Jerky, Empanadas, and a Backpack

Do you remember the old tv show Super Market Sweep? This is the music that was playing in my head as I approached the Quick Check doors.

This was my Atta-Girl moment. I just drove for the first time since leaving the hospital. Sure it was only 2 miles away, but I felt like I was on top of the world. I made it. Things were finally looking up.

Earlier that morning, I had mapped out my plan of attack like a sergeant commanding a platoon. The goal was to get in and get out as quickly and seamless as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

Well for starters it was more crowded than usual, but I had my new cross body purse and was confident that I could maneuver easier this time around. I made my way over to the sandwich order screen. I ordered with confidence and ease. I then maneuvered my way to the coffee bar and not one cane drop or clumsy slip up. Today was going to be a good day.

I get on line and there are 2 customers ahead of me and the line behind me is building up with impatient people. This disease has made me realize how fast people move through life. Literally and figuratively. As corny as it may sound, they don’t stop to smell the flowers or just enjoy life’s simple pleasures. They are too worried about their phones, or how many “likes” they get on social media. We are losing our humanity and fast.

So there I was next in line and I turn around and my neighbor from across the street says, “Hi, is everything okay with you?”—All concerned looking. I take it people have started to notice my car not moving over the past few weeks or the fact that I am not out walking my now deceased dog. I almost lost it right then and there but mustered out— I’mmmm okay. Like a little church mouse peep and turned around to the employee behind the counter 14 feet away yelling at me, “HEY! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? WHAT’S WITH THE CANE?!” All animated waving her arms and shit.

Now I basically live at the QC. I am there every morning getting coffee. Sometimes multiple times a day. I often joke I should just get a cot there. So I knew this would happen, but not like what was about to unfold.

I hobble up to the counter and whisper, I was just diagnosed with MS, but I got this! I figure why lie and or try and hide it. This is who I am. I figured that would be it. She would say something along the lines of, I’m sorry and we would move on and never bring it up again. Ever.

Man I was in for a treat.

She proceeds to hold up the line to tell me a story. Very. Loudly. She says she has a friend who was diagnosed with MS and became pregnant. The doctors told her it would be really hard on her body and she should think about aborting the child for health reasons. But being a good Christian woman, this was completely out of the question. She said it was because of physical therapy that she was able to have this child and for me not to worry because her friend had “the worse kind of MS” and as long as I do my physical therapy, all would be well. Like it was some kind of fucking magic pill that would make this all go away.

Crickets….. the entire place was quiet. I turned around and everyone was staring at me. I felt a wave of panic wash over me and my legs become jello. I know this feeling well. In retrospect, I should have just finished paying, took a bow and walked out with confidence. But….. I am not quite there yet. Nor am I used to the unwanted attention.

This is where my hero, my partner in crime, and my rock saved me from a mental and physical breakdown right then and there next to the jerky and empanadas.

He calmly says, why don’t you go out to the car. I got this. In my head it was more like——-GET TO THE CHOPPER!!

I quickly hobbled out of the store. Got into my car. Put on my brand new Jackie O sunglasses and balled my eyes out in the parking lot. Was it always going to be like this? When can I go back to living my life before this atrocious disease decided to ravage my body?

When he finally came out with my sandwich, coffee and other odds and ends in tow he said, fuck them. This will get a hell of a lot easier. We will get through this together and I will be here helping you every single step of the way. You will never be alone. People just don’t know what to say in these situations. People are stupid. This will get so much easier with time. He is the guy who says to me when I ask him would he still be with me if I lost my arms and legs——sure, I will just shove you in a backpack and strap you to my back. He just gets me and for that, I am extremely grateful.

He has laid next to me while I was wrenching in pain and was feeling like I was never going to return to the light or any type of normalcy. Just letting me know that he was there and that’s all anyone really needs in life. Someone to love them, even during their darkest hours.

He may not be fighting the same battle as me, but it is still emotionally and physically taking a toll on him. Even though, he would go to his grave denying this. I know it’s true and I totally get it.

Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, and life partners are the unseen heroes. They are the ones that deal with the emotional end result. They see you at your lowest darkest moments all while remaining strong in the face of uncertainty and pain. I wish more people would start asking the spouses or partners if they need help. Sometimes, they too, just need a helping hand.

It will get easier. He is right. Because I have the most amazing support team a woman could ever ask for. Or as I like to call them, the Mutha Fuckin MS Warrior Squad.

This photo was taken 5 weeks before my diagnosis. All it takes is one spilt second for your life to be changed forever. Stop and smell the flowers.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

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