I am a clumsy person. I have been all of my life. However, once I was diagnosed with MS, I forgot that clumsiness was an affliction I’ve suffered with my whole life. I started to solely blame it on my MS.
When I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, my neurologist told me to be careful. She said I may be more prone to falling because of the location of one of my lesions. After she told me this, I was having a conversation with my friends. I told them I may be more prone to falling, so if they noticed me tripping or stumbling when there was nothing to trip or stumble over- that was why. My one friend asked if this was different from the stumbling and falling I did before. I looked at her like I didn’t know what she was talking about. She replied, “Well you already do fall a lot, so could it now be more than before?” I promptly let her know that the stumbling that I was doing had to be because of my MS.
I continued to convince myself that my clumsiness was a new development that came on with my MS. That was until one day when I was visiting my grandma. She was going through old photo albums of me and my cousins from when we were kids. In a lot of the photos, I have scraped up knees and elbows. In a few, I was on crutches. When I commented on it, my grandmother told me that I was a klutzy child, always falling down. I questioned my mom about it and she reinforced what I grandmother said.
I was still in denial that I was clumsy by nature. I mean it has to be my MS. Right? Part of the problems with continually falling is that I will wake up with bruises from a fall from the day before and wonder about them. I somehow am able to forget that I had fallen. One day I was in a store that sells decorative items with my friends, and I tripped over a table. I was so embarrassed that I jumped up and said, “I can’t believe I just fell.” My friend looked at me and said, “Really, you really can’t believe that you just fell?”
The next day at breakfast I had a bruise on my forearm from where I tried to catch myself the day before. Again I repeated my astonishment that I fell. Then I said, “Well it’s probably because of my MS.” My friend Brooke said, “I don’t think your MS made you trip over the table.” I questioned her as to why she would say that and she replied, “Joni, you just need to realize that you are a clumsy person, you always have been, and it isn’t your MS that makes you run into random objects and fall.”
It was then that I realized that I needed to accept that I am not a graceful person with or without MS, and I probably never will be. However, when my friends and I are reminiscing over what we’ve done in the past, I’m always included. Or, at least one of my not so graceful falls is included. And you know what? That’s okay. I’ve accepted it and realize that as long as I’m not seriously hurt, being a klutz is A-OK and not necessarily the fault of my MS. But in all seriousness, please remember that you should always talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have, because what you may be experiencing could very well be the symptom of your MS.
Thanks for reading!