Friday, October 3, 2014

Sharing My Bandwagon

Writing is therapy for me and sometimes when I share very personal aspects of my life I do so because I feel others could benefit as a result. This is one of those situations.

I know this month is all about "the pink" and while I whole-heartedly support breast cancer advocacy, support and awareness (make sure you get those mammograms, ladies!), I'll admit that I'm still on a "post- Bike MS high", a cause that will always be so very near-and-dear to me. 

I just watched this video in its entirety and can't keep it to myself

It is kind of long but it is very interesting and I can totally identify with all three of the people who have shared their stories about the emotional and cognitive challenges they face while living with MS. It's almost eerie, actually. Here are three different people with three different stories but as I was watching it, I just kept thinking... "Me too!". If you are close to someone who is battling MS and are at all interested in what they may be experiencing "behind the scenes", I encourage you to watch it, as well.

The perception of MS is that it is a physically-debilitating disease — and it certainly can be — but the reality is that the hardest part about having MS (for me, anyway) is dealing with the things most people probably don't even realize is happening... The cognitive and emotional difficulties this disease can cause are so very real but can be equally as invisible and difficult to articulate. 

The subjects in this video are able to describe these struggles as best (and comprehensively) as I've ever seen, and, although I don't know them, felt connected with them nonetheless.

It's good to know I'm not alone and that what I experience and feel isn't just "in my head".

It's really hard when you're struggling with something others can't see or understand, and while I don't do well to wallow in self-pity, I would be lying if I said I'm "all good" all the time... I'll leave that to Joel Osteen and his super white teeth. Apparently he's God's favorite child because nothing seems to go wrong for this dude. Except for that tie, maybe. 

The truth is that no matter how I (as well as many others battling this dumb disease) might appear on the outside, there's a deep struggle going on below the surface. For example: I rode 130 miles on my bike two weekends ago but had major difficulties with simple math (not related to Common Core, btw!) and information processing today... It actually left me feeling deflated and even a but "dumb". I definitely had an "off" day today. The unpredictability of MS is so perplexing to me.

I'm so glad the National Multiple Sclerosis Society produced this video. I hope it helps to bring some clarity to people who might not "get it" and perhaps some comfort to those of us who do. I especially love how it provides suggestions for ways to cope with these challenges. I'm really glad I stumbled upon it and if you are close to somebody with MS I especially hope you'll consider watching and even sharing it with them, as well.

Me and my #BikeMS team/besties who, at the time of this post, have raised over $5,000 for MS research, education and advocacy. Boom!

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