Out Of The Closet, Finally

F. Theresa Gillard

Status: Quo Minus

by F. Theresa Gillard

F. Theresa Gillard

BOSTON, MA—(Weekly Hubris)—9/6/10—You know, I keep sitting around wondering where all the dead people are. Yeah, I know, they are either in limbo, heaven or hell, right? I’m a believer, meaning I believe in one supreme divine being.

What I don’t get is how everyone always blames everything on God. I know that He is all powerful and He could certainly prevent things from happening, but why blame it on Him when He doesn’t intercede?

I usually avoid religion and politics like the plague. Yet, I cannot help myself. If there’s a hurricane that wipes out everything and everyone in its path, you’ll hear people saying that we cannot explain why God does what He does. And, I’m thinking, um, is it just me? Because, from what I understand, a hurricane is a naturally occurring weather phenomenon and if we had not populated that particular area, the destruction would be victim-less.

As we’re all aware, we are transients in this world. Based on biblical teachings, this worldly life is not what we should be treasuring. When we depart this existence, our treasures will remain here.

I do get the reasoning. And, of course, there’s the book of Job. Yet, I still protest.

I have a sound basis for my protest: recently, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I admit that my first question was, why? But, I wasn’t asking God, because I didn’t and don’t blame God for MS; MS, this frustratingly vague disease that will likely lead to devastating results. There’s no rhyme or reason to MS. Really, are there any diseases, conditions or illnesses that come with well defined rhymes and reasons?

What my MS diagnosis did was broaden my “inquisitive excursions.” It is an integral part of my nature to seek answers. Like, when I was a pre-schooler and my mom wanted me to believe that a strange man in a red and white suit skipped around from house to house in a sleigh with flying reindeer leaving Christmas presents. For real?

I questioned her unmercifully. I knew for a fact that there were little bad kids who got presents. Not to mention that there were many homes without chimneys. And, what about the poor and hungry kids?

I found it much more believable that there was a God, because He seemed more real. He punished and rewarded. He was vengeful and had emotions. He had no problem wrath-ing here, there and everywhere—destroying sinful cities and such.

The guy in the red suit was a different story altogether. One I refused to buy into. Now, here I am with this dreaded MS and I don’t have a choice. I’m in, hook, line and sinker. Whether I believe or not, my MS is real. My annual MRI’s confirm this.

By now, you may be wondering how we got from death to my coming out of the closet with MS. Well, first and foremost, I’m quite crafty vis-a-vis the jumbling together of words (case in point).

No, really, all of these phenomena—death, God and MS—lend themselves more to questions than answers. The first two are easy to solve. All I have to do is die. Upon death, I’ll know where our souls reside and I’ll be able to ask God if He should be blamed for everything. Or not.

That still leaves MS. It is a horribly frustrating disease that daily keeps me wondering about my moment-to-moment. My MS med is hell in and of itself. I inject daily. The injection upon entry, and for approximately 20 to 30 minutes afterwards, feels like a hundred wasp stings. I’m nauseated on and off throughout the day, and my injection sites are golf-sized-hardened-itchy-painful maps of my treatment commitment. It just plain sucks.

Still, I know it could be so much worse. Even in this, I feel that I am blessed to have MS—as crazy as that sounds.

My MS blessing started with weird sensations, mostly in my left arm. It felt numb, or that’s the best way I could describe it. I visited my primary care physician. He suggested an MRI of my brain. He told me it could be any number of conditions.

I’m not one to worry prematurely. So, I had the MRI and waited for my follow-up appointment. But, prior to the follow-up, my doctor called me around 9:30 p.m. I knew right then that I should hang up. Why was he calling me at night?

Was he saying multiple sclerosis on the phone? A condition that one of my aunts has endured for over 30 years? I checked out. He was saying something about a referral to a neurologist.

I immediately called my Aunt Corine and asked her, why? And, what was I suppose to do?

