Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.
laughter, motion, and self-advocacy
from Kaleidoscope MuffI believe that once you’re diagnosed with MS, you land on every MS-connected mailing list. I constantly receive notices about lectures, advertisements about medicines, and magazines. Last week, the edition of MS Focus arrived, and it gave me a few smiles. That was the purpose, actually, since all the articles concerned laughter and its value in sickness. I’m usually a hard sell, but I bought into this theory, and I read nearly all of the articles. There were a few bloggers in there as well, and I really enjoyed reading an MS-related publication.
Then I asked myself, “Self do you really believe that ‘laughter is the best medicine?’” That’s when I realized how long it’s been since I just laughed out loud! Sure I’ll give a little giggle at something funny, or I’ll smile when I feel content (or even to just make others feel happy.) But when was the last time I really had a good laugh? Someone may tell a humorous joke – tee hee. I’ll read something written with a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ attitude – ha ha. There’s a sit com I’m watching – har har. But a really good, non-stop belly laugh? Too long ago…
I can remember, in my past, a lot of times wanting to laugh, and having to stifle it because of my location – usually church, but it’s happened elsewhere, too. I can still visualize that urge rising in me, and bending over to prevent the laugh from escaping. I know the feeling of the tears flooding my eyes because the laugh just wanted a release. Now, I wish I had even those feelings!
I’m not saying I’m not happy – basically I am. I get curmudgeonly over this crappy disease and all the losses I’ve incurred because of it. But my nature, my essence, my inner being is that of a happy soul. I’m just saying that I don’t laugh anymore. I don’t hear/see/feel something hysterically funny and respond by laughing. According to the magazine articles, such laughter can help us physically. So what do I do? Laughter is something you can’t truly fake. It’s either there, or it’s not.
One time, not too long ago, something happened that struck me, and I wanted to laugh. It had been so long since I used those muscles that I got a pain when the laughter began – a stitch in my side – and I stopped at once. Is that it? Do I not laugh because it hurts? I just don’t have the answer.
Am I an oddball? Will the laughter return someday? Is there something wrong with me? Are there others out there, who while feeling somewhat happy, cannot laugh? I need to give this some thought…
The Magic of Motion
from Kate of Dancing with Monsters
Back in the day
(When I walked with difficulty)
I would watch
The ankle flexes.
The foot arches.
The leg swings.
Each pace is magic.
Each motion leaves a trail of
Fairy dust behind...
Scribbles of amazement.
Now I watch people's hands.
Look how the fingers grasp that small object!
Watch as hand and arm turn the page!
Marvel as small muscles move the pen to make letters!
At once I am filled with breathless wonder
And plunged into a sea of sadness.
My feet no longer walk.
My hands no longer write.
I hold my heart open
By celebrating the magic of motion
And forgiving myself for having to forgive
Those perpetrators unconscious of miracles unfolding.
from Matt's Multiple Sclerosis
If there is one thing I have learned so far as a "newly" diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis patient (going on 1 year now) it's that the most devoted doctor an MS patient will probably meet is themselves... That's right... Not all of us are lucky enough to come across a doctor who truly wants to help make us better which is of course my personal case. I can't speak for everyone but I have talked to many other MS patents of all ages who feel like they have to play doctor because their doctor's just can't seem to take care of business.
When you think about it this really isn't fair... Doctors spend years going to school so they can get that little piece of paper that says "Yup, your a doctor" but then it's like they simply stop learning and keeping up with the medical world and maybe even forget half of what they crammed into their heads before that very important test in college. So now it's up to US, the patients, to double check our doctors work (unpaid might I add) to make sure they aren't killing us....
This brings me to my next point: It's just a piece of paper... All the doctors and neurologist I have dealt with seem to get really offended when you try to show any sign of knowledge relating to the matter at hand... How dare we (MS Patients) go around our all knowing doctors to learn about a disease we will be stuck with for the rest of our lives, how dare we! News Flash: KNOWLEDGE IS FREE, the only thing your paying for at college is the piece of paper you get in the end that says "This person probably should know what he/she is talking about" but like any other class about any other topic you are going to have your students who barely passed, shouldn't have passed, or passed because they cheated. Now those people are giving us drugs and making life changing decisions for us. So please excuse our personal desire to study our particular issues in depth... We may not have a piece of paper to show that we are knowledgeable on the subject, but I guarantee you that a lot of us MS patients know just as much if not more about MS as some of these "half-ass" doctors out there.
Now I better stop here to make something clear... I don't mean to trash talk ALL doctors, I KNOW there are some really great, helpful, doctors out there and that it's only a matter of time before I find one of them but the point I aim to get across is that there are a LOT of MS patients who deal with this exact issue... Mostly everyone I know in fact and it shouldn't be that way... Doctors have a Job and that's not to walk around protecting their ego and insuring people call them "Dr. So and So". No, it's to help people: Hear that doctors? Your Job is to HELP people, so do your job and do it right, please! It's really not that hard...
So until I can find a good, responsible, caring, doctor, I have no choice but to work with the system, I got. If I'm going to have to play doctor half the time then I am going to get what I want ALL the time... I know how I sound right now, really, I do, but you know what, this is how I HAVE to be, this is the attitude I HAVE to have in order for me to accomplish something positive with my health. I know what is wrong with me, I know what problems I have, and I am the only one who has taken the time to really research those problems and the possible solutions for them in depth. My doctors have done no such thing. So yes, I do believe that my treatment ideas are better then what has been so far recommended to me: nothing.
So I will continue seeing doctor after doctor until I find one that will actually listen and take what I have into consideration rather then immediately going into self-defense mode to protect their ever so fragile ego. I should be able to go to a neurologist and say "look this this and that didn't work, I feel like this, so I was thinking we* should try this and look into alternative means of treatment such as this and that" without that doctor shutting me down and ignoring everything I have to say simply because they don't want to hear me playing doctor.
If you don't want your patients playing doctor then don't put them in a position where they feel they have to...
I want to get better and I want to get better more than my doctors want me to get better so I will continue to play doctor until I get what I want and that's ultimately to get healthy again. I will continue to learn on my own, learn from others, and maybe even start schooling so that I can confidently say I know what I'm talking about. Sure most neurologist probably went over Multiple Sclerosis briefly in college but guess what, I have a vested interest in this information and in making sure that I have my facts straight so believe me when I say, if I am going to play doctor, I am going to play a doctor who is doing their job RIGHT.
Don't Stop Learning!
This concludes the 88th edition of the Carnival.