Lego and MS: Lessons from Things That Rip Apart and Reassemble

Jamie Hughes avatar

by Jamie Hughes |

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lego and MS

As a mother of two boys, I’m blessed with an abundance of dirty socks, Nerf darts, and Legos — all of which end up in the laundry (more or less) each week. And of those three kinds of detritus, I must say that the Legos vex me the most. If the kids are building a castle, the crucial piece always comes up missing, and they constantly fight over which piece belongs to whom.

Legos are louder than little pieces of plastic have any right to be — especially when they’re being dumped out en masse early on a Saturday morning. Like tiny ninjas, they’ve destroyed several of our vacuum cleaners from the inside out. And more times than I care to count, I’ve enjoyed the exquisite agony of stepping on one with my bare feet. In those moments, everything is most certainly not awesome.

I also find little homeless figures all over the place, both fully assembled and ripped in half like something from an 80s slasher film. Whether I discover them in cup holders, under the couch, or squirreled away in the bottom of my purse, I tote them up the stairs and chunk them in storage bins, knowing full well they’ll find their way out again before I’ve had a chance to turn off the light and walk down the hall.

I’ve grown rather fond of the little fellas, however. We have a lot in common. As an MS patient, there are days when my legs feel more plastic than flesh and my joints are a little stiffer than normal. My hands might not be shaped like perfect lowercase “c’s,” but that doesn’t change the fact that there are days when I can only manage to hang on to one thing at a time.

When the fatigue is too much or the heat has sucked out every bit of spare energy I have, my smile — like theirs — feels painted on. And though I look put together and slick on the outside, everything beneath the exterior feels hollowed out. A shell where a person used to be.

But here’s the good news. You can rip those little guys apart, scatter their limbs and accessories to the four winds, and guess what? They always come back together. Whether they’re thrown around, stolen, or consumed by the family dog, they’ll endure. They’ll survive. And while they may not be as glossy or sharp after these and other harrowing experiences, they still do precisely what they were created to do — make something unique and fun.

Life is rarely, if ever, perfect. No matter how well we build our worlds up, there are days when we all struggle to keep the pieces together and in working order. But even if things fall apart, that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. And more often than not, reassembling things proves to be just as interesting (and often more fruitful) than the first time around. After all, it’s by trying again — by living life one day at a time — that we learn to do things better, more efficiently, and with more impressive and enduring results. So yeah, in a way, all MS patients are master builders, and others would do well to stand back and watch us work.

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.


Christine avatar


Hi Jamie, Thank you for this insightful, well written, and upbeat article. It gave me a fresh perspective and energy. Next time I fall apart I will try to examine with interest how I put myself back together again.
I hope you write more article here. Thanks again!

Jamie Hughes avatar

Jamie Hughes

Dear Christine,

Thank you so much for your kind comment. It's so good to know that others are reading and are supported by good words. As Aslan told Lucy, "Courage, dear heart." We're all in this together.


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