At my Aunt Corine’s insistence (she’s always insisting on something), I shared my diagnosis with my immediate family exclusively (my stipulation). I didn’t want them to be constantly worrying about me. Turns out my family is golden; my family’s status quo. Another blessing.

So, there I was sitting at my neurology appointment looking at an MRI of my brain. There were some fuzzy-looking areas. My neurologist confirmed my primary care’s diagnosis. Great. But, another flicker of hope: she said that since I’d never had a brain MRI before, there was nothing to compare it to. Thus, she wanted to wait six months and do another MRI before moving forward.

I tell you that during this six-month period, I tried to will the fuzzy spots away. Yet, six months later, my neurologist was discussing my MS treatment options.

Almost three years later, I’m reluctant to share that I have this disease. I’m fiercely private and don’t need or ever want pity. It is what it is.

Then, I’m forced to remember that I’ve accepted my MS as a blessing. And, from whence do we get blessings? Man, I cannot even believe that somehow I’m debunking my own thesis.

Blessings are meant to be shared. I’m sharing my struggle with MS so that there might be more awareness of this disease. I am intentionally not providing further details. To find out more about this disease, go to the National MS Society’s web site.

Join us in the fight to rid this world of MS, this particular blessing. My friend Melanie is supporting this cause via an MS Walk Event in Falmouth, Massachusetts on September 26. If you’d like to walk or donate, please visit our Fighting the Good Fight team page: Click here to view the team page for Fighting The Good Fight.

We’ll be holding a fundraising event with raffles, gift baskets and a silent auction. For more information, you may contact Melanie directly via e-mail (melanie.mckinnon@gmail.com).

Hope to see you all there on Sunday, September 26!

F. Theresa Gillard

About F. Theresa Gillard

F. Theresa Gillard characterizes herself as a Black—not an African American; born/raised in South Carolina; currently residing in New England; never married; no children. Her day benefits-gets-her-bills-paid-job: a Director at a university in Boston. She proclaims herself to be a passionate never-gets-around-to-it writer who is a Rap-House Music/Cheeze-It junkie. What she writes is who she is—meaning she is a take-it-or-leave-it, yes-or-no, with-no-maybe-or-possibly person: basically, she feels it all comes down to that initial “F.” Email Theresa: StatusQuoMinus@WeeklyHubris.com
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15 Responses to Out Of The Closet, Finally

  1. Avatar Amit Sachdeo says:

    See ya on September 26th ~hugs~

  2. Avatar TDG says:

    We often take everyday things like living and breathing for granted. Sometimes it takes something major for us to sit back and be thankful. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Avatar Susan Parton Wright says:

    Theresa thanks for sharing that story; no pity here only thoughts and best wishes.

  4. Avatar CGR says:

    Well, it is about time you come out of the MS closet!! Now I can tell my sister and your aunt that you have something in common other than being related. I can’t call it a blessing, as I want the same bright, sharp tongue Resa that I have always known and loved to be front and center. I pray this mylean thief will go into the “Submission Closet” and never come out again!

  5. eboleman-herring eboleman-herring says:

    Hey, Kiddo, I could USE some pity down here, so if you get any, pass it along! We’re going to go to our rest, you and I, kickin’ and screamin’, like Thelma and Louise. So, we’re in Zimmer frames, or wheel chairs, or strait jackets (more our style)!? I’ll be with you in spirit come 9/26 and always. How do I get a T-Shirt? And, by the way, you are not now, never were, never gonna be “Status: Quo Minus.” You were always that dark star in the very front row, and attitude WILL get you through (mice, MS, the loss of X–ALL of &^%$ it). I love you, and so does everyone else in the known universe! eb-h

  6. Avatar Melanie says:

    I knew Aunt Corine would be beaming with pride for this article. And I am too! I also agree that I hope this nuisance which you call a blessing (good for you) somehow goes and hides away for a long, long time. Or perhaps the funds we raise will help the research process and they’ll find a cure! I know, I know, that may fall under the Santa Claus category, but because I too believe that God exists, I’ll keep hoping and praying for it anyway.

