Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friends With MS

It is amazing to me the number of friends I have made who also have MS. I don't go to the local MS support group. I've tried support groups in the past, but didn't care for them. However, last year I began going to an MS Yoga class. Most of the people in the class have MS. Our instructor is amazingly kind and very sweet, and we all love her. I met a woman when I went to Yom Kippur services without DH, who has MS and invited me to sit with her. We have become friends. I've made friends at the infusion center, most of whom are receiving Tysabri. Then, there are all of my online friends whom I've never met but we've become close through the forum (NeuroTalk/PsychCentral), which I've belonged to for a few years and have found it to be the best MS forum. I was recently asked to submit my blog to Wellsphere. What a grand feeling that was! Thank you, Wellsphere for wanting to include my blogs, and for giving me a boost!

When Montana moved into our home and into our hearts, I made some of my best friends, support system, and all-around super people through Saint Francis Service Dogs. I was told that when you are partnered with a dog, you become part of the Saint Francis family. Sure enough, you do exactly that. I volunteer as much as I can for them, trying to give back just a little bit of what I've been given.

This led to being invited to join a book group whose members are all Saint Francis people; partners and their dogs, committee members, donators, and Carol. Carol is the most amazing person. She is the co-founder of Saint Francis Service Dogs. I was amazed to be invited to this book club, The Divas. I've always had a love of reading, and I always have two books going, but this is the first book club I've been in. There are two of us with MS, and we have become good friends.

Two years ago, before I was partnered with Montana, my world had shrunken to online friends and my dear friends who live in different parts of the country. I had become a hermit. DH would try to get me to go places, like social functions, and I would beg him to let me stay home. If we went, I would end up against the wall waiting to leave at the first opportunity. I was ashamed of how I looked to other people, walking with a rollator or forearm crutches. I didn't want people to see me like this, and I didn't want the usual remarks of "you look good" or "you're walking better than when I saw you before" or "my daughter's friend's mother has MS". Eeeeek! I can't stand pity, I didn't have anything to talk about to anyone, I just wanted to be in my safe little house.

Montana and the SF people opened up my world again. The first thing I did was get interviewed by the local newspaper. Meg (the reporter and interviewer) and I have since become good friends. Then, I did a couple of demos at grade schools. Those were lots of fun. Montana and I were filmed for a PSA commercial that runs throughout Virginia. I'm on the Outreach Committee, picking up phone messages and passing them along to my boss when people call to ask about getting a service dog.

I have taken a great interest in the outside world again. If the Tysabri continues to work and my balance continues to improve, I'm buying a pair of ice skates next month for when the indoor ice rink opens again next September. That should be something to see, since I haven't skated since 1969!!! I'll be sure and post pictures. However, I want to buy a pair of skates and hang them on the wall as a reminder of what I may be able to accomplish, thanks to my miracle drug.

Hello to all who read my blog, and thank you so much for taking an interest in it! hugs, maryann

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