On Friendship

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece here called “Old Friend,” examining the longest relationship of my adult life — with multiple sclerosis. Having just passed our 28th anniversary together, I’m beginning to understand the ways in which MS has gradually, silently eroded my friendships with people I hold dear.

I am no longer a good friend; no longer do I have what it takes. If you lean on me, I just might fall. Literally and figuratively.

I think it started over ten years ago, when I was having coffee with a friend. We were facing each other on a green, coffeehouse sofa, and a lamp blazed on the other side of her. Maintaining eye contact grew painful as the lamp’s beams haloed around her face, turned, burned and twisted around my slow-healing optic nerve. I doubt I said anything about it; I rarely do in such situations, since the efforts people make to move out of the brightness sometimes don’t fully work, and I don’t want to appear fussy. I want to listen without barriers, but the barriers seem vaster as years pass. I came home that evening, my eye heavy in its socket, and I knew that from then on, I would need to weigh my social life against my pain.

At one point, it was my medication that kept me from friends. On the days I named “post-shot days,” hearing a voice through the telephone intensified the pain already clogging my head. And even when I was able to listen, I couldn’t retain it for more than a minute, my mind dulled by flu-like side effects.

Nowadays, clouds cluster in my mind as my cognitive abilities decline. I forget about readings and functions I mean to attend, so I’ve slipped a little off the local literary radar. Of course, any public reading held outdoors during the warmer months (which is the majority of the year where I live) will fry my neurons anyway. When I do manage to make it to a reading and then chat afterward, I find myself contributing less and less to the conversation. Ideas bubble up in my mind, witty responses, but I can’t quite reach particulars, and then I lose the thread of the conversation anyway.

I have asked friends not to call me while I’m writing; my mind enters another zone where I should focus on little else, but my concentration is easily broken. If I enter a phone conversation — another imagined world where I picture my friend’s life and try to piece together clues as s/he tells me a story — there’s no going back to the writing zone. I’m all tapped out. Remembering the conversation afterward is challenging. It comes back much later, in fragments. I now receive very few calls at all. I embrace the silence but worry that I’ve abandoned my friends, particularly those who define friendship by these conversations, especially friends who now live elsewhere and can no longer meet in person.

Meeting up with friends is still lovely, although it also drains my thinking juice. I prefer it to the phone, because when later I try to recall the conversation I don’t need to imagine something described by a disembodied voice. I just picture where we were. Less energy is required. My favorite way of maintaining contact is email; I can read and circle back to certain details that would most likely elude my grasp over the phone. It’s possible to be an attentive friend through writing.

I’m currently participating in a clinical study investigating MS’s effects on cognition. I do computer exercises as homework and go to a class once a week, where we try to identify problem areas in our thinking and share strategies to work around them. The majority of the people in the group have noticed that their cognitive symptoms of MS have adversely affected their social lives, too. Like me, they may let a spouse do the talking, silently witnessing a conversation instead of speaking up.

So far, we’ve learned that some things we might initially interpret as faulty memory or trouble multitasking might have more to do with attention and alternating between bits of information. The pathways are foggy, blocked. “Attention,” though, implies intention, as though we don’t want to listen. Now I imagine a giant phone towering above the class, shouting, “Wake up! Pay attention!”

We are. We just never knew before that attention — and friendship — would be such hard work.

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Laurie Clements Lambeth, Author

Laurie Clements Lambeth’s MS diagnosis at the age of seventeen brought her to poetry. Her first book Veil and Burn (University of Illinois Press, 2008) was selected for the 2006 National Poetry Series. Currently at work on her second poetry collection and a book of creative nonfiction about MS, she also teaches in the Medicine and Society program at the University of Houston, where she earned MFA and PhD degrees in Creative Writing. To learn more about her work, please visit www.laurieclementslambeth.com

