November 2010

Never Give In

November 29, 2010 09:51

I am happy to say that my right hand is back to normal! The effects of the last Botox injection have worn off to the extent that I am able to use my bow-hand again with no sign of tremor and only some residual weakness. At this point I have no plans for further Botox injections. The upside is that I am playing better than ever.

The Handel A Major Sonata is coming along quite well, even the double-stops, which I dreaded if the truth be told. I realize that this is a period of growth which will undoubtedly be followed by a "flat" period where I seem to be just treading water; I think those times come when you are digesting new skills and letting things sink in. Of course I could be wrong, but for now I'm enjoying the progress I'm making.

One of the best parts of making progress is gaining confidence when playing for an audience. Knowing I sound good to others, not just to me, makes performing that much easier, even if I come across a difficult passage or if I make a mistake that half the audience probably won't notice anyway.

Another good thing about making progress is the sense of accomplishment it brings. When you've really learned a new or difficult technique or mastered a tough piece, it brings a sense of being able to do almost anything - at least it does for me. I think that it's one thing that keeps me going in spite of the daily challenges of living with a chronic illness. Knowing that I've had enough control over my body to be able to learn to play reasonably well has kept me from wallowing in self-pity. 

The temptation to give up has been strong at times. Sometimes I have felt as though I was merely spinning my wheels, getting absolutely nowhere, wondering if I lacked ability, or if I was just too old, or if MS had robbed me of the opportunity I had so craved. When the tremor took over in my right hand and made playing impossible I came close to despair, and I thought I had the perfect excuse to give up playing: after all, I hadn't asked to have this awful disease. No harm, no foul; no one could blame me, no one could accuse me of being a quitter.  No one, that is, except me. But I didn't want to quit. I'm just too stubborn, or maybe I just don't know when to quit, but I wasn't ready to pack it in.

Researchers are developing new therapies for MS all the time. Maybe they will find a cure in my lifetime. Regardless, I know that the more I yield to the MonSter, the more it will take from me. I am determined that music is one thing I will not yield willingly.

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