Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man.
Almost overnight, Fall has arrived in Texas. Cooler weather, football season, the start of some of my favorite holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and a household full of birthdays (Angela, myself and Vincent – all nestled in the month of December).
When I was 9, I dreaded September and the unfortunate return to the school year. When I was 19, this opinion reversed as the end of summer meant a return to Blacksburg and a new semester of college. After college, I entered the “professional” world and began my transition to a world without school and initially I actually felt a bit of emptiness when September revolved around project deadlines at work instead of a return to academia. Eventually, the “professional” world became my new reality as memories of “back-to-school” faded.
In my late 20s, I decided to merge the two, working full-time and going to grad school at night – I’d love to share my Fall memories of those two years but honestly it is all a blur. I’m not sure how I managed that, or if it was even me…the extent of my Fall memories was trying to avoid signing up for a class on Thursday nights as to not interfere with any Virginia Tech football games (priorities).
But now it is Fall 2011 and grade school, college and even grad school are a distant memory. What usually marks the beginning of cooler Texas weather, the return of Hokie & Redskin heartbreak and the advent of the holiday season, now coincides with an important new chapter in my life.
Earlier this year, I began a new therapy, to treat the progression of my MS which had become more aggressive (through new exacerbations & new lesions identified in my 2010 MRI). There is no appeasement with MS, so we fought back and so far IVIG has been a success. Remarkably, I’ve had no relapses since beginning my new therapy and my latest MRI (done in late August) showed no new brain or spinal lesions.
That’s the good news. The other part of the story is the damage that has already been done. Unfortunately, there has been no relief to my current ailments and in mid-September my medical leave became classified as a “long-term” disability (or, as my neurologist called it, permanently disabled).
I’ll have a lot more to write on this but wanted to give you all the latest update. Thank you to everyone for your kind words, cards, emails, everything – I’m doing well and am at peace with the new direction my life is going. Where is that exactly? I have no idea. But what I do know is that my primary focus is continuing to wage war against my disease to prevent any additional setbacks in my health. I may no longer work in Product Management at USAA (and it is with great difficulty that I type those words) but I’m still a husband and father – and for me, this Fall springs eternal.