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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
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An Encouraging Word Can Go A Long Way



By Calie Wyatt

Disclaimer: I know that everyone with MS suffers from different symptoms. Each of us with this disease faces different severity of it as well. I also know that everyone has their own ways of dealing with MS and everything that comes with it. We all have unique ways of getting through each day. However, negativity is a destructive force and if we let it take over that doesn’t help anyone. This has been something that has been weighing on my heart lately, and I feel like I can’t be the only one…

Some days I feel different in the MS community. I was diagnosed very young-14 to be exact, and I am aware that my life with MS may seem increasingly different than other’s. Because I was diagnosed so young, my doctors were able to get me on treatment early to help me live as normal of a life as possible. Because of this, my MS symptoms are not what most would consider severe. My most severe symptoms are fatigue, pain and occasional tremors. I feel beyond blessed by this, but like others I too, have my bad days. And, to me, those days are hard. Facing each day with a positive mindset is so important to me.  On my hard days, counting my blessings and finding the good is sometimes the only way I make it through what I’m currently dealing with.

Trying to be positive around negativity

I bring up all of these things to say, that it is HARD when my positivity seems to be met with constant negativity. For example, one of the most difficult things for me is when I share my story, and people respond with, “Just wait until your MS progresses and you can’t do anything anymore.” Or, “You should be grateful that you can still do all that you can do.” I am all too aware of the fact that my MS may progress someday. It’s more likely than it is unlikely, but no one wants to wake up daily scared of what may be. Sadly though, that is a constant fear hanging in the back of my mind. However, the fact that my MS hasn’t progressed over the past twelve years and I can live such a normal life gives me hope daily. I cannot wake up every day fearing the unknown; I simply will not let myself. So, while I am still doing so well I am going to wake up every day and face the world with gladness. I am going to remain positive and hopeful that they will find a cure in my lifetime. I am also going to live my life to the absolute fullest. I am going to “run that extra mile” and do that extra task, because right now I can. I also want to make it known that I am beyond grateful that I can do almost everything on my own. In fact, that is the exact reason I choose to wake up daily with a thankful heart and a positive, cheerful spirit. I have the utmost respect and compassion for others with this ugly disease that face more than I do on a daily basis. I want to bring awareness and be an advocate for MS for those like me, but also for others who suffer greater than I do. But, it’s painful when others, who go through exactly what you do, if not worse, look at you and say: “Just wait…” My hope as an advocate for MS is to help others, not bring anyone down. Sometimes when I tell my story, I cringe because I’m just waiting for that negative comment telling me how it could always be worse. It can almost feel like you’re being bullied for being thankful for what you have. Life with MS is difficult daily, and my hope for the MS community is that we can come together as individuals who share something horrible and cling together with hope and support. MS already brings us down enough as it is, why do we have to bring each other down on top of that?

The value of hope

I wrote this article hoping to shed light on the negativity that surrounds us every day.  It’s not just in others without MS, it’s happening with people in our own community as well. I am in no way trying to complain or throw a pity party! I am simply trying to shed light on how hurtful things can be for others. Hope is such a valuable thing, especially when it comes to MS. So, please, think before you make snarky comments or try to put others down for choosing to see things differently than you. Please don’t crush others’ hopes with negative comments about what might be. We are all different, we are all unique, but despite our illness we all have the ability to be outstanding and to be uplifting to one another as well.. Let’s stop putting others in our own community down, and start lifting each other up!

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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