Sunday, 11 May 2014


Okay, so it was never going to be a normal few weeks and months after the diagnosis was confirmed (and it really was only confirmation of what we already knew deep down, wasn't it?) - but there again, there's normal and there's normal.

It was clearly time to start planning for a very different future, but that was the rub: just what was the new future going to bring? Was I going to become crippled (use the word, it's the right one) in a few months? Was I going to lose mental faculties (don't even think about saying 'well you have, obviously')? Was I going to find a whole new world of wonder opening up before me (yeah, right)?

The truth of the matter is that in many ways a whole new inertia took over. I can look back now and say that I put everything on hold because I was just so uncertain as to what the future held that it would be stupid to make any solid plans - but that truth was far more a factor of shock.

On the surface I smiled and brushed it all aside. I spoke long and occasionally even eloquently about all the new focuses I would need to bring to my life. I piled plan upon plan. I realised that mobility was going to be a key factor for me, so looked at the many sedentary chances that would afford me. My gaze wandered far and wide across a vista of laptop-based opportunities. I looked and looked... and did precisely nothing for oh-so long.

I know that shock affects every person in a slightly different way - but there is a common theme to virtually every person's reaction. We tend to freeze.

How long we freeze for, and what we do on the other side is the key. I picked up on one plan, as you can see - I have started to write. It was one of my early day plans, and now not a day goes past without my ever-so-slightly numb fingertips hitting the keys. Sometimes, even in the right order.

But that - or rather, this - holds the key to the subject that I am speaking about here - aftershocks.

Sure I wanted to write. It's a holdover from long before that nice man nervously (oh yes) told me that the MRI scans told him that my cerebellum was home to lesions - or in other words, the MS was confirmed. I used to write when I was a little boy almost ten... okay twenty.... okay fifty, already... years ago, and the passion never left me. It was story-telling that I loved so much, the creation of a fiction for made-up characters in made-up settings. But, although I had scribbled down countless stories, even to the extent of hundreds of thousands of words, I had never published anything except the occasional short story. MS was now offering me a chance (whoopee) to focus.

And yet here I am writing a blog. For someone who never had any desire to write factual information outside of the requirements of my work, the pre-MS me would never have thought it possible. Even the recently post-diagnosis me wouldn't have given the idea house room. This wasn't in my plans.

But the aftershock has hit me.

And it's not the only one. Back in the day I was a confirmed biker - I now ride a scooter. Back in the day I loathed the thought of cars without a manual shift - now I drive an automatic. Back in the day I was a party animal - now I'm content to sit at home, typing. Back in the day I prided myself on consummate balance - now I trip over on a regular basis. Shock after shock after aftershock.

A thought occurs to me out of all this. Back in the pre-MS days I never planned too far ahead because I loved the sense of risk and surprise that life would normally bring. Now, you know, life is still just like that - except the possible outcomes are so unexpectedly different.

I didn't see that one coming. Must be an aftershock...

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