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  • Tammy-P-  Nov 19, 2014 9:57 AM
    Thank you for this relational post. I am a physician with a new diagnosis. My brain has always been my power. I too, would love to be part of a cognitive study. Can anyone comment on how this might be possible?
  • Marge   Nov 19, 2014 10:05 AM
    I wish you were wrong but you are so right. :(
  • Debbie   Nov 19, 2014 10:07 AM
    This helped me so much. It makes me feel so much better just knowing someone understands. I've lost so many friends. They mean well, but I think they just grow tired of my not being able to do anything. Thank you!!
  • Marilyn1  Nov 19, 2014 10:09 AM
    Thank you for this insight. I also have cognitive issues. That was the deciding factor for disability from work. I find it difficult to be in large gatherings. Too much going on. I use to push myself to be part of social situations, but it has become so draining. I mark events\appointments on calendar, but that it only helpful if you actually check the calendar. I did start playing "words with friends" on computer. I think it is helping. Kicks the brain into gear at your pace. I relate to your losing focus. It takes all concentration to focus on a single task. If disrupted, it goes away. Thank you for sharing and letting me know I am not alone with this.
  • Carole   Nov 19, 2014 10:18 AM
    I'd love to learn more about the cognition study you're involved in...my mind gets so foggy when using electronic devices...can't seem to multi-task at all! I, too have lost friendships and truly feel for you! All the best!
  • Kiran   Nov 19, 2014 10:22 AM
    i learnt thru my counsellor that it wasn't my memory or cognition at fault. I was told that my working memory had too much in it. A regular person's worth of things to deal with along with MS worries; symptom variations, a gazillion medicines to be taken on time, injection reaction worries, ordering meds on time, bleak looking future scaring the life out of me, inability to keep up with friends, being judged unfairly at work.... It's endless! Of course my working memory was not holding onto tasks!

