Glass Half Full…

11 09 2009

One person’s experience with multiple sclerosis can be quite different from another person’s because of the very varied nature of lesion location (also a function of how long the lesions last.)  But step back and commonalities become apparent that distinguish MS patients from  those with other serious medical conditions.

Never a big fan of needles, I was quite put off when my neurologist announced that I should henceforth be giving myself regular injections.  I immediately thought about my diabetic sister-in-law, and was glad that I was not facing multiple shots every day.  I was also relieved that, although being on a regular schedule was a good idea, the timing was not critical, and I had some latitude to deal with the vagaries of my squeamishness.

Count your blessings.

I also thought of my Dad, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and my father-in-law, who died of Parkinson’s.  These devastating diseases don’t play out identically in every person, but they do spell out an eventual course that no medical advances have been able to alter.  In contrast, MS patients think about their mobility, not their mortality.

Count your blessings.

And I thought of my kids’ trumpet teacher, who suffered a stroke several years ago.  With a stroke, the damage arrives suddenly and the victim quickly faces the disability fate has dealt.  Months and maybe years are spent improving one’s situation (up to whatever point destiny allows.)  A person is working his way back up the hill.  There’s something positive about the situation. With MS, the opposite is true.  The patient is given a diagnosis, possibly when physical disabilities are virtually nonexistent.  But there’s something ominous about the unknowns that lie ahead.  The future is a downward slope, but how steep is it?  Mentally, a person has to fight the pessimism that is inherent in the situation.

Be grateful for the blessings of this day, this hour, this minute, and don’t fret about the uncertainties of tomorrow.

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