Gratitude

This morning, my local neurologist sat me down after performing my annual exam. For the exam, she’d checked my reflexes, had me follow her fingers with my eyes, had me push against her (“you’re strong”), had me stand on one leg, then on the other, had me walk on tip-toe, walk on my heels, walk a (flawless) heel-to-toe.
She prefaced her conclusion by saying, “You might be unhappy to hear to this.” Naturally, I was all ears. “How long did you say you’ve been diagnosed with MS?”
“Sixteen years. I’ve had MS for over twenty years.”
“Over twenty years? And you can still swim laps for thirty minutes?”
But not for thirty five.”
She nodded. “Not for thirty five. Swimming laps for thirty minutes is really good for someone who has had MS for over twenty years. Maybe you don’t want to hear this, maybe you want to do better, but you are doing very well.”
I corrected her assumption. “I do want to hear that. I’m so glad I’m doing well.”
I’d reported to her, earlier, that the parameters of my abilities are shrinking. I’d wondered aloud if I was transitioning into Secondary Progressive MS. “I can’t do as much as I used to. I can’t walk as long, or as fast. Every time I push myself, the MS pushes back.”
She’d agreed with my tentative assessment. “I often see this kind of gradual decline with people who have a mild form of MS.”
There was once a time when I would have bristled at that remark. I would have resented the suggestion that my nemesis, MS, could be described as “mild.” There was nothing mild about the pain I was experiencing right there in her office, which was why I had swung my aching leg up onto her examination table and used the table as a barre to stretch.
There was a time when I wasn’t willing to believe the MS could get any worse.
I know better, now.
My neurologist sees worse cases of MS every day. At least these days she can tell her patients that there are effective medications —medications like the one I’m on—in the research pipeline. There’s much more reason for hope than there was back when I was diagnosed.
And that is why today’s post is simply a post of gratitude.
I am very grateful.
Grateful for having a fine local neurologist.
Grateful for having insurance.
Grateful for having a $15 co-pay.
Grateful for being on an effective medication.
Grateful to be receiving that medication free of charge through an NIH study.
Grateful to have friends and family who support me. (It’s not too late, by the way, to support me in the MS Walk.)
Grateful to be able to swim 30 minutes of laps.
Grateful you visited this blog.
Grateful that yesterday, somebody searched Google for “Happiness with Multiple Sclerosis” and ended up on here on Ms. Lab Rat. What a hoot!
Am I happy with Multiple Sclerosis, the disease? Nope. I can’t say that I am. I hate this disease.
But am I happy, despite Multiple Sclerosis? You bet.
I welcome all seekers of happiness, with or without Multiple Sclerosis.
Thanks for visiting.

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2 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Merdad

    Guess you have proven it is not good health that is the blessing but rather the good sense to give a HOOT. You and the woman from TED.com with 12 pairs of legs are grateful. Have patience, the rest of us just don’t get it. We need hooters like you to tell us the truth.

    Reply

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