Everything I Know I Learned From MS

By James Smith
Updated 2024-03-24 13:11:10 | Published 2023-05-28 23:24:01
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    • The Multiple Sclerosis section of the iMedix Blog is a resource rich in information about MS, covering topics like symptom management, treatment advancements, and lifestyle adaptations. It’s an essential guide for patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to navigate the complexities of this neurological condition.

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Multiple sclerosis has been a relentless teacher, constantly providing me with lessons that I have yet to fully grasp. As I sat down to write about the lessons I've learned from 40 years of living with MS, I quickly realized that my learning journey is far from over. Despite thinking I had enough time, I soon found myself proven wrong by MS.

Multiple Sclerosis – How I Knew I Had MS

Just when I thought I had ample time to complete my article, I was hit with a severe urinary tract infection that brought about a new challenge. My bowels stopped functioning, and I was forced to seek medical attention at the hospital. After spending four nights there, I returned home, still in need of rest. This setback forced me to delay finishing the article and taught me a valuable lesson: never procrastinate because with MS, there may not be a last minute. It's crucial to prioritize important things, such as expressing love to our dear ones, as MS serves as a constant reminder of our mortality.

MS has also taught me the importance of slowing down and cherishing life's moments. While others may find it irritating when I pause to admire flowers or observe birds, I have come to understand the importance of taking my time. I leave early to avoid rushing, as my MS brain cannot handle multitasking or doing too much at once.

One of the most vital skills I've developed as a result of MS is learning how to seek and accept help. Regardless of our disability score, there are many tasks we can achieve with the assistance of others. However, many people, influenced by American culture's emphasis on self-reliance, struggle to ask for help as it is seen as a sign of weakness. Extreme independence is a myth, and it only serves to compel us to consume more.

There are various reasons why people resist seeking help. Some may fear that helpers won't meet their expectations, feel indebted to them, or worry about being taken advantage of. Learning to be a good helpee and avoiding victimization requires communication skills and the right attitude. MS often grants us the time to develop these skills before our needs become overwhelming.

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Another essential aspect of living with MS is valuing oneself and asserting one's needs. It is crucial to be able to say no when others' demands interfere with our well-being. Advocating for others may come naturally, but learning to advocate for ourselves requires practice, and MS continues to push us in that direction.

Achieving balance is not optional for individuals with MS. Pushing ourselves too hard may lead to physical collapse, while inactivity can cause loss of function. It is imperative to keep moving while respecting our limits. Finding a regular routine that works for us can greatly ease our daily life. Additionally, flexibility is necessary as MS is a continuous process of adjustment. Each day brings new challenges, and we must adapt, seek help, and maintain our current abilities.

Prioritizing our bodies and putting their needs first is another valuable lesson from MS. This means avoiding situations that exacerbate our symptoms, such as staying indoors on hot days if we are heat intolerant. It also involves getting enough sleep and taking care of ourselves before and after important occasions.

Lastly, gratitude for what we still have and can still do is crucial. Focusing on loss only brings despair, but acknowledging what we still possess brings happiness. Although I wish I could graduate from the school of MS, I've come to realize that I'm still a student. While I long to participate in activities like basketball and hiking that I used to enjoy, I embrace the wisdom that MS has imparted to me.

James Smith is verified user for iMedix

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