Eighteen years ago on this date, it was similar to today in that it was rather hot. And quite humid. And very sunny. (Of course it was… it was July in Indiana.) So what made it memorable? July 30, 1997 was the day of the official word, the day that Dr. Stevens confirmed that the preliminary June diagnosis was correct: I had Multiple Sclerosis.
Today isn’t exactly a celebration, though it is strangely encouraging to know that my MS can now vote… not really, I know, but it does build a more substantial “life experience” dwelling (cottage or sky scraper or sand castle, I’m not sure). I may not be in a “lighthearted” sort of spirit, but I do wish to portray a thankful one. Why? Eighteen years into my MS journey, there continue to be blessings that I see.
I will still never be “Thankful for MS,” but as I type this, I am reminded of my daughter who told me last week that she plans to “Never say never.” …to which her twin sister responded, “You do know that by saying that, you’ve said ‘Never’ twice, right?”.
So let me rephrase that: I don’t believe that I will ever be thankful for MS. That having been said, here are things am I thankful for in the midst of MS:
5 Things I’m More Thankful for with MS in My Life
- Needed Slowness – I’ve never been super speedy, but MS has enforced a movement level that has me running races with snails, and sometimes they win. But you know what we’ve discovered? When you refrain from being speedy, you notice and appreciate things. It can be refreshing.
- Connections with others – There are more people than I can count who have contacted me for assurance or advice – or commiseration – after receiving a frightening diagnosis. This is never a lesson I had planned to teach, but I’m thankful that I’m able to step in here at times.
- Little everyday ADA blessings – I credit the ADA for many bits of blessing, and I am thankful for things like not-too-steep ramps, early boarding for an airplane, and special seats at the theater. I read earlier this week that we are now a part of “Generation ADA” – we have indeed come a long way. I have an understanding here that I never would have before!
- Learning the blessing of giving AND receiving – For some of us, giving is a lot simpler, more comfortable, more joyful than receiving. And rightly so… but I have finally realized that by being an appreciative “receiver,” I bless the life of those on the other side of the equation. For a proud and independent type of person, this wasn’t a simple lesson, but I feel that I am experiencing this truth more fully after eighteen years.
- Deeper family relationships – Life as it is in the Knight house requires a level of giving, understanding, patience and love that I don’t think would be if not for challenges MS brings our way. My husband and daughters are so very special, and there are bonds within our family that have been strengthened by this thing called MS.
So “Thankful for MS”? Not today. Thankful for (sometimes hidden) blessings that abound? You bet!