But you look so good

In my last vent, I was feeling very crabby about the host of problems that having MS creates. The problems have not been solved, but I am coping a little better. And, thank heavens, my mood has improved. Maybe because I got my hair cut and for the first time in my life, professionally colored and highlighted. I can see your eyes rolling and I can hear some of you laughing out loud. But it did perk me up, and I have gotten so many compliments, including the dreaded, “You look so good.”  
This got me thinking. What is so bad about looking good?  Remember Billy Crystal doing the Fernando Lamas shtick? His big line was, “You look maahvellous,” followed by, “It is better to look good than to feel good.”  There are many days I would sell my soul to feel better than I look or move, but neither will happen. So I’ll gratefully take any positive comment and just hearing it makes me feel better. Really, would you prefer people coming up to you and saying, “I hope you don’t feel as terrible as you look.” I wouldn’t. Do you think our discomfort with the “But you look so good” line comes from fear?  Fear that those around us have no clue about our pain and the struggle we have just to get through the day?
A few years ago, I was depressed and overwhelmed by MS and how it can turn your life upside down. I took to my bed and it was not pretty. It was also very disturbing,   especially to my kids and husband. One of my dearest friends, someone I have known since eighth grade, showed up at my house. Not the shy type, she came right upstairs and said, “What the H... are you doing? Auditioning for a role in a nursing home commercial? Get the H…UP!” She helped me shower, dress, put on my makeup and was completely oblivious to my complaining and whining. After pasting me back together, we had lunch, at which time she pointed out that I was one of the vainest people she knew (one of my endearing qualities) and even though I had MS I didn’t have to look or play the part of sick person.
She was right. I am vain. And I like to look good. So even on the days I’d be getting an infusion, I would start out in well-styled hair, lipstick and a nice outfit. Now the end of the day was another story, but when I arrived the nurses would all comment on my great appearance, which made me feel better, even if just for a little while. Having MS is bad. Looking good even though we have MS, in my opinion, is a GOOD thing. So, don’t be mad when people tell you how great you look. Thank them and tell them you feel maahvellous.
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Susan Skoney, Blogger

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.