The More Things Change

05/25/2015 10:58 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2016

Recently I emailed with a newly-diagnosed young woman who was struggling to find perspective on her new acquisition of MS. It struck me that using email instead of the phone allowed her to distance herself from the subject. The Internet: an electronic coping mechanism. The dialogue seemed all too familiar, harkening back to my uncertainties more than forty years earlier. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The issues in my life in my mid-20s have not changed much. What do I tell others, especially in the workplace? What do I say to a new woman in my life? How do I live with ambiguity and uncertainty? illness is overtaking my identity. How can i stop that? And the list goes on. I think about all the matters relating to MS and a myriad of other conditions that we have batted around on this blog. Our agenda is robust and does not change. Questions seem ageless.

There are no answers, of course. There is no right or wrong. Our journeys are our own, approximating the trips and falls others endure. More than one friend has suggested to me that I must drive myself crazy. Yes, I do. Aesyhylus wrote that he who learns must suffer. And that, too, is truth. If we choose not to question, we become pawns of a disease. If we make ourselves mad seeking wisdom, we choose a direction at the fork in the road just ahead. We reject passivity and get tough with ourselves. What is wrong with that?