Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

But I am living in a new world: Accepting multiple sclerosis

Ruth Just's story:
I have had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 35 years. I have lost one ability after the other. I am now completely dependent on the care of other people.

Over the years I have learned that although I can't choose not to have it, I can choose my attitude about living with the disease.

The first thing I must do is accept MS. I must accept it not just once but over and over again. Whenever anger, grief and envy rise in me – when I see what other people can do and what other people have – I must remember that I have decided to accept MS.

When my whole family goes to Germany and I have to stay home, I must remember my decision to accept MS. Every time I have to spend several months in bed healing a pressure wound and think what fun it would be to go on a bike ride with my sisters, I must remember my decision to accept MS.

I struggle and I groan under the weight of this responsibility. But I am living in a new world. New opportunities abound. And I'm amazed to find that I feel very thankful for this new world.

MS has created a special bond between my husband and me. He has stayed with me and offered me his love and support through all these years. Would I have seen the fine mettle of this man were it not for MS?

Many of the people who take care of me are new immigrants from African countries. Getting to know these people has been the most enriching experience of my life. They are part of my new world. We encourage each other, and our friendships are rich.

My diminishment has also made me a member of the MS community. The many fine people I have met inspire me with their courage. We share each others' joys and sorrows. I need these people and they need me.

Advice to people with such diminishments from a chronic illness: Read the book that has guided Ruth: On Hallowing One's Diminishments, by John Yungblut.

Read another multiple sclerosis story.

Thanks to Ruth Just for her source article in the November/December issue of Neurology Now.

No comments: