Multiple Sclerosis: Acceptance

PhotobucketAt the time of writing this article I have had MS for just over five months now, five months, such a long yet short period of time. I have spent these months learning about the disease as well as the people who live with the disease and I have learned a lot about both. One thing in particular that I have learned about people living with MS is that a lot of people seem to have a hard time accepting the disease, some are even embarrassed that they are stuck with it.

Now please keep in mind, this is only my opinion, I mean no offense to anyone out there and I certainly don’t mean to belittle anyones feelings in any way shape or form, I simply am voicing my opinion in hopes that it will change the way someone may think about living with MS, that is all.
After I slowly realized that most people take years to come to terms with their disease I looked back over my own short experience with MS and realized that I seemed to have accepted the diseases almost immediately… Sure I had my ups and downs, but for the most part I was never in a state of denial, and I never tried to hide the fact that I had MS. I immediately decided (once I was able) that I was going to share my MS experience with the world in hopes that I would help other’s who were suffering with similar issues. At the same time, I want to be clear, I didn’t go around announcing that I had MS, I wasn’t looking for any pity or anything like that, but if someone asked “Hey why are you walking funny” I had no problem replying “Well, I was just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system”.
Now MS effects everyone differently and that also applies to one’s emotions. Considering most people are uncomfortable with accepting or sharing their disease with others I can only assume that that is a normal emotion to be felt but it is one that I honestly don’t understand. You see, the way I have always looked at it is it’s an illness. We did not choose to have MS, we didn’t do anything wrong to get MS, MS just happened. To me getting MS was no different then getting the flu, we don’t choose to get the flu, it just happens and usually we have no problem telling people “Sorry, I can’t come over today, I have the flu”. Nothing embarrassing about it right?
So why should we feel embarrassed about having MS? If anything, we should feel empowered because now we have to deal with the everyday troubles and pressures of life along with a life changing disease on top of that. So if we can continue our life and keep up with everyone else it’s like running a marathon with 100 pounds of weights on our shoulders and still keeping up with all the other runners. Realisticly speaking, we may have trouble walking, seeing, and doing other simple tasks, but really in the end, we are stronger then the average person because we are still keeping up!
I’m not saying I am proud to have MS I am simply saying I am proud to still be living my life with MS. MS may slow me down but it will never stop me. I live my life in hopes that when I tell someone for the first time that I have MS they will think “Damn, this guy has MS and he still has lived such a fulfilling, accomplished, life, impressive!” MS has motivated me to do more with my life, to be more, and to see more, so for me personally, I have nothing to hide, I only have things to share.

9 thoughts on “Multiple Sclerosis: Acceptance

  • January 7, 2011 at 5:06 am
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    Great post – I know how you feel. I've read some awful stuff online written by people who feel MS has ruined their lives. They rant and rage about it, not accepting what their body is doing to them. They have no chances, it seems to me, of finding a place of peace in their life, just rage and unhappiness.
    I feel that my life since diagnosis in February last year has opened up opportunities to me, and I'm going to grab at them and not let go (this means I'd better grab with my left hand cos my right hand doesn't work very well – haha.
    When I was diagnosed I told everyone I saw, and al of my Facebook friends. Everyone keeps telling me I'm wonderful – I wish. I'm just living my life in the best way I can. Good luck to you now and in the future!

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  • January 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm
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    Reaction to MS may be to do with age of onset and stage in one's career.

    If you have a good job which depends, or is perceived by others to depend, on physical fitness, it may make one a little reluctant to be too forward with the news.

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  • January 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm
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    Yeah I had read some awful stuff as well and I KNEW that I didn't want to be THAT GUY, grumpy disabled dude, nope, not me haha. And as far as everyone telling you that you look wonderful, my new motto is "I don't feel as good as I look" lol…

    @Tony: YES, I totally understand, in fact, when it comes to employment you better believe I'm not telling anyone! There's a good reason for that!

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  • January 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm
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    I'm lucky that I haven't done any real paid work since well before I got sick. I earn a tiny bit of money from my writing and from the Australian Government I get a Mobility allowance and parenting allowance (thanks guys, I appreciate it).
    So, my life's worth for me had nothing to do with my ability to earn money. I'm so fortunate that I have a husband who earns enough money for our family's needs.
    I do remember my strongest feeling on being told I had MS was relief that it wasn't something fatal or totally disabling.

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  • January 10, 2011 at 3:30 am
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    I am really nervous this week because disability should be paying my check any day now but the way it usually works when your unemployed (to my knowledge) is they look at how much you were making for a particular "quarter" and base your pay off of that… My last claim was based on a quarter where I was making a lot of money so I got a decent amount of funding but I am really nervous that they might not look at that quarter this time around but instead a quarter where I was pretty much unemployed… so yeah…. I don't know how much I'll be getting.

    California disability doesn't educated you very well, why would they, that would cost them more money… I don't LIKE that I have to depend of welfare right now but I DO THINK that a government should take care of its citizens who are truly in need but I see so many people abusing our welfare systems so I don't know, I have so many mixed feelings on that. I just wish I could work even though there are NO JOBS in my area….

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  • January 16, 2011 at 4:45 am
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    I'm feeling down recently, but when I read your positive thought, I remember there're still many good things that this MonSter cannot take away from me.
    You do make a different in my life, at least for today. Thank you Matt

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  • January 16, 2011 at 5:11 am
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    And knowing that makes a difference in MY life, thank YOU. Hope your doing well.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 10:06 am
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    Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm moving from fear to acceptance and coming back again. I am going to have a second baby now and you can not avoid to think in the future. But in the present… I am better that the people of my age (36), I am even able to play football. I play now as if every match was the last one, and I am take more fun for that. The same for many other things in life. And yes, MS just happens… as many other things.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm
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    I think you have the right attitude so I wouldn't worry too much about the future, I mean I understand it's hard, but what I am saying is with THAT kind of attitude, I don't think MS will take you down!

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