weeks I coming up to my 9th year of living with and managing my MS. Its an anniversary Im not overly comfortable with but one Ive learned to live with. Its true I've been through the wars in the earlier years with my condition, but Ive been able to turn my wounds into wisdom as Oprah sets out. There is no doubt that experience is a vital part of dealing with illness and misfortune and I've definitely been able to develop some coping mechanisms whenever my symptoms exacerbate. Its a continuous process.
Today though, even though i was feeling rough, I still made the gym. Funny enough I felt a lot better post my workout, something that has happened a lot but is a little harder to explain.
Tomorrow is a new day and at 7.15am I will be in the pool for my first training session of the day. I've 2 miles to swim in the morning then tomorrow evening I will do a 45 minute stretch and strengthening session. Hopefully my body will have settled somewhat and things return to normal.
In the meantime if you fancy supporting me with my 6 challenges in 20 weeks campaign, please go here :: www.justgiving.com/conor-devine2 .... go right ahead:)
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING