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We've planned on buying a home for some time. We've now got the financing arranged. It's a buyer's market here in the US, and we've found a couple of homes that we like. This should be a happy time, right?

It was, until we actually started looking at houses. The first home we looked at was an estate sale. I was busy exploring it, until I walked into the bedroom and saw a wheelchair folded up against the wall. I think I stared at that chair for a full minute. Until that moment, I hadn't factored MS into the home-buying equation. The problem is I can't decide if I should.

We want the two-story farmhouse in the country with a couple of acres. But should we not consider the smaller, one-story home in town (in walking distance of stores) with a mostly maintenance free yard? Most of me thinks that we should make our decision without considering MS. I'm doing well. I firmly believe that I will continue to do well. We want a massive garden, chickens, and eventually some goats. If we give any of that up based on what might happen, aren't we just guaranteeing negative thoughts and resentment (horrible mind/body stuff), possibly for a very long time?

But then there's a small (very risk-averse) part of me that thinks the smaller, in-town home is more prudent. That part can unemotionally envision me taking a header down the stairs, or a financial bath if we do have to downsize due to my future disability level. It's important to be realistic and prepared too, right?

All of this thinking about potential future disability is really messing with my head right now.

Any thoughts are welcome.

Robbin
Hi Robbin,

I say go with the dream and land and lifestyle you really want - without a doubt. Only take into account your actual physical condition today.
When first diagnosed I started factoring MS into all sorts of decisions. Then I discovered hope, genuine belief that I would become well and stay well, and all that was forgotten. Almost totally. Earlier this year I even managed to buy a manual car, even though it was my left leg and foot that had the worst problems in 2010, and at that time I would not actually have been able to drive a manual. But when it came to changing cars I genuinely forgot to take MS into consideration. Months later it occurred to me that might have been a bit foolish. But, my feet and leg are fine - apart from some residual numbness and tingling. And i really love my car...a cute little orange peugeot with a sunroof - wouldn't swap it for anything.
We also live in a pole home on the side of a steep hill overlooking the trees. There are LOTS of stairs, and we are not planning to move.
Cheers,

Karen
OMG April 2010 OMS June 2010
Hi Robbin

I posted this recently on the "Life's too short to...." topic. This podcast from Prof Jelinek about worrying about the future is also worth a listen:
http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis. ... ess/?p=559

"Back in 1996 pre MS, Steve and I decided we wanted a big change of lifestyle, to stop working, buy some land in the country and build a fishing lodge. So we bought 100 acres, thought about it for a couple of years, then commissioned an architect and got ready to start the building process.

Then I was diagnosed which threw all our plans up in the air. It was Christmas 1998. After a miserable Christmas on a steroid drip, I did start to feel better and we decided to carry on with our plans. Carpe diem.

I have no regrets that we took that leap of faith, but 3 years ago we started to talk about moving somewhere with better access for me. I've had 11 great years here.

Then I found George Jelineks book which has made a difference already, we're not thinking of moving on any time soon. I feel an even bigger leap of faith coming up."

PS I also have LOTS of stairs, its great - keeps me mobile! I also love pottering in the vegetable garden, also keeps me fit and active.
Wendy

Diagnosis Dec 1998 OMS Feb 2010 Retreat Feb 2012
Go with the dream (perhaps have a mind's eye on scale, maybe not a massive house one that is huge to run and maintain) but skip the chickens and goats as neither of which are compatbile with the OMS lifestyle, the land would enable you to grow a fab array of health boosting veg for the family :)
We live on acreage, and there is the romance, and there is the reality.

I think it's really hard for anyone to tell you to 'just go for it' without knowing your circumstances - whether you are financially stable, whether both of you need to be earning to make things work, how old you are, how far out of town you will be, whether you have children (or plan to start a family), whether the property you buy will have all the infrastructure in place or whether you will have to do everything from scratch for yourself - pouring all your energy and finances into it. Whether you will need to run two cars and need both of you fit to drive because of where you live. Whether there will be public transport available, and support services if you need them, and whether you have strong support networks of your own such as family and friends, and an exit strategy if things don't go according to plan. Those are private matters for you alone, but how can anyone say do this or do that without knowing? How can anyone know what the future holds?

I don't want to put you off your dream, but I did want to give you another perspective. I think you just need to be really clear eyed about why you want to move to the country, and be sure that you will really love and enjoy the upside of doing so, and that you will be emotionally strong enough to accept any downside too.

