Finding hope in MSWritten by Tricia Courtney Tischler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
My life is becoming a bit cliché: In our kitchen hangs a plaque that reads, “Live Simply, Live Well.” With each bill paid, my husband’s words, “Debt free is the new wealthy” ring true. But if he doesn’t polish each of those gems of wisdom with the motto “Happy wife, happy life,” then they are just annoying.
I can’t decide if it’s the perpetual drone of economic pessimism giving me cabin fever or this endless winter in Northwest Ohio that has me and many grasping for the sunny rays of hope and “change” clichés popularized by our new president.
Ironically, I find escape by stepping into a mental bubble. (Feel free to join me, but risk ridicule from the have-to-know-the-latest news junkies.) It comes in handy whenever the news gets too depressing, something else breaks, cracks or needs replacing in the house or whenever my MS starts bothering me.
My bubble is a quiet place devoid of news and information. It has no room for self-pity, guilt, critical analysis or “to do” lists. It only provides enough air to breathe, pray and whistle. Some people might name this bubble denial. I call it peace.
I can walk in my mental bubble (much like a hamster) unaffected by my surroundings for a little while, until I have the strength to brave the world that sometimes feels like it might devour me if I don’t run fast enough (and I don’t run unless someone is chasing me).
Refreshed, I begin to see what I missed in the fog of MS and media fatigue. I see how I can provide hope and change. We all can. I’ve seen it.
I see it in our staff at the National MS Society. Tirelessly helping clients with financial assistance (yes, requests are up), or helping them regain some freedom by seeing their car is fit to drive manually (sometimes our legs don’t want to carry us.) I see hope and change when we can provide a client a scooter to get around or even just a friendly ear when no one else is listening.
I see it in a survivor, no really, I mean “Survivor,” as in the CBS series. Former contestant Austin Carty’s mom has MS and he shares the hope and change that has come to his life thanks to her (Women on the Move Luncheon, March 19). I’ve seen it in the faces of those who organize an entire day of music and food to raise money for the 3,400 in our area with MS … it’s called the MS Jam (March 21). I just call it fun.
I’ve seen hope in the generous donations already coming in for our 20th annual Walk MS (Toledo, March 29). I’ve see it uniquely in our community when, after 20 years, people still ride hundreds of miles during the Reeves Northrup Memorial MS Bike-To-The-Bay (Bike MS: June 27 and 28) to support the programs and services.
The National MS Society provides to those with multiple sclerosis. And I see change every time I see someone wearing orange for MS Awareness month (March) or an event T-shirt because they rode or walked to help keep others moving.
Most often, I’ve seen hope and change in every person I meet who lives with multiple sclerosis but doesn’t let the pain, fatigue, numbness, confusion, blindness or depression stop them from living and giving. That should give everyone peace.
Tricia Courtney Tischler is the director of Media and Bike MS Promotions for the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the National MS Society. To learn more about multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society events, programs and services visit oho.nationalMSsociety.org or call 1-800- FightMS.