I know and have been eternally grateful that I have a very optimistic attitude. When pain and tragedy has come my way I can usually mourn, deal with it and move forward fairly easily. And equally amazing to me is that most of those pains have turned around and produced incredible joys.
Two that I think about constantly - my mother disowned me mostly because I married a man of Polish descent and our son was born with a hidden but what turned out to be a life threatening condition.
For the first, I was forced to give up ties to me entire existing family
For the second, I will always remember two specific days after our son was born. The evening we were called by his pediatrician telling us we needed to get to the hospital immediately to have our 2 month old admitted I thought could be no worse. But the day eight months later where we waited in a surgical waiting room for 2 hours past the original surgery time indicated and then brought back to see my baby with 4 and soon to be 5 tubes attached to various parts of him is even more vivid in my memory.
As soon as I think of these things I actually smile. The memories of the pains are so quickly swept aside by the warm memories and love from a husband of almost 40 years or marriage and the very healthy lifetime of our over 30 year old son.
Even very soon after the horrible shock and sorrow when those actually occurred I switched to believing and knowing that things were going to be fine. "What next?" was always an optimistic look to a future of putting the darkness behind and enjoying a warm glow of the future yet to come.
Now I have to tap into my optimistic side to get me through the next day, sometimes the next hour. My MS has finally made the question of "What Next?" something scary.
I have progressive MS. That means that unlike 85% of the others with this disease my symptoms will most probably not go away. Instead they will get worse.
I have seen it already. Things I thought I had worked through and gotten used to are actually worse than ever. I fight to keep my eyes focused while I read or type. The pain that would wake me up in a scream at night is not being helped by the current medication doses.
And now there are other things. My right leg tingles almost all of the time. And now my left leg is "going to sleep" just as easily. And now my hands have begun shaking. My right more than my left. But I didn't have that symptom even 6 months ago.
"What next?" is no longer the optimistic "OK, that's over. Now what's next?!!!"
If is now the "Oh, no. NOW what NEXT?????"