    We need to remember to be kinder to ourselves :)
  • Jeannie Estevez   Nov 19, 2014 10:28 AM
    I think you should do your part and don't let that Ms ruin your life and yes you could have friends it's a little harder having to do what they like to do but you could still have someone to count on you
  • allison   Nov 19, 2014 10:44 AM
    That was a lovely read. I can totally relate to you. I have cognitive issues too. I ask my friends and family to pretend it's the first time I say or hear a story. It's good to talk to someone that goes through the same as yourself that's why I joined the ms society where you can talk to people that understand you,,,,,Allison
  • Mart   Nov 19, 2014 10:45 AM
    What was life like before brain fog? I can't remember. Try and pretend it's not there but it catches up with you pretty quickly. People will never know the physical effort involved in just having a conversation.
  • I know how you feel.   Nov 19, 2014 10:52 AM
    Thank you for sharing. My experience is a little different, in that I have many friends that I used to work with and now I don't see them, part of that is because I don't drive anymore, part of that is because I have a much smaller budget for the things we used to do, theater, lectures, dinners out and trips. Many places we used to go do not ADA accessible seating or entries. I don't see them because sometimes on my choice because when we get together in a group, I have little of nothing in common with their lives anymore. I don't have vacations that take me to new places, You get it and though it makes me sad it is my new normal. The few friends I still have are great and their lives are moving on, they are getting married, they have new jobs, that take more of their time. They have older infirm parents they need to take care of and so a lot less time for me. I treasure them, but my new friends have MS like me and they are also not working. We have fun togther, but it is a new effort, paratransit ways to get together, small lunches out when we have the money, as SSDI is not much contrary to what people think when they learn that is source of income along with diminished pensions if you have one and it is less because you left on a disability pension before you reached the required age for a full pension. Some times it's my choice to say no, it's because the activity is something I cannot do or it's just to depressing for me to hear them move on and I feel like I am not and it makes me sad because my dreams have really changed. I tell people I am blessed and I know that I am but some times, I do not feel blessed and I am confused about how I can fit in and find new ways to connect with my "old" friends, I know they feel sorry for me and do not know how to relate. Many do not even understand what disability mean, particularly the cognitive issues. Sometimes it is just too hard to explain why spatial problems make is hard to navigate places and things, why ambient noise throws off my attention. Why I keep stumbling to find the word I know but cannot think of today or the short memory I have when yesterday I was right on all day. So you get it. Today is a good day, I can type this and it makes complete sense to me. I know today will be a good day. Hope it is for you. Thank you to my friends who hang in there with me and help me when I need them:)
  • Tom Bronishewski   Nov 19, 2014 11:00 AM
    thanks for the insight. I've been dealing with diagnosed M.S. for close to 5 years or so. My biggest problem these days are daily aches and pains, chronic fatigue, and cognitive problems. Having to keep up a social life and friendships is getting difficult. I've spent 4 months visiting a Psychologist that deals with depression and M.S. Patients, it has helped a little but the love and support I get from my wife is the best., cheers to all, can only smile, tom
  • Linda   Nov 19, 2014 11:19 AM
    Wow, thanks so much for sharing this. I relate so much to what you have to say. I too feel like I stopped being a good friend with this disease. I hate the phone and many times just let it ring and go to voice mail. It's just too difficult to hold a phone conversation. When I run into an old friend at the grocery store, I want to run the other direction. Sometimes I don't know their name, and I'm embarrassed by my lack of communication skills. I ran into an old friend the other day. It was wonderful to see her. We talked, we laughed, but after about 10 minutes my speech and thoughts became confused. I stumbled over words, I lost track of what I was talking about. I became self-conscious and this made it worse. My heart started beating faster and I felt the urge to end the conversation and tell her goodbye, before my symptoms got worse. This is my new normal. I've accepted it, I understand what's happening. But I've also lost friends, not that they have abandoned me. But I feel I abandoned them. It's such a difficult part of this disease.
  • Susan Williams   Nov 19, 2014 11:25 AM
    . you for sharing this story. I thought i was the only one to distance myself from friends and family.I hate to be around acrowd of people i start having panic attacks .when i speak what i really have to say just comes out wrong
  • Celeste   Nov 19, 2014 11:38 AM
