For a long, long time I have avoided all things MS. My mother was diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis when I was 13. It was the disease in the house that touched everything. The outward signs progressed from cane to wheelchair to eventually complete confinement to bed, and were nothing compared to the inner challenges we all faced. She died from complications one week before I turned 21. MS took everything: my youth, my mom, my faith in things making sense. In the aftermath I questioned the meaning behind it all, and came up with nothing. Eventually I realized it was up to me to make meaning from it, and I feel like my life ever since has been in pursuit of this.
So for a decade and a half, I shut out MS and refused to let it touch anything else in my life. It was easy enough to do; it's not so common a disease, doesn't cast the same net that cancer does, which seems to touch every third or fourth friend of mine. But then about a year and a half ago, it began creeping in. And it did so in the most manipulative of ways: through people I admired. People I liked, who were living with MS.
My responses since have not always been graceful, as I struggle to find ways to express the grief I feel around the disease, while also celebrating the very unique, very vivid lives of those I've come to know who have it. Quite frankly, my anger that anyone has to live with this often just makes me want to pretend it's not happening.
But my anger needs a better outlet. Which is why I'm taking 5 kilometer's worth of steps toward something positive on June 12th, and raising money to support research toward ending this disease, as well as making it more livable for those who already have it.
I'm not a fast runner, nor particularly graceful, which seems apt. MS still really pisses me off, and if you would like to join my fight, you can make a donation HERE. If you want to run (or walk!) with my beautiful team, you can also sign up there, and we would love to have you.