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

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  1. Interesting. Your site address "Kicking MS to the Curb." Please know that some (many?) of us have *personally* been kicked to the curb due to divulging this diagnosis. Kicked to the curb by family. By significant others. By employers. By so-called "friends." No, I would disagree that MS has no significant impact on how others view and ultimately, decide to treat us, purely because we have been diagnosed with MS. We cope best we can with the often ugly, frustrating, and life-disrupting symptoms of MS. Yet perhaps because of the very witnessing of these struggles, people often flee our orbit, in their own personal way, often with little or no excuse at all. It hurts, often more than the condition itself.

  2. Thanks for your comment. You make valid points, based on your own experience and those of so many. This post is not aimed at diminishing the life-altering struggles of living with MS, which I also know firsthand. Instead, it is intended to salute the way MSers continue to slug through life, battling MS and refusing to give in to despair over the dreaded disease and its effects. I hope the stories of valiant warriors will encourage MSers to go on one more day ... and another ... and another ... until a cure is found and beyond.


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