Each of us has our own Mount Everest to climb

Have you ever had something like this happen…

You share your MS journey with someone and they proceed to tell you how their journey with MS or some other ailment is the only way you should be living? That because you go to doctors and take meds, you are doing it all wrong? That you wouldn’t have the struggle you are having if you would just do things their way? That if you only ________ (fill in the blank) you would feel better?

It can get extremely frustrating when someone assumes they know your body and your journey better than you do. Comparing illnesses or even progressions of the same illness between two different people never works. You just can’t fit one person’s life into someone else’s box and think they will be able to function the same. Life just doesn’t work that way. MS doesn’t work that way.

Think about it like this. Two car accidents happen on the very same day. Both involve being rear-ended and both happened during early morning rush-hour traffic. The first accident totaled both cars injuring the drivers. The second was a minor fender-bender.

Both were accidents. Both involved cars being rear-ended. Both happened on the same day. But once you get past those facts, they are vastly different. You just can’t compare the two after labeling them as accidents.

The same goes for a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Two people can experience similar symptoms. Two people can show clusters of lesions on MRI scans. Two people can go through a similar path to diagnosis. Yet both will face different progressions and struggles.

One might be able to function okay for years with only minor limitation and another may progress rapidly as MS ravages their body. Did one person eat better, choose a better method of treatment, follow a better exercise plan, just do things better all the way around?

The answer…NO!

You can’t compare two cases of MS and assume an aggressive form of MS can be managed the same as a slow progressing form of the disease. You can’t even assume two different people living with the same type of MS will experience the exact same struggles or recovery. After determining MS is the cause of a persons difficulties, there’s no comparison. Two different people, two different environments, two different bodies, two different DNA structures, two different lives.

Most people with MS will not be able to run a marathon, but for those that do I am extremely proud of you. I’m excited for your enthusiasm to accomplish such a tremendous feat and am cheering you on as you go.

But I’m also cheering on the ones that struggle to get out of bed. I’m rooting for the ones that take all morning just to shower and get dressed. I’m standing with the ones that can’t stand…even though I’m only standing on the inside myself.

Each one of us have our own daily accomplishments to be proud of. Just because mine involve less strenuous activities than someone else doesn’t mean I’m not pushing with every ounce of strength I have to complete them. My Mount Everest may appear to be an ant hill in comparison, but to me it’s a monumental moment when I conquer it.

I may not finish first, tenth, or sixty-seventh. I may be the last one crossing the finish line as I use the final bits of power my wheelchair can put out…but I’m making it my way and in my own timing.

Never let anyone cause you to feel unimportant, less-than or as if you should be doing things differently. You are amazing just as you are. You are a champion.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

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.

41 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Very well put Penelope. It does feel like an ‘Everest”is there.but in my case a ‘Mt Cook’ in the way. Some of the problems I have beaten have felt like a great climb but I look back and say I beat the Monster. I know that all of us have many and varied symptoms but we can talk a common language. It’s not the symptoms that make who we are, but what we do with them.
    I have lost a lot of things in my travels but I have got much more than I have lost.

  2. Rachel Cytanovic says:

    I’ve been doing things my own way for more than 30 years and doing well enough. People offer me well meaning words of advice all the time. I politely say thank you and go on with my life.

  3. Carla Broadbent Rogers
    Carla Broadbent Rogers says:

    With MS there are medicines, studies, groups,doctors and thousands of try this…do not do that…..Bottom line….Ms is yours and yours alone. You did not ask for this, but you are strong and will handle this the way YOU need to. Be well my fellow MS’ers.

  4. Cassie Willis McChesney says:

    I have made the decision not to see another neurologist/doctor for MS. I refuse to take the medicine they try to shove on me, and I make them mad and they get rude when I say I’m going the more natural approach. I won’t have another MRI either. I’m better off not knowing and causing myself stress over it. I will live life as best I can. Sick of people saying you need to eat this or you don’t work out enough yada yada.

    • Jana
      Jana says:

      Good on you Cassie! I agree and am doing the same even though they all think I am crazy! Am tired of false promises! Have enough crap in my body already! Keep smiling if you can? 😀

  5. Judy
    Judy says:

    I love the photo of the very strong looking man in a wheelchair. He must have trained hard to get those muscles. Best wishes to him and everyone readnig this.

  6. Ethel Himel says:

    My sister does it to me. If I say my legs hurt or I’m weak today she says it too. Really I’m waiting for her to say well I had MS too but its cured now, lol like she had been cured ok pal lol

  7. Joyce Steiner says:

    I do things my way.. always have.. even moved to a different state to get away from family.. who was always telling me I was doing things wrong.. I am much happier now.. I like that saying.. everyone has their own Mt. Everestt to clime.. sp?.. that’s what I will say from now on

    • Liz Gordon says:

      I’m lucky to have a supportive neurologist, she lets me decide which and when to take meds.
      At the end of my appointment she always tells me, ‘go live your life, have fun’

  8. Stacie Greene Betterman says:

    I see this a lot in the support groups I’m in. Someone will tell or show their reaction to a medication and another will get on there and downplay doctors and modern medicine. They say you should go all natural and how it’s helped them. Their opinion is fine, but they should not force it on others. To each his own.

  9. Lorraine Vasquez says:

    Sad to say that reality is ms is a hard disease to understand. Even drs don’t get it sometimes. Being polite is best. Fight for our sickness. Took me four yrs to finally get right Neuro right meds. Better for now.

  10. Laura Grim Prieto says:

    Each one of us are different with our MS symptoms. My reply is “We are all hard wired differently…” People who tell me I’m doing it wrong are the people I tend to distance myself from….

  11. Jon Andrews says:

    If I followed everyone’s uneducated advice, I would spend my days not eating anything and just applying essential oils while getting 20,000 steps in. I love saying “thank you for your advice, but my doctors are kick ass and on the forefront of treatments. My uncle put a pinecone in his butt, didn’t have MS. Gonna try that next!”

  12. Clive Whiteside says:

    As always Penelope you have managed to say something that is very true about life with MS in your wonderful post. Yes each of us does have our own mount Everest to climb. Yet you continue to help so many of us climb our own Everest at the sometime as you are climbing your own Mountain. Thank you for all that you do take Care Clive xx

  13. Jennifer Piro Kunz says:

    Yes. It is frustrating. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. Even with my mom and I, our symptoms are different and even the same strains of MMJ have different effects on us.

  14. Lauren Campbell Kovacs says:

    This is why I share with very few. I tell people I don’t know ( if they ask) that I got dropped in college cheerleading and was injured. True, I have many times I was hurt in college level cheerleading. Not lying. I leave out what my injury was. They stop asking when I tell them that.

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