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)


Menacing: Describing multiple sclerosis from A to Z

When I was a kid, I used to enjoy reading comic books. One of my favorites was Dennis the Menace. The TV show was cute too (running from 1959-1963). Here’s a sample of the show:

Personally, I liked the comics better. Many years later, a full-length movie came out, starring Walter Matthau, Mason Gamble, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Plowright, and Lea Thompson.

Anyway, that kid was mischievous. He sure knew how to stir up trouble, but his antics were funny. (OK, Dennis’ shenanigans may not have been so comical to his parents or to the folks next door.) Dennis the Menace may have wreaked havoc on the neighbors (as well as his own parents), but he wasn’t really such a menace – at least, not in a malevolent way. Not in the more literal sense of the word.

What does menacing mean?

Dictionaries define it as aggressive, alarming, bullying, imperiling, intimidatory, looming, ominous, potentially dangerous, sinister, threatening, and unsafe.

The word “menacing” comes from the Latin word “minaccia,” which point to a threat or a sharp point that projects outward. A true menace is mean-spirited, acting from evil intent with the purpose of causing ill effects or damage.

How does this apply to multiple sclerosis?

Look at an MSer’s MRI brain scan. See all those eerie white patches? Maybe the whole thing looks like an inkblot test. The pattern may resemble all kinds of things:

  • an angry face
  • a banged-up bruise
  • a brewing storm
  • a creepy creature
  • a drawing with blurred lines
  • an erupting volcano
  • a hairy bug
  • a raging sea
  • a sloppy spill
  • a tangled web
  • or: _____________________.

Whatever those white spots (or blotches) on the MSer’s brain MRI look like, doctors call them “lesions.” That’s just another word for “scars.” In the MS warrior, lesions are battle scars. And they appear enraged. Maybe even scary – especially when contrast dye is used during the scanning.

On our best days, we might look past all this. But when the more miserable MS days come around, we totally get it.

MS is menacing. And it's not the cute kind.

The MS MonSter lurks, even when he doesn’t strike. We know he is there, creeping around in the background, even if he knows a cure is coming.

April A to Z Challenge 2016 logo – fair use
 Adapted from public domain artwork

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  1. Wow such detailed explanation and positive message. Thank you for sharing.

    Visiting from #AtoZ
    Drop in at

  2. Good enlightenment on menace. :)

    Visitor from A-Z here. Do drop into

  3. I love dennis the menace and I am as naughty too.

  4. Kids are naughty and menace is a harsh word but if we intervene in time it can turn out to be useful and creative.

  5. Thanks for the detailed explanation and sharing the information.

    My M post is up


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