Christmas is just around the corner, and that’s why many people are on the fruitless quest for Fingerlings or hocking an organ to buy the new iPhone. Both might be the “hot” presents of the season, but neither of them holds a candle to the great gifts we all receive as multiple sclerosis patients every single day of the year. And wouldn’t you know it? They make a Christmas acrostic, too! How nifty.
I’m thankful for the gifts of…
Caregivers. So many people in my life have come alongside me in my fight with MS. I am very thankful for them all, especially my wonderful husband who has been there since day one and has never once given up on me. I also have to thank my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and good friends who are always there for me.
Heroism. Since my diagnosis, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the millions of brave MS patients out there. We’ve crossed paths at MS walks, mud runs, bike rides, and other fundraisers. We’ve met at seminars and during presentations. We’ve sat side by side at doctor’s offices. And every person I’ve crossed paths with is fighting hard battles. Their bravery and courage never fail to amaze.
Research. Hundreds of doctors and researchers are out there working in corporate labs or on university campuses, and though they’re doing so in different ways, they are all diligently seeking cures or new treatments that will help us. It’s hard, frustrating work, but they keep at it. And I, for one, am eternally grateful for their diligence.
Identity. Having multiple sclerosis isn’t always a picnic, but I am strangely happy it came into my life. It has helped me clarify many things about my life — who I am, what is possible, and what my purpose on this earth is. MS has shown me what truly matters and has forever changed my priorities for the better.
Sacrifice. MS calls for the sacrifice of so many things, and not just from MS patients. Every doctor who works the extra hours to help a patient chooses to sacrifice family time or much-needed rest. Volunteers who work MS events or in National Multiple Sclerosis Society offices around the country give their time and energy for a cause they believe in. Bless them all in their labors.
Therapists. I don’t know about you, but I have a great doctor. I mean a great doctor. He listens to me, makes sure I get the best care, and is always proactive when it comes to new therapies or changes in the healthcare system. He has testified on Capitol Hill regarding the needs of MS patients, and he’s a tireless worker for more effective treatments and a better quality of life for me and the hundreds of other MS patients under his care.
Medication. From Avonex to Zinbryta, there are nearly 20 medications on the market for MS patients. Whether it comes in the form of a pill, an injection, or an infusion, there are more options for us than ever before. I’m on team Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), and it has made a huge difference in my life. The time will come when they’re all unnecessary because a cure has been found. But in the meantime, it sure is nice to have them around!
Advocates. People I will never meet are raising money and awareness and making sure the world doesn’t forget about multiple sclerosis patients. Only 2.5 million people around the world (400,000 in the United States) have MS, which pales in comparison to the number of people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or even Hepatitis B and C. But, though our numbers are small, our warriors are mighty, and they aren’t stopping anytime soon.
Storytellers. I’m also thankful for MS patients who aren’t ashamed or scared to tell their stories. After all, it’s through honesty and openness that we connect and make a difference in each other’s lives. The other columnists who write here at Multiple Sclerosis News Today do so week in and week out, and I take great comfort in reading their pieces. They remind me that I’m not alone, that someone is walking the same road I am. The same goes for MS bloggers and people who use their voices to educate people in their communities. Keep talking, y’all. Keep telling your truths. Your words are vital!
As Christmas nears, take a few minutes to think about the blessings you’ve been given and offer a prayer of thanks for them. No, multiple sclerosis isn’t fun. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. But it does come with many wonderful gifts, things that are so much greater than anything we could buy in a store, and woe to us if we let them go unrecognized.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.