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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

MS: The Invisible Disability, One of Many


Guess what? 

I know your secret.

You try to keep it hidden, but sometimes you are not successful.

( Read about other "invisible" diseases.)

I know you work hard at blending in and not drawing negative attention to yourself and/or your condition. I know you make excuses, concessions, or simply avoid putting yourself out there.

But you cannot remain hidden forever. Regardless of how you feel about yourself, you ARE NOT INVISIBLE.

...and you are not alone.

In Daryl H. Bryant's book MS: Living Symptom Free, The True Story of an MS Patient, he reminds us that "There are people all over the world who are going through the same things and have gotten through the toughest times and come out on the other side of happier, healthier, and more experienced." 
(p. 90

Bryant urges us to open ourselves up to loved ones in order to help them, help you.

You are not invisible. There are people out there who care.

Daryl H. Bryant is one of them. Find him at

Never heard of Daryl? Want to go bigger? (No offense, Daryl.)
Call the National MS Society at 800-FIGHT-MS. 

THAT organization is not invisible.

In fact, it's that time of year again when the NMSS is making itself known to the public. Every year about this time (it is MS Awareness Month!),  advertisements for the National MS Walk are prevalent. WWW.WALKMS.ORG

Organize a team. Join a pre-existing one. Wear orange. Fight back. Be seen and be heard.

Image result for ms walk logo
There is no way a herd of orange clad individuals in various sates of physical condition traipsing, biking, wheel-chairing, caning  through a public park or along a main highway can be ignored. They are NOT invisible.

I walked (I really did. No lie) in our state's capital city one year as part of my responsibilities as a small town aerobic's instructor. I had never heard of MS. An exercise buddy of mine and I traveled the two hours to join hundreds of other exercise fanatics in a massive hike across the busy highways of Charleston, West Virginia. It was to be a fun weekend get-a-way. We would eat at a fancy steak house and enjoy a night life not available to us in our more rural home town. It was gong to be a big par-tae.

Imagine the shock with which we were faced upon attending registration. People of all races, ages, genders, and physical conditions were lined up to gather their participation t-shirts, collect information packets, and greet old friends. There were wheelchairs, walking crutches, canes, physically fit individuals, people walking for other people, children wearing shirts logo-ed with the name of a relative with MS.

Tables laden with fresh fruit, water bottles, energy bars, sun visors, MS orange shoelaces, city maps, MS Awareness brochures...

It was a party all right. Just not the kind our 20-something minds had envisioned. 

And it was humbling.

At the finish line, when we finally got there, rows of volunteers greeted each and every participant with a tearful hug and a little sticker that proclaimed our completion of that year's MS Walk.

A lousy sticker..that was our prize for the blistered feet, aching shins, sweaty mess that we had become. 

I still have my sticker. Every time I look at it, I remember all of those smiling folks who were unable to actually participate, but who greeted the walkers at the finish line.

No one there was invisible.

Years later, after my diagnosis and early in my MS journey, I walked again. This time on a much smaller scale and closer to home. I didn't make it very far. In fact, I urged my walking companion to continue while I rested on a park bench. 

Even on that park bench I was not invisible. And I was not pitied. I was put to work. My friend  didn't continue walking as I had urged. She returned with arms full of bananas and a bag of water bottles. And then she sat with me on that park bench where we offered our goodies to the folks continuing with the walk.

                                    BIG PAUSE
    (Unplanned tears make it impossible to see the computer screen. That memory is a powerful one.)

My friend made me NOT invisible that day. She gave me an important job to do. Maybe I couldn't walk that day, but I was still involved in a VERY important event.

I purposely made that image above EXTRA LARGE  because I want you to see that little word at the bottom. Regardless of our skill or the severity of our affliction or our determination to make ourselves invisible, we are not. A whisper may be silent, but the outcome is not invisible.

So, today I do not bring you much in the way of factual information about multiple sclerosis; but I hope I have given you some verbal food for thought.

While you are chewing on it, consider making a very visible impact on MS Awareness by helping me donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis. Until April 2 during a signing event at Marion County Public Library (, every sale of one of my books will result in a contribution to NMSS.

Contact me if you are interested in obtaining your own copy of Abby, or I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?

Abby, $15.00 (Her mother has MS. What does that mean to young Abigail?)
I Have MS. What' Your super Power? $12.00 (A personal perspective from an MS Warrior)
Bundle them and save! Both books $25.00 (Double the donation to NMSS)
The cost of postage is on me!
Check out my books on Amazon, but order direct from me to contribute to NMSS.

The sun is shining in West Virginia today.


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