December Dates

An MS’er looks at the calendar

It is the Monday morning after a month long stay in another state, visiting relatives. My family and I had returned late on the previous Thursday evening. The next day it was all I could do through my fatigue to go to the post office and pick up the collected mail. (I have written about after travel stress and mail previously- check out the blog post from last year’s trip, Its on My List.)

I spent the weekend alternating between resting and going through the mail, resting and sorting the mail, resting and paying late bills, and resting and responding to other mail.

Before I stepped into the shower this Monday morning I looked at my calendar and saw written for today, 12/17/12, “confirm insurance, get approval and schedule MRI.”

While I was gone, changes had been made to my insurance and I knew getting this straightened out was the day’s priority. Yet in the shower, the date was bugging me. There was something more to 12/17, but what?

It didn’t help that December dates are pretty busy for me and not just because of the huge holiday that everyone knows about and adjusts their month around. (You know you do- even if you don’t celebrate Christmas you are making plans as all your favorite places are closed that day!) It is also a birthday galore month for me (besides the big guy’s of course.)

This particular December month is filled with the birthdays of one nephew, two cousins, an aunt, a niece-in-law who is also the mother of my two great nephews, a friend turning 40, another friend who turned 40 last year, a third friend who I thought was turning 40 as my MS brain completely forgot we celebrated her 40th last year with the other friend who turned 40, and a fourth friend who is my same age but who I can never remember if she is younger than me thus hitting my age this month or is older and is hitting the next dreaded year first.

At one point I discovered that a cousin-in-law I have grown particularly close to this past year also had a birthday this month that I almost missed-thank goodness for social media birthday updates.

While watching the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary Pay per View concert at a friend’s house, I was reminded that Keith Richards birthday was coming up (12/18/43 for those who would like to note it on their own calendars.)

I have always been a Stones fan and think Keith is the coolest of the cool and one of the most talented undead humans on our planet. But remembering his birthday is a bit extreme for my taxed brain.


Perhaps I remembered because I had listened to the audio CD of his autobiography Life this past summer. Still, retaining the actual date is random. (Speaking of MS as this is an MS blog, did you know that Keith had a beloved aunt who suffered from MS? He has a real understanding and sympathy for what living with MS is like. How much closer to perfection can this rocker get?)


I don’t care what all these folks say, they must have gotten ripped off from the birthday fairy or Santa Claus when they were kids. Anyway, what is up with 12/17? There is that whole end of the word thing but that is scheduled for 12/21.

I finished the shower and made calls and miracle of all Christmas miracles, the calls went smoothly and I scheduled my next MRI. It wasn’t until evening while I was writing on my calendar a reminder to stop taking Aleve 4 days before the MRI (and already bemoaning what an achy miserable blob I will be those days) that it FINALLY occurred to me what it was about 12/17 that was bugging me.   12/17/09 was the day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Here is one of the many weird ways MS works. Every MS’er I know (me included) automatically remembers the day of their diagnosis. I can recall the date of diagnosis quicker than I can recall my social security number.

Yet, looking at the calendar on the exact day, and doing MS related errands involving this sucky anniversary, I couldn’t get my head around why this date was flashing like a black flag in my tired MS brain.

Oh, but the memory the understanding of the date brought. Three years ago I was a hurting, exhausted, smoking, depressed, stressed mess working in a job I generally enjoyed but was the root of a lot of the stress. And I was barely walking. Yet I was trying to focus on the spirit of the Christmas holiday despite MRI’s and doctor appointments.

Today I am less hurting, not smoking, less stressed, not depressed, better walking, not at that job, less of a mess. I am still freaking exhausted ALL the time though and am about as sick of dealing with fatigue as folks are sick of hearing me whine about it!!!

I have discovered skills that I didn’t know about three years ago (writing and public speaking but I guess referring to them as skills is really up to readers and the few audience members I have encountered thus far.)

And clearly, I am still as spacey as I was back then as evidenced by my spending the day trying to figure out why this day was standing out even as I repeated the same day to MRI people scheduling my three year MRI!

Here is another thing that has not changed. In 2009, the most important date was the one coming up the following week. Even through the pain and the fear about what was wrong with me, 12/25 was the most important item on my calendar.

If it is all the same with you, I will continue to focus on the biggest date of the month. So for the others (12/3, 12/3, 12/5, 12/15, 12/16, 12/17, 12/18. 12/19, 12/24, 12/27, 12/28, and 12/29,) you dates are ok on my calendar. But the one that brings me the most joy is 12/25.

Merry Christmas Everyone and whether you celebrate Christmas itself or not, a healthy, blessed holiday season to all……

Note- Joy is one of the words we associate with the Christmas season. This year, after the horrific, violent event of 12/14, joy may be much harder to find. If so, please remember the other words most closely associated with Christmas- peace and love. When we can focus on peace and love, we can come closer to healing.

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] /

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] /

Image courtesy of [digitalart] /

Image courtesy of [luigi diamanti] /

6 thoughts on “December Dates

  1. Not exactly sure why, but got a little teary eyed at the end of this one! We allow ourselves to get bogged down with
    the “tasks” of the holiday. Shopping, wrapping & baking consume us. We could all benefit from taking a moment to reflect on peace & love. Thanks for reminding me! Merry Christmas to all.

    • Tears are a healthy release too. But I think you really got teary-eyed when you saw that Keith Richards was born in 1943. This realization likely lead to the knowledge that even though he has 9 lives, Keith won’t be with us forever. I know, it’s horrible! We’ll get through it together. Merry Christmas dear friend!

  2. Wonderful message Yvonne.
    I don’t remember the day exactly when I was dx’d—but I remember around that time. Sometimes I wonder what bit of information or date that was being stored in my noggin that got pushed out the ear hole to be replaced by my DX date.
    Keith Richards is close to being the coolest. Mick was always my choice of cool of coolest (and ugliest!).
    All the best for the holidays. Enjoy every moment.

    • Thank you My Odd Sock! I’m glad you recognize Keith’s greatness and while I can’t put him on the top of the list, Mick is way up there in the cool factor too. Happy Holidays to you and your family and may you have a healthy, blessed, laughter filled New Year!

  3. Well being the friend who’s birthday is the 27th I can say that yes I did get ripped off as a kid with gifts,and never got birthday parties as it was school vacation.But that is fine my friends and I always celebrated sometimes a little too much LOL, and now my daughters have thrown me a couple surprise birthday get togethers which is wonderful…Hoping that you have a wonderful Meryy Christmas,and that the New Year brings much success.

    • Thank you dear friend! I wish the same for you. And thank you too, for being the friend who is my age but is reaching the next year first-what a relief!

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