Today is #WorldMSDay. The actual day I was talking about in my post on Monday. In that post I urged people to go out today (or any day they want to for that matter), and talk to someone with MS. Have them explain what life is like for them, and how their life goes on despite the difficulties.
And two of my colleagues followed that advice!
I have to be clear about some things at this point. I was never one to hide my condition. My family and friends were the first to know of my diagnosis a bit more than 7 years ago (my first episode was about 9 years ago this month – the diagnosis took a bit longer to come). And my boss at the time was aware of the situation. Friends I have made since, my professors for that semester I went back to school simply because I wanted to study architecture, and sometimes even acquaintances, I have told about my MS. I have explained things to them, feelings, difficulties, my thoughts. And they have all been extremely helpful and supportive. Each and every one of them, in their own way and in varying degrees, but helpful and supportive nonetheless. Something for which I am eternally grateful. Because as I have found out over these 9 years, every little bit helps.
My current workplace is no exception to that rule.
So, back to my story. These two colleagues asked me, given the opportunity, to talk to the people on my floor about MS. To give them an outline of what the disease is, what it does, and my experience with it. They already knew I was dealing with MS, but they wanted to hear more about it.
I have to admit, the experience has been exhilarating. I got to talk/present in an informal fashion about my experience with MS to my eight most immediate colleagues. People I spend a good 8 hours every day with.
This started as a five minute awareness presentation. It ended up being a discussion that was almost an hour long.
What excited me the most was their interest. They kept asking me questions. Which I answered to the best of my knowledge – not being a doctor and all. And I hope, nay am sure, they left the meeting with a better understanding of the disease. Of what the difficulties and challenges are for someone with MS, how they differ from those faced by other people, what I do to deal with them, how life is still beautiful, and how my priorities have changed. Perhaps most importantly though, they got to see (not that they do not every other day of the year) how much I am still capable of, and how I refuse to let MS put me down.
So, all in all, a wonderful and very productive day. Achieving the goal of World MS Day, and this year’s theme: #StrongerthanMS. And I now feel like I have the right to feel proud – because I have done my little part and raised awareness about MS, even if it was with 8 people.
This is the second of my 3 (planned) World MS Day posts. I hope the next will come by the end of the week, on the “aftermath” and some thoughts.