Sunday, September 29, 2019

Effort 29 – The Calm…

I will share the joys, pains, and dirty little secrets of my life with multiple sclerosis. My goal is to find a reason to convince you to support/share my fight against MS. Please donate today:

I require more than 30 Efforts, less would create an unsubstantial portrait of the man who needs your support. 30 days is an unrealistic timeline — once discovered, neither accurate words nor the courage to write them, develop so quickly.  How many efforts will this take, and how much time will require to share them? I don’t know the answer, so I will just continue writing.

This is Effort Number 29…

Everyone with a chronic illness understands an experience I can only describe as “The Calm” in the course of their disease progression.

It’s that momentary pause before the elusive something happens. For just a moment, there is no more worsening of your condition; you may even feel a slight uptick over the last day/week/month; more often than not, there is nothing. In hindsight, it’s a serenity that frightens you to the core, for you know what comes next…

I recognize my Calm when all my constant noises quiet themselves. Not like my Cessation of the Constant Noise at the end of fundraising season, it’s when they all stop: The Loo, My Future, Profanity, Food, Moments, Song, and all the others I have not yet explored with you. Nothing floods my mind. Even when I recognize my current state, there’s nothing I can do to animate my thoughts. Sometimes, I fear what’s next, but that’s a passing effort. I don’t enjoy the moment. I’m not grateful for having time away from the noise — noise would have to exist, you’d have to acknowledge its absence, to feel the relief it is gone. It is indeed the most unusual sensation.

It was 20 years ago today when I first experienced my Calm. September 29, 1999. There was nothing for me to do that they except do nothing. I was in command of my air cavalry troop in Korea, but I don’t think my absence was noted. Our troop First Sergeant single-handedly managed all matters for our soldiers. Our Production Control Officer orchestrated all necessary aircraft maintenance tasks. I’m sure they were both relieved I stayed out of their business! I canceled my flight the day before, a byproduct of the worsening sensations I was experiencing, so there was no need for me to follow up and study for my readiness level progression.

September 29, 1999, is etched in my brain, but the only thing I can distinctly remember doing is a FOD Walk: Foreign Object Damage – you simply walk the flight line looking for and picking up anything (pebbles, screws, etc.) that could possibly be kicked up and strike an aircraft, or get sucked into its engines. I walk up and down the flight line dozens of times, roamed through the hangar, then back to my office. I was neither agitated nor at peace. I was calm.

It was a Wednesday.

My first storm formed the next day.
…to be continued.

I hope the stories will inspire your donation to my fight.

Because it is a fight.
The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we ride!

100% of the royalties earned from my books go to the National MS Society, to support our fight:

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

Never Stop… Never Quit… Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

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