Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


A-Z promising quotes: Loss

A multiple sclerosis diagnosis represents a massive sort of loss in a person’s life. I remember when I first heard the term “MS” used in my direction. It nearly knocked me off my feet.

Almost immediately, friends and loved ones began offering well-meaning words of consolation. But many of these expressions felt like pat answers, as they tend to do, when the recipient is facing a life-changer like MS.

Now, years later, I still have moments when I bemoan the reality of multiple sclerosis in my life. I hate that certain others I care about have MS too.

Still, sometimes we are able to poke fun at MS and the crazy symptoms we juggle. None of it is funny, but a twisted sense of humor and the ability to mock one’s own difficulties somehow feels like strength.

Arriving at such a spot took time … plenty of time. Hey, a person needs to grieve awhile before moving on and dealing with any sort of significant difficulty or setback.

English writer Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) described the way any griever’s perspective can change after a spell.

“While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.”

I am still awestruck by human beings’ ability to absorb traumatic news, such as a major medical diagnosis, and eventually find a way to accept it and move ahead in life. That’s what every MSer does daily, particularly after any exacerbation or progression of this baffling chronic neurological condition.

Today, for example, I felt pretty good to start. After completing several articles and blog posts, I did a few errands and performed a lot of physically exerting barn chores. (I was mucking stalls and sweeping barn aisles on a lovely, but unseasonably warm, spring day.) Then I decided to ride my horse.

Ding! Mistake.

Nothing terrible happened. She didn’t throw me or anything like that. I just didn’t last long up there. Had I saved some energy and stamina, it might have gone much better. Instead, we did a few lazy loops around the arena at the walk and trot. And that was it. I was toast.

Running out of gusto in the middle of an enjoyable activity or important task is a loss. And it happens to MSers all the time. We never know when we will suddenly ram into the energy depletion wall.

That phenomenon sends us from 100 mph to zero in nothing flat.

Just because we have experienced a loss, medically speaking, does not mean we have to be losers. So we are not. We get up and move on (even if it sometimes takes us a little longer) and find ways to live and laugh - right in the face of the MS MonSter.

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