Today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Well, metaphorically. I was the definition of grumpy. Head cold + five year MSiverssary = Me being depressed. I had one thing to look forward to. Seeing a house for sale. That is, until my husband started trying to get out of it. “Are you sure you want to see it today, honey?” I could tell from his tone that he didn’t want to go. “Yes, I’m sure.” I knew it was the only thing that might possibly cheer me up, the prospect of the future.
But on the car ride there, I was visited by the ghost of Christmas future. But in my daydream it was five years ago, right before I was diagnosed with MS.
I imagined that the ghost told me that my future was going to have a big speed bump, but that I had to hang in there. I imagined the ghost showing me myself, my life, today.
“You work as a writing teacher at the college level,” he said dressed in his dark cloak. “You teach well-behaved students who call you professor. And you also teach writing online.” It was a dream come true. “You’re writing a book,” he said. “And you have an agent who thinks that you write like an angel.” “A book? I’ve always wanted that,” I said in excitement. “An agent? I must be on cloud nine!”
I imagined him showing me a glimpse of myself taking Nicole’s yoga class. “What? How is that possible? What is Nicole doing here?” She was my best friend in high school, and was living in Germany in the Army at the time that I was diagnosed. “She came here for you,” he said. “And now you take her yoga class every week, and you meet for lunch at Panera Bread on Thursdays.” My heart soared further. I had a wonderful job and my best friend living near by?
Then he showed me Kelly, my best friend and roommate. She was also pregnant. “Kelly!!” I shouted. “Yes, she is happily married,” he says. “Do we live nearby?” I asked hopefully. “No,” he said. “But you see each other often, and your bond remains strong.” He showed me a glimpse of the new friends that I’d met. Autumn, my closest friend in Newport was a bubbly blonde eye doctor who the guys couldn’t resist. Kara was the hippie teacher who was pregnant.
And then, he showed me an adorable guy wearing a fedora hat and Converse sneakers. “Who’s that? I asked? Am I dating him?” “No,” he said, “This is your husband.” Married? Me? I couldn’t believe it. “And you have two small kittens,” he said showing me two black and white cats. He was bracing for my response. “But – Oh, nooooooooooo!” I wailed in disbelief. “What about…Timby?” “You lose her, quite unexpectedly,” he says. I feel guilty for a moment, being so sad when my life appears to be so wonderful.
He shows me one last scene of me and Aryn, walking side by side on the beach. And then, I notice… “But, why….” I hesitated. “It looks like he’s helping me walk. Why am I walking so slowly?” I turned to him as waves of disbelief washed over me.
“This year, soon, you will be diagnosed with MS,” he said. “But you have to understand. Without it, you will never get here, to this future …”