The Little Things: When MS Makes Me Grateful

Recently, I was talking with a good friend, who, like me, also suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She happened to be venting about an acquaintance of hers who seems to always be happy. Not only does he always appear joyful, his life has gone pretty smoothly so far. He’s apparently yet to suffer any sort of major catastrophe in his life. My friend lamented to me that she felt a bit jealous of this man, having never had the kind of problems that we have. After some thought, I said I’d much rather be us, having had a bumpier road in life, than someone who seemingly has had pretty smooth sailing. I said this because I don’t think you can really enjoy and appreciate things in life without having some rough times. I believe your highs can only go as high as your lows go low. Basically, I’m a little grateful for MS, at times, because it’s allowed me to enjoy the simple things in life a little more.

Like a cold drink on a hot day

I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to get rid of this disease, because of course I’d rather not deal with all of this. I do have to admit though, the experience of having MS for close to two decades has shaped my outlook on life quite a bit. I’ve had some rough times. I’m in pain, a lot. However, I really do think all of that makes me appreciate the good times much more than I would otherwise. It’s like when you appreciate a cold beverage so much more when you’ve been out in the hot sun all day. Maybe you’ve been out in the sun (that can be dangerous MS people!), maybe toiling at yard work. You’re dirty, sweaty, overheated, and you go inside and crack open a cold one, and it just tastes so, so much better than any drink you’ve ever had. The coolness when it hits your lips, the flavor exploding in your mouth, you gulp it, instead of sipping it, and it quenches you in a way the same drink couldn’t just a few hours before. It may be the same drink, but the experience feels so much better because of the rough one that preceded. That’s kind of how a lot of little things are for me now.

I feel much more alive

It seems crazy that bad experiences can make the simplest of things much more enjoyable, but I very much believe it’s true. I know having so many hand issues has made building LEGOs extremely enjoyable for me. I think that’s because you kind of learn to savor life more. I enjoy building LEGOs because I’ve had many moments when my hands wouldn’t let me. You appreciate things more when they are taken away from you or when you fear them being taken away. MS is so unpredictable that many of us go to bed not knowing what we may have taken from us the next day. Sure, that can be a crappy way to live, but, it can also, for me anyway, make a lot of experiences feel so much more vibrant. In some ways, I feel much more alive than I did before I had MS. There are many rough moments, but I try to make use those times as springboards to a more fulfilling life.

Find some enjoyment in this life

So while there are a lot of awful things that come with having a chronic illness like MS, I really do believe that it allows us a chance at enjoying life just a little bit more than the average person. We have to be open to it though, and we have to realize that there are always good moments that come with the bad, sometimes we simply have to open our eyes to them. Life with MS can allow us to enjoy the simplest of things, whether it be a toy from our childhood, a tasty beer, or even a nice cool breeze. Something about all of those things is much better to me because of MS. I would still rather not have this disease, but I must admit, I honestly believe I’ll have a bit more fulfilling life because of it (which is odd to say when it’s taken so much from me, but it’s true). So remember to find some enjoyment in this life (and to never apologize for having fun), because it’s out there, you simply have to look for it.

Thanks for reading!

Devin

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