Yes I Cane: Embracing My Relapsing MS By Chad, Husband, Father, Software Engineer • December 12, 2018
As somebody who has lived with relapsing MS for more than 20 years, I have been taught quite a few lessons. Among them are:
- Every person with relapsing MS has a different story to tell.
- We have all taken a different path to get to our diagnosis.
- No two people with relapsing MS experience the exact same symptoms.
- Each of us has come up with different ways to cope with our condition.
To demonstrate my point, let’s take a look at the wide differences among people with MS who blog on this site.
Of the five of us here, two are men and three are women. Both Rachel and Kimberly feel that horses are among the greatest creatures on Earth. Katy is an avid yogi. And Donnie has demonstrated leadership abilities throughout his high school and professional career. Recently, he posted about his experience using a cane, or as he calls it, his stick. In his post, The Physical Changes of Relapsing MS, he describes his feelings of trepidation. “At first I was very self-conscious about needing a cane. To me, it was a sign of weakness.”
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. My experience with a cane has been the exact opposite. After being diagnosed at age 19, and spending three months in the hospital, I was introduced back into society with a snazzy custom wheelchair to accommodate my 6’ 5” frame.
Through steroids and physcial therapy, I was able to walk with the use of a cane. The staff at the rehab facility tried to give me a plain gray hospital cane adjusted to my height. But if you know anything about me, you know that wasn’t going to work. No, my first cane was a mahogany piece of wood with a solid brass duck head as the handle, exactly like the one in the picture below.
I relished the opportunities I had to walk around with my duck and show everyone my unique sense of style. My duck was a great way to break the ice about my relapsing MS and helped people to feel at ease with me—I mean come on, who wouldn’t feel at ease with a young adult walking around, solid brass duck head in hand?
That cane lasted for about 20 years until I lent it to a friend who broke it. And now, years later, I at least pretend to have matured a bit. I have two canes, one is dark black and the other is a lighter oak. I don’t use them often but they’re there if I need them. Recently my wife Lara and I spent the weekend walking around Manhattan. I knew we would be walking quite a bit, so I brought one of my canes along. Toward the end of the day on Sunday, I found myself leaning on it quite a bit. But hey, I looked cool doing it!
My point for making this comparison is this: each of us needs to find a way to be comfortable with ourselves, our diagnosis, and how we deal with it. Often there will be many ways to accomplish this—family, friends, activities, cool shoes, walking sticks—whatever you choose. Just pick something and make it yours. Don’t be afraid to do something unexpected or new (but please do it safely). Show the world you may have relapsing MS, but you can deal with it!
What’s your personal way of embracing your condition? I’d love to hear about it.
- LIVING WITH RELAPSING MS
Getting Ready for Treatment
By Chad, Husband, Father, Software Engineer, May 4, 2017
When I was considering LEMTRADA, I found there were quite a few things I needed to plan for—so I got right on it!
By Chad, Husband, Father, Software Engineer, April 14, 2017
If you’re anything like me, one of the initial thoughts crossing your mind after hearing, “you have relapsing MS” is “why me?
Attend a live event or watch one online to learn more about LEMTRADA.
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