Is it OK to 'make fun' of MS?

One of the team shirts I saw at Walk MS last weekend was a spin on the popular saying, ‘I’m not drunk, I have MS.’ Almost everyone wearing the shirt had one that said, ‘I don’t have Multiple Sclerosis, I’m just drunk.’ I took a photo of someone wearing the shirt because it made me smile/laugh. I finally spotted the shirt for the person living with MS/team captain and it said, ‘I do have Multiple Sclerosis, I’m not drunk.’ After the Walk, my husband and I got to talking about those team shirts and both had the same question; “is it OK to ‘make fun’ of MS?”

There was also a video recently that shared how one woman sees MS as the younger brother she never wanted. This ‘brother’ highlighted some of the more common symptoms that we deal with [fatigue, blurry vision, leg drop, and cognitive difficulties]. It was light-hearted but educational with a message; that she was not going to let MS get her down. I am sure some people also questioned the video and whether the ‘cute/funny factor’ was appropriate when so many are dealing with parts of the disease that are no laughing matter.

Today, someone told me that they love my laugh. It took me a moment to realize that I USED to hear that ALL the time. I used to be a person who laughed all the time, but somewhere along the road of dealing with a chronic illness, 2 young children, breastfeeding & lack of sleep, a fulltime job, ect ect ect I think I lost some [not all] of my laughter. It’s time to change that! I enjoy laughing at things that are funny and often that means laughing at myself! Surrounding myself with the people who make me laugh and who enjoy life to the fullest will only assist in that goal. Laughter is said to be the best medicine, after all…

There are differing opinions regarding how MS should be presented. Is it best to not sugar-coat and show the ‘real side’ of the disease? Is it OK to share stories of those who are doing well for the most part? Ummmm-isn’t it REAL to each person living with it, no matter the severity? I do not think there is a ‘right’ answer to this debate and still go with the opinion that any publicity about MS is good publicity as it raises awareness which can lead to more funds raised which can lead to more research & better treatments which can ultimately lead to a cure!

[Angela Brandt is a mother of 2 young children [2-year-old and 7-month-old] trying to focus on the important things in life and de-clutter the rest. Sorting through all things life/children/work/MS is why she blogs at Come say HI sometime!]

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