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)


MS disappoints. But we're stronger than that.

Multiple sclerosis interrupts our lives. The MS MonSter creeps in, causing symptoms to crop up at the most inconvenient times.

This morning, for example.

I was planning to run a little 5K nearby. Last year, I actually was surprised to find that I had won my age division. (Don’t get too excited. The age brackets grow a little thin in my decade. Our finishing times tend to increase, as our numbers go up.)

But still! As the defending (haha) champion of my seasoned age group, I was earnestly aiming to participate. Sure, I know I’d come in considerably slower than last year. A couple of injuries and a long MS summer set me back a bit. But I was game to go anyway.

Then the barometric pressure shifted. A storm system lingered. And an MS migraine wreaked havoc on my plans.

So I didn’t go. 

Honestly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened a whole lot more often.

In fact, I’ve been grateful for so many times when MS lingered in the background on race days, professional presentation days, important event days, and other occasions when a flare-up would totally throw a wrench into the works.

Yes, it happens. (Ask any MS warrior.)

I’ve canceled all kinds of stuff at the last minute, when the MS MonSter won the days’ battles. Sometimes I’ve been leery of even penning dates on my calendar. I’ve skipped holidays, fun trips, and outings with friends. I’ve missed church, dinners, movies, and nearly a whole summer of horseback riding.

But I’ve made it to (and through) plenty of occasions too.

And, although I have found myself laid up for days after hosts of major happenings, I have appreciated being there. Sometimes that’s enough to celebrate.

Today, just across town, some woman-of-a-certain-age is proudly wearing a race medal around her neck. I’m happy for her, and I recognize that she’d likely have won it anyway – even if I had showed up.

MS showed up today, and I never had a chance. But I’ll be back another time. And, when I show up, it won’t be to beat other runners. I’m gunning for the MonSter.

If you’re an MS warrior, hang in there. We’ve got this thing.

 Adapted from public domain artwork and photo

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