Making Connections

One of the best parts of writing for the MS Connection blog is reading the comments that readers leave.

Yes, you read that right. Sites like this are some of the few places, it appears, on the internet where the “don’t read the comments” rule doesn’t seem to apply. I read every single comment that is left on here, on my personal blog, and on my social media posts. And I delight in receiving emails and private messages. They’re equal parts heartbreaking and encouraging.

I hear from fellow MSers — ones without a solid and positive support system, ones who are newly diagnosed and confused, just wanting someone to connect with, and ones who have been living with this disease for quite some time and are just looking for a fresh pick-me-up. I also hear from caretakers, desperate to help spread awareness.

But why me? I’m no expert. I don’t have a medical background, nor a psychological or pharmaceutical one. I’d humbly like to believe it’s because I aim to write authentically — not with starry-eyed delusion, but with real, genuine and relatable stories and experiences. However, writing these articles and attempting to spread positivity doesn’t make me immune to bad days, to feeling hopeless, to feeling anger. And I want to embrace those emotions just as much as I do the positivity…because that’s what makes us beautiful, what makes us human. The ability to feel and express pain is a privilege. Hold onto that. It means you’re alive.

I often battle feelings of guilt. I feel like I’m speaking from a “privileged” standpoint, in that I have relapsing-remitting MS, I’m carrying on pretty much as normal (or at least as normal as my new normal can be), my MS is not progressing quickly, and I’m fortunate to have an amazing support network. But, as silly as it may sound, I have to remind myself that living with MS is not a competition (I mean, really, who wants to win that contest?).

We’re a family here and just as much as my articles may lift you up and hopefully give you something you may need to hear in that moment, I receive the same from you in the feedback you leave.

Let us remember that this is a safe space and preserve it by continuing to lift each other up and learn from one another. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing cartwheels or you are in a wheelchair. It doesn’t matter if you were diagnosed three months ago or thirty years ago. We’re all in this together.

And I am here for you.
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Cat Stappas

Cat was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013 and writes about her experiences in her blog, It's Only A Bruise. She hopes to make the dark corners of the internet a little bit less scary for both the newly and the long-time diagnosed with some honesty, positivity and — sometimes — some tongue-in-cheek humor. You can read her blog here and follow her on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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  • Olympia   Oct 20, 2016 3:20 PM
    Please add my daughter's email to your list. She is the one who has MS for 26 years.
  • Darrell   Oct 20, 2016 3:39 PM
    Living with MS for 34 years and counting!
  • delightedhands  Oct 20, 2016 4:11 PM
    I read all the posts because I need to hear about others who know this path. I have a great husband and family but I often feel very alone. It helps to hear from someone who articulate the score. I have PPMS so there is no break from the pain or mental reminder of this disease's presence. I live well with what I have now....just differently!
  • Aurora   Oct 21, 2016 5:36 PM
    What is an effective medication for fatigue?
  • NordicMA  Oct 22, 2016 6:36 PM
    Diagnosed with RRMS in 1978. On long term disability since 1992. Stopped driving about 10 years ago. Very supportive spouse for over 20 years. Have a positive attitude but life can be hard some times.
  • Joanne Chapman   Oct 27, 2016 2:02 PM
    I am a mummy with RRMS and was diagnosed just over three years ago and have been living with symptoms for nearly 5 years.

    I started a blog called poorlyparents which you can find on Facebook and WordPress. I write it from a perspective of being a mummy of a toddler as well as having MS.

    I find connecting with other MSers difficult as I don't know anybody locally but there are people online through forums. This website is great! I really related to your post, thanks for sharing.
  • Diana Lain   Oct 28, 2016 4:00 PM
    I have enjoyed reading your blogs over the years. I have recently moved into the last stages of PPMS and require round the clock care (due to my inability to move anything under my neck). It has been really hard finding caregivers and paying them as well. So I started a GoFundMe page in hopes of filling in the financial gaps of obtaining caregivers. So if you have the wherewithal, please share my GoFundMe page, "Diana Lain Caregiving Fund" or use this link: Thanks so much.
  • capitolcarol   Dec 7, 2016 6:08 PM
    I read all the posts because I want to know how others are handling their MS or if they have any suggestions on how to live better. Sometimes it can be comforting or enouraging.
  • capitolcarol   Dec 7, 2016 6:09 PM
    I read all the posts because I want to know how others are handling their MS or if they have any suggestions on how to live better. Sometimes it can be comforting or enouraging.
  • yantrashakti  Jan 7, 2017 2:05 AM
    End Stage

    With a slight shuffle
    She crossed the High-Way
    To her luxury apartment
    Above the Hotel –
    Looking at the Bay,
    A perfect nest
    To question:
    Is there anything else
    Beyond the myelin sheet?
    The blessing of MS
    Not yet clear,
    Beyond scientific
    Explanation –
    In which
    The Benediction of Love.
  • Melissa   Jan 28, 2017 6:48 PM
    I read your post and found it to be positive. I just found out 1/26/17 I had MS. I've not even seen a neurologist yet. My question is..what is ahead of over the next couple months. I woke up two weeks ago with my left arm numb as well as my hand. I lost about 85% motor skill in my hand. I'm scared I may never get the use back. I'm also a severe diabetic. Im so overwhelmed and confused. I just wanna know what to expect with the neurologist.