Health and wellness touch each of us differently. This is one person’s story.
Thankful he has MS? No one is thankful for having MS. He makes no sense!
Oh, I hear you. Loud and clear.
Now, let me explain. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) back in 1996, so I’ve had a good long time — over 20 years — to think about this. And yes, MS has closed many doors in my life — physically, emotionally, professionally. But as the saying goes, just as many have been opened.
It is all a matter of perspective. A perspective I had to change unless I wanted MS to prevail.
MS is a different journey for every person, but here are 29 reasons I am thankful for having it:
- MS has given me the focus to reshape priorities and discover new, attainable goals in life.
- MS has made me a better father. It has enabled me to take a more active role as a parent. Being home and being present, I was able to focus on my family.
- Having MS has made me a better son to an ailing mother.
- MS has motivated me to improve my fitness.
- Because of MS, I watch my diet carefully.
- With MS, I focus on the present. Not the past, nor the future.
- I am thankful for my MS diagnosis because it explains my moods and the weird sensations in my body.
- Having MS has given me a greater appreciation of things around me. The beauty of a sunset. The smell of a flower. The vivid color of autumn leaves (as long as I don’t have to rake them).
- I am thankful that MS forced me out of a negative work environment. Long hours, high stress, and constant deadlines were hard on my health.
- Thanks to MS I am appreciative of clean, public restrooms.
- Though I am fairly independent, MS has made me aware of accessibility and other issues faced by the disabled.
- MS has helped me be positive and not dwell on the negatives in life.
- I have been able to pursue writing and the dream of creating my own humor blog.
- MS enables me to help others live with their diagnosis through advocacy and support.
- Because of MS, I am thankful for shower chairs. Who would have thought sitting in a shower could be so comfortable?!
- Thanks to MS, I have become more patient with myself, more tolerant of others, and more accepting of their differences.
- MS has given me an improved awareness of how my body is feeling.
- MS has taught me to channel my limited energy for positive outcomes.
- Thanks to MS, I have learned (despite the racket) that an MRI is a fine place to nap.
- Because life moves so fast, MS has required me to slow down, allowing me to enjoy each moment.
- I am thankful MS has made me realize that my life and health could be much worse. I am lucky.
- I have experienced the kindness of complete strangers — from opening doors to helping me load and unload my wheelchair. Even pushing me up a hill!
- MS has required me to eat and drink slower. I may always be the last to finish, but I have better appreciation of a good meal.
- I admit: I have used MS as a reason to get out of awkward social situations. (Thank you, MS!)
- I’ve gained a greater appreciation for pullover shirts as buttons are difficult for those with MS.
- Because of MS I may be weaker outside, but I am stronger inside.
- I have become respectful of health issues faced by others. Everyone has their own battles so it is better to give support, not criticism.
- MS has taught me that falling in grass is much softer than a floor.
- And finally, MS has made me see the world from a seated perspective. And it is not at all bad!
As I strive to make positive choices on account of MS, it doesn’t mean multiple sclerosis and I have become chummy, best buds. I still get angry having it. Furious, in fact. Over the years, I have called MS every name in the book. At the top of my lungs no less (just ask the neighbors).
But I also realize MS will not go away. MS is resilient, so I must be, in the fight against it. Thus, my change in thought, heart, and perspective. And for that I am thankful.