You may feel extremely short changed if you don't at least try. If you try, and it meets all your expectations, then you will be happy indeed. If you try, and find that it is not what you hoped for and that you are better off in town, then at least you have done it, and can put it behind you, and settle back in town knowing that it really is the best option for you. Otherwise you may always have the 'what if's' and the 'if only's nagging at you, and resentment at being 'stuck' in town when you could have been living your dream. ;)

Good luck with your decision!

Loz.
Hi Robbin,
I live in a rural area, not farmland so I can only talk about that. My partner and I built our house, it is
only one storey and has a disability friendly bathroom and wider doorways etc. We built it that way
just in case, not because I think I will be disabled. Our friends have bad backs and they have built
a 2 storey house. They built with a bedroom and bathroom downstairs too just in case but also
plan to put a chair lift in on the stair case if need be. We all hope we wont need to but it makes us
feel better to know we have a back up plan.
I think if you can find a house that has a bedroom downstairs and a bathroom down there too that
can be modified if you need to that would be a good idea.
No-one knows what the future may hold for any person with or without a medical condition but at least
we can put some backup plans in place for peace of mind.
2 Months after my diagnosis, still full of dread, I somehow (I say somehow because I had always been overcautious) decided that I was not going to put things off just because I got sick - especially since I got sick. We bought a home with stairs and we love it.

consider how you think you'll be, but try to lean on optimism.
Alex

Diagnosis: Jan 2010, OMS April 2010.
Hi Robbin,

I say go for the dream!

We recently sold our old house and bought a new one - when we started looking (shortly after my diagnosis) I had all these criteria for buying that were based on my fears re my MS (ie level block, no stairs, good circulation for possible future wheelchair... you get the picture!).

And then we found the house that we ended up buying - ridiculously steep drive, lots of stairs both at front and rear access, old character home so high ceilings but 'cosy' bathrooms etc. But I stood on the back deck and watched the native birds in the garden and the sunlight drenching the rooms and felt so at home - I figured the good it would do my well-being was immeasurable.....

Having said that, I work in rehabilitation and even before I was diagnosed with MS, I always told anybody who'd listen that when buying a 2 storey house, consider whether there is a bathroom or laundry and possible bedroom downstairs if needed. Ramps can always be added to the front door, bathrooms redone to allow more circulation space or laundrys turned into bathrooms and a tiny study can fit a bed - all of which allow someone to remain in their home. We have a lot of older patients post nasty falls or strokes who are unable to go home because they cant get up the stairs to the toilet and there are no options on the ground floor - I think it makes sense no matter whether you have MS or just have a tendency to get older (Oh wait - thats all of us! :lol: )

I hope that you find, not only a beautiful house, but also a welcoming home...

Keep us posted!

kindness, shelly
Thanks to all for your replies. They sparked quite a few conversations with dh, and helped me to focus my thoughts. We now have a contract on an old (well-maintained) two-story farmhouse on 2.5 acres. Inspections start next week.

I'm not built for optimism, much less faith. I prefer hard data, and the spreadsheets I can construct with it. That fact is probably a major reason that I landed here with all the scientific backup. It's difficult (for me) to assess values and risks when intangibles are involved. Cut saturated fat? Check. Reduce my stress level? Umm...well... Of course, I get the concept, but I really wish someone would hurry up and invent a stress-o-meter. Factoring a risk of progression that I can't quantify into a big decision like this forced me to step into unfamiliar territory.

But now that we've made the decision, I'm happy with it. It makes sense to me. We decided based on my current condition, the Swank and OMS outcomes of others, the likelihood that our new home/life will improve my fitness level and sunshine intake, and the knowledge that living in the country makes us happy. Can't quantify the effects of that last one, but I'll run with it.

So many good points you all posted. The house does have bed, bath and kitchen downstairs.

Lozza wrote: We live on acreage, and there is the romance, and there is the reality.

Too true. For us, the rural life is not so much a dream we've always had, as it is a lifestyle we want to get back to.

veg wrote: but skip the chickens and goats as neither of which are compatbile with the OMS lifestyle, the land would enable you to grow a fab array of health boosting veg for the family

Yes! I'm already planning the various vegetable beds. The land has peaches and figs established. We plan to add other fruit trees, nut trees and a variety of native berries. I get all warm and fuzzy watching friends' chickens eat slugs, scorpions and roaches. Even if I give up egg whites in the future, I think chickens are worth having to clear the yard...and for the litter to add in the compost pile.


Thanks again. Though my husband is absolutely supportive, it is invaluable to hear from others who have MS and have chosen this path to wellness.

Robbin
I call it "keeping faith with the future", making choices from your desires instead of your fears. Congratulations on your purchase and I wish you all happiness and joy. Please keep us posted on your country idyll, it may help remind me of why we did it too! ;)
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