March was MS Awareness Month and although March is over I believe it's vitally important to continue the discussion of what it's like to live with a disability or illness. Raising awareness and educating others can lead to better emotional health and, hopefully, produce more tolerance and compassion for one another.
I needed to hear that. Yes, I was Joel's wife, but he had a ton of meaningful relationships and was loved by so many. He had best friends, soulmates of his own, the ripple effect of his death reaches far and wide. Because of that, I feel less alone, and connected by this shared experience, horrible as it is.
I have a neuromuscular autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis. Like other friends of mine with MG, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses, I have to weigh the joys of being with loved ones against the risks of getting a cold or the flu, which can lead to relapses, hospitalization, and weeks (or months) bedridden.
My patient and I were walking down the tiled floors of the hospital ward, past the other patients' rooms, every door flung open like in a college dormitory but none of the rooms very inviting. We were almost around the bend by the elevator when he looked up at me and said: "You know something? Every man in my family has died at the age of 53."
Of the more than 2.3 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I am only one story. I am a wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, friend, and woman living with an incurable and unpredictable disease. And even though I am only one person, my story can add great value by educating othe