So far my posts about the ride on June 11th have been fairly light-hearted as, after all, it is important to see the daft side of things. I mean, in the end, it It is totally illogical! I live in a flat country so I going to cycle up a mountain. How stupid is that?
Beyond that there is a serious side. Why I am finding it difficult to talk about anything else. Why I am reigning in so much of the other stuff that I like (although let’s not get too martyrish… best laid plans and all that….). Why I am so transfixed by a mountain in Southern France.
The reason why.
This whole crazy thing started as an ego-trip, a way to put two fingers up to Multiple Sclerosis and say ‘f*ck you, I’m still here’ and also enjoy a visit to one of my favourite places. Then the ego trip became something else…..
Part of that comes from the bad days. I don’t write much about those but they are there: slurred speech, a feeling that the right hand is not quite doing what it should or the right leg is dragging ever so slightly. The odd problem in busy areas where it is just difficult to focus and suddenly I am in an uncontrolled whirlwind and there is just too much to take in and cope with.
With the bad days come fear. Fear of what is coming. Fear that the very things I do to have fun: cycling, enjoying a glass of wine, going to a concert, travelling, may be quietly making things worse without my knowing it. Fear that the days when I just cannot get out of bed, which are fortunately few and far between, will become more.
The strangest and most difficult emotion to explain is the fear of others, or rather the fear of their the lack of comprehension. Why is someone who is young and fit not able to deal with a busy supermarket? Why does he need to sleep during the day?
From these fears comes the reason why. Simply put, I have MS. For all that fear I still live my life as hard as I can. The restrictions right now are not that bad but they will get worse, it is all about keeping going as long as possible – it could be 2 years or it could be 70. No-one understands why but many are trying to learn.
And why am undertaking a sponsored event? Well, I believe that if my story raises a tiny amount more awareness then it is a success. MS is a beast that has many forms, some more visible than others. Showing that someone diagnosed with MS can still undertake something like this says a lot about the fact that it is no death sentence, it is more a sentence to live life to the full, just remember to be a little more careful and take advantage of the amazing support and understanding that I have from all sides. In that sense I am truly lucky.
It is also a sentence to do what it is what is good and I cannot explain why but I know that my time in the saddle does something good. I can’t explain it. It is just a feeling.
What has been heartening is that something that is intensely personal has become something that so many people have decided to support. It takes something to admit your vulnerability and the fact that positive support, not just money but understanding of what the condition is, has come from friends, colleagues and acquaintances means a lot. More understanding means support in this case the financial support will lead to more research as well as more awareness about what MS is and how it can affect someone who otherwise looks OK.
Increasing the understanding of MS, research into a cure and improved support for those with the condition are the main drivers and they are the reasons why I am going to climb the mountain. Now it is just a case of training for the big day.
Please feel free to sponsor me – link is here.