To Handle MS, Sometimes We Need a Little Attitude

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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The other day, a young woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) shared her worry in a Facebook group that her disease would prevent her from playing with her grandchildren someday. Her concern got me thinking about how I’ve handled my MS and my grandchildren.

My granddaughter is almost 5 and will start kindergarten in the fall. My grandson is 3. They’ve never known me as a person who walks normally, without two canes or my scooter. But I’ve tried to weave my MS into their lives as naturally as I can.

As a 2-year-old, my granddaughter was fascinated with my canes. “Cane” was an early word in her vocabulary. I helped my grandson learn to walk using my canes. Just take a look at the following home video:


Not long after that video was made, my grandson began walking on his own. He still loves to play with my canes, and so does his sister, who is 2 years older. They also love to ride on my lap when I’m on my scooter.

Learning to play a winning hand

Attitude has a lot to do with living well with MS. One of my little sayings is (stop me if you’ve heard this one): “Even a pair of deuces can be a winning hand if you play it well.” Kayla Montgomery is a young woman with MS who is determined to do that. However, it didn’t start out that way for her.

Kayla tells her story in the video below. Watching it is worth the 10 minutes it will take from your day. But if you’re in a rush, scroll past the video and I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Kayla Montgomery was 15 when she was diagnosed with MS. She says the disease filled her with “bitterness and fear.” She even thought about quitting one of her passions: running. “What’s the point,” she thought. “I used my diagnosis as an excuse to be afraid,” she said.

After a year of being miserable, however, Kayla said she had a turnaround. Rather than letting MS get the best of her, she decided that she would take control of it. She’d use her disease as a “motivation” to overcome her fatigue, migraine, and lack of feeling in her legs when she got too hot. Kayla returned to running. She used her MS motivation to push her toward winning state titles and to become a runner in college. “We can all turn something bad into something amazing,” Kayla said.

MS is what you make it

To the young lady who was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to play with her grandchildren someday, I say your life with MS is what you make it. You can sit and watch your grandson learn to walk or you and your canes can walk with him. You can choose to hide from the storm or, as Kayla Montgomery has done, you can learn to run through the rain. I firmly believe that even if you get a little wet putting on your track shoes, it is the best option.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at


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.


Joyfulnana avatar


Way to kick ms butt! Made me bond closer to grandson.9 yrs later closer. I do what I can and find alt.ways for what I cannot.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

I love your username. With a grandson and your attitude, no wonder you're a "Joyfulnana!"


Carole Amiel Sachs avatar

Carole Amiel Sachs

I don’t have grandchildren yet but love the idea of the child holding onto your sticks... I use two Nordic poles which I find effective.

Best wishes,

Judy avatar


Each one of my grandchildren hs left teir marks on my canes. Some put their little teeth marks, but mostly scratches from pretending to use it as a golf club. I had to laugh when my oldest granddaughter asked, "Mommy, whose older, Nana or Queen Elizabeth?" My daughter said the Queen Elizabeth was. Her answer was, "why doesn't the Qweennuse a cane too?"

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

That's a great story, Judy (or should I say Queen Judy?). Thanks for sharing it.



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