Positive Contempt

There is “a lot of negative” about having multiple sclerosis. But is there anything positive?  Conventional wisdom says “no.” Then there is the Ron Popeil sales pitch “but wait, there’s more!1

Perhaps deep down, most people are inclined to admit life is scary, while on the surface they move forward and down-play the scary and not-so-pleasant facts.

Although trite, it still holds true that life offers no guarantees other than death and taxes – even for billionaires.  So, what parts of life can we manipulate to exploit a positive?

Case in point: Steve Jobs was not done living; yet “his time had come.”  Evidently, Jobs chose a risky route of alternative and natural treatment for pancreatic cancer that, sadly, did not prove effective.2   Despite his illness and up to the time of his death, he skilfully manipulated outcomes within his control through his determination to keep developing his ideas and Apple’s products.

You know the adage, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  If you have MS, you have a boat load of lemons! To make lemonade, you need sugar.  When it comes to MS, that “sugar” is finding and making use of the most effective treatment or symptom management for you.  However, to make an Arnold Palmer you also need iced tea.  In regard to MS, the “iced tea” is an attitude of and belief in hope.  A gratifying combination and a form of self-realization.

The legendary golfer, Arnold Palmer, was interviewed this past August by Golf Digest Magazine’s Dave Shedloski.3  During it, “The seven-time major championship winner unzipped his tan Ryder Cup jacket and pulled back his white shirt. Under clear medical tape there was a bulge on the left side of his chest, high up, just under his collarbone and near his shoulder — far higher than for most anyone else who receives a pacemaker.

That’s right. It was put there so it wouldn’t interfere with his golf swing.”

To believe nothing can be done to work around the impacts of MS amounts to a foolish capitulation.  It would mean giving in and relinquishing all control.  MS changes some or most of what we used to do but in reality we can still do some things we love. The key is often doing things in a different way.  In fact, actively searching for and finding how to do as much as possible can, in itself, bring joy back into your life.

Fisco ballAs in the iconic line from the 1985 dance single by Jocelyn Brown, Love’s Gonna Get You;”  you’ve “got the power!”  Contrary to popular belief, you do not need anyone to “empower” you.  In fact, finding how to do as much as possible can bring joy back into your life.

You do not believe it?  Did you ever wonder how Stephen Hawking has dealt with ALS?4

“Geographic” note: Ironically, the idea and name for the iced tea and lemonade drink is believed to have come from a Denver area country club and Arnold Palmer himself.

1 “8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Underestimate The Greatness Of Ron Popeil”, Huffington Post, Taste, October 06, 2014, Kate Bratskeir, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/06/ron-popeil-facts-wow_n_5926408.html
2 “Did Alternative Medicine Extend or Abbreviate Steve Jobs’s Life?”, Scientific American, October 27, 2011, by Jessica Wapner, www.scientificamerican.com/article/alternative-medicine-extend-abbreviate-steve-jobs-life
3 “Arnold Palmer after pacemaker procedure: ‘I wish everyone felt as good as I do'”, Golf Digest, August 28, 2014, Dave Shedloski, www.golfdigest.com/blogs/the-loop/2014/08/arnold-palmer-after-pacemaker.html
4 About ALS, ALS Association, www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html

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