Laughter as a Medicine

My first exacerbation occurred while at spring training with the Boston Red Sox professional baseball team. It started with my vision and two years later I was through playing professional baseball and was crushed at the thought of losing my dream and wandered for a few years not knowing what was wrong.

Thirty Five years later I was diagnosed. For me the only way to get along was to have a good sense of humor. When I rounded a corner too sharp and ran into the wall, I laughed at myself (after I said an ugly word of course). But I never blamed anyone and never looked for sympathy. The worst thing I did was to push people away from me because I did not want anyone to have to take care of me or live with the disease if it progressed. Then I learned that I didn’t have the right to think for other people. If they couldn’t live with my problem, I just had to understand and move on.

But laughter at myself was the medicine I used to not feel sorry for myself. I was in politics and virtually everyone knew I had the disease and so many people called me when they were diagnosed to find out what it was like. I told them to not take the disease too seriously. Do what you need to do to stay healthy, but don’t let the disease ruin your life. People would ask me questions like, “MS what is it?” I used to say I don’t know, I just call it “more stuff.” I am doing much better than many people so it’s easy for me to be cavalier about my disease. I wish all of you good health and better yet, a cure.

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