Trevis's blog - Long, Dark Nights (And Short, Gray Days) with MS

A Yank’s Life With MS

The holidays have passed, a new year has begun, (some of) our resolutions have made it this far and the days are said to be getting longer. Still, these first couple of months of a year can be hard on a guy. As winter deepens and the cold, gray days lead to long, dark afternoons which stretch well late into the next morning I sometimes feel like a toy with which my multiple sclerosis bats about.

While research hasn’t borne out any real patterns to attacks and/or progression, anecdotal evidence has it that this is a tough time of year for many living with MS. Seasonal changes – particularly autumn to winter and spring to summer – and the post-holiday months seem to be when people report many difficulties with our disease.

The general “funk” that can blanket anyone this time of year can be particularly difficult with those of us fighting anxiety and depression that are oft companions of MS. The cold and (in the case of where I live) damp of winter can make spastic muscles stiff and sore beyond what they might be with just MS poking at them. And the list could go on.

Staying motivated

It’s hard to find motivation to do the right thing for our mind, body and spirit when winter storms howl, snow drifts and the “able bodied” even have difficulty getting around the town. It’s not easy to eat fresh and local when anything that’s not a root vegetable has crossed enough borders to fill a passport with stamps. We have every excuse available to mankind to not make the most of the day. . . but we have one reason, a reason that only 2.3 millon of us in the world share.

If we don’t do it today – when we can – we may not get another chance.

In these days when I can closely relate with the clans of old who would light fires to bolster the sun’s strength, I am forced to remember an old adage. We can curse the darkness, or we can light a fire against it.

Add to the equation the state of the world’s economy, the cost of treatments and that some people who we hold dear will just never ‘get’ our multiple sclerosis and one could be forgiven for wanting to act a bear and take to a few months hibernation.

This is my tenth mid-winter to pass since my diagnosis with MS. I won’t say that they’ve gotten easier; I’d even venture to say that they’ve become more difficult. All the more reason to fight the good fight … in those 10 years more people have been diagnosed, more people are looking for answers and we – we who have learned how to get out of bed and get on with our day, to get on with our lives.

Living life well

The Japanese word for an honored teacher, “Sensei” means more than just teacher. It speaks of “one who has gone before”, “one who teaches from a place of experience”. We owe it, not only to ourselves but to those around us and to those who are new to multiple sclerosis to live our lives well.

So, whether it’s dark and drab and even if I can’t see for the rain, snow or darkness I pledge to at least open the curtains and engage the world around me until I can get out and meet the day (and my neighbors) in person.

Wishing you and your family the best of health.



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