Sharing some of my MS experience

The inauguration of Barack Obama

A few times in the past few years, I have considered the difference in my life before and after MS.  The inauguration of Barack Obama really forced me to examine these things even more closely.


Before my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, I was a typical over-achieving woman with a career that I loved and MANY extracurricular activities.  I served on 4-5 boards, belonged to a few social organizations – one of which I co-founded.  I thought of myself as a black version of one of the Sex in the City ladies – priding myself in knowing the latest and greatest restaurants and clubs, and being on the “in” list for all of the “hot” events throughout the region.  At times, it got so busy for me that my husband complained that I was never at home – always at meetings – and not plugged into the kids’ activities enough.  I was very busy, pretty happy, and felt much in demand around the region.  All of my involvements were very important to me.  Looking back I think they made me feel important and in control and in demand.


After my diagnosis of MS, I have really had to do a better job of managing my time and my involvements.  My daily energy level is much lower than I have been used to, and as a result I have not been able to commit to many things.   With my lengthy recuperation after my surgery, I need an electronic scooter to get around, which means that someone has to drive me and construct the scooter before I can use it.  My husband and friends are fabulous, but even they get a bit tired of everything that comes along with me these days!

The inauguration of our new President was an amazing, uplifing, fabulous historic event, and as such, I definitely wanted to be in the mix.  BMS, I would be leveraging the hell out of my contacts and relationships to get tickets for everything,but AMS, my physical challenges are a bit much for me to manage in a crowd of 1 million people, or in  a cavernous ballroom being jostled by a thousand people.  I decided that it would be better if I not participate in many inaugural activities.  I would support from my home and with my family.  This was a whole new approach for me, but this was the best way for me to mark this historic and meaningful time. 

Letting go of my need to be in the midst of eveything was incredibly hard.  Watching good friends get tickets, ball dresses, cars and drivers from the sidelines was very difficult (heck, even my 80-year old mother went to a ball!), but it was wonderful supporting them from behind the scenes.  And being home watching the day’s activities with my husband, children, and mother was inspiring and heartwarming.  Seeing so many people on the Mall with no negative incidents occurring, and with people getting along so positively was such an incredible sight.  The diversity (racial, ethnicity, age…) within the crowd was also deeply encouraging to me.

So now what?  This inauguration made a huge difference worldwide.  It also made a huge difference in my own family – bringing family members together who had not spoken to each other for years (more on THAT another time!)  Our new President has brought with hm a new spirit of open discussion and negotiation.  A beautiful family and dynamic energy that I have not felt towards the White House in many, many years.  Despite the financial challenges that are currenty facing our country, I am hopeful about our future – and plan to do what I can to help in my little corner of the world….But please know that whatever I am able to do, the reality of my MS will play a role.  I am determined to do whatever I can to help our new President be successful, and to inform him and his senior staff about the things that we all need to live happy, healthy lives — with or without MS!


February 10, 2009 - Posted by | African American health, Barack Obama, effect of chronic illness on family, multiple sclerosis, Uncategorized

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