MS Sucks. Can I Be Thankful For It?

How can I be thankful for something that takes so much?

I’m grateful for MS. I know. I just threw up in my mouth. Tastes like blasphemy.

I’m grateful for MS, but this isn’t a post about silver linings or looking on the bright side. I will not ask you to drink from your half-full glass of rose-coloured rosé before you put your head back in the sand. Let me be very clear:

MS fucking sucks. 
There is nothing inherently good about this loathsome disease, and I wholeheartedly believe in saying it sucks, when it sucks. And it sucks.
Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.
And I will keep saying just how much it sucks as I suffer through every miserable moment of rage, and angst, and grief, on the highway to Sucktown. I will mourn every loss, and every lost potential. I will scream and I will cry. I will let it out. And I don’t want anyone telling me to feel better.
What I do want from my posse is for them to listen, to pour me a glass of wine, to put their arms around me, and to whisper that they love me. I want them to hand me the tissues while telling me they don’t know how it’s possible, but I’m even prettier when I’m crying. 
When the dust settles as it always does, I will take a deep breath and say I’m grateful for every single shitty thing that has ever happened to me. Of course it’s way easier to do this long after a crisis has passed. Time affords healing, clarity, and perspective. And ultimately, the ability to recognize what I’ve gained throughout it all, and that is resilience. 

Resilience is one of the most valuable skills we can cultivate and there is simply no other way to get it than through first hand, tough as shit, life experience. MS is the steep price I’ve paid for that which has turned me into rubber. 


Tough, bouncy, resilient, rubber. 
Most of the blessings we name at Thanksgiving are transient and temporary. Eventually we may lose some of the material things we appreciate. We most certainly will lose loved ones we hold dear, and eventually all of us will confront our own struggles with health and mortality. How not to get swallowed up in the overwhelming suckitude of it all?  

Giving thanks for the fragile and fleeting can ground us in the present. It’s important to count these blessings. But this Thanksgiving, I’m feeling particularly grateful for something less tangible, but perhaps more enduring. Something I might even have a little control over.


Dear MS, Thanks for the awesome life skills. What I really wanted was a Chan Luu scarf, but I get it. In this economy.
Blah, blah, blah, hardship builds character, right? I’m not convinced I would actually choose a strong character over strong legs, but since I’m stuck with ‘life experience’, when the next MS meltdown strikes, I can remind myself that my ability to adapt has been earned and learned and lives deep within me. Even if my body breaks, I won’t be broken. 


I’m still here. 

I know how to do this. I’m sure my resilience has a threshold. We’re talking rubber, not steel. But I’m surprised and grateful to learn I haven’t reached it yet. 

In the immortal words of the great Chumbawamba, 
I get up again.

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21 thoughts on “MS Sucks. Can I Be Thankful For It?

  1. Alice, you are prettier when you cry….

    But, Alice, sometimes you are so pretty, that it causes me to lie awake for hours wondering how I can possibly manage to pull it together to meet you for lunch in public the next day (the hair, the shoes, the dress, the eyebrows, yes, really the eyebrows… ). And despite my never really succeeding in the fashion arena, your stellar life skills come out in full force and still make me feel special, loved and glamorous (though I distinctly notice you never raise your eyes too high above mine…) xo

  2. Oh Alice, you leave me speechless! That alone could be of enormous value to many who know me and would like it in pill form and I have no doubt they would use it frequently. Your wit,honesty, unique spin on your spot in time with M.S. is like nothing I have read………but you are unlike anyone I have met…..Remarkable! xo ( and you crack me up!)

  3. C-Drop,
    I would caution anyone against looking to me for inspiration. You will end up with clothes you can't afford and a terrible hangover. Maybe a puppy.

  4. Sweet Dex,
    You flatter me. If I'm not mistaken you are living a pretty glam life yourself in Germany. If it seems I am not raising my eyes it's because I have one very lazy eye and I don't want my good eye making it feel bad.

  5. I was diagnosed with MS Jan 2011 after 13 months of bizarre symptoms and was 100% on board with taking it on, it was an easy thing to deal with mentally. Just a few weeks ago Nov 2nd I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer……I am nervous not knowing if it will shorten my life… is scary. Cancer is cancer and can do what ever it wants, MS is debilitating but not life threatening and I am thankful for it being what it is. Signed, Scott Ricker aka Ricka Chey @ reli-Abilities, Access = Opportunity

  6. Victoria Cunningham

    Happy Thanksgiving Andra! Yes I do believe we have to be strong everyday with MS, and yes it does suck and can be exhausting. My life now is all about finding ways to get around and not exhaust myself in the process. Yes I do everything slowly but oh well, I’m doing it! I hope your day is wonderful and thanks for all you do to give us MS’ers hope and a laugh!??

  7. You make me smile, laugh & yes I hear you clearly, it does try our patience.. Hope you feel better someway, sometime, someday, for a moment, an hr, a day, a wk….hoping. 🙂 Smiles

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