Living with MS: It’s ‘a terrible way to meet wonderful people’

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by BioNews Staff |

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Five photos showing individuals with multiple sclerosis, who are sharing their real-life stories during MS Awareness Month, are hung with clips on a string above the words 'MS Community Spotlight.'

Damian Washington is pictured shooting a music video. (Photos courtesy of Damian Washington)

Day 20 of 31

This is Damian Washington’s story:

Having multiple sclerosis (MS) is a terrible way to meet wonderful people. The type of camaraderie that some MSers share leads to some of the most exciting and joyful feelings that anyone could ever hope to experience. The connection formed from the shared slaying of our own respective Goliaths makes us adore and gravitate toward the plucky David that lives within each fellow patient.

Damian Washington is pictured next to his wife Angela Washington.

Some of us might have more mobility issues than others and some more cognitive challenges, but we are each up against the same seemingly unbeatable, terrifying, and ever-morphing behemoth within.

We give each other our time and limited energy. We give fellow MSers insights that we’ve learned along the way via our own trials and errors, recommendations passed along by rock star neurologists, a compassionate ear to listen to very-real grievances — the list of practical ways in which we help each other goes on and on. Yet, the most impactful thing we give each other is, simply, our presence.

Damian Washington is shown in a selfie wearing a hospital gown in preparation for an MRI.

Perhaps that presence is mainly via text or social media message exchanges at odd hours of the night or day, or leaving supportive comments on posts. Maybe it’s making arrangements to travel to each other’s cities for in-person meet-ups, or connecting other patients to opportunities with pharmaceutical companies and businesses that need patient insight.

Whatever form the connection takes, that bond is ever-present and deeply genuine. Sometimes, the connection isn’t as present and our outreach might go unanswered. But you never feel bad when that happens because you know that the other person is, most likely, in the woods of some miscellaneous hazard of the condition and looking forward to looping back when he or she emerges.

I often liken being diagnosed with MS to having a giant bag of poop delivered right to your doorstep. In that same breath, though, I also say that the relationships that grow out of it are beautiful flowers of friendship, love, and connection that could not have possibly grown as vibrant without said fertilizer as a catalyst.

In recognition of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March, the MS Community Spotlight campaign features a series of stories highlighting the real-life experiences of people affected by MS, written in their own words. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more stories like this, using the hashtag #MSSpotlight, or read the full series.