Monday, October 19, 2020

In Memory of Those Lost to the Battle With Multiple Sclerosis

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It always bothers me a bit when I am thanked for my service in the U.S. Coast Guard on the occasion of Multiple Sclerosis Memorial Day. While I appreciate the sentiment, it’s Veterans Day when we celebrate and appreciate all who have served their country in the military services.Memorial Day, on the other hand, is the day we remember with solemn thanks those who responed the call in times of war and crisis but did not return home.Armed Forces Day is the day we thank active-duty military personnel.

No Veterans of Multiple Sclerosis:There are no “veterans” of multiple sclerosis (MS) because there is no cure. We are all “active-duty” once diagnosed as we live our lives, fight battles large or small, and combat a disease that is waging war on our immune system.While there are no veterans of MS, there are those we memorialize.Death by direct cause of MS is fairly rare, but it happens. Also in the mix are those who succumb to “difficulties of multiple sclerosis,” and I have personally known two people whose deaths can be attributed to clinical trials of very aggressive MS treatments.

Remembering Those Who Have Gone Before:On the occasion of Memorial Day, I remembered family members I’d never met who perished on ships and beaches and jungles on sake of generations living and yet to come. I also thought of the men and women who succumbed to disorders of traumatic stress after their wartime service was completed.Today, the memories of the MS friends and acquaintances who are no longer with us is heavy on my mind.There are no national holidays during which we jointly remember the MS fighters who have gone before. It’s often difficult to think of those who have died with MS while we still live on. But I think it’s important to remember and acknowledge as a way of living my life fully, MS or not.

A Reminder to Live Life Fully:Names and faces are turning over in my head today as I look out onto the kind of weather one only dreams of here in Ireland in May. The things that my lost brothers and sisters can no longer do make me ever more determined to live my life as well as I can.By accepting and remembering those who have died with MS, I am reinforced in the ethos of the Life With MS blog that life with MS is all about the living.

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