This time of year with Thanksgiving and the subsequent holiday season, I always try to focus on all that I am grateful for in my life, including multiple sclerosis. When I say that I'm grateful for MS I should explain that I'm not thankful for the disease but rather for what the experience has shown to me. Apparently, I’ve been doing this for years and recently, I was reminded of a blog post that I wrote seven years ago for Lippincott NursingCenter.com. As I grow older, I would say that the feelings that I had expressed then have only intensified and grown more precious with time. Not to mention that now I have two sons whose smiles I cherish on a daily basis.
Living with multiple sclerosis has given me a deep appreciation and respect for life, and revealed to me an inner strength and fortitude I never knew existed. I am truly thankful for the perspective I have gained and the outlook I now have on life. I wish I didn't have this disease but like anything, I think it is what we do with it and how we frame it in our minds. I think having a chronic illness has taught me to value things that I may have taken for granted before I was diagnosed with MS. I also believe I caught a glimpse of what life could be like and I fight every day not to go back there. Sometimes, through the things I have learned living with MS, I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge awakening with sheer elation on Christmas morning to realize that it is never too late to treasure everything life has to offer.
So take a stroll down memory lane with me to Thanksgiving 2010…
As Thanksgiving approaches, I try to remind myself of all that I am thankful for. I’m thankful for my friends and my family and I’m thankful for my health…as strange as that may be from a person with relapsing-remitting MS. I am thankful for MS because to quote Thoreau “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” and MS has given me perspective on life.
I’ve come a long way since the initial diagnosis seven years ago and it has been quite an introspective journey. I’ve learned not to worry about things out of my control and I’ve learned to value everything. For example, I enjoy jogging (something I used to hate) because I can do it. My legs are working and I can do it. I cherish sunsets, beautiful birds soaring through the skies and every smile that crosses my son’s face because I can see them. My eyes are working and I can do it.
MS has taught me that we make out of life what we choose. We have the power and the strength within us to overcome anything. I do not take anything for granted because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. So thank you MS for giving me that view of life because it is so precious and I intend to enjoy every minute of it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!