A couple of weeks ago I broke my personal flat speed record on the bike. 54 kilometres per hour on a flat sprint. Not that there are any other types of sprint in Holland. Anyway, notched up the third fastest time of the year on a Strava segment  out of a list of around 1,200 riders. The power was estimated at 1,000 watts. Estimated but I don’t care, it sounds impressive. Personal boosts don’t come much better than that! And I have MS! A couple of weeks later. Difficult to walk down the stairs with my hands full, someone had to hold my coffee-cup. Forgetting just about everyone’s number. I could not remember ‘Pyrenees’ it was…. ‘the mountain range in France that’s not the Alps’. A couple of stumbles as well after standing up, not expected. And I have MS. These are the ups and downs that come. The ups, something as trivial and childish as going fast than someone else on a bike, lead to a surprising boost. Yes, it’s pathetic. But I will take the boosts. A boost is a great thing and they can come from anywhere. Surviving a day on my feet until I get to my afternoon rest, making a presentation and not stuttering or forgetting any key words. All are tangible and they get stored in my memory. Unless I forget them…… Sorry, bad attempt at humour there. Something as trivial as forgetting the Pyrenees can be disheartening. Yes, I realise everyone forgets but then combine it with a few other things on one day and you have something that becomes concerning. Are things getting worse? Can I still function normally? Is this the start of a bad phase?


Well, so far, the boosts do not mean I am superhuman and the lesser moments do not mean I am on a downhill path. Perhaps one day they will but, for the moment, it is important to keep perspective. Easier said than done, to be honest. Feeling low is allowed, it’s human. I don’t enjoy such emotions but, come on, sometimes they are unavoidable. Equally unavoidable is the huge high that comes from a good moment. They can be as small as a day without stuttering or as large as climbing a mountain on the bike (mountains!). Emotion and fear come with the bad moments. The joy that comes from the good moments, from the boosts. That is to be enjoyed. Perspective is the key here. The moments of joy can make me think it is impossible that I have MS. Countering this are the moments of fear, then it feels like it is taking control. For the worse. There is a balance to maintain between the good moments and the darker moments. Both are there and I cannot enforce one or block the other. I prefer the joy, though. That’s normal enough.


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