    I did a weekly training this summer at USF trying to learns tools & retrain the mind. This is affirming to know this information. I cannot not multi task, if I try, I become so foggy, I get totally lost. The friends I do get to be around, laugh with me when I become so discombobulated and foggy. I laugh my way or "fake it" till I get caught. Then laugh at myself. There are days that isn't effective at all, and it take a toll. Laughing is good for the brain. Thanks for sharing this information
  • farmgirl  Nov 19, 2014 11:57 AM
    Thank you for expressing so well what it means to have cognitive problems associated with MS. Even my husband of 52 years, who has been on this journey through MS for over 35 years, will tell me that all people my age have these exact cognitive problems. Now that I see him developing problems that are related to age, I feel like I have been "elderly" for a very long time. When I was diagnosed in 1981, a neurologist told me that MS in younger people mimics old age. But, as you know the cognitive problems we have are truly different. And it is very isolating disease. Half the year I am isolated on a ranch. Half the year I am in a close community of older retired people. I have been with the latter group for over 20 years. It is so frustrating to not even be able to remember the names of people I see daily. Thank you for helping me to not feel so lonely or different. I am not the only one and it helps to know I'm not the only one!
  • Lori Costa   Nov 19, 2014 12:48 PM
    I was just diagnosed in march. I've same symptoms for 7 years. I relate to your story. I'm having these problems. Sometimes I'm good then in a flash I don't know what I was doing. It horrible and scarey
  • Cathy Reynolds   Nov 19, 2014 1:34 PM
    Thank you for putting into words what I had difficulty explaining. Bravo!
  • Helen   Nov 19, 2014 2:26 PM
    Thanks for sharing, Laurie. I can relate to much of what you wrote. I have to shake my head when I see info about people with ms, living their lives as if the disease didn't bother them at all. Get real! Ms has a life-altering effect on its victims.
    My ms has effected my right leg and arm. I currently wear a brace on my leg and no longer drive. This leaves me without human contact except on Sundays for church. Like you, I try to put on a happy face for family that happens by. I try to get out for exercise (I use a walker) but this year's winter is not promising. It is a real bummer when my only physical contact with a man is my twice a year visit to my dentist. Let's hope for more research for cures.
  • Helen   Nov 19, 2014 2:28 PM
    Thanks for sharing, Laurie. I can relate to much of what you wrote. I have to shake my head when I see info about people with ms, living their lives as if the disease didn't bother them at all. Get real! Ms has a life-altering effect on its victims.
    My ms has effected my right leg and arm. I currently wear a brace on my leg and no longer drive. This leaves me without human contact except on Sundays for church. Like you, I try to put on a happy face for family that happens by. I try to get out for exercise (I use a walker) but this year's winter is not promising. It is a real bummer when my only physical contact with a man is my twice a year visit to my dentist. Let's hope for more research for cures.
  • Heidi E Stucki DVM   Nov 19, 2014 3:37 PM
    A very good piece about the challenges of life with ms. I am 60 years old and have dealt with the ms things the author writes of for 49 years. Each day can be a Sysaphisian task. The next day, do it again. I view my brain as a system of filing cabinets with thousands of drawers. When the fog comes, my view is that the drawer I need is rusted shut. I think that patience and understanding that your (my) life proceeds at the snail's pace has caused me much anger in the past. Right now though, I have found peace in the slow & quiet life I have. It is enriched by the animals & nature in my daily life and a very tight relationship with my husband of nearly 32 years. I don't remember a life without ms, I do know that my life here on earth is what I have - no religious beliefs here- so I appreciate every leaf that falls, every snowflake I see, every cold breeze on my face and always the feel of the cat fur, the wet nosed dog, the warm breath of my horse. It would be nice to go out to concerts, lectures, parties & such. But like others before me in the posts, it is just too hard. So I use what senses are working on any given day and am at peace (if not "happy", at least at peace).
  • Marisa   Nov 19, 2014 4:18 PM
    thanks for sharing, i agree soo with you.
  • Heather   Nov 19, 2014 4:27 PM
    Thank you for saying the thoughts that scramble about in our MS minds. I always try to express myself as 'Glass-Half-Full", however sometimes I would like to find a lonely hilltop somewhere and SHOUT!
    Diagnosed just 4 years ago, after doctors over the past 20 years never connected the dots, I have found instant relief from the new medications now available, I have a good friend that got MS about 40 years ago, wheelchair now, with everything that MS can throw at him. I realise that every day now the Research people are doing their very best for us, and every day I bless the medication and assistance I, and my other MS friends, receive.
    Yes, I do need to let out my confused thoughts sometimes, and do the gardening as though I have been on the gin for a month, staggering about, needing rests, even writing this is taking several cups of tea, and use of the Back and Delete buttons.

