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Constant Reminder

By Elissa Dickey
March 31, 2022

Day and night, on good days and bad, it’s always there. Watching. Waiting.

I’m talking, of course, about my multiple sclerosis DMT injection.

It’s been a while now since I’ve started my three-times-a-week injections, and for the most part, I’ve completely adjusted. With help from my husband, I have the routine down and am confident in the treatment.

Despite this, I’ve noticed lately that my injection can really catch me off-guard sometimes—almost like it’s lurking in the shadows, waiting to pop up to break up my fun.

Sometimes it’s just the typical daily hustle and bustle. We go to church on Sunday and contemplate a Target run—until the alarm on my phone goes off reminding me it’s time for my shot.

Sometimes it hinders travel—do we wait to leave for my son’s game, and I squeeze it in beforehand? Do I pull it out that night when we’re weary from being on the road and do a late-night injection? Do I pack them and try to find a good place and time to do it on the road?

(I have yet to take a longer trip since starting my shots, and I’m already fretting about planning the logistics of an extended vacation next year).

Sometimes it even encroaches on happy news days. When I announced my book deal, it was a magical, dream-come-true kind of day. All day after posting the announcement, my phone was dinging and buzzing, notifying me of people congratulating me about this achievement. That evening when my phone dinged once again, I looked down with a smile expecting more well wishes. But instead, it was my injection reminder, and I admit my heart sank just a little.

What’s at the heart of it, I think, is that what it’s really reminding me of is not just my injection, but my illness. It’s reminding me that I will always have this unpredictable, incurable disease—and while I may be celebrating now and life may be good, I don’t know what the future will hold.

But recently, I’ve been trying to fight back against this thinking. It’s so easy to think of my injections as a nuisance, an unwanted visitor ready to spoil my good times. Now, I’m slowly starting to reframe that message and flip it around. Because when I think about it, my injections are here to help me keep having those good times.

Their purpose is to help me keep doing all the things I want to do. I want the stamina to keep writing, to keep traveling, to keep up with my kids. My injections are there to help me achieve that goal. So I need to remember that we’re on the same side—we are allies, not adversaries.

My injections may always be there, day and night, good and bad—watching, waiting.

But they are also ready to help me stay as healthy as I can be.

Elissa Dickey

Elissa Dickey lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota with her husband and children. A former journalist, she is now an author who also works in communications at a university. Her debut novel, The Speed of Light, published March 1, 2021, with Lake Union Publishing.

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