“A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pet Peeve

Here is a pet peeve.
When people say they are glad
that they got MS.

They are pleased because
it made them better persons.
My blood just curdles.

Are you kidding me?
Was there no better method
to accomplish growth?


Karen said...

I don't know too many people that are glad they got MS. But for those who have said that, maybe, that is their way of coping with this despicable disease.

Life deals out winning or losing hands at random. What one does, with what they have been dealt, could be more important than the hand itself.

I hate that I "got" MS. It has not made me a better person, I was a great person before MS. But, the thing is...I can still be a great person despite MS.

Anne said...

Definately would never say happy that I got MS - but it has forced me to deal with it the best way I can suddenly opening my eyes for things I would have otherwised desmissed...

Why dismiss it? Well was used to running around (literally) and participating in races plus playing basketball, having a hard time sitting still: why shouldn't I cause I was capable of running etc.

Now I have found joy in a lot of things that doesn'r require running etc. Some people argue, that it was always in me, I just needed something to ignite that sparckle.

Myself: I would say, that I am playing the cards that I have been given and trying to make the best of it.

Have Myelin? said...

Posh! I am deaf due to antibotics and have MS too.

It pisses me off, LOL but I did the best I could.

I wonder more about how different I'd be as a person if I were not deaf. When I tread there, it can be very overwhelming as I do know what I am missing despite not "hearing" like you guys.

Hope that makes sense.

Unknown said...

Thought provoking! I 'know' as a MS caregiver for 21 years now that I can certainly say caregiving has made me a better person. Have I ever been glad for a moment that Patti has MS? Never! Yet thinking about your entry, one isn't possible without the other.

Caregivingly Yours,

Bibliotekaren said...

Yes! I always wonder how out of touch or dastardly the person was that they think they needed MS (or other nasty disease) to straighten them out and are grateful for it.

Your last paragraph said it. Yes, we certainly can use the experience to grow from the challenges and can cultivate parts of ourselves that we likely wouldn't have. But one can choose to cultivate similar positive qualities without getting a nasty degenerative disease as well.

Muffie said...

You mean people really say that? Nobody I know with MS thinks or feels that way. I, for one, Hate it, and I don't think it has made me a better person. I would have become a much better person without this disease. I no longer ask "Why me?", though, and just do my best to get along with it.

Robert Parker said...

Am I glad I got it? No. Am I better off for having gotten it? Well, a lot of things changed; some of the changes have been truly wonderful, some of them have been... unwelcome, to say the least.

"Life changing?" OH yeah. (Boy, does THAT cover a lot of yardage.) Would the good changes have happened without the bad ones happening? Dunno... as Aslan told Lucy in the Dawn Treader, "No one is ever told what might have been."

Judy said...

Muff, Donna, Patrick, Sherry, Andaje, Karen, and Robert,

Judging by the number of comments, this poem obviously resonated, and I can understand why. I also want to share what triggered my writing it. I had watched a recently diagnosed person stand up in front of an audience and say, “I am glad I got MS. I am a much better person as a result.”

He is not the only MSer I have heard say that. What I have discovered is that those who say such a thing tend to fall into two camps. They are either recently diagnosed and/or they are not suffering from loss of mobility or some other dastardly manifestation of this scourge of a disease.

My position on this? As I said in one of my poems,

I can be grateful
for gifts this challenge gave me
and still hate MS.

I have no doubt that I am a more compassionate, generous, less shallow person now than I was before coming down with MS. Would I still have reached this more enlightened place as a result of normal maturation? I don’t know and can’t ever know. I only have the life I have. But I will NEVER say that I am glad I have MS. On the contrary, as I said in one of my other poems,

Full recovery.
That will be my intention
until my last breath.

Whatever accommodation I achieve with this disease will always be one in which I am, only out of necessity, cohabiting with an enemy. If calling it an enemy is too strong, then I can at least say that MS will never be my friend. I am sure psychologists would have a field day with my position. With my own therapist, we’ve declared a truce in which I say I acknowledge, instead of accept, that I have MS. I will never accept, though, that this is what my life should be like. As I said in another of my poems,

I will not allow
MS to appear normal.
Absolutely not.

And I am glad I still have some fight left in me so I can feel this way. There are enough days when I feel quite defeated by this disease. Then another day comes when a glimmer of light helps me remember the Judy I want to be and not just the MS-Judy, and I go on to fight again. That’s when I can say,

I don’t want to hear
the odds are impossible.
I aim to beat them.

And, knowing that days will come when I will again feel oppressed by the enormous challenge I face, I keep these poems on display so that I can remember who I want to be at my best.

As for finding the peace that is the title of this blog, I can only say that, variable though it might be, I find peace in knowing that I can control my attitude about my life.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. You make this journey so much easier because of it.


Judy said...

Robert Parker of The Gifts of MS blog has additional thoughts about this discussion. You may read his post at the following link.



Marie said...

Judy, this excellent post and discussion inspired me to write a post also.

Thank you everyone for your thought provoking points of view. I have linked several of you in my post.

Judy said...

Here is Marie's link:



Judy said...

Andaje has continued the discussion on her blog:



Anonymous said...

I think tough situations reveal character, not develop it. I will never be content with having MS, but it has shown me the depth of my strength and the resolve of my spirit.

I feel tested every minute of every day. And while MS wins the battle over me physically, I try to triumph when it comes to the mind games it plays. Easier said than done...

Judy said...

Jenn Godwin blogs about MS et al. on


lindagrace said...

My husband asked me that once. I had just completed the Cytoxan test study at Johns Hopkins and the MS was put in remission. But the damage that was done was done and 3 years later I'm slowly getting worse.

I could see his point about how we've grown closer because of ms but I said no. If it wouldn't have been ms, it would have been someting else (maybe worse) but this is a very difficult experience to learn! I wouldn't choose it if I had a choice!