Posted by: sistermom1 | September 22, 2009

Getting the Help I Need

One of the good things from my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (there actually are a few!) – it led to my getting involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in a variety of ways.  The Women Against MS Luncheon (now called MS Women on the Move) launched locally in 2005, and I attended the initial launch.  I was so impressed that the next year I became a member of the planning committee.  In 2007 and 2008, I had the fortune of co-chairing the luncheon — a wonderfully empowering experience. 

Every year the luncheon has been increasingly successful, and I am very proud of my involvement in this wonderful activity.  Each year 500 (in 2005) to 800 (in 2009) women come together for a delicious lunch, great entertainment, and to learn the latest research information about MS, its causes, treatment and potential cures.  Not to make a commercial (!), but this is one way that I have opted to manage my own feelings about this intrusive disease, and to engage in helping to find a cure.  If you or someone you know would be interested in this activity, check it out online through the National MS Society (www.msandyou.org)

I recently learned about a dear friend’s cousin who has had MS for over 25 years.  She is over 60 years old, lives in NYC on her own, and over the years has received a significant amount of support from the MS Society.  She has accessed resources that I was not familiar with: monthly house cleaning, regular rides to her doctor appointments, and other assistance – things I had not known were available despite my involvement with the Society locally. 

I have struggled with how that could happen, but now believe that it is mostly my own fault.  For the first two years following my diagnosis, I was physically able to get around on my own, had no real handicap to speak of, and did not need much (any?) direct assistance.  Now, things have really changed for me and my family, and I need a lot more help.  This is incredibly difficult for me.  Before – even with the disease, I was a hard-charging, self-sufficient dynamo, an active co-leader of my family and a person who many of my friends sought out to answer questions about the latest places to go and things to do.  Think of a “Sex and the City” type of girl.  This past 2 years has brought that image crashing down.  I had heard that the disease can take many turns and be quite unpredictable, but I really had no clue.  At the moment, I cannot walk without a walker, cannot climb the stairs, and cannot drive my car.  The answer to my prayers is taking a lot longer than I ever expected.  I have recently renewed my hope that my answer is coming….

I have asked for and received assistance from a variety of sources (starting with the universe in general!).  Releasing my independent streak (pride?) and humbling myself to ask for help from strangers was difficult, but I learned it was very necessary, and it has already made a tremendous difference in my life.  NMSS did help us purchase a stair lift, which has really eased the stress I was experiencing about getting around the house.   I did apply for disability and despite dire warnings that it would be difficult to get approved, I was.  Although it is not a huge amount of money, this has helped ease the financial stresses that our family has experienced over the past 2 years.  The universe sent me the MS Recovery Diet which is an eating plan that supports the body healing itself and ultimately recovering from the negative affects of MS.  (www.msrecoverydiet.com) I have been on the eating plan for four months, and have begun to see some improvement in my feet (I can wiggle my toes now).  I have also decided to start a new medical regimine – check it out at www.tysabri.com.

Asking for the help I need has proven to be challenging for me.  Needing help at all is difficult, but I have come to value the wonderful resources that have been all around me every day for the past few years that I have been ignoring.  It is actually quite fabulous to really have access to what I need….

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