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)

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Friday

A-Z promising quotes: Outrage

I never knew how angry I could become until I found out I had multiple sclerosis. We’re talking all-out, foot-stomping fierceness. I was really ticked off.

It could have been the bumbling doctors who first bandied about the “MS” term near me – tactlessly talking about me, as if I was not even there.

Perhaps it was the 90-minute brain MRI, during which none of the techs uttered a single word. It felt like I was in there for eons.

Maybe it was the steroid infusions the neurologist insisted I undergo for three days, followed by 10 days of prednisone pills, to treat the sudden blindness in one eye.

The sudden 10-pound weight gain that went along with that regimen didn’t help, either.

Fortunately, that anger didn’t last long. I found my reasonably reasonable self when the medications left my system. (Don’t ask certain members of my family to confirm that.)

But I understood, for a moment, what Roman lyric poet and philosopher Horace meant, when he said this about anger:

“Anger is short-lived madness.”

I’d encountered plenty of people with anger issues. I know at least a few rage-aholics, up close and personally. But, until that point, I had never understood what it felt like to be that mad.

Real rage does feel a lot like what I imagine madness must be. That’s probably why they call it being mad. (Well, duh.)

I didn’t like it one bit.

I’m not so mad anymore.

But I do think MS rattled my world enough to shake off some of my prior willingness to put up with unacceptable attitudes and behaviors in others. Grace and forgiveness are one thing. Enduring long-term, ongoing way-off-base garbage from people with no remorse or sense of personal relational responsibility is another thing altogether.

Maybe it really is possible to care about people without tolerating their nonsense. Could it be that putting up with all that is another sort of madness?

Facing down the MS MonSter every day can be a tall order. After that, everyday people aren’t nearly as daunting.

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1 comment:

  1. Ah, but sometimes it just makes me angry all over again. Get a bit sick of always having to deal with just never quite knowing what the day will bring and never being able to do even half of of what I want. And no matter how long people have been around they really never quite know what it is like!

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