“Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” ~Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
I am a happy person. I CHOOSE to be a happy person. I make daily, moment by moment choices that help me to be a happier, more joyful person. I don’t always make the right choices in a quick moment, but if it is the wrong one, I work hard to re-route my brain and forgive myself. I have faith and trust in God and my Savior. I’m not talking religion. I’m talking faith, trust, and hope in the LOVE that IS God. Just LOVE.
With that all being said and out there as a preface, let me touch on something that has been reiterated over and over and over and over again to me in the past two months. Multiple Sclerosis. I have been looked at like people are just waiting for me to keel over since my neurologist mentioned the term. Seriously. “What are you going to do with her?” questions. After my husband fielded those questions for a couple of weeks (which took a deep toll on him), I finally told him if people asked, he should tell them that he was just going to put me out to pasture and feed me jello. Obviously, with a diagnosis like MS, I’m not worth keeping around. Sheesh…
Let’s be real here for a minute. I do, in fact, have multiple sclerosis. My symptoms range from some strange reflexes to a bit of numbness and some muscle spasticity- not jerking, just tightness. And no, I am NOT imagining these symptoms. (yes, that has been suggested) Can you tell any of these symptoms by looking at or watching me function? Not a single one. I am otherwise very healthy. You’d never be able to tell from socializing with me that there is anything wrong. So, why the stigma?
The root of this issue is a lack of NEW, current information about MS and its treatments. As I was reminded for the billionth time yesterday by a pharmacy nurse, there is no cure for MS. Yes, yes, I am aware. Right after she asked me if I was depressed, she repeated that there is no cure for MS. Why keep beating this down on me like a hammer? Should I be more downtrodden and hopeless? Am I just too perky and full of life for all the people who keep up with these reminders? Do you want me to dwell in the depths of depression over this diagnosis? Dwelling in the lows will not help. Focusing on the ‘blah’ doesn’t improve my quality of life or that of my husband, children, family or friends.
I am five weeks out from my diagnosis. I have learned a lifetime’s worth of information about MS and the current and developing treatments. I am happy to say that after three weeks of working with insurance, the drug company, and a specialty pharmacy, I will start a daily treatment this week. I know it won’t cure it, but it should slow the progression to a dull grind and buy me 40-60 more quality years with only “souvenirs” from any relapses. I intend to keep being a happy, joyful person. I will not let the behavior or words of others steal my joy.
For more information on MS, please visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/.