On the day my diagnoses was confirmed at the MS center, I was whisked in to see the in-house psychologist. I was feeling rather anxious and teary but none of it felt related to the MS diagnosis. My son was having hand surgery 2,400 miles away on that very day, April 6th 2011. In the time between my visit with him and my appointment, he had broken his hand in a snowboarding mishap in Colorado on his Spring Break. I was also just recovering from the worry I had been carrying as my daughter traipsed through Morocco for hers. I talked about his surgery rather than my news and partway through our conversation the psychologist asked if he could go put money in the meter. It was slightly surreal. I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with this when there was so much going on with my son. To say it took away from the emotions I may have felt due to the diagnosis wouldn’t really be fair because I really don’t know how I would have reacted had I not been so preoccupied. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I had so many other worries that were outside of my own personal situation.
After what was my first and what became my only “session”, I was waiting to schedule my next MRI and follow up appointment, when I found myself reading the scrolling trivia with a new found interest. The screen asked, “What movie featured a famous cellist who had MS?”. The answer was “Jackie and Hillary”. I made a note in my phone so I could remember to check it out. I should have just ignored it, and if you ever watch the movie, you will agree. Actually, please don’t watch the movie. In the film, the life of Jacqueline Du Pre, the famous English cellist, diagnosed with MS, was portrayed. One would think that an MS center would perhaps recommend a movie with a story of hope and determination. Well this movie was the antithesis of what a newly diagnosed person needs. It was the single most depressing movie I have ever seen despite my diagnosis. It showed the talented young woman’s devastating and frankly humiliating decline as she quickly progressed from relapsing remitting MS, diagnosed at age 28, to secondary progressive. She died at 42 in 1987. Once I got out of the week long funk that the movie caused me to fall into, I emailed my MS specialist to ask her to take the movie off the trivia scroll. She said she had never watched it but would be sure to have it removed. That they were referring a movie that had not been previewed which contained such a sad, scary prognosis to MS patients so nonchalantly just seemed so irresponsible to me. Maybe I’ve just become too sensitive.