  7. Avatar MDM says:

    I’m glad you came out of the closet. Not sure I would call MS a blessing either, but you are very blessed! You have wonderful family and friends who are here to love and support you. Sharing this along with your other articles is a blessing to us. (I know you don’t think I read them, but I do… I just don’t blog).

    Love ya.

  8. Avatar Christina Adams says:

    Hi Theresa,
    First of all, of course I started having all of the symptoms you described almost immediately after I read your article…
    Your article touched my heart. I felt like crying- not out of pity- but out of pride….I am so proud of you! and I really wanted to thank you for entrusting us with yet another piece of YOU.

    wait one minute…there’s no Santa???? what???

  9. Avatar CYNTHIA RENDERS says:

    Thank you for shareing, the article was most in lightning, I think that all the events that led to this ,(apt.cat.mickey,move,sport events, and other things that you and I know) was fuel to prepare you for it. God gives us what we need always and some times he has to shake us a little to make us see he is present and realize that he is real. If your spritual house is in order a better life waites for you , no work, looking for apts.no worries and that beautiful one that was chosen for you will be their, only when you live in his world will these beautiful thing you will recieve this is not how we were ment to live, your auntie knows this, thats why she is full of love compassion, sensitivity, and the joy of life, when you go (home) you will be asked a series of questions, and only the correct answers,will get you the answers to your questions.

  10. Avatar Cortney Ellis says:

    Wow! I’m in absolute awe with your article. It does sometimes take a drastic situation to remind us all how truly blessed we are! No matter how bad me MAY think we have it, there is ALWAYS someone who has it worse, and at any given moment they would be more than willing to take our daily burdens. Thanks so much for sharing your testimony!! :)

  11. Avatar Joe N June says:

    Hi Teresa
    I can’t believe that there is no santa!? We always knew that you are special, and this is just one more step to solidify our conviction. No pity, but PLENTY of
    P R A Y E R ! Thanks for being SPECIAL.

  12. Avatar David B. says:

    I was hoping it was a different closet you were jumping out of!! Is that new pic? Nice article!!!!

  13. It’s 7:00 a.m., more that two weeks since you released. I don’t always get a chance to read as much as I would like. Lori asked about your blog and I sent her every one I had, dating back to last year. She specifically told me about your struggle with MS which compelled to me to read this article. I actually heard Corine demanding you to go to the doctor! Thie piece is so masterfully crafted that I was left with a sense of HOPE not despair for your future. Keep doing your thing!

  14. Avatar bernard g says:

    hello theresa, I had no idea that you had this desease when I saw you on Christmas day at our aunts home, you were so cheerful and happy, not that you should be gloomy and sad, but cheerful laughter is like medicine, that’s Proverbs 17:22, thats what God’s word says. so stay in a positive state of mind and I believe you will be able to deal with it a little easier. I do believe that God allows things in our lives, but just know that He would not put more on you than you can bear. if it’s there He knows you can bear it. my wife has been sick for over 15 years now and we both have questioned God but as our faith grew we now know that He is still in control regardless of the outcome and ” our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”, that is 2 corinthians 4:17. so what ever you are going through just know that when we see Jesus all these things will be no more and the beautiful place that He is preparing for us is far more greater than any of lifes heartaches and pains. the word says “trust in the Lord and lean not to thine understanding”. we don’t know why we have to suffer but we do know that He is able to heal all our deseases. keep your hand in God’s hand and the journey will be much lighter, that is one of His promises. God promises a safe landing— but not necessarily a calm passage. don’t mean to be all religious and stuff but I always find comfort in God’s word and I believe that you will too. we love you and will be in prayer. be blessed.

  15. Avatar Dessiree B. says:

    Hugs to you, my friend!

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