What 2020 Taught Our MS Community
2020 – the year of home haircuts, Zoom and unprecedented challenges. The year presented a mix of emotions and struggles for the MS community. However, we start 2021 with renewed hope, inspired by the continued resilience of this community and its ability to reflect, learn and bounce back through life’s many curveballs.
Read what others learned about themselves, the world and beyond, in 2020.
Editor’s Note: Responses were pulled from social media and edited for clarity and length.
1. What really matters in life:
“In 2020 I was diagnosed with MS, demoted at my job, got COVID, then a flesh-eating bacteria, was dumped by my boyfriend and had my bank account hacked. The most important thing is that none of this matters. What matters are the connections you make, the integrity you live by, the smiles you leave in your wake, the principles you stand for, and the love of those that stand beside you while you fight for hope and quality of life.”
– Kate Z.
2. Inner strength:
“Became a stay-at-home mom right before my diagnosis in 2014. Thought I wouldn’t be able to work anymore due to cognitive issues. Started a remote position with four children and I’m excelling! Learned I still got it!”
– Megan B.
“It taught me that I’m much stronger and more resilient than I thought I was!”
“That I can single parent through a pandemic while working full-time and not lose my mind.”
– Sarah Michele
3. Resiliency through life’s toughest moments
“Lost my father to COVID-19 in December. Trying to be a more positive person in 2021. I can feel the difference already of changing my attitude.”
4. That things happens for a reason:
“Learned that sometimes things happen for a reason, and maybe it was time for me to move to my next phase in my life, time to retire.”
– Suzanne E.
5. MS “prepared” them for the challenges ahead:
“It taught me that living with MS for many years taught me more than I thought… which is good!”
– Mindy A.
“I am a strong person. Stronger than I thought I was when I found myself alone. I think having MS helped me dealing with the mental feelings COVID-19 gave everyone. I/we all deal with a (mostly) invisible (for me), unpredictable illness every day, so mentally I think I already had the tools to get through it. I do still get scared, lonely, down, but I know how to get myself back up. I am lucky I have not lost anyone to COVID, my battle mentally is easier than some. My heart goes out to those that have.”
6. Getting creative towards a world free of MS:
“I’m now raising money for the MS society by running every day in January (I am not a runner but hoping to improve). My mum has MS and she still tries to live a normal life, I just hope with the money raised it goes a long way!”
7. To keep going:
“2020 has taught me that each day is a gift, and we must appreciate each and every one. I have been on aggressive meds for years and have been doing well; however, I had multiple new lesions this past year. I am now starting a new more aggressive med and choose to stay positive! Throughout it all, I have chosen to live each day to the fullest no matter how I feel. I refuse to let MS take the things I love away from me. I won’t go down without a fight!”
– Tami F.
8. To listen to your body:
“It’s ok to have time out when things get overwhelming.”
– Chelsea H.
“I learned how much rest my body really needs, and how much better I feel when I take care of myself!”
– Tammi V.
9. A deeper appreciation for loved ones:
“Became more grateful for my wife’s support.”
– Roseanne M.
“To cherish the moments I have with my kiddos. It was rough at times of course, but we really came together more.”
– Leigh Ann
10. Accept yourself:
“I’ve learned that I can’t do the things I used to. It gets harder for me as I get older. I’ve learned to accept what I can and can’t do. I learned to accept myself!”
– Darlene D.
11. Enjoying more time with family:
“I’m way happier when my family is home with me. MS in the winter in New England can be tricky.”
– Lisa L.
12. And finally, that the strangest things can be valuable:
“Never run out of toilet paper. Toilet paper is gold!”
Breaking the cycle of exclusion: Embracing cultural competence in physical activity research for people with MS
Cultural competence in research involves considering the culture and diversity of a population.
An MS diagnosis in college didn’t stop Téa from cheering for the NFL.