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)


No one gets a trophy in the whiner's circle

The winner’s circle brings accolades, awards, attention, and all sorts of amusement for those who arrive there. Crowds cheer. Cameras and smart phones snap smiling shots.

Not so with the whiner’s circle.

Maybe misery loves company, as the old saying echoes. Sure, there is comfort and consolation in commiseration.

But ask any multiple sclerosis warrior (or anyone valiantly battling a chronic medical condition), and you will find few that want to wallow in misery. We struggle, we strain, and we slug it out the best we can – on our good days and our truly terrible ones.

It's hard. There's no denying that. Living with MS, we have days when it seems impossible simply to show up. Sometimes we don't. We may even moan and groan a bit with a few trusted ones. But we don't linger long in the whiner's circle.

I live a few blocks from a wonderful woman. Bette was diagnosed with relapse-remitting MS five years ago. She’s had some doozy exacerbations, but she hasn’t let them run her off course. Bette and her husband have taken in one foster child after another for maybe a decade.

Consider my friend Bart, who has primary-progressive MS. He has used a wheelchair every day for many years. But Bart shows up for worship band rehearsal at his local church every week, toting his drumsticks. He’s on the platform each Sunday, sounding out holy happiness like there’s no tomorrow.

How about Arlena? She drives an adapted vehicle, parking in special spots to run her own errands and to report to her full-time job. Despite her difficulties, Arlena shares her surplus of smiles with pretty much everyone she encounters.

My friend Micah used to run in track meets. Sidelined by MS, he still never misses a meet. Using his crutches, he shuffles to the track with braces on both legs and cheers his former fellow runners to victory.

These MSers belong to the winner’s circle. No whining. They are kicking MS to the curb. I wanna be like them when I grow up.

 Adapted from public domain artwork

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter.  You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest as well.


Does the UpCart help MSers?

Have you seen the UpCart? This looks like a pretty nifty piece of equipment for those who may need a little help while toting groceries, firewood, luggage, or other items upstairs or elsewhere.

This handy little cart, introduced in 2014 and weighing approximately 8.8 pounds, is manufactured in China for Ohio-based Trifold, LLC. The one-axle design features three threaded wheels on each side, which seem to make it glide more smoothly up and down stairs and over curbs than traditional luggage carts, dollies, hand trollies, wagons, or handcarts. This product, constructed of precision-cast aluminum alloy components, folds for storage.

Marketed as “the first all-terrain stair climbing folding cart,” the UpCart is supposed to glide easily across gravel pathways and rough or bumpy ground. (A separate UpCart Beach model, apparently designed to roll in sand, is expected to enter the market by the end of 2016.)

The product, retailing for about $90 (plus shipping and handling and tax), requires no assembly. The non-marking tires are solid polyurethane, needing no inflation. (Think: baby carriage wheels.) The UpCart’s carrying capacity is supposed to be 150 pounds. That means it’s not ideal for moving furniture, construction goods, or heavy shipping parcels.

A user can attach bags, boxes, buckets, or other parcels to the UpCart with bungee cords, straps, or other fasteners. The company also offers a 12-gallon UpCart Upgrade Bag, which retails for close to $40 and fits on the unit for carrying all sorts of items. The bag attaches to the cart with Velcro bands and features a removable shoulder strap.

The UpCart is not intended to be a substitute for a cane, walker, or other assistive walking equipment. It is simply a convenience for carrying heavier items. It does not offer help with personal balance, mobility, or gait issues, such as those many MSers cope with daily. On the other hand, for those who can walk independently and steadily, the UpCart may be a handy tool for toting heavier items around.

NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.

 Adapted from public domain artwork

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter.  You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest as well.
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