“I am thankful for MS because ___________.”
This was a prompt on a MS focused social media feed I follow. It took me a moment to hone in my feelings on this open ended statement.
Before answering, I scrolled down through the many responses. They ranged from angry and bitter to grateful and inspiring. To each his/ her own on personal feelings, this chronic condition is as unique to the individual as freckles on a face.
My post was short. It has given me “perspective.” On both good days and rough, foggy brained and clear, fatigued and energetic, this condition has given me a different perspective on how to approach life in general.
Three years ago, I was going strong (albeit with a numbed right arm). I was training for my first half marathon, signing up before my diagnosis. I was pushing hard. Full of determination and pride for what I was working towards. Pride is so hollow.
The diagnosis was devastating to my family. Honestly, after researching my odd-ball symptoms, I was pretty sure that was what we were going to hear.
Fast forward three and a half years…. we’ve juggled and jumped the paperwork and financial hoops (doctors, insurance, medications). Adjusting accordingly to temperatures and fatigue levels is a daily occurrence. I’ve ran three half marathons and approximately 1300 miles. Some days are easy. Some days drag.
Perspective: My husband and kids get my energy and effort first. It’s ok to say no. My Best Yes might be to say no to outside activities, social gatherings, or work projects. What I choose to say “yes” to is done with more thought.
Perspective: It is more important than ever to make sweet lemonade from life’s lemons. Anger and bitterness multiply if I let it in. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t fix anything.
Perspective: Compassion, a listening ear, and empathy are three of the greatest tools. I don’t know what’s going on with other people, but I can guarantee that listening without preconceived judgement goes a long way. Not assuming that I know how someone feels or what they are capable of has been a humbling lesson to learn with MS.
Perspective: mobility- can you run? Can you walk? Can you use both hands? Can you feel with all your fingers? Don’t take it for granted.
Perspective: Humility. I am breakable. I am broken. I thank God for what I’ve learned, who I am, and what He is using me for.
Perspective: the gift of time.
I’m thankful for each and every day- good, bad, apathetic or productive.
MS is not a gift I’d wish for anyone, but the perspective it’s given me is.
Much love this Christmas season– Jen