    I don't like the ';but' word much, prefer to say 'however', BUT this time it occurs to me that it is good to release the negatives, and so then can get on with the positives we can all find, if we look hard enough.

    My lovely bosses have instructed me to change to part-time, they are very aware, they tell me, that I am getting very tired, forgetful, and often in pain, but they don't want to lose me yet, so three-days on, 4-days off, and I am so grateful they appreciate me and gave me no choice - we really need to keep going, doing what we can, while we can.

    Love to all those people in the world that suffer, so many worse than us, however I am still alive and kicking (sometimes literally, but the little orange pills help!), so we will enjoy the sun while we can
    love to all and everyone.
  • Sandy   Nov 19, 2014 7:09 PM
    I've lost a lot, my children's childhood. Lost so many things. Cognitive impairment. I have to make a daily things to try to get done.
    I've over done SO many times. After over doing, down for several days.
    Now I have grandkids. They are beginning to know that Nana can't do things. That is another pain. Always wanted to be a grandmother.
  • Janet McLaren   Nov 19, 2014 8:44 PM
    Thank you so much for the insight. I too am having cognitive issues. I have mentioned it to my husband, but no one else. Makes me feel alone. I know that that he cares, but I feel that he doesn't think it is any big deal. I ha ve a very close friend, but she is dealing with her sons suicide 2years ago and now the diagnosis of her Mom's cancer and I don't want to burden her with any more. Just knowing that unfortunately there are others that are going through this but that they understand really helps. Thanks
  • Tori   Nov 20, 2014 12:08 AM
    Thank you so much for sharing. My dad has MS. My parents both don't really talk about his disease, and when I try to get either of them support through the MS chapter, they just quietly shrug me off. Either way, I am comforted to read the insights of others with MS, which I feel gives me insight into what my father is going through. I am so sorry you are going through this, but thank you thank you thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences with everyone here. Best of luck to you <3
  • Mike Spencer   Nov 20, 2014 4:03 AM
    Thank you so much for your comment on your MS. I have had it for 20 years now and it's getting worse. The peculiar thing is that when my children come home I remember well the fun we used to have but I realise that I can no longer contribute as I used to. Just recently I have gone into another room and whistled loudly and I can imagine how frustrating this is for people who ask me to sit in my powered wheelchair and not grab hold of the walls to steady myself. Should I do this - actually I loathe this item, I am not in this position yet but I am told that it would help others and as hard as I try I cannot decide. Actually using ones legs means you use them and don't lose them. But what is best ? Should I continue to go into another room and have fun whistling ? Should I use the items which are there to help me and if I do then am I just giving myself up to this horrible thing called MS ? I just don't know what is best.
    Shopping is another problem - should I get out of the passenger seat with my stick and wobble or should I wait while my darling wife gets out my small scooter ? Do you know I think that I should not bother so much about caring for others and do what's best for me and fight with all my power against this disease which messes with my abilities to think straight and talk straight. Or is this right ? I just don't know. The pain in my legs doesn't give me the same problems thankfully though it must be frustrating for people who watch me twisting my feet around when sat down. There is always a negative area in MS. Sometimes it's good to just get it all off your chest and hope to get others ideas.
  • Linda   Nov 20, 2014 10:35 AM
    After more than 30 years with MS, I find it is only when no one else home do I answer the phone. I can no longer comprehend what I'm reading, nor can I examine a map and determine where I am or where I'm going. I must interrupt conversations so I can express my thoughts or forget them entirely because I have the retention span of a gnat. Many friend and family don't speak with me because you can imagine a conversation where I'm either in a fog or unable to participate because MS will only let me speak in consonants, or use it's wiles to allow me to speak in a language known only to MS.
    Most importantly, my father has stopped speaking with me because AT TIMES I sound like an idiot. In the middle of other's conversation, my tongue speaks out before I forget what I wanted to say, on or off topic.
    I injected Avonex for 13 years and it now seems as though I have lost more family and friends than I had originally thought, if my speech or lack thereof, I fall off my feet, can't get my balance or fall up/down stairs - nothing anyone wants to report something to their homeowners insurance.
    Nearly a decade ago I received a call from my brother during my medication day, and was accused of being drunk on Tequila and high on Valiums. He hung up on me and hasn't spoken to me since. No one from his family, nor friends and other family we shared, have never spoken to me, or my family, ever since. My niece was 10 the last I spoke with her, she's a junior in college now.
    I am being told by my doctors that MS shouldn't be a problem for me -- but it's big enough for me to have lost most everyone. I say stupid things, my body does stupid things and they all think it is my lack of intelligence.
    You and I know better.
  • Kathy Roper   Nov 20, 2014 12:27 PM
    I have not been diagnosed with MS yet but all the pieces are coming together. Your story has helped me understand another vital piece. The more I read the more it all makes sense! Thank you!!
  • edgar mcafee   Nov 20, 2014 2:35 PM
    I spent several years as RN but my body has left me behind sometimes now my cognition is altered and have a hard time following a thought from beginning to end! I'm almost embarrassed cause I can see a friend I've known since I was a kid and struggle with their name even as I see what we we we're doing at the time in my Swiss cheese for a brain. It can be very frustrating but this is my world now! Hope and faith are my constant friends. I will hold onto them for as long as I can! I will not let them go! Thank you for putting words where I couldn't!
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    SmartyPants  Nov 20, 2014 5:53 PM
    sad but true people just slowly withdraw from you, don't call as often, its not you it's that they don't want what happened to you to happen to them. My life is an example of how someone can be brought to their knees by illness for no fault of their own. We represent something that can and will destroy us, and no one likes to be around it. Some people stay away, others betrayed me, others just don't return the calls. Most of my life i considered myself lucky that is until i got ms, its a real kick in the pants. I think inside myself that i wish i never would have gotten sick, that i wouldn't have to see the expression people have on their face when i limp toward them using my canes, walker and the worst when i am in the wheel chair. It reminds people of the fleeting youth, the disease no one wants to look in the eye. If it wasn't for my mate and my keeping my spirits up, I would have declined by the very disease that one way will claim me, but until then life is worth living. I have grown to enjoy my own company, and to distract myself, distract away the pain, the physical pain i have and the mental pain. There are times i wish i well, it doesn't do one good to wish for something that isn't , its a waste of time. Enjoy every day and for the friends and family that stick by your side, excepting who you are no matter what, they are what keep me going.
  • Jules   Nov 21, 2014 5:05 AM
    My friend list has changed as well. I don't see it as a bad thing. I've been blessed with so many friends, but I've let go of a couple long relationships...one 10 years and one 20 years. I just didn't have the energy anymore for relationships that were taking a lot more than they were giving. They were zapping my time and my energy. A positive, optimistic attitude has been my best defense ever since I was dx 29 years ago with M.S. I now have more time for my family, friendships, and activities that enrich my life. Letting go of the negative people has also helped me learn to love myself more. I still love them and I keep them in my prayers, but it is better for me to do it from a distance. I feel most comfortable with people that share similar energy frequencies. I am a giver....but I have learned that in a real friendship ....the giving goes back and forth and it is not so one sided. Sometimes you have to let someone go...to really find yourself.
  • lynn1901  Nov 21, 2014 10:15 AM
    You hit the nail on the head. For me there is another potential cause for my decreasing ability to multitask or tap into my short term memory though. My father died last year, a brain autopsy confirmed Alzheimer's disease. For me heightened anxiety, but I take it a day at a time knowing if that is my fate so be it. I enjoy the days I remain physically capable to participate in family outings and take a lot of pictures to help remember.
  • Laurie Clements Lambeth   Nov 21, 2014 12:18 PM
    I am so moved by all of your comments, and glad that some of you found a sense of kinship in my piece. Some of you have asked about the cognition study, so I asked the nurse practitioner who ran our class (past tense because the class ended yesterday--I wrote this piece about a month ago--and the study will continue with cognitive tests in following months). This study is being conducted through the University of Texas School of Nursing, and its locations are only in Texas. If I hear anything more about other studies, I will write about it here. Part of the study involves playing games on Lumosity, so that's one avenue to explore on your own, although I found that simply learning about particular cognitive challenges common to MS helped me immensely, and discussing these things with others in the class, sharing strategies and work-arounds, was empowering. I will try to share more about those strategies and particular cognitive issues associated with MS in the future.

