Leverage Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis Into Great Experiences

  • I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday weekend.  Here in North America we have just celebrated Fête du Canada, Canada’s “birthday,” and Independence Day, America’s “birthday.”  One holiday marks unification and the other separation.  Both mark new beginnings.


    Having just returned from a cruise which hosted over 300 people traveling with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, I have been thinking about all the individuals I met, observed, or got to know personally.  One of these individuals was seated at the same dinner table as I.  Let’s call her “Kay.”


    Kay is a woman who was diagnosed with MS over 30 years ago (if I remember correctly).  She has a wonderful outlook on life and is a Monty Python fan, which provided some great laughs.  She said that she didn’t focus on MS at the beginning (nor during the many years since diagnosis) and simply went on with her life.

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    Kay walks with a cane now.  Not unusual.  I mention this because there were a multitude of individuals who used canes or who had rented scooters for the week.  (I kinda wish I got to drive one of those just once... scooter races anybody?)  Kay had also rented a scooter for the week but never once used it on the ship.


    The night before our visit in Victoria, British Columbia, Kay mentioned that she would try out the scooter so that she could venture around the famed Butchart Gardens.  I also went to the gardens but never did run into Kay.  Butchart Gardens is big and has “fifty-five acres of stunning floral show gardens.”




    Fifty-five acres full of paved winding trails is a lot of ground to cover.  The next day, I asked Kay how her trip to the gardens had been.  Her face lit up and she expressed that she loved it!!


    I asked how the scooter worked out.  She smiled and said that it was great, it was fine, wonderful.  She had been afraid to use the scooter all week long, worried of how it would feel to her (inside) to do so.  But she learned that she had absolutely nothing to be afraid of.


    The scooter gave her an independence and sense of freedom which was wonderful and rather empowering.


    Freedom and independence are what I’m thinking about today.


    What activities, tools, people, things, places (etc) give you the greatest sense of freedom and abandon?  When do you feel most independent and united with yourself?


    I really look forward to your responses!!


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: July 05, 2010