10.20.2015

MS Sucks. Can I Be Thankful For It?

I'm grateful for MS. I know. I just threw up in my own mouth. Tastes like blasphemy.

I'm grateful for MS, but this isn't a post about finding the silver lining, or looking on the bright side. I will not ask you to drink from your half-full glass of rose-coloured rosé before you put your head back in the sand. Let me be very clear.

MS fucking sucks. 

It’s balls. There is nothing inherently good about this loathsome disease, and I wholeheartedly believe in saying it sucks, when it sucks. 


Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. 

I will let it out, feel all the sucky feelings, and go through every last miserable moment of sucky grief, and sucky angst, on the highway to Sucktown. I willingly embrace the consideration of all the terrifying possibilities, the mourning of every loss, and of every lost potential. I will scream and cry about it, and I don’t want anyone telling me to feel better. 

What I do want from my posse is for them to listen, to pour me a glass of wine, to put their arms around me, and tell me they love me. I want them to hand me the tissues and tell me they don’t know how it’s possible, but I’m even prettier when I'm crying. 

When the dust settles as it always does, I will take a deep breath and say I’m grateful for every single shitty thing that has ever happened to me. Of course it’s way easier to do this long after a crisis has passed. Time affords healing, clarity, and perspective. And ultimately, the ability to recognize what I've gained throughout it all, and that is resilience. Resilience is one of the most valuable skills we can cultivate and there is simply no other way to get it than through first hand, tough as shit, life experience. MS is the steep price I’ve paid for that which has turned me into rubber. Tough, bouncy, resilient, rubber. 

Most of the blessings we name at Thanksgiving are transient and temporary. Eventually we may lose some of the material things we appreciate, we most certainly will lose loved ones we hold dear, and eventually all of us will confront our own struggles with health and mortality. How not to get swallowed up in the overwhelming sublimity of it all?  Giving thanks for the fragile and fleeting can ground us in the present. It's important to count these blessings. But this Thanksgiving, I'm feeling particularly grateful for something less tangible, but perhaps more enduring. Something I might even have a little control over.


Dear MS,
Thanks for the AWESOME life skills.
What I really wanted was a pair of Ray-Ban Marshal's, but, I get it;
in this economy.

Blah, blah, blah, hardship builds character, right? I’m not convinced I would actually choose a strong character over strong legs, but since I'm stuck with ‘life experience’, when the next MS meltdown strikes, I can remind myself that my ability to adapt has been earned and learned and lives deep within me. Even if my body breaks, I won’t be broken. I'm still here. I know how to do this. I'm sure my resilience has a threshold. We're talking rubber, not steel. But I'm surprised and grateful to learn I haven't reached it yet. 

The degree to which we are able to reconcile and coexist with calamity is the degree to which we are able to find peace in our lives.

In the immortal words of the great Chumbawamba, 

I get up again.


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14 comments :

  1. Alice, you are prettier when you cry....

    But, Alice, sometimes you are so pretty, that it causes me to lie awake for hours wondering how I can possibly manage to pull it together to meet you for lunch in public the next day (the hair, the shoes, the dress, the eyebrows, yes, really the eyebrows... ). And despite my never really succeeding in the fashion arena, your stellar life skills come out in full force and still make me feel special, loved and glamorous (though I distinctly notice you never raise your eyes too high above mine...) xo

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    1. Sweet Dex,
      You flatter me. If I'm not mistaken you are living a pretty glam life yourself in Germany. If it seems I am not raising my eyes it's because I have one very lazy eye and I don't want my good eye making it feel bad.
      xa

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Cheryl Ann! Thanks for reading.

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  3. Oh Alice, you leave me speechless! That alone could be of enormous value to many who know me and would like it in pill form and I have no doubt they would use it frequently. Your wit,honesty, unique spin on your spot in time with M.S. is like nothing I have read.........but you are unlike anyone I have met.....Remarkable! xo ( and you crack me up!)

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Unknown (MG?). I hope you never shut up!
      xa

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  4. Sometimes you have to have a break from being strong, from being inspirational, from being able to grin and bear it. I'm glad you took a break and that it gave you an opportunity to be thankful.

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    1. C-Drop,
      I would caution anyone against looking to me for inspiration. You will end up with clothes you can't afford and a terrible hangover. Maybe a puppy.

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  5. Really. You are the very meaning of resilience. Thank you for teaching us. Your blogs make us all better people.

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    Replies
    1. You are too kind.

      To be honest, I wrote this a long time ago and re-reading it was a good reminder to take a deep breath and chill out.

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  6. I was diagnosed with MS Jan 2011 after 13 months of bizarre symptoms and was 100% on board with taking it on, it was an easy thing to deal with mentally. Just a few weeks ago Nov 2nd I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer......I am nervous not knowing if it will shorten my life.....it is scary. Cancer is cancer and can do what ever it wants, MS is debilitating but not life threatening and I am thankful for it being what it is. Signed, Scott Ricker aka Ricka Chey @ reli-Abilities, Access = Opportunity

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear of your prostate cancer dx. All the best to you, Scott, and I hope you are getting good care.

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  7. What a wonderful posting! I've forwarded it to friends who have been helpful and supportive in my MS journey. Thanks!

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