What Makes Multiple Sclerosis a Chronic Illness

Multiple Sclerosis, like so many other diseases is a chronic condition. What makes an ailment chronic? Anything of long duration, or subject to a lengthy period, is chronic. Since MS is incurable, it is a chronic disease. Even though the symptoms are of varying degrees and disabilities, the fact that there is no cure, means MS will always be with me. I truly believe we undergo personality changes when confronted with a never-ending chronic situation or disease as well. The following are my top picks in the, You know you have a chronic disease if . . .

Philosophical Humor

"It's been 16 years, but who's counting?" That's what I tell myself, when I'm in a positive frame of mind. It seems the longer I have MS, the more philosophical I become. I can even view MS with a larger degree of humor. I suppose they are two more identifying markers that MS is indeed a chronic disease-you develop a sense of humor about it, and you are more philosophical.

When something is always with you, it is healthier from an emotional standpoint to come to terms with it by making light of it whenever possible. Visit a busy on-line support group, and you will see this coping skill in action. Along with serious issues, there are always posts that look at the ridiculousness of a symptom or of a reaction to a symptom. It certainly eases the tension and stress level when you can have a good laugh with others who know exactly what you are posting about.

Improved Coping Skills

If someone in a sufferer's life is being particularly UN-helpful or downright discouraging, sound advice will be posted, usually followed by some sarcastic, tension-breaking posts aimed at helping the hurt member endure by releasing bad feelings. In such a group setting, surprising suggestions can come about, to teach others what living with MS is all about so, improved coping skills is another identifier that you have a chronic condition on your hands.

Boredom and Endurance

Since I have relapsing/remitting MS, I get to travel the wild roller coaster of sickness and health. I have recently been on a 4 month long ride of sickness, primarily extreme mind-numbing fatigue. Bed rest was absolutely necessary, so I found my computer to be a good companion in combating boredom. By the way, boredom is another feature of this chronic condition, which has to be coupled with endurance.

Having to sit around waiting to get my energy back, or waiting to recover from a flare-up can be excruciating. Sometimes I just want to enjoy the luxury of being able to go to a store, or grab a bite at a local eatery with my husband. I want to clean my house or be able to go up and down the stairs without nerve pain hindering every step I take. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable wish list, does it? Yet when MS flares its ugly head, those things we take for granted when we are healthy seem like Mount Everest-type obstacles when sick.

That is when I have to find contentment with boredom, through endurance.

The word "endure" is pretty cool.

If you have a chronic illness, being able to endure is pretty cool. To endure: "To suffer patiently without yielding." That is one definition and it is my favorite. What makes MS chronic is that you must learn to suffer patiently without yielding to despair, boredom, depression or anxiety. It truly becomes an art form learned by the desire to succeed and to practice until you get the hang of it.

Hope

With every challenge I successfully face, my endurance leads to something greater, hope.

For me, hope is the gift I receive from all of my efforts to live with my chronic disease. Therefore hope is also what identifies MS as a chronic illness.

I hope for better days, healthwise, and I hope that my friendships and family ties will stay strong. I can have hope because I've already experienced the realization of these precious things for the past 15 years. I still have real friends, although I'm not able to be the friend I use to be. I still have a great marriage, although I'm not half the wife my husband deserves. And I still have a working body, although it attacks me on a regular basis. Although there is no cure for MS yet, I still have hope that better drugs will come down the pipe-line.

Couple these physical hopes with my long held spiritual hopes, and I have an excellent recipe for enduring whatever MS throws my way.

 

 

Acknowledging Help

Acknowledging the help of others is also very important to me and is another way MS is chronic in nature. Help is always needed. I greatly appreciate my family and friends, but I also have tremendous respect and appreciation for total strangers who take the MS cause and make it their own. Researchers, doctors, nurses, patient advocates and plain old individuals who raise money and support for MS projects, are just a few of the helpers I appreciate so much.

Please click on the links of such people right here on hubpages.

I will continue to link to other hubbers who have good information or experiences with MS when their pages coincide with mine.

 In Conclusion

It is apparent that what makes MS a chronic condition is that it is incurable and unrelenting. Sure there is an abundance of baggage we must tote around when we are diagnosed with MS, but what makes us special, as MSers, can be a lot more positive and inspiring.  We can become a lot more than our disease by finding out what is really important in life and living in harmony with that knowledge. We can be determined to make a difference in the lives of those we love by being the best person we can be, whether our physical bodies limit us or not. And we can be an encouraging example of hopefulness and endurance projecting a positivity that allows others to enjoy our company and endure their own stressful situations.

