A woman looks over her shoulder at the MS awareness color orange behind her.

What Convinced Me That Orange Is Right for MS

March and MS Awareness Month are behind us, so I have a confession to make: I really don’t care for the color orange.

Mixed feelings on the color orange for MS awareness month

Shocking, right? After all, orange is a bright, happy color and I try to stay positive, bright, and happy, so how could I not like it? Well, for starters orange does not suit my skin tone and I don’t wear it well so that probably is the main reason. And it isn’t red — my favorite color — so that’s another reason.

Orange, however, is my beloved Dan’s favorite color. It’s his happy color, attached to his beloved San Francisco Giants and his alma mater, Wartburg College. Also, there are orange accents all throughout various decorations in our house, and I really like our house, so what gives?

Orange will not be ignored

Maybe this confession is due to MS awareness month, and that orange and MS are connected. It is the color that the National MS Society chose to represent the disease. It is vibrant and visible. It will not be ignored. Kind of like the disease, right?

The similarities between MS and Halloween

I was talking about orange and MS recently with my dear friend and fellow MS activist Helen, and she made orange make sense for me. “Orange is associated with Halloween. Orange and black, right?” Helen declared. Then she added, “Makes sense, Halloween and MS. You know, tricks and treats.”

Wow! Mind blown.

The tricks

Think of all the tricks that come when you’re living with MS — tricks you play on it and tricks it plays on you. Like when you fight its related fatigue by drinking fully caffeinated coffee. Ha ha, MS! I have all the energy I need! Then MS pulls a trick of its own and it actives your neurogenic bladder and you get to the bathroom two seconds too late. Stupid jerk, MS.

And even when you get the best of MS in a trick, it still has you looking over your shoulder because you’re scared of what tricks MS will play on you next.

The treats

Along with the tricks that come when living with MS, we all have learned to embrace the treats that come our way. And it’s not like the disease is standing at the door handing out fun-sized Snickers. These are treats that we appreciate because we’ve realized them on our own. Like when you sleep through the night without your legs uncontrollably twitching and keeping you awake, or the disease-modifying therapy you take to treat the disease, or the massage you get to treat yourself.

The masks

As you’ve read, I had the breakthrough with equating orange and Halloween with MS and tricks and treats. But I soon had an epiphany when I took it further and realized that Halloween and MS also are perfect for masks. Wow! Mind blown...again.

Masks. We all wear masks at some point in time. Whether it’s a rubbery one you wear to pretend you are someone else for Halloween or the “I’m fine” variety that you wear when you live with MS so you can stay strong on the surface for everyone else.

But unlike getting dressed up for the Halloween holiday, you might find yourself wearing a mask almost every day once you’ve been diagnosed with MS. After all, don’t you think that without a mask our realities would scare the heck out of others who don’t live with this disease?

MS isn't one month or one season

With these revelations, I’m more open now to orange being the color for MS. I realize that it is the middle of spring and summer is just around the corner, yet I’m talking about MS Awareness Month that happened in March and Halloween that won’t happen until October 31. You know why? Because MS knows no season and doesn't care what month it is. Life with MS is a year-round venture of back-and-forth tricks, celebrating self-discovered treats and wearing a multitude of masks.

Forgive my colorful play on words, but orange you glad we can connect in this community and be honest with each other about our MS realities?

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