Friday, May 13, 2016

76 Things #18: Diagnosisversary™

Eight years ago today, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

It might seem silly, or perhaps a little crazy, but every May 13th my wife and I do something to commemorate this date. 

It’s not a celebration, more of a recognition.

Technically, my life didn’t change on May 13th, 2008; rather, the health problems that had been afflicting me 
for years were finally given a name.

Accepting the diagnosis of MS has not been an easy task.  There are moments of sadness and regret but those fleeting moments of darkness do not reflect who I am or going to be.

Living with multiple sclerosis is a 24-hour, 7 days a week battle.  It touches every aspect of my life:  taking part in my children’s activities, chatting with family or friends, taking a random trip to the grocery store or even just going downstairs at night to get a glass of water.  In every scenario, MS is there, lurking and eager to remind me of its presence.

So on May 13th, I acknowledge that although another year of living with MS has passed, my spirits remain high and I’m still smiling.

And that is the #18 thing you might not know about (my) MS.

Friday, April 29, 2016

76 Things #17: Bruised but not beaten

A hundred years ago, doctors would sometimes misdiagnose multiple sclerosis as chronic alcoholism.

Sounds a bit bizarre but in defense of early 20th century medical professionals, if you were to consider some of the common symptoms associated with MS – loss of balance, dizziness, impaired vision and slurred speech – they have a “had a few too many drinks” ring to them.

Loss of balance is a common occurrence in my day.  I’m very careful going up and down the stairs and have learned to try and avoid other situations that might lead to a fall.

But even with this extra caution, bumping and knocking into things is still a regular part of my life.  What results are random bruises on my arms, shoulders leg and feet. 

The pessimist might consider these markings a painful reminder of living with a chronic disease but I’d rather view them as moments captured in time – ahhh, the time I knocked into the dresser…oh, that was when I stumbled into the kitchen table – temporary tattoos that create a work of art illustrating that living with MS isn’t a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.

It can be embarrassing...even during the middle of the summer I'll be dressed in a long-sleeved shirt to cover my MS-induced artwork might linger on my body for weeks, maybe even months. 

This unintentional body art is the #17 thing you might now know about (my) MS. 

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