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World Multiple Sclerosis Day

Updated: Jun 24

World Multiple Sclerosis Day is Thursday May 30th. Much in the same way we recognize the military personnel who died while serving their country on Memorial Day, and in the same way we recognize our nationhood on the 4th of July, I would like to recognize Multiple Sclerosis for the role it has played in our lives.


Dear Multiple Sclerosis,

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the impact you have had on our lives. I think it is important for you to know what we have been through because of you, and where we're headed despite your presence. This perspective is from me, not my wife Betsy, whom you directly afflict. However, I have firsthand experience of your effects and am well aware of your capabilities, making me a credible source to speak about your influence.


Your initial appearance in our lives was quite aggressive. I was immediately on guard when I received the message that the emergency room physician wanted someone listening as she shared the results of the MRI with Betsy. The gravity of that phone call was immense. As I rushed to be by my wife's side, I cycled between rage, sorrow, and disbelief. Even as I type this recollection of that emotional ride, tears come to the corners of my eyes. It was a life-changing moment, something I am sure you have come to expect.


At least you weren't bashful; you made your presence known based on what you showed the neurologist through that first MRI. I have heard you sometimes hide out for years, only dropping hints here and there, but that was not the case; you wanted to be seen. This didn't stop us from seeking alternative explanations. You probably snickered when we sought a second opinion and when Betsy went through a lumbar puncture and a battery of labs, each test representing a small flame lighting a path of denial, only to be snuffed out in the end.


Perhaps our insolence was what prompted you to resist the round of high-dose steroids prescribed to relieve those initial symptoms. Maybe you laughed as you thought about how this would only enhance anxiety and ultimately not provide relief. Perhaps after this you felt remorse, and this is why you retreated after Betsy went to the hospital for plasma exchanges.


Then you were quiet; you gave us time to come to terms with how you had changed our lives. We took this opportunity to re-examine things. Betsy became better at identifying triggers. She started treatment. The MRI results became reassuring, but we know you are still there. Betsy can feel you in the occasional brain fog and pseudo-flares.


Betsy is a different person than she was when we first met you, because of you. She has been inspired by others struggling with you and not giving in. She has seen them recoup what you have taken. She has fought countless private battles with you, and these battles have shaped who she is today. These clashes have given her strength. Now she intends to use this strength to empower others on their journey with you, inspiring them to fight, one stride at a time.


Betsy ran 37.5 miles last week, her long run was 3 hours.


Until next week...


 


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Chris, this was such a thoughtful and creative way to express your feelings to MS! Your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Chris for being so supportive with Bets on her journey ❤️

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Wow! What a beautiful post. You emulated immense vulnerability with this one. Thanks for sharing.

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