Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is an education in and of itself. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I am a different person now, nine years after my diagnosis. I hope to learn and grow over the next nine years as MS continues to shape my perspective on life.
MS has positively influenced my mindset. Ignorance has given way to enlightenment; humility and gratitude are now my mainstays. I truly understand what it means to take things one day at a time. And I do. And with each passing day, awareness unfurls.
One such realization is the price of freedom. While the cost of independence varies, its value is priceless. The ability to drive, grocery shop, go out to dinner, see friends, and travel equates to psychological well-being. When we are happy and fulfilled, we are better able to cope with whatever MS has in store.
I chose to liberate myself last week. I went to Costco early to avoid the crowds. My legs were useless and pain and foot drop made it difficult to stand. My cart was more of an awkward walker than a basket. It was then that I saw the seated cart. I could not avert my eyes.
I did not hesitate to sit down. I began to relax and when I felt safe and secure, off I went.
Freedom has a price. Its value is indeterminable as it lies within. Liberate yourself and its worth becomes apparent. It took me years to get over my fear of needing a wheelchair. I was afraid of what this meant about the trajectory of my disease. I feared the looks of pity, inaccessibility, and my new reality.
I am ashamed at my lack of depth. I hope that my admission will allow you to embrace rather than fear these devices. I am grateful for the enlightenment as my experience has given way to a unique understanding. Exposure can evaporate ignorance — the choice is yours.
I think back to that day in Costco and feel blessed. My choice inspired growth through my ability to surrender. I see wheelchairs as chariots with wings allowing me to live, thrive, and be free.
I can fly — the world looks good from up here.
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.