write your own book


Not long ago (a little over a week ago, heading into the final days of fundraiser prep plus dealing with a problem student) I was noticing more of my usual MS tremor. I don’t get it very often, but it was pronounced enough that I hid behind the lectern while teaching that day. I only shake on one side, but I thought it was still noticeable.

Luckily, I recovered the next day. Whew. Not a flare-up.

But during this episode, I read a short piece about another MS patient who also experienced tremor on one side, which led to vision problems, and weakness, and and and… Later that night, I was feeling a little weaker on the same side that was shaking (my left). And I thought: Am I going into a downhill spiral? Tremor, weakness… what’s next?

The next day, when I was almost back to baseline, I thought about how silly I’d been. We’ve all heard how individualized a disease MS is. You talk to 50 different MS patients, you’ll get 50 different descriptions of symptoms… because there’s that much variability. And I experience my disease differently from the person I was reading about.

I happened to have an off day. All of us do, MS or not. The good news is, we can think positively that tomorrow is going to be a better, stronger day. We can take positive steps (exercise, nutrition…) toward those better days… and keep on having them. Write your own story… and don’t rely on the anecdotes of others.


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