When “It is what it is” Isn’t What You Want

For the last 10 days or so I’ve been dealing with a lot of fatigue and muscle weakness in my legs. I’ve been describing the weakness as having quad muscles of jello.  I’ve become used to dealing with periodic fatigue — if one ever really becomes used to waking up only to find even a shower requires too much energy.  But this type of leg thing doesn’t happen very often.  My “usual” leg issues involve restless leg in the evening (medication mostly controls it), muscles tightness/”mild” spasticity (what I call Twisty Leg because it feels like it feels like I’ve got on pantyhose with one leg that has gotten really twisted) and Legs of Lead for when it feels like I’m walking through cement.

When I’m in a fatigue phase, Legs of Lead are not uncommon.  But, this weakness in the quads is rare.  Had it once very early on the MS path and again during a flare up involving saddle anesthesia.  Unlike Twisty Leg or Legs of Lead, Jello Quads requires me to really pay attention when I’m going down stairs or walking longer distances.  Yesterday, I was the woman in the crosswalk at the store who looked like she was taking her sweet time when, in fact, I was hurrying as much as my legs would let me.  As a driver, I am notorious for letting pedestrians cross (in crosswalks, at corners or driveways) and then complaining when they appear to continue sauntering instead of “putting a little giddy-up” in their step.  After yesterday, I will be more kind in my thoughts — at least I hope I will.

Except for this past Monday, Quads of Jello hasn’t been a constant state.  Sometime I wake up with it.  Other times it hits later in the day.  Even had a few 24 hour periods without it.  But on Monday things were different.  I was both exhausted and untrusting of my ability to walk much.  Taking the cat for her daily outside excursion involved two separate trips around the yard and nothing more.

For the most part, I’ve come to terms with the usual stuff.  Sure, I still have my days of frustration, especially when all the usual stuff hits at the same time or when medication that helped in the past isn’t helping now.  But thanks to my yoga and meditation practice, the frustration and accompanying funk doesn’t last long.  Eventually I remember, “it is what it is.”  By that, I mean, I may not like the current symptoms, but I cannot wish them away.  The only thing I can change is my relationship with/response to what is happening.


Practicing “it is what it is” has been more difficult lately.  I had to cancel all my yoga classes on Monday.  I HATE cancelling classes and this was particularly difficult since I knew there’s be no classes next week (Memorial Day).  I have flowers that need to get into containers or the ground.  But lifting the bag of potting soil seemed outrageous.  Suffering isIt isn’t even that they needed to be planted.  It was that I wanted to plant them  I LOVE playing in the garden almost as much as I LOVE practicing and teaching yoga. These disappointments get intensified by the fatigue and although Monday wasn’t an entire day of “woe is me,” there were moments — no hours where even remembering “it is what it is” wasn’t helpful.  Because what is was, wasn’t what I was wanting.  Behold, the definition of suffering, at least from the Buddhist perspective.

I think the difficulty in finding solace in this concept this time is because Quads of Jello is new and thus, unknown: How long will it last? Will it get worse? Is this something that is going to become a “usual”? Crap, is this going to effect my teaching more than just this past Monday?  All questions that reflect fear and worry about the future.  Fears and worries that I’ve had years to come to peace with when it comes to the usual stuff. Fears and worries I came to peace with via my yoga mat and meditation.

So, even though Quads of Jello isn’t what I ordered, I’m going to continue my yogic and meditation practice.  Trusting that eventually, the peace will come.