You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide
When I was first diagnosed about 30 years ago, MS was some mysterious, archaic, incurable disease that not many had heard of, let alone understood. When my doctor told me good luck and sent me on my way, I knew it was my job to bury it and never look back. After all, if I couldn’t fix it, I didn’t want any part of it.
I knew there were groups that helped people “cope” with this illness, but if I attended a meeting, it would only mean two things. One, I would surely face my inevitably bleak future, and two, it would mean I’ve accepted that I actually have MS. I wasn’t ready to own it at this point, or ever.
After many years of hiding, I decided to give one of these MS groups a try. As I expected, there were people ranging from no visible disability to those in power scooters.
But what I didn’t expect was the positive attitude of those who had challenges far greater than what I was dealing with. Why were they so happy? They were robbed of their “perfect” life. You would think this would make someone very bitter.
But as I continued to go to these meetings, I learned that these meetings were all about joining forces and helping each other over our hurdles; whether they were big or small, and to find the good in the changing lives we had.
For quite some time, my sweet mother has been in the dark as to what I was going through because I never opened up to her. I was unwilling to admit to her that her daughter was “flawed” in some way. I decided to start taking her to these meetings so she could finally have a better understanding of what I’m going through.
Five years ago I met my good friend Kelly, who was attending her first meeting shortly after diagnosis. Coincidentally, she also brought her wonderful mom with her. We like to refer to our table as the mother/daughter table.
Sitting in the room full of inspiring people I realized: if I had kept running, I would have never met these awesome ladies!
I don’t like to think of myself as a slow learner, but after decades of going through life with blinders on, I finally learned that you can run, but you certainly cannot hide!
Editor’s Note: To find an MS support group in your area, visit the Society website.