Birthdays with MS

The "Gift" of MS


Today is my birthday.  I’ve received an unbelievable amount of birthday wishes on my FUMS Facebook and Twitter pages.  It absolutely blows my mind that people all over the world know about little old me and my story and actually take time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday.  That wouldn’t be true without MS.  While Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has brought with it so many difficulties, worries, pains and heartaches, it has also brought new joys, wonders and friends that I would never have gained without it.  I remember hearing people with diseases interviewed who would say that they were thankful for their disease.  “What the hell is wrong with them?” I’d think.  Who would wish for a disease?  Especially one that is incurable, progressive and debilitating?  No one – that’s who.  But those of us with one, and who so choose, have found the little gifts that can actually come from something life-changing like a diagnosis.  I sure as hell wouldn’t go back and choose to have MS again.  However, since I do have it, I’m grateful for what good has come of it.  Things like old friends who have found their way back to me because they heard I wasn’t well.  Or new friends, gained through a little website with a potentially obscene URL.  Whodathunk I’d have friends in Scotland, Estonia, Africa, Ireland, England, Canada, Katmandu?  Not me.

I’m grateful for some of the ways that MS has changed me, too.  I’m much more compassionate and understanding than I used to be pre-dx.  I take great joy in “the little things” like having the hummingbirds come to my feeder, my perennial flowers that came back this year, watching my kids sleep, spending a day just chatting with a friend, having a day without pain.    It’s a shame it took a jolt like MS to make me really live and feel, but it did, and for that, I’m grateful.  I’m also more aware of my ability and responsibility to maintain and fine tune my own healthcare.  Paying attention to nutrition, exercise, rest, and relaxation was not something on my radar before MS.  I’m empowered by my own ability to “tweak” how I feel by laying down in the middle of the day or by eating more protein when I need more energy, etc.  When first diagnosed, I felt very “done to” and out-of-control.  Like MS would just march over me and there was nothing I could do to challenge it.  On a cellular level that may be true, but I’ve found on a spiritual level, I can choose to be in control and I can decide to be happy despite the MS.  The things within my control are many, and I’ve learned how to exercise that control.  And those things outside of my control – and we all have them, not just MS’ers – they are just that – out of my control.  I’ve learned how not to worry because worry is a wasted emotion, a waste of time, a waste of energy.  It’s freeing, really.  And a gift – everyday, and especially this day – my birthday.

What I really wanted to say in this post is “thank you.”  Thank you to MS for the positive things that it’s brought into my life through a shift in perspective and awareness, and “thank you” to you all who have ushered me through much of my uncertainty and fear,
 and provided support for me – and a community of us all – through your comments, “likes,” “shares,” and unwavering optimism.  What a great  gift – on my birthday, and everyday.  Thank you.







Use of the picture for this blog post was kindly granted by  

4 thoughts on “Birthdays with MS”

  1. Pennies for Penny

    This brought tears to my eyes. I applaud the courage, grace, and tenacity in which you fight your battle. Whenever I start feeling sorry for my mom (and myself) I start counting the blessings that MS has brought to our lives. They are few and far between, but they are precious. Happy birthday, Kathy. May this be the year that a cure (or better treatment options) become available. All my love, Diana

  2. A reminder to enjoy the simple things and let go of worry is a lovely birthday gift FROM you! Hope you have a wonderful day with many happy returns!

  3. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and smell the roses and enjoy our children sleeping:) I am so glad you have given yourself the birthday gift of taking good care of yourself and making those hard choices that will allow you to do so. Another “positive” of the MS is how you have chosen to share your journey, inspire others and be a source of information for others walking the same journey. You are a beautiful woman- wishing you a wonderful birthday!

  4. Hi there! Well, you can add Australia to your list of ‘friend’ locations now. I was diagnosed in 2002 after one attack at Xmas 2001 and another a few weeks later in Jan 2002. I did Interferon for 8 years and then had Tissue necrosis and Cellulitis (no, this is not cellulite!) in both thighs simultaneously. So, since that time in 2010, I have been MS drug-free, except Minocycline (which has been trialled along with Avonex and shown good results); and no, I don’t do the Avonex with it.
    I take a bunch of supplements every day – Vit D, Omega 3s, Magnesium powder, multi-vitamin, and a few others. I don’t subscribe to things like Baclofen, whose side effects are foten worse than the ‘help’ they give.
    I did a no dairy life for a full year, but feel better with dairy – I have always been a strict vegetarian (no meat, fish or eggs), so a healthy ‘diet’ is not such a challenge ‘cept the sweet things. We cut down on gluten in a BIG way about a year ago and have stuck with it – “we” is me and my lovely man of nearly 30 years. he retired in 2010 so we could be together. I blurt out “We’ joined at the hip” and corrects me with “We’re joined at the heart”. Corny, but true. We are soooo in “this” together.
    I have been a member of Trevis Gleason’s “Life With MS” Blog since the beginning, but find that the latest site set-up just doesn’t work well at all – it won’t work on a Sony tablet – I have yet to try yours. 🙂
    So….that’s me. I haven’t worked out how often you blog…..I hope it’s often, since I have felt a tad disconnected sicne the scre2w-up of Trevis’ Blog. Hugz, Rusty (Western Australia).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *