Acceptance is a Myth

Accepting multiple sclerosisBy Doug Ankerman

Wearing the sash as one newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is an overwhelming experience.

Mind spins. Heart races. Limbs tremble (that being the MS part).

Diagnosis may bring closure to some questions. But now new challenges arise. New treatments begin. Lifestyles change. And acceptance? Well it’s the furthest thing in your mind. Heck, you’re just trying to get through the day.

I call acceptance a myth because I am not certain we as MSers ever fully accept our diagnosis. MS has stolen functions from us that we will always hold it responsible. Personally I will never extend an olive branch to MS.

Rather than accepting multiple sclerosis, I tolerate it at best.

I indulge MS like the cartoon cat and mouse Tom & Jerry. They may live in the same house, but at the first chance Tom will wallop Jerry with a frying pan. Likewise Jerry will shred Tom’s tail in a fan. With MS, it jumps me trying to stifle use of my hands & feet while I fight back with exercise, stretching, and spasticity meds. It’s an epic Tom & Jerry brawl of chronic disease. A round-the-clock battle we know all too well.

I have multiple sclerosis. Had it since 1996. Accepting my diagnosis feels like, I don’t know, giving in? Waving a white flag, maybe? So instead of accepting my diagnosis, let’s just say I have come to tolerate it. Because any opportunity I get to smack MS with a frying pan, I’m swinging for the fences, baby!

Keep moving my friend.

*Doug writes about MS & other funny stuff on his blog at Also on  And on Twitter @myoddsock.

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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