Reluctant to Change

By Doug Ankerman

Multiple sclerosis has been, and continues to be, the best disease I could ever have!

(More on this later.)

When it comes to change, I have been reluctant, even rebellious, my whole life.

Strange places, new faces, different situations make me nervous and uneasy.

Like before my start of 3rd grade. Redistricting forced me to leave my familiar friends and attend a new school. I freaked — kicking and screaming. My mom called the Superintendent to protest the change. All to no avail. I had to go to a different school and meet new friends and new teachers.

Through the years my reluctance to change improved. Slightly. At least no more kicking and screaming. Although my nervousness, anxiety and the punch-to-the-gut feeling of change remained strong.

Then in 1996 multiple sclerosis entered my life. MS nudged me to change. Change the way I worked. Change the way I walked. Change the way I lived. And I rebelled every small, shuffling step of the way.

“I don’t need a disabled parking pass.”

“I don’t want to be seen with a cane.”

“Wheelchair?  I’m not gonna use a wheelchair.”

Frankly I was kicking and screaming without the kicking and screaming.

Over time my fight began to soften. I began accepting change and my new way of living. And you know what? I realized it wasn’t so bad. I have learned change can be good. Change can make things easier. Change can be better.

MS has helped me accept change.

Today I am okay in new situations. Calmer in new places. Open to new faces.

I have learned to accept MS and the changes it has brought to my life.

And for that I am thankful.

*Doug writes about MS and other goofy stuff on his humor blog at

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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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