Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friends and Family

When my doctor first told that M.S. was a possible diagnosis in October 2007, I only told my immediate family. The 5 of us were hopeful that more tests would rule out M.S. and that I would have a different condition when a final diagnosis was given.

I think partly I didn't widely disclose my problems because I didn't have a medical explanation for the symptoms I was experiencing. I didn't want to worry people until I knew how to fix whatever was wrong. Additionally, at that time I considered my symptoms to be temporary, nothing that I needed to concern anybody else with.

After more extensive testing and a brief stay in the hospital, I was given the M.S. diagnosis the week before Thanksgiving 2007. The time came to inform my friends and extended family of what was going on. I knew I had to tell people, but I didn't know how to do it. How do you tell people that you have known for your entire life that you have a life-long illness with such a stigma attached to it? How will they react?

Bad news can cause us to run a gamut of emotions. What made telling people about my M.S. so difficult was dealing with various emotional reactions to the news. My friends and family demonstrated shock, fear, sadness, love, perseverance, compassion, disbelief and just about any other feeling that one can experience upon hearing such news.

Friends whom I had not spoken with in over 10 years called me upon hearing. Family members from all over the country (and even Canada) just wanted to talk with me and express their feelings when they first heard. One of the most difficult times in my life was met with so much love and an outpouring of emotion that it was incredibly overwhelming.

Although sharing the news about my condition was an extremely tough thing to do, I was blown away by people's reactions. It is simply amazing at what the human soul is capable of feeling for another person. I feel so much more empowered knowing that I have a huge team of supporters that are right there fighting with me. One man's struggle became a rallying point for dozens of others.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Change of Perspective

As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November, 2007. My world was changed that day. Now staring down a much bumpier road than I was before, I was given an opportunity to look at things with a different perspective. Anybody who has been diagnosed with a serious illness will tell you that he never looks at life the same way after being given such bad news. Every good day becomes so much more appreciated. Life's little tasks, while seemingly mundane, turn into mini-triumphs to get you through to the next day.

Somehow, M.S. has been beneficial to me in this respect. Never before had I been so excited just to be able to walk up the stairs to my apartment, or take my dog Jack for a walk around the neighborhood. Never before had standing for 3 straight hours at the DMV been so gratifying.

But, alas, as my mother always told me, everything happens for a reason. I know, I know, it took me 23 years to realize that my mother is always right. Now here comes 23 years of Jewish guilt for not realizing it sooner...

Although I will never consider my M.S. to be a gift, I am thankful that it has given me an opportunity to see life in a new light. I am continuing to do the things that I love. Only now, they come with an added sense of accomplishment. Now, I don't mind taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or having to take the dog outside. Because, it'll be a much worse day when those things are not even an option anymore.


Hello everybody and welcome to my blog! Hopefully this will help me to keep people updated on things going on in my life. Here you can stay updated about all things Daniel. This is my first attempt at blogging, so I make no promises. I will try to post at least a few times per month.

I am completely open to ideas, comments, suggestions and criticism. I am looking forward to getting started.

Thanks for reading!