There’s been some blog controversy lately about the idea of celebrating you MS “anniversary”. Well January 8th is mine, and personally I feel like it’s a milestone worth recognizing! I feel a sense of accomplishment and I’m amazed at all the changes that have happened in my life. This is not at all the life plan I made for myself but as I look back I’m proud of everything I have done, and I honestly would not change it. To mark my anniversary this year I chose to publish 6 “rules” that I try to live by. I wrote these down shortly after being diagnosed and have frequently read them ever since:
#1. Be Kind. Be kind to your patients. Be kind to friends and family because if you find good ones and treat them right they will be there for you no matter what. They’re your army, your cheerleaders, your motivation and you need them more than they need you sometimes. Take every opportunity to show them the love and appreciation they deserve. Be kind to yourself. Allow the bad days to come and put them behind you. Begin each day unencumbered by yesterdays pains or fatigue, and even forgive yourself for that completely indulgent episode of self pity that you let slip in there for a second.
#2. Be Patient. Be patient with your body. Drugs take time to work, neurological functioning takes time to recover. Today you may not be able to do something that you could do yesterday, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to do it again tomorrow, next week, or next month.
#3. Be Able to Say No. Advocate for yourself. Know that you can do anything, but also know that you can’t do everything all the time. Learn the difference and speak up.
#4. Be Happy. I never realized the power of stubbornly and steadfastly choosing happiness. Can’t get off the couch today? Happily binge on Netflix! Be happy because now you hold more love and appreciation in your heart for your friends and family than you ever thought possible. Be happy because even though part of what makes living with MS so difficult is how unpredictable it is, you now have a reason to live day by day or even moment by moment instead of scheduling each day until the calendar is full.
#5. Be Stubborn. Beat the odds. Get better. Become an MS Certified Nurse to show this disease that you will get more out of it then it can ever take from you. Refuse to stop going to the gym. Don’t stop fighting any battle that you should rightful win, whether that’s being able to walk straight again, a fitness goal, or fighting with your insurance company to cover your medications. Be. Stubborn. You’ve earned it.
#6. Be Grateful. Be grateful for your loved ones, your body, your medicine, your education, and the opportunity you’ve been given to make a positive change in yourself and others. Be grateful because you have an amazing man that will truly always be there for you in sickness and in health. These are all privileges not afforded to many, and should be treated as such.