Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rejection has never felt so good.

Is it the good news or the bad news? This past week and for the third time, I was turned down as a participant in a clinical trial. Getting into one of these trials as a volunteer/participant is tougher than I thought it would be. This time, however, being turned down was the good news.

This particular study was to see if exercise could improve the cognitive function of those of us living with MS. You needed to have a minimal level of physical ability and some evidence of loss of cognitive function. The doctor gave me a physical exam and then the Clinical Director administered a test of 60 questions to measure thinking skills and memory processing speed. The good news is that I answered 59 of the 60 questions correctly. A high score

The bad news was that because of my
score, I was not an eligible candidate for the study. Geez……..I may never get into one of these clinical trials.

More than half of the people living with MS will experience some level of cognitive dysfunction. Another fact is that over time, the great majority of us will experience some physical disability. Given a choice (which I am not), I would choose to have the physical disability over the
cognitive disability every time. Luckily for me, that is how the course of my MS seems to be going.

Acceptance seems to be one of the best ways to live with a chronic condition….really, to live life under any conditions. By acceptance I don’t mean complacency or resignation. I mean accepting what is true, what cannot be changed and making the most out of whatever abilities I do have.

According to the test, my cognitive function is great. Will it always be that way? I can only hope so and can take steps to maintain the status quo, both mentally and physically. But if it changes, I know exactly what will do. Make the most out of whatever abilities I do have.

Will I ever get into one of these studies? I can only hope not.

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doing the best we can Part Four: "Never Underestimate The Power Of A Smile"

I found what I hope is the perfect ending to this series on doing the best you can. It is a very short video taken from ABC News of a graduation speech given by a very special young man. The video takes less than three minutes to watch and shows us all the power of what can be done when we do the best we can.

Student's Inspirational Graduation Speech

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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Doing the best we can. Part three: Life and love.

Sometimes doing our best has nothing to do with physical accomplishments, careers or travels. It has to do with how we approach life, living and love. All too often, when faced with a chronic illness, a person dismisses the possibility of love and romance. After all, who would want to sign up for that in a relationship?

That said, meet Dan and Jennifer. They met several years ago, fell in love, got married and have been happy ever since. A typical love story, except for one thing. They both have multiple sclerosis.

Dan has relapsing-remitting MS and it is not as severe as Jennifer’s (or mine!). He works, he walks and he jogs about three times a week. He also cares for Jennifer.

Jennifer has secondary-progressive MS. She cannot work or walk. But she is a caregiver to Dan, helping in every way that she can.

Dan and Jennifer have something else too. They have a tremendous spirit and attitude that propels them to make a difference in the world. As a result, they are an example to everyone who knows or knows of them.

Having MS does not stop them from participating. In fact, just the opposite is true. They lead and inspire others. They fundraise, advocate and speak. They receive rewards and recognition and are featured in articles and videos. They have even figured out how to dance together. They are alive, in love and living with a chronic illness.

They are not only doing the best they can, they are doing great.

I have never met Dan and Jennifer, but have been a fan for some time now. I am always touched and inspired by the things they do and their extraordinary love for each other. Read Dan and Jennifer's blog and learn more about them. Learn about two people doing their best in life and love and be inspired to do the best you can.

Dan and Jennifer have a prayer that say every night and part of it is as follows:

“Gracious God, help Jennifer and me to accept your will in our illness. As your children we believe that you cause all things to work together for our good, both of body and of spirit. But sometimes in the midst of illness and pain we forget or doubt. Forgive our weak faith. When we become impatient, encourage us by your word. Despite our worries and suffering, help us by our lives to reflect the radiance and confidence of those certain of your promises of help. Restore us to sound health if it be your will, and enable us with new vigor and enthusiasm to serve you zealously for many years to come. O Lord, have mercy. Hear our prayer. Amen.”

I think their prayers are being answered.

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