Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why my disability is better.

As I see it, disability comes to us one of three ways. We are born with it. We have a disease or condition that is progressive. Or, it is the sudden effect of some trauma or event. This is a generalization and I know there are exceptions to these rules, but bear with me.

In my case, I lived many years in good health before getting my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The diagnosis was found after experiencing some minor symptoms (tingling, numbness and some leg weakness).Since then there have been many more symptoms and “disabling conditions.” Because it is a progressive disease, these symptoms have “revealed” themselves to me over time, giving me the opportunity to adjust and make necessary changes both physically and mentally.

I consider this time to make adjustments a real advantage to having MS, or any other degenerative condition. Although I may not know what the future will be, I do know that I can count on time to adjust.

Now someone who is born with a disability may feel as though they have an advantage. It is what they have always known and nothing to have to get used to. Nothing has been “taken away” and there is no adjusting or adjustment to be made. Their life is the same as it has always been.

The person who has had an accident or sudden trauma as the cause of their disability may feel differently altogether. Yes, they have had to make adjustments, but typically only once and then they are done. Their physical condition may be forever changed, but there is no uncertainty about their future. What is done is done. They know what they have and what they have to deal with.

We may not have control over whether or not we have a disability. But we always have control over how we feel about it.

Whatever the nature or cause of our disability, or whatever challenges or conditions we may face in life, I hope that you will see and embrace its advantages. In other words, be grateful for what you got. It is the hand we were dealt. Let’s play it as best we can.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.


  1. Beautiful, Michael...
    here is a reflection I recieved by email that seems to go with your thoughts...

    "Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right.. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. God has a plan! If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

    Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives and problems that we may not even notice that we've let them fly away. Sometimes we are so caught up in who's right and who's wrong that we forget what's right and wrong. Sometimes we just don't realize what real friendship means until it is too late. I don't want to let that happen so I'm gonna tie you to my heart so I never lose you."

  2. "... be grateful for what you got. It is the hand we were dealt. Let’s play it as best we can." Very well said, Michael!

    I'm always afraid of waking up tomorrow and have things be worse, to which I'd wonder what the heck was I complaining about today.

    I made such a point in a national contest-winning podcast recently posted on the Acorda Therapeutics "I walk because" Web site at I invite you to check it out and share it with others :-)

    The podcasts feature my wife, Jennifer, and me. We both have MS, and we're just hoping that our story also will help other people keep things in perspective and positively move forward with their lives.

    I imagine this is why we enjoy reading your blog so much! Thanks for sharing.

  3. What are you grateful for today? A great question to ask yourself everyday when you wake up! Thanks, Michael. I am grateful that you are my friend!... Jim Nelson

  4. Play the hand you are dealt, and play with a smile. Great philosophy of life -- disability or not.