Could there be a lighter side to chronic illness? You may have to dig a little to find it, but MS will definitely provide you with lighter moments on occasion, should you choose to see them. We can't take ourselves and our circumstances so seriously that we lose the ability to laugh at the situations we sometimes experience.
Every now and then, my husband will catch me in a strange off-kilter jig and ask, “What was that?” My reply is always the same. “I'm doing the MS Dance!” Though unintentional, those impromptu dances induce laughter, just so long as I don't slam into anything.
I often comment on the fact that doorways are becoming more narrow these days. Of course I know that they really are not, it's just that I can't seem to get through them without bumping an elbow, a shoulder or a hip. I just choose to blame the doorway rather than my lack of coordination.
One rare summer afternoon, I decided to take a short stroll through my neighborhood. I was feeling particularly strong and thought it would be excellent exercise. When heading back down my street, my internal navigation system malfunctioned and caused me to veer terribly off course and, aiming toward the left, I found myself walking in the middle of the street! Aware that a neighbor or two might be witness to this and not wanting to appear inebriated, I continued on my leftward trajectory and crossed the street as though quite on purpose. Confident that I'd succeeded, I continued walking until I noticed that I'd already passed my house...on the right side of the street. I had no choice now but to continue on a bit before doubling back. I laughed to myself all the way home, fully conscious of the fact that my laughter could also be misconstrued as inebriation. Funnier still.
My co-workers are not particularly shy about good-natured teasing involving my MS and I'm truly grateful for that. There are a few of them that never let the opportunity for a good joke pass. Just last week, a man I work with spontaneously and, with great fanfare, took advantage of a chair with wheels to push me back to my office so I wouldn't have to walk. We got a few strange looks, but it was a fun ride. How terrible it would be to go to work and have people tiptoe around me, afraid to mention MS, afraid to crack a joke. I'm sure that I couldn't continue showing up at work every day.
After recently enduring a bout of arthritis/tendinitis/bursitis/frozen shoulder and surgery, the pain running up and down my right arm was relentless. I could hardly focus my attention on anything else. When my most recent MS flare-up began, the arm pain all but disappeared. My shoulder still hurts a little, but my arm is so much better. My right arm always takes the brunt of my MS attacks. It becomes so numb and weak that I barely feel anything at all. So, I can choose to find the positive. Maybe the flare-up won't be so bad, maybe it won't last long and, in any case, I actually feel relief from pain!
It is no joke to have multiple sclerosis and I do not take it lightly. Maybe it isn't hilariously funny, maybe there is no upside, but we can choose to find humor and comfort in simple every day events.
Do you have a humorous story about your experiences with MS? Can you find a lighter side? Dig deep and share your story with us. I've heard it said that laughter is the best medicine.
Published On: February 11, 2008