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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
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Department of Neurology
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Stubbornness; Beating My Dark Passenger Known as MS

By Matt Allen G—October 29, 2015

I have only had multiple sclerosis (MS) for about 5 years. Despite that short amount of time I have had an “action packed” experience with this disease as my MS is (from what I am told) very aggressive. I have not had a very “stable” 5 years, and so, people often ask me how I do it. How is it that I have not lost my mind and that I often still maintain a positive attitude? Well that is easy, I am very stubborn.

Yes, I know, being stubborn is usually looked at like a bad thing, a bad characteristic and before I was diagnosed with MS it was probably one of my worst qualities. It can often get you into trouble; someone would tell me I should not do something and I had to do it for whatever reason. After being diagnosed at the early age of 20, I was able to turn that trait into a tool to help fight my MS and get through tough times. I have no issues with admitting that I am fueled little by hope and fate like many others may be. Nope, I am a realist (and I know there is a very fine line between being a realist and a pessimist) and for me it is all about my stubbornness. There are many times where I just want to curl up in bed and just give up but I can’t, I am just too stubborn, if I give in like that I lose against MS and because I am so stubborn I just can’t let myself lose! I was the kid who when everyone else in my group of friends said “that can’t be done, that is just too dangerous/difficult/whatever” I took it as a challenge and said “watch me”. Of course there were times where I did achieve what I was told I could not do (fueling my ego) but there were also many times where I failed, but what is important is that I tried without doubting myself. You could say that my attitude was a bit naïve but guess what? It has always worked for me.When times get tough I have to just say “ok, what do I do next?” and just dive into things. Of course I have no idea what that will result in but in my minds eye, if I give up just for a second, MS wins and as far as I am concerned? MS will never get that luxury from me.

So my MS has become a bit of a separate entity trying to hinder every aspect of my life, and if you have ever watched the show “Dexter” you will get this reference, but I decided that I would refer to my MS as “my dark passenger”. Someone along for the ride we call life that I do not want there with me. This dark passenger has one goal and one goal alone; to slow me down in life and try to get me to give up. I suppose you could say I give it too much of a cynical motive but if I look at it as something personal that wants to cause me harm in life it is much easier to get all stubborn. Oh you think you are causing me more pain than I can bare? You think this is too much misery for me? Well in that case it’s not that bad, not even worth complaining about, nice try but no cigar! And no matter how tough life may get I will always revert to that attitude because I just refuse to let something have control over me, I am just too stubborn for that.

“I will beat you, I will win, I always win” – at least that is my attitude.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSIS.NET
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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