I think of the stages of our lives the same way as I do the change of seasons, except we experience each season once during our lives instead of annually. I’d like to think that places me in middle to late Autumn. I’d would have been bumming about that proposition fifteen years ago, but I like where I am now. I can honestly say I am looking forward to retiring in the not too distant future. I’m also banking on the assumption the longevity in my family (Dad at 96 and Mom at 92) won’t skip a generation, MS or not. So there is a lot to look forward to and enjoy. What I wind up doing with myself is a different topic for a different time. 

But the inescapable reality is that our bodies also change like the four seasons, and there are parts of my anatomy I’m not starting to like too much. I started to notice them during the early part of the pandemic, and sadly accepted the fact I wasn’t a Spring Chicken anymore.  I’m probably the only one who notices, because most of them are covered by clothes, but I look at them as a baseline to compare to as winter approaches.

Heading from North to South, we will start with the hair. It used to be thick, lush, and alive. Now it looks likes dry grass that is dying a slow death. My head is still covered, but I can no longer spend anytime in the sun without a hat unless I want a sunburned scalp.

The skin at the base of my neck heading down to the chest is starting to look like the pattern on a Spiderman costume. I’m also keeping a close eye on my neck, as the flesh below the Adam’s Apple might be drooping a tad. God-forbid it turns into one of those pouches that looks like something hanging off a Turkey’s beak.

My hands are by far the part of my anatomy I dislike the most. The skin is not smooth and is covered in wrinkles and brown spots. Each fat, wrinkled knuckle looks like Mick Jagger’s lips, and the two pinkies are crooked as hell. I also have this weird thing going on with the nails on my thumbs and most fingers. It’s hard to explain, but most of them have vertical ridges you can clearly feel and see. Don’t know what that’s all about, but I do wonder if it has anything to do with all the MS drugs I have been on or am still taking.

Heading further south we have two issues. Urine flow is one. The other? Well…… all I can say is that women are not the only ones who have things that sag with age and need more support.

The last item on the list is my leg and foot (the right ones), but MS, not age, is the root cause here. The leg is shaped differently, probably having adapted to the way I walk. It’s turned to a degree where the knee faces more to the right than straight ahead and the foot always is turned to the right when I am upright.  The ankle is typically puffy or swollen, the color in my foot is different, sometimes to a significant degree, and while I still have sensation in my toes, they also feel partially numb most of the time. I probably look like an arthritic guy well into his winter years when I walk. And that’s with my cane, which is a necessity.

There are other gripes that have more to do with things like blood-pressure, watching what I eat and drink, sleep, exercise, aches and pains, stuff like that. But our bodies are machines that become a lot more finnicky as the mileage adds up, so I have no complaints about doing what I can to prevent mine from prematurely crapping out.

I am also cool with all of it, all the chinks in my armor, because one thing outranks them all. Besides the perfunctory good health-clear mind stuff, my face hasn’t really aged terribly and I still look pretty damn good!

Happy New Year! What’s on your list?

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