Looking Well is Deceiving with Multiple Sclerosis

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • In the last couple of weeks, I've been on an upswing and feeling much better. I'm walking without a cane, driving myself, and have no sign of fatigue. These periods of respite from MS are becoming more infrequent and fleeting... and oh, so cherished.

    There are times when I just don't want to think about multiple sclerosis. Sometimes I just want to have a night off. Then something happens to bring it front and center... but it's not necessarily a negative thing.

    Attending a work-related function a few nights ago, I was in this frame of mind. Feeling good and pushing MS to the farthest corners of my mind, I ordered up a glass of wine and began mingling. Parties are so much more pleasant when you can carry your purse AND a glass of wine; and when you can manage the buffet all by yourself because you don't need a cane to keep from falling.

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    One of my co-workers has a wife with Addison's disease. I only see this woman once or twice a year, but we are kindred spirits, both dealing with the roller coaster effect of auto-immune diseases.

    I saw her enter the room and approached her, wine glass in hand, and smiling that smile that hides any hint of MS. After exchanging greetings, she asked, “How are you doing?” I replied that I was doing great. “Just look at me!” I said.

    She stared me straight in the eye and said, “You do look good, but I know better than that. Who do you think you're talking to? How are you really?”

    In those few sentences, she got to me. I felt a lump rise in my throat and my eyes began to mist over. As it happened, I really and truly was doing great, but that's not the point. She understands. She knows that when it comes to auto-immune disorders, what you see is not necessarily all there is.

    This was one of those evenings where bringing up the state of my health turned out to be a surprisingly uplifting experience.

    I wrote a post a while back titled, “Hmmm... I Do Look Pretty Good!” which discussed this very topic. I have to add one more way of looking at this issue now. Sometimes when someone tells you how good you look they really do mean it -- but they also know that it's just surface.

    By the way, she was looking pretty good, too!

Published On: June 04, 2008