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)


Warped: Describing multiple sclerosis from A to Z

Multiple sclerosis can take an on-course person and steer him or her right off-course. It can scar up the brain (with what neurologists call “lesions”) and cause all sorts of strange symptoms. It can creep up slowly or strike with seemingly random abandon.

It’s warped.

I mean, what could be more warped than a wicked illness that attacks the entire body’s control tower? That’s twisted. It’s strange. It’s out of whack. It’s diabolical and crooked and devious and torturous and more than a little depraved.

MS just ain’t right.

Take the MS hug, for example. (In fact, just take it away!) MSers have a sick (and yes, slightly warped) joke about how it’s not the kind of hug anyone ever wants. The first time I had this MS symptom, I honestly wondered if I was having a heart attack.

Maybe you’ve seen all those warnings that point out how women can have heart attacks without experiencing the classic cardio/chest pain symptoms men tend to have? Well, the MS hug definitely causes chest pain.

You know those super-tight webbed plastic straps they put around heavy packages to keep them sealed? Ever try slipping a scissors underneath to snip them off? Those things are snug! That’s sort of how the MS hug feels. It can take your breath away.

Imagine you had to wear an extra-wide and tighter-than-skin-tight strap like that, wrapped around your rib cage for an indefinite period of time. (Let’s say three to five days, although the MS hug can last for several months or more.) Now you’re starting to get the picture.

That’s pretty warped.

Fortunately, many MSers have this uncanny ability to become a little warped in the humor department, which helps us to cope with this dastardly disease. We learn to laugh at ourselves when we reel or tumble or stagger or stumble. We chuckle and shake it off when we toss out the wrong words in conversation, when we cannot find our car keys (or cell phone or coffee cup or whatever we set down someplace), or when we forget something we specifically stopped at the store to pick up. We make jokes about the dreaded MS hug.

We may not want others laughing at our chronic condition, but we find ways to find our own comedy in it. Hey, being a little warped sure beats moping around. Most of us have been there, and it didn’t help much.

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

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  1. So many great things in your blog, Linda. You go, girl! I know a few people with MS and they all impress me beyond belief with their positive attitudes and ability to handle difficult situations with humor, grace and strength. An inspiration for all of us.


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