N is for not allowing MS to win. This easy. Refer to A-M and O-Z.
As MS Warriors it is our job, our responsibility, and our mission to provide information, support, insight, and understanding to this ridiculous disease.
When I say we need to provide information, I am not just talking about clinical research and statistics. If you are living with MS or are close to someone with the MonSter, you have more information than can be found on the internet. YOU are the expert. YOU are the prime resource for what's what in this crazy land of MS. You experience(s) is invaluable.
Supporting the fight against MS wears many hats. Sure, you can make a monetary donation, but that is not always feasible in this tight-budget minded world. I am definitely preaching to the choir here. As a retired school teacher, I am facing quite a few unplanned expenses. No, money is not the only way, or necessarily the best way to offer assistance. Attend a MS support group meeting; participate in a MS walk, run, or swim event (and not just as an athlete); offer a voice in the political arena that controls pharmaceuticals; sign up to follow blogs and newsletters; take a friend with MS a meal or offer to play host to an outing. Support does not require the assistance o your pocket book.
The only way we can provide insight into our condition is to share what our daily life looks like. No, you needn't get too graphic and I am not asking you to divulge personal stuff. A former associate of mine viewed my diagnosis as a HUGE flaw in both my character and performance as a mother/wife/citizen. How 1950's is that? (You know that back in "the day" folks who suffered from the disease to-be-named later were actually committed to that scary floor at the hospital.) Just because I do not choose to air my dirty laundry and participate in the complaining portion of society doesn't mean that my MS is not r-e-a-l. Well, my former friend, since my diagnosis in 2001 I have published two internationally recognized books, started a MS support group, learned to knit, retired from a career I loved, joined a bowling league, and am raising an extremely intelligent teenager. I would do more, but why? My plate is deliciously full. "Oh," I ask said former friend, "what are you up to lately?"
Finally, understanding does not necessarily mean that other people must relate to our disease. I mean, how can they? It is human instinct to verbally offer support with comments such as "I understand", "You need to cut diet soda out of your diet", "You'll get over it". NO, NO, and NO. You do not understand how I feel. Soda has nothing to do with my disease and I frankly wouldn't care if it left the store shelves any way. And, guess what? MS is NOT gong anywhere. It will NOT go away.
Okay, that sounds a bit harsh and lacking in understanding, but the point is that understanding is not only aimed at the spectators at the game. It is a HUGE part of our role. Not only do others need to understand the life of an MS Warrior, we Warriors need to understand that public reaction to MS is a hard sell. This is HUGE because we not only are dealing with our own situation, we are responsibility for the mental cruelty of helping others adjust to MS in their life.
So, I hope you find in your heart to join the ranks of the Warriors out there. #WeAreStrongerThanMS is a good place to start. Tweet, tweet, tweet.
Spread the word. Let's eliminate MS from our existence.
Thanks for allowing my rant,