Multiple sclerosis

Clasping the good

Of the dozens of lives Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped end, 19 of those were people with multiple sclerosis.

Among the youngest to die were Karen Shoffstal and Annette Blackman. Both women were 34.

Both had MS.

The illness is not terminal, like so many of the others that led 130 people to ask for assistance in their suicides. It’s not cancer, or ALS, or heart disease.

But MS has a way of seeping into every part of your consciousness, poisoning your body, eclipsing the brightness that remains in the world.

If you suffer daily from the more insidious symptoms, oftentimes you feel like you want to die rather than endure one more minute of pain. Depression plays a large role in this, as you can imagine.

I’ve been thinking of those two women more lately because I’ll be 34 next year.

How much despair must they have felt to resort to this. How agonizing the pain must have been.

How they felt like there was no other option.

It’s terrifying, living with MS. The good days feel too few and far between, while the bad ones seem to stretch out over what begins to feel like an eternity.

But I hope that as bad as it gets, I’ll stay hopeful.

That when I’m 34 and 54 and even 84 I will still look forward to the good days.

That I won’t let MS defeat me. Not in that way.

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