    Wishing the very best for each of you,
  • Sharon   Nov 21, 2014 4:37 PM
    This hits the nail on the head!! I, too feel that I'm "out of the loop"...as phone conversations don't seem to "resonate" in my brain any more. I feel I let my friends & my family down when I can't seem to understand what's being talked about & I feel very stupid. I totally understand what u are saying & how u feel. Thank for expressing it so succinctly.
  • Sheri Rogow   Nov 21, 2014 5:14 PM
    I have always had somewhat of a struggle with brain fog and being ADD doesn't help. Recently it has gotten worse I will simply just leave words out of texts, emails etc. I walk around aimlessly sometimes second to second forgetting what I'm doing. It's actually extremely frightening I don't think people have any clue as to how scary it can be. And to be honest I didn't either till it got this bad, I thought fatigue was the worst. When you can't remember the word apple but you can describe that it's red , round , and shiny...Oh and you also don't know if you actually just had one or not? Not a good feeling!
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    vghozlan  Nov 28, 2014 11:08 PM
    This was spot-on. I, too am a poet although I am writing less and less as the ms drains my creative juices.
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    Cache916  Dec 2, 2014 8:43 PM
    I have read this thread at least 10 times over the past 2 weeks. I can relate to so many of the comments.

    What I enjoy is that I don't see a lot of negative, whoa is me stuff here. You are all just talking about what is real and dealing with it. After all, it is the hand that we have been dealt. Giving up is not an option.

    We look around and acknowledge that we have so much to be grateful for. We can still smile and be a positive influence in someone's life. We are still relevant and have much to offer. We can't stop.....won't stop living!!!

    It is indeed a blessing to be able to communicate with people who can relate and understand. I have found that my family is very supportive. But, they don't really understand or want to hear my woes. They can't fix it and have issues of their own. I get it and I'm fine with it!

    My many friends were in the workplace (38 years in Corporate America). Unfortunately, I spent more time working than with my own family over the years.

