Multiple Sclerosis is not who I am

When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher…I also wanted to be a scientist, a musician, a secret agent and an architect. Never once did I want to be a person living with a chronic illness. That never even popped into my head. But here I am living with multiple sclerosis. It was never my dream, but it is now my reality.

Have you noticed how when we meet people for the first time, one of our questions in getting to know them is “What do you do?” We associate their career with them as a person. Many times we think of Steve the Engineer and Julie the Mom; JoAnne the Chef and Peter the Landscaper; Chris the Beautician and Frankie the Housekeeper.

We don’t normally think of people in association with their ailments, even when we know what someone is dealing with. It’s not a natural thing to think of people as Steve the one with bad eyesight and Julie the eczema sufferer; JoAnne the one with osteoporosis and Peter with athletes foot; Chris with heart disease and Frankie with diabetes.

Those things may be what they are battling daily. They may require lots of attention, hospital stays and med to manage, but those things are not who they are as a person. Neither their ailments nor their careers are who they are. Each person is so much more.

When someone thinks of you they may think of what you do for a living and the fact that you have MS…but those are not normally their first thoughts. The first thing that pops into their head when your name is mentioned is how you make them feel. They think of your contagious smile, kind eyes, faithfulness, and creativity. They also think of those negative things we like to hide such as your insecurities, anger, and lack of patience.

MS is big to you because you can’t go through even one minute without a reminder of its existence in your life. You may spend a lot of time managing your disease, but don’t neglect working on the person that you are. You are the guru creator of that person. Be the best YOU that you can be in spite of MS!

By the way, I happen to think you are amazing!

12 replies
  1. Robynne
    Robynne says:

    Lovely. I have relapsing-remitting and always said to myself, I am not defined by my disability. Person first. So far it’s working out for me most of the time. ☺

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

    Thanks Penelope a good thought. We are all the people who we are. The MS is not who we are just what we’ve got. We have had a life before this and that’s who we are. I was involved in many areas but it was all the same for me. I was in the automotive, trucks, tractors, then in batteries (the lead/acid type), then after a short time in the printing trade I was into farm machinery including combines, mowers, rakes, and other related things. That is a short brief of my working life and that is what I am. MS has not taken that away and never will.

  3. Ralph Brown
    Ralph Brown says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for helping me to find new purpose in my life living with multiple sclerosis. I had crawled into my shell and was not allowing anybody to come near me. I was waiting for the undertaker. I am over 70 years old now and it is the consensus of my neurologists that after 50 years, my immune system is shot and my multiple sclerosis is inactive. You have helped me to define my task and it is to want to stay alive and find ways to cope with and help myself and other MSers cope with win the war with Multiple Scleroses. You are a inspiration to me and my 1500 multiple sclerosis TEAM teammates. Thank You is not enough. Please let me know how I may help you. ALL the BEST. Ralph Brown ruddyfool


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