Kevin and I are planning to ride in the MS150 bicycle ride this June from Duluth to the Twin Cities. Though fortunately, neither of us knows anyone with multiple sclerosis, we feel the ride is important for building community. We will be riding with Team Andersen so not only will we meet and connect with Andersen employees and their families, we will also be riding for a cure to help other people move and continue to contribute to our community. Consider sponsoring me this year.
I gave myself a challenge to make multiple sclerosis personal for me by rolling up my research sleeves. I want to feel the pain and heartache of its victims and know why I am out there pedaling. For those thinking about supporting my ride, this short poem is designed to help you connect with multiple sclerosis. Be sure to check out the links below to other personal stories I found inspirational.
People with MS never know what aches and pains the day will bring. They need to assess their energy levels and pain and plan their day accordingly.
Each morning as I come to consciousness,
before my eyes even open,
I make a long assessment
starting by slowly wiggling my toes,
feeling for the numbness in my shoulders,
forcing saliva down my throat to see how it slides.
People with multiple sclerosis experience numbness of their hands, slurred speech, and headaches. Activities most people find easy such as getting dressed or fixing our hair can be painful and exhausting.
My illness makes fashion decisions:
beautiful pearl buttons hurt my hands
and I fumble with zippers
not able to wash my hair daily
choosing scarves and ponytails
instead of barrettes and curls.
People who suffer from multiple sclerosis can be fine one day and extremely weak the next. This makes it difficult to make plans. Also, an illness that others can’t see makes people wonder how you can be sick when you look fine.
My strength has peaks and wanes,
leaning on a walker
and relying on friends to pick me up
rather than driving myself.
Other days, the steps easily increase
gathering looks of confusion from acquaintances.
MS can affect anyone though usually appears in women between age 20-50. The National MS Society raises $37,000,000 per year for research to help people live more active lives.
I am a teenager, a young man, an artist, a mother.
My physical energy is currency
to buy a few moments of doing favorite things.
What may be a small challenge for you
weeks of training and two short days of bicycling
means a lifetime of fulfillment for me!
Some of my favorite desktop wallpapers – save it to your desktop or get other MS digital downloads here:
- A good description of the ups and downs of living with MS: http://www.saratogaareas.com/ellie/blog2.php/with-ms-sometimes-you-just
- How do you describe MS to a close friend so she sees your daily struggles? With spoons! http://livingdaytodaywithmultiplesclerosis.blogspot.com/2011/09/spoon-theory.html
- A teenager describes how MS has affected her life and the optimism that gets her through the day: http://www.teenvogue.com/beauty/blogs/beauty/2010/02/living-with-multiple-sclerosisas-a-teen.html
- A short story of a successful man who is clearly conquering his battles with MS: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/online-community/personal-stories/noah-40-shebib/index.aspx