    Now. I rarely talk to my "friends". I now recognize that our "friendships" were centered around the workplace, shopping, hanging out after work, networking, etc. I now longer have a real interest in those things now. But, when we talk I listen. The conversations are very awkward. I ask about their families, work and that's it. I avoid talking about me. I will only say, "I'm good."

    MS FORCED me to slow down and focus on what is truly important in my life. I thank God to have an opportunity to reconnect, or connect, with my family in a way that I have honestly never done in the past.

    This (MS) is certainly not my ideal situation. But, I have to say that I am not bitter, angry or depressed. I "retired" last month. I try to avoid stress and try my best to keep a positive attitude.

    Don't get me wrong. I have bad days just like anyone else. But, my good days outweigh my bad days so I won't complain.

    Thank you for being here and for listening!

    God bless you!
  • Karen   Jan 2, 2015 6:33 PM
    I have many of the truths that you mentioned going on in my MS body as well. Add the misery of not being able to drive and that sums me up........
  • Boo Barksdale   Mar 3, 2016 7:51 PM
    Thank you Laurie for your insights.
    I'm a creative writer too and I credit writing with being my saving grace through the challenges and trials of adjusting to life with MS. Write about it, that's what we do, sharing our experience so that others might better understand.
    Friendships have changed, all of life has changed, it's complicated. I get it.
    Everybody's awareness of all of life's invisible challenges is different (not just MS).
    Most everyone, even someone with MS can benefit from another point of view.
    MS is a speed bump, it will not define me, but it has opened my awareness and awakened my creative abilities. It has stripped me down to who I really am, cut away all of the BS, and let me be me. As long as I have a finger to lift, I will fight.
    Writing has given me the opportunity to vent, to laugh at myself and share.
    Sure there's fog, but behind the fog is sunshine

    Crazy shiny diamond in Austin, Boo
  • Nancy   Mar 3, 2016 8:07 PM
    Being a good friend is not predicated on strength - it is a function of caring. There are many of my friends that I do not often see, but sometimes we just talk on the phoneor via computer to share our friendship and concern with each other. That works fine for me.
  • Barry   Mar 4, 2016 1:47 AM
    Suffering from cognitive , mood swings, forgetfulness, confusion, finding my way somewhere. Pain, fatigue. It's hard
  • Kail   Mar 4, 2016 8:49 AM
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have felt these symptoms too and it only makes me want to search for a cure that much more. You're so strong and your closest friends will understand! Keep fighting the good fight!
  • Vicki Perlmeter   Mar 4, 2016 10:15 AM
    I was diagnosed at age 22. I am now 65. I enjoyed reading your article. I am blessed with wonderful friends and family. I work out at a gym for M.S. patients twice a week. They are my M.S. Family. I'm in a support group. I am also on many boards and committees. It's not always easy, but--I do what I can, with what I have, where I am. Attitude Attitude!! Thank you--Vicki Perlmeter
  • Jessica johnson   Mar 4, 2016 10:17 PM
    Im crying you wrote about my life! I couldn't explain it but you just did beautifully!!! THank you
  • Lucille   Mar 5, 2016 7:52 PM
    I have a precious friend, that I love so much that has MS. I had to move away from her and I know she dearly needs me. I pray for her every fau
  • Wanda Agne   Mar 9, 2016 10:14 AM
    our family is made up of five children. Of coursse we were shocked to hear first my 3rd child had symiptoms which paralized his left leg. At the time he was 30 yrs old. &&&Then to our utter disbelief my yyyoungest daughter who had a minor fender-bender and the hospital did and MRI of her head and low and behold she already had those ??? mark symptoms indicating she too had Multiple Sclerosis. She tries to ignnore that diagnosis and pretend she has no disease. Mike wanted to know all about M.S. and studied what he could avoid and how to live his life all over again. Mom is a big supporter and gives encouragement.; Ours is a loving familhy. We care for one another. God will give us strength and he is our comforter in every way. Hope this gives a promise that things can be better if we believe.
  • Shellyburnett67  Mar 31, 2016 8:46 AM
    Thank you fot your story! I just found out i have MS..and yu are encouraging to all.