Not always dwelling on your illness – Ann Romney, MSer

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Losing yourself in doing something else, and not always dwelling on your illness is very important.

Although I agree with the sentiment, those are not my words but were spoken by Ann Romney, whose husband Mitt is US senator for Utah. He is probably most widely known as the Republican presidential candidate who unsuccessfully challenged Barack Obama in 2012.

ann romney

Ann Romney.

But, let’s get back to Ann who was talking to PBS about the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis. She received a diagnosis of of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in 1998.

According to Healthline, it was a crisp autumn day in 1998 when she ‘felt her legs go weak and her hands became unexplainably shaky. Thinking back, she realized that she’d been tripping and stumbling more and more often.

Always the athletic type, playing tennis, skiing, and jogging regularly, Romney grew scared at the weakness in her limbs. She called her brother Jim, a doctor, who told her to see a neurologist as soon as she could.

‘At Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, an MRI of her brain revealed the telltale lesions characteristic of MS. The numbness spread to her chest. “I felt I was being eaten away,” she told the Wall Street Journal, courtesy of CBS News.’

Center for Neurologic Diseases

In her own right, Ann is an accomplished equestrian, author, and philanthropist.

ann romney

Howard L Weiner MD, co-director, Dennis J Selkoe MD, co-director, and Ann Romney, founder and chair of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases.

Added to that, she is founder and chair of The Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Its website says it ‘is a collaborative global pursuit to accelerate treatments, prevention, and cures for five of the world’s most complex neurologic diseases: multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors.’

My own experience, of living with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), makes me agree that “losing yourself in doing something else, and not always dwelling on your illness” is imperative.

Let me paint you a picture. My left side is useless, neither arm or leg obey signals sent by my brain. I can no longer walk at all, I cannot stand up, my ever-loving wife Lisa has to use an electric patient hoist to transfer me from bed to wheelchair etc. She has to help me shower and dress and, of course, clean up whenever, regretfully, I have an accident.

Despite all that, I try to remain positive. I am where I am. Here, now and the future are what matters.

Don’t get me wrong, though, my determination does not make me perfect.

Occasionally, when frustrated, I curse this disease. I sometimes cry because I feel useless. The future is uncertain for everyone, we can only live in hope and love, not fear and hate.

My version of Ann Romney’s “losing yourself in doing something else” is writing. Although, these days, I can only use one hand, the time I spend on my laptop, researching and writing, is therapeutic. It allows me to leave my troubles behind and lose myself in the subject.

Even today, the story is about Ann Romney, not me.

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Spelling

Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. 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. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. 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.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.

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