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Friday, February 22, 2013

the MS competition

"Wow, I have to say I'm pretty saddened by some of the comments here...Kim, sorry your son doesn't look healthy, but do you realize how offensive that statement is to many of us dealing with this monster every day of our lives. Am I or Jack O supposed to be in wheelchairs to be considered "sick"? I'm here to tell you I work my A** of everyday for the last 22 years to stay out of a wheelchair, I endure self injections and all the side effects that go along with them, and just because I am able to live a semi-normal life and not look sick does not mean I don't have symptoms you can't readily see. I remember getting slammed not so long ago when I made a comment about not being happy hearing all about Anne Romney's stuggles w/ms. It really made me step back and realize that I have no right to assume someone is better off than I am or that my struggle is harder therefore making me a "better" MSer than someone else. This young man is just starting his lifelong journey w/this monster and if he and his mother can use their celebrity to bring more awareness to the cause I for one say more power to them!"

I just posted this on  on the post about   Jack Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne doing a PSA on MS awareness on CBS this afternoon.  Some of the comments really bothered me and made me think about often people are quick to judge and jump to conclusions.  It seems even those of us in the same fight still find ourselves judging each other.  We either see ourselves as some type of martyr for our suffering ,or want to one up each other on that suffering, and compete on who can be the most obviously disabled:
 "You only inject 3x's a week? Well, I self inject everyday",
 "wow you're lucky you don't need your cane everyday like I do, and still get ssdi, because I keep getting denied",
 "well when you start losing bladder control then come talk to me"

and my all time favorite, "well at least you're not dying of cancer on top of it"  Ding ding ding, I guess you're the winner then, congratulations.

Sheesh! Why do we do this? Does it really make us feel better to be the best at being sick?  Where does this get us? Even sicker and more sad in my opinion. 

When we concentrate so much on our illness and keep it in the forefront of our minds by judging how others are surviving,  we can't really make the best choices for ourselves.  If we are too busy being close minded about someone's choices and  how they are coping, we tend to forget how to let go and do what is best for ourselves.  When we say "I don't know why anyone would depend on the interferon drugs, I control my MS with diet and exercise.  You're just a sucker to buy into the drug company propaganda."  We are not only being dismissive of their choice, but shutting ourselves off to a possible treatment we may need in the future.  If you have been denied SSDI and think you need it more than another person because you need a cane more often, then you are being hurtful and disrespectful of the struggle they are going through.  How about instead of saying "must be nice to stay home, I keep getting denied." ask the person how they were able to be approved.  Or better yet have some compassion because for many of us staying home was not by choice.  I personally loved my job.  I simply couldn't work, be a wife, mother and active member of society because of my limitations.

Having MS shouldn't be a competition.  We shouldn't be dismissive or disrespectful at all in life, and I know that is naive.  I tell my daughters all the time that as women we should never try to tear each other down.  We should celebrate each accomplishment another woman makes because there are too many factors out there working against us as women.  I would echo that same sentiment to those of us in the MS community.

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