Living Life as a "Manly Man" with MS

Yes, you have heard it from me, my “Manly Man Life” is now a “I forgot what a Manly Man would do.” I have mentioned in other articles how my physical changes began early in the ’80s, and I thought my changes were just getting older. What I have been silent about is how all the MS changes affected me from an overall mental and emotional side.

Doing things without losing a beat before

As a Manly Man taking on a project, I would begin by throwing away the instructions on how to build the item. Who needs instructions? Not a Manly Man for sure. When beginning a physical health program, the key would be reading about the best exercises and the best type of foods to improve your health. Nah, not a Manly Man thing; I got this no problem.

I will say the Manly Man approach and MS challenges did impact me both mentally and emotionally just by limiting my abilities to tackle anything. In my past work life, I remember taking on a project when another issue popped up. I tackled the unexpected, resolved the issue, and got back to my original project without losing a beat.

There were the fun times when the VP called me to his office. Yep, a couple of unexpected issues and the question would be, “Can you take care of this?” My answer: “Sure when do you need this resolved?” I would walk out of the office thinking, “What did I get myself into, and how can I fix this?” But good news: there was always a way.

Simple tasks are now challenging

As all of us with MS can attest to, life changes for sure. How it impacts us is different physically, emotionally, and mentally. Growing up my dad would always say, “Russell, do right, or don’t do it at all.” Those were words I kept close as a driver to exceed in everything. MS sure did put another spin on that statement, creating a puzzled and confused look on my face.

Point and time, my wife purchased a shoe rack for our closet I had installed before. But I stared at the wall, looking at the rack, thinking, "How do I install this?" Simple, yet even after reading the instructions I was still a bit confused. It was frankly the first-time emotions popped up.

I was taken aback that a simple task was now challenging. I felt a bit useless, incapable, and frankly a waste of space. Emotionally, I felt as though I couldn’t complete much, nor physically able to, even if I wanted. My parents raised me and my brothers to be independent, take on challenges, and do anything.

MS, as you’re all aware, can rob us of that emotional and mental high of succeeding in whatever comes our way. Yes, it's tough to deal with. Yet I think we can focus on the good in our life, our past accomplishments, family, friends, and helping others. This approach works for me, and I challenge you to give it a try.

What are your stories?

Thank you for taking time from your busy day to read my article, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, and I encourage you to share your stories as well.

Until the next time, I encourage you to lend a helping hand to those in need and pass on an act of kindness to make the world a better place.

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