The month of March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, an effort to help expand knowledge, support and understanding about the disease. I wrote this short piece to educate others about what it feels like to live with MS and a disability.
Anyone struggling with a chronic condition, especially one invisible to others, faces that vexing question. What do we tell prospective employers, what do we owe them -- at the same time protecting ourselves. There is no easy answer.
It has always fascinated me that creativity and positive thinking are often born out of limitation. When there is adversity, it seems, we humans have all the greater incentive to work out ingenious ways to overcome obstacles, protect ourselves from harm, and chart new territory.
When I lament that I no longer can hike or climb or throw or even walk, sometimes I am able to look at my grown children and appreciate what I gave them as they grew into their success. I was there for them. My old man would be proud.
In both instances, the laboratory mice's immune cells created fewer inflammatory molecules, principally one referred to as interleukin 17, or IL-17, which is powerfully related to multiple sclerosis and quite destructive to nerve cells.
Here was someone speaking about her life-and-death battle, while her concern rested on the happiness of the guests at her impending wake. At her "celebration" there were no speeches and no tears, only quality one-on-one time.