Friday, April 22, 2011

Carnival of MS Bloggers #86

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

past, present, future

by stephen of one life: livin' the dream

i read about – on facebook i think – an organization, most likely an organization of women – who volunteer to come to the homes of other women with breast cancer and clean their houses. i imagine they offer to do other necessary chores that these women who are suffering through the ravages of breast cancer are not able to get to – shopping, whatever.

this is a wonderful thing. i feel a little (maybe even a lot) sheepish and guilty for not having offered my services and my able body (back when i had one) to people i knew or knew of, who were in need of simple things like household chores – lawn mowing, odds and ends of carpentry, whatever i could do. granted, i have never been a real handy guy, but i know how to put up a grab-bar or vacuum a carpet or clean a bathroom.

and i know that the women being served by this service are in need of the support, but probably don’t, for whatever reason, to ask for it. i know when my daughter was desperately ill many years ago, i was at first reluctant to accept, and then very glad to receive, a week or two of dinners prepared and delivered to me by friends. not something i would ever have asked for, and something i didn’t even know i needed.

this has gotten me thinking about service, and i wish to heck i had thought of this when i still had the capacity to offer my own service (maybe i still do, but haven’t yet thought yet of what it could be). i wonder why this needs to be an organized service. why don’t people who are able, who know people who are not, simply show up at their homes and wash their kitchen floor, or clean their bathroom, or even just tell them to get in the car and come for a ride, get a cuppa, or just take them to a park and sit on bench with them – get them out of the house. all without waiting to be asked. why didn’t i?

again, i feel badly that, when i had the ability to drive, i never did this for people i knew of who’s lives could have been improved, even for an afternoon, by such a simple act. it seems to be part of being human. there are people – and i admit i am one of them – who can clean their own bathroom, and can get themselves out of the house, but who feel stymied by the fact that, though they can do these things, they now require substantially more energy than they used to. i can wash my kitchen floor, but it takes me four times as long as it used to, and wipes me out.

so i am largely berating myself here for not being as caring and generous and thoughtful a human as i easily could have been, when i could have been. and imploring my other fellow humans to step up and be human. and i will search for, and be wide open to suggestions for, how i can be of service to others who’s needs i can fill.

by Judy of Peace Be With You

So I made my bed.
Things weren’t perfect but I said,
This is good enough.

My exhaustion blunts
meeting fully my ideals.
I just can’t get there.

I have to adjust
—though I sure as hell hate it—
and do what I can. 

by Dan Digmann

Like most others worldwide, my prayers went out to the people who absorbed the unimaginable earthquake- and tsunami-induced devastation in Japan.

Intense images from there triggered aftershocks in my heart that was beating half a world away from the epicenter:

• The man in a business suit high-stepping his way into the street to avoid the falling office building debris

• The river of vehicles raging with the flood that flattened and consumed a once-thriving city

• The little boy in a makeshift shelter walking around desperately clinging to a photograph hoping someone could direct him to Mom and Dad

But unlike most others worldwide, I took one part of the media reports personally. Very personally.

Several times the media reported how regions of Japan had diligently prepared for such situations. Buildings were constructed to withstand the earth’s initial and follow-up seismic shifts. Communities exercised monthly tsunami warnings to get ready for when Mother Nature unleashes her fury.

In the end Mother Nature didn’t care, and I began wondering how is my MS any different?

I realize in a way I was comparing apples to oranges, but it’s hard to argue against the parallelism. Like the people and regions of Japan, I’m diligently fighting the devastating effects of this disease. I’m taking my disease-modifying medication to decrease the frequency and severity of MS exacerbations. I’m eating well and exercising regularly to stay in shape and keep moving in case the mega exacerbation ever hits.

In the end MS doesn’t care and, like the earthquake and tsunami, it’s going to do whatever it damn well pleases.

And this isn’t a call for me to give up and quit trying. It’s a charge for us all to continue what we’re doing and fighting like hell to keep this disease in check. We can take measures to take charge of the things we can control such as our attitude, our gratitude, our diet, our faith, our spirit, and so much more.

In the end I do care, and if the big one ever comes I hope that I, like the people of Japan, can spend less time looking back at what I should have done differently and focus more on looking ahead at what I can do to keep moving forward through the aftermath.

Whether it’s last month, last year or five years from now, it all starts with today.

by Judy of Peace Be With You

I admit I have
a special place in my heart
for young MSers.

Struck down in the dawn
of enjoying adulthood,
their promise flickers.

Here’s what I told one:
don’t underestimate hope.
It does have power.

This concludes the 86th edition of the Carnival.

The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on May 5, 2011. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

Thank you.

Comments for this post.


  1. Thank you, Lisa, for including my poems, and in such good company too. You perform a great service, and we are all in your debt.

  2. Lisa, Thank you for doing all you've done and continue to do and for finding me. So I too could see and read. All the wonderful blogs of people here who support each other. Thank you so much!