31 Days of MS: How I Support My Friend Who Has MS
Day 4 of 31
This is Laurie Lambert’s story:
The first thing I did was worry. When my friend told me of her MS diagnosis, I thought: she has always been the sharpest member of our circle — the one with the most expansive body of knowledge about … everything. We have a nickname for her that’s a play on Wikipedia. She hates it, but it really captures the idea that she is our go-to person for questions big and small, no matter how obscure. She prides herself on the sheer power of her brain. So what would this diagnosis mean? I learned MS could be progressive, and I was worried that the disease was going to attack her brain and change the essence of who she was.
I thought of the few people I knew who lived with MS and I wondered what kind of support my friend would need. How would this affect her independence? How would she adjust? I asked a colleague who is a disability studies scholar to recommend some books because I wanted to have the right language. I wanted to be helpful, and I didn’t want to say the “wrong” thing.
That was more than 18 months ago. Now that the initial shock and panic have worn off, I understand that our friendship will continue to grow as we both navigate life, including MS. My role as a friend remains the same. I listen to my friend’s fears and concerns. I share in her joys. We put hexes on out-of-date appointment booking systems and disorganized clinics. Our group chat buzzes with cheers for good reports. Humor and hope are our constant companions. None of us knows what comes next but I am confident we will assess and adapt as necessary. I am grateful she is part of my life; I am privileged to be part of hers.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.