Let’s face it, change is hard, and you may feel MS causes you to be in a constant state of flux. Where you are always having to modify, adapt, adjust and shift. No two days are ever the same.
That got me thinking about the word CHANGE and how we accept change in our lives. Changes in your life require faith, dedication, and perseverance. Did you know that the true test of intelligence is not how much we know, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do?
I compare my MS experience to that of riding a roller coaster.
Buckled in I began a long, slow climb up the hill having all sorts of weird numbness and tingling. A draggy foot. A few falls. Heck, I didn’t know what was happening.
As the coaster reached the very crest, I was given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis just before the speeding plunge down the other side. Hairpin turns, twists and loop de loops followed. Some riders screamed, putting their hands in the air – but not me. No way. I held on with a death grip. I was too terrified to let go. I mean, who knew where this out-of-control journey would take me?
When managing one’s MS, there can be many factors and elements involved in the process. All such journeys are different, and each person’s experience with MS is very unique. This makes it difficult at times to compare and help navigate its course and impacts. Its unpredictable nature can cause challenges in finding ways to help manage symptoms and disease changes. But there are so many different types of support, treatments, and strategies in place nowadays. Experiences can be shaped and influenced greatly.
I love the emotional and intellectual sides of aging. With each decade, I grow more certain about who I am, what matters to me, and where my strengths lie. I worry less about pleasing others and more about doing what’s right for my physical and mental health. Without multiple sclerosis, I likely would have enjoyed this aspect of aging, but I believe having MS accelerated my drive to live a life I love and feel good about myself.
I thought some things were non-negotiable while I was pre-diagnosis and in peak physical health. Post MS diagnosis, those same things were reconsidered and proved to be negotiable. With diagnosis, my body’s confusing aspects had an explanation, and I could no longer dismiss them when they appeared. Work and the expectations people placed on me were no longer the highest priorities. Rest, sleep and personal fulfillment earned positions of power that would affect choices and influence decisions. For me, this was helpful and necessary.
A part of the MS experience includes getting routine MRIs. This process can be both daunting and expensive. Did you know that MSAA’s MRI Access Program provides financial assistance for Cranial and C-Spine MRIs?
MSAA’s MRI Access Program assists with the payment of Cranial (brain) and C-spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for qualified individuals who have no medical insurance or cannot afford their insurance costs and require an MRI to help determine a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis or evaluate current MS disease progression.
Welcome to MS Awareness Month! Over the next five weeks, MSAA and the entire multiple sclerosis community will focus on a myriad of areas around living with MS, diagnosis, research, advocacy, and the impact MS has on loved ones. These are all important areas of focus throughout the year but now, in March, we take time to really lean in on what they mean for the nearly one million individuals living with MS and those who love them.
Awareness is defined as “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact” and “concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.” These definitions give us a good starting point, but “awareness” goes much deeper than that.