Saturday, October 8, 2011

Telling my Mom

My first thought when I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March was, how am I going to tell my mom - my loving, high blood-pressured, easy to stress out mom? I want to keep her calm and her blood pressure low.

She knows I have medical stuff going on, I had to cancel my Spring Break plans to go home because the doctors said I am not fully diagnosed although it looks like M.S. and I'm not medicated also travel can be stressful on M.S. They want to do another MRI. So she's waiting for more medical answers about what's going on with me. Then I got the final diagnosis.

I was nervous about telling her. She's gonna be shocked and upset, it doesn't run in the family. This will be weird news and difficult to share.

One thing about MS it messes up my memory and I get words mixed up often. I told a friend the doctor prescribed me Aveeno. After her laughing hysterically she corrected me, “Aveeno is bath soap, you mean Avonex.”

When I did tell my mom I was prepared with a friends suggestion to tell her all the help that's provided and the good things. That will help keep her calm. My friend and I practiced and I got to a point where I felt that my delivery of the news would go well. I call her. Deep breath, I can do this. I had a pleasant, calm tone, made fun small talk for awhile and then decided I was ready to calmly tell her.

“Now I finally know why I'm tired all the time and keep running into walls. I've been diagnosed with S&M”...shocked I realized what I said.

The mind has the ability to go 100 miles an hour in analyzing, calculating, weighing ratio's, outcomes and carefully planning how to get through a crash landing like this. The mind can think multidimensional novel chapters in nanoseconds. I ran through several options of how to correct what I said without drawing attention to it upsetting my Southern Christian, quiet mom who sings in the church choir.

Gosh, out of all the people I make this mess up to. She was so quiet about it I thought, whew, she doesn't know what S&M is. I decided to correct it by saying the things I practiced with my friend and end the sentence correctly in same calm tone rather than correcting my mistake which would bring attention to it and then having to talk about cognitive challenges with M.S.

So I continue, “and it's OK. There are support groups, community and lots of help with ” [remember, remember, think, M&S runs through my head, then I mentally run through it again dropping the &. ] “M.S.” It's amazing I could do that much thinking while saying the sentence, so no pause before saying the word. I said it smoothly.

Now what can I tell her next, oh the books I have read about M.S. “There are many informative books at the library that talk about cures, treatments and living life with it.” Then suddenly I remember a scene from the original 9-5 movie when the newly divorced character played by Jane Fonda sees her x husband and to show how much she's changed and is a different woman, she states “ I'm into M&M's,” not really knowing what she's talking about.

Remembering this scene makes me want to laugh. I feel it in my throat like a slight vibration, I swallow and try to suppress it. In the suppression of laughter and continuing to speak my voice gets tight and a little higher pitched. I can feel the tickle of laughter tempting my throat as I try to continue with my calm soothing attempt and say, “there are friends, people to call and web sties.” My voice is noticeable different. What if she thinks I'm really upset and about to cry. Darn my plan to keep her and me at this point calm is not going as smoothly as I practiced with my friend. Trying to suppress the laughter causes me stress, telling her I have MS is stressful and stress is bad for M&M's...I mean M.S.

OK reclaim my calmness and confidence that this is going OK.

“My life isn't over, it's just changing. It will be OK.”


  1. LOL. You made me smile and laugh with this one. I remember a time where the wrong words would often come out of my mouth. Interestingly, they always started with the same letter as the correct word. Could be quite entertaining (if it weren't mortifying at the time). That doesn't happen hardly at all any more. Don't know why exactly, but that the MS brain seems to like being in flux. And that fluctuation includes healing and improvement.

    I really loved this post and would like to feature it in the Carnival of MS Bloggers. BTW, welcome to the MS blogging community!!

  2. ok, i'm laughing really hard.... did your mom ever say anything about S&M, the support groups and such? oh my goodness! i say the wrong things all the time... words come out backwards, sometimes out of order in a sentence...and then other times i just stop talking - can't recall the stupid word that goes next.... fun stuff isn't it?

  3. Lisa and Sherri,

    I finally figured out how to respond to my comments.

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am happy you enjoyed the post and received laughter from it. : ) That makes me happy. The M.S. brain does have many things to offer. I'm experiencing a good laugh is often part of it.

    Lisa - Thank you for the welcome and I am honored to have the Telling my Mom posting in Carnival of MS Bloggers.

  4. I can''t imagine telling my mom. It hurts sometimes when i talk to her, because deep down, it feels like she thinks its all her fault.

  5. You've made me laugh out loud today. Can you imagine if your mom does know what S&M is, but was just pretending to not know? Perhaps that image makes you laugh, too.

    Telling moms seems to be about the toughest part of diagnosis, doesn't it?

  6. Thanks Laura. I'm glad you got a good laugh out of it. It was stessful at the time but now I do see how funny it is. Wow the mess up of all that calm planning.