MS does impact my life. That may seem to be an obvious statement but let’s look a little deeper. There is more to this than meets the eye.
Yes, of course, this disease has many negative impacts on me, my life and my loving wife Lisa. But not every impact is necessarily negative. What? I hear you ask, have I found some ways in which MS has had a positive effect?
The answer has to be ‘yes’, no doubt about that.
Naturally, I can only talk about myself and not everyone’s experience will be the same. But, hey, that is multiple sclerosis – where no two people have exactly the same symptoms.
My symptoms mainly impact my mobility and balance so, outdoors, I need mobility aids. I use a rollator (basically a walker on wheels with brakes and a seat on which to rest) for short distances and a wheelchair for anything longer. I also have to cope with urinary urgency and continence issues.
So, what ‘positives’ can I draw from having MS?
There are many, including:
- meeting a host of people, both in person and by telephone or online, that I would otherwise not have met;
- new and often unexpected friendships;
- writing for both MS and medical online publications;
- using an electric powered wheelchair to restore some independence and to give Lisa a break from pushing me around;
- visiting Moscow, somewhere I never thought I’d go, to check out its HSCT centre. My existing (non-MS) health did not make me a suitable candidate but the visit was worthwhile. And I saw the Kremlin, Red Square, the home of the Bolshoi Ballet, the former headquarters of the KGB, and more;
- avoiding queues, or lines. From Radio City Music Hall, New York, through getting on and off cruise ships, to taking commercial airline flights, wheelchair users are given special and welcome treatment;
- courteous treatment. Wherever I go, staff of shops, restaurants, everywhere are only too happy to help. And, more than that, even members of the public are willing to open doors, clear a way for me, and generally offer assistance.
These are just some examples. It’s by no means meant to be an exhaustive list.
Someone I have known for some time asked me the other day: “Surely, you don’t mean that you feel good about having MS?”
No, of course I don’t. Naturally, I’d be much happier to have a clean bill of health. But, as that isn’t the case, let’s make the best of it.
MS is not a reason to give up.
We are warriors. We must all look for the best in life and fight on.
* * * * *
* * * * *
50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.