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Overdoing It with MS

By Matt Cavallo
exhausted-(1).jpgRecently an old friend came to visit for the weekend. While the purpose of the visit was to catchup, it turned into how many different adventures could we cram into 48 hours. We relived parts of our childhood by doing fun things like going to a waterpark and an arcade. Since my boys are 12 and 10, the itinerary of this visit was right up their alley. 

In between the activities, was food and lots of it. What there wasn’t a lot of was rest. I knew that my friend’s plane was going to take off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday so we tried to maximize every minute to make it a memorable trip for everyone. 

Saturday was the one full day we had together and by the time dinner rolled around, I was physically exhausted. While I could have easily gone to bed right after dinner, the boys wanted to take my friend to a local waterpark. It is always these kinds of moments where I try to forget I have MS. Rather than focusing on my limitations, I try to push through my fatigue and physical disabilities. Even though MS has slowed me down, I mentally still struggle with not being the same person that I used to. I see friends who are my same age which much more energy and physical vitality and I want to keep up. Mostly, I want people to see me as the same old Matt that they knew way back when. 

I crawled into bed Saturday night well past my bedtime with my feet feeling numb and throbbing. I was off my schedule and feeling worn down. Six hours later with a half a night’s sleep, I woke up still hurting from the night before and unsure if I could get out of bed for the day. My problematic right leg felt stiff and spastic. But again, I wasn’t going to allow MS to spoil the final moments with my friend.

At breakfast, we reminisced and laughed over pancakes and eggs. We remarked about what a perfect weekend it was and made plans to see each other again soon. When I dropped my friend at the airport, I was sad to see him go but couldn’t help but smile at all of the memories we made. Once I returned home, however, I collapsed. After a three-hour nap, I woke up still feeling rundown. I overdid it and when you have MS, overdoing it could mean a long recovery, but it was worth it.

Even though there were times that I wanted to throw in the towel, I decided to push through the pain and fatigue. I wanted the memories created for my boys and my friend to be about what we did and not about my MS or why I couldn’t participate. 

In overdoing it, I realized that some things in life are more important than playing it safe. While I wouldn’t recommend overdoing it all the time, don’t let MS stop you from spending time with the people in your life who matter most. Especially if it gives you a chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.