red mug

Multiple Sclerosis – a life of change

It’s hard when you come to the realization that you are no longer able to use your favorite coffee mug because it’s become too heavy to hold. I am a coffee lover and have a beautiful red mug I have used for years to drink my morning coffee from. My routine is to make coffee in my red mug, sit in my favorite chair and savor a moment of calm before the world wakes up. Somehow coffee just tastes better that way.

But as Multiple Sclerosis has progressed in my body, keeping that routine has become difficult. I still make my morning cup of coffee, but no longer in my red mug. Now it’s in a lighter weight, no-spill blue mug that I find much easier to hold onto.

I fought making that change, but coffee stains on my shirt were not very stylish and I wasn’t a fan of being burned from hot liquids. Talk about a sad realization.

That kind of change has happened quite often in my life since my MS diagnosis. Some of the things I love or have used for years have needed to be put to the side because MS got in the way. It’s not something I wanted to happen…it’s just a reality of living with MS.

A few changes I have made have been letting go of the shoes that didn’t work with my AFO leg braces for those times I try walking, changing out my silverware for lighter weight ones that don’t exhaust my hands, placing a ramp at my front door so I could go in and out of the house in my wheelchair with greater ease, rearranging my kitchen cabinets so items I frequently use are easier to reach, removing the area rugs that get in the way of wheels and feet, adding a cord to the front door knob so I can pull the door shut behind me as I wheel myself out of the house, and adding a remote control deadbolt lock to the door so I can lock and unlock the door without fumbling with small keys. All of those changes were things I rebelled against doing, but they have made my life easier and more manageable.

I could have refused to make those changes, but I decided to accept what my body was telling me and adjusted life accordingly. Why make things harder than needed?

Changes happen a lot with Multiple Sclerosis. You find yourself having to adjust life in ways you simply didn’t want. Some of those changes hurt and some are easy, but never let the fact that you have to make a change get you down. Realize that changes are going to happen and decide to just go with the flow.

Embrace the changes no matter how hard or significant of a change they are. You will find that over time the addition of equipment to help you through your day or the removal of things that have the potential of making life more difficult is not something to be afraid of. Change is okay. It doesn’t make you less of a person because you need added tools or different things to help you out. You are amazing just as you are no matter what you can or can’t do or what equipment is needed in the process.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

34 replies
  1. Ariana
    Ariana says:

    Saw this at the perfect time, just recently, well the past several months, a lot of things have changed; walking up & down stairs has become a struggle, eating certain foods, my face (more so my chin has been completely numb since the end of October), doing certain activities that I used to do not that long ago has now become harder. This kind of change is hard. Living with MS is definitely difficult.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I have had to make changes and some have been hard, like not driving any more, my right leg doesn’t work well any more. I realized this morning I have become ‘comfortably numb’,. .I have lost my mojo and can’t be tickled anymore and that is a blessing and curse together.
    You know I have been listening to the ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ songs and most I can relate to in my life and its a little scary in a way.One track that is really relevant is ‘The Monsters Loss’ and it can be taken for MS monster.

  3. Aileen Brown says:

    You above anyone has made me accept things while still being a warrior but I try and embrace new things two best things late last year was changing my kitchen taps to push ones bathroom already had them and my perching stool got this because of my osteoarthritis but wouldn’t be without either of these anything that makes life easier bring it on

  4. Susan Spencer Fisher says:

    Changing to all flat shoes, elastic waist pants, necklaces with magnetic closures, doing everything one handed from typing to dressing to cooking, sitting in the shower, driving an automatic, the list is endless, but what it allows me to do, is live as normally as I can….with the challenges I face…I live….and for that I am grateful.

  5. Andrew Mallory says:

    Thanks for sharing, living with MS means we have to constantly adapt to changes forced on us by the disease and say goodbye to things we love best wishes to you all and keep on fighting as best you can!

  6. Julie Falconer says:

    I know how you feel. I now have 3 thermos mugs with lids. 1 at each house I go to! It’s a pain but I’ve learnt to accept it now. That and asking for takeaway cups when having a latte at the shops!!!!

  7. Juana Driver says:

    When our changes impact others close to us I sometimes wonder who has the hardest time accepting. Understanding this is the new “me” takes a while. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I say oh well and other times I’m laughing.

  8. Marie Hartzel-Tomko says:

    So true. It is why it is so hard to accept. Especially when you look normal on the outside. It is a grieving for your life and then you realize if you don’t accept where you are you let this disease win. Whatever your life is at now you have to start to live it however you can to find purpose………

  9. Stacy Neuman says:

    Yes, I have been through this exact issue, I love coffee as well. And have to give up others as well, glad to know I’m not alone because many times I feel I am. Sorry just down at the moment…. But stay positive.

  10. Leah
    Leah says:

    Reading about your difficulties with your coffee cup this morning broke my heart. Crap, how dare MS take away your joy of using your favourite red cup!😡 Thanks for your inspiring words Penelope.

  11. Debbie Godlove
    Debbie Godlove says:

    Change is good, it’s said. A walker, scooter, hand controls for the car, grab bars in the shower,keep me moving and independent. Whatever it takes. Most important is a positive attitude towards these changes. Life is good.

  12. Teresa Hayes says:

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with ms. They suspected it for a year. Now starting shots. I’m really fighting to not be so depressed. I get aggravated when I can’t do what I used to. I just want to get positive again.

  13. Terry Biggs says:

    One of the toughest things for me to give up was my horses. It still hurts today but I couldn’t help take care of them anymore and all the responsibility was falling on my husband and I couldn’t let him do that. I had not even been diagnosed yet but I knew that I couldn’t do them justice anymore. Crying as I write this

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