I think in that way we honor ourselves, and even this pesky disease in a weird sort of way.  We bring MS out into the open as an obstacle that must be overcome if in no other way than by our refusal to yield to it. In the end, that's a pretty successful life, in my book.

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Comments 27 comments

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 4 years ago from Delaware Author

Helena, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what it was like for you to watch your daughter live with her chronic illness for so long. I think her positive state of mind no doubt came from within herself as well as a by-product of your loving support.


Helena Fasching 4 years ago

Chronic illness requires maturity. Being able to share with like minded people allows a feeling of normality. But when children are born with such burden endured year after year with the help of modern medicine the human inside is forgotten and damaged beyond repair. Such was my daughter who had her first transplant at 11 months and died on her 22nd birthday in intensive care paralysed after ten months in hospital a lifetime of ill health and a difficult life. Everyone admired her for her positive mind and endurance. But now with hind side I question the lack of alternatives offered by modern medicine for this young woman in her 22 years of boredom .


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi UruslaRose, your comment has made me smile so thank you for taking the time to leave it. I look forward to reading your hubs in the future. Take care!


UrsulaRose 5 years ago

Thank you for writing such an AWESOME hub article.

I could relate to so much of what you have written and am grateful to have read such an inspiring hub article.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thank you DJ6ual! I will do just as you have suggested. :)


DJ6ual profile image

DJ6ual 6 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

I loved this, thank you. I have Secondary Progressive MS, diagnosed Jan 31, 2003. Please keep writing!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hey You! Great to see you, although I'm sorry you are experiencing fatigue. You are a great example of keeping a positive attitude. It sure beats giving into hopeless despair, doesn't it? You are living up to your user name, so keep up the great work! :-) Thanks for leaving your comment.


Inner Harmony profile image

Inner Harmony 6 years ago from Costa Mesa, California

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head! I am currently suffering from some fatigue, and as you can see I've been busy hubbing around! :D

I can relate to humor, endurance, HOPE!!

Since I have Secondary Progressive MS, I'm basically feeling kinda bad all the time. But the body and mind are marvelous at adapting to any situation!!

So happy to read this hub :)

Cindy


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

I don't think it is silly at all. I think we all want to relieve the suffering of someone we love, even if it meant taking their pain as our own, if it were possible. I'm sure she appreciates your tender concern and understanding. I know I appreciate my husband for his ability to empathize with my weird disease. :-)


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA

Chronic illnesses are very difficult. Good for you that you can cope and can still laugh.

My wife suffers constant pain from degenerative joint disease, scoliosis and ruptured disks. As if she didn't have enough to bear, she has GERD and developed restless leg syndrome!

I sometimes feel guilty bring healthy and pain free. I know it is silly, but sometimes I just put my hands on her while she sleeps and try to will her pain to myself; I want to take it from her, but of course I cannot. Magical thinking doesn't work, however much I might wish that it did.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi harrymora, I appreciate the compliment. I think 99 percent of us understand the advantage of enduring, and it is much easier to endure a situation when you know you are not alone. ;-) It is a pleasure to meet you!


harrymora profile image

harrymora 6 years ago from New Jersey

Your hubs are great and positive. It seems this is a natural way for us to deal with the frustration of being locked in..locked in our homes, our minds, our bodies. All depending on how the MonSter wishes to attack. But we endure, I like your use of that word and your favorite definition of it. We all definitely must endure. Thanks for telling your tale and giving information.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

I'm glad you feel that way malnadstudios. I don't want my hubs to be 'downers'. It is nice to meet you!


malnadstudios profile image

malnadstudios 6 years ago from Austin

This is truly amazing and inspirational. I was blow away by the positiveness of you post.


LadyRavenSkye profile image

LadyRavenSkye 6 years ago from Ohio

Yes Jen I do agree, finding other whom can relate is amazing.

Speaking of relateing, I am doing a lot of networking now looking for people that have Spina Bifida Occulta for my sister, she was diagnosed with it and will be having surgery soon on her spine to remove fluids.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Good morning Raven. One thing I have learned is that anyone with a chronic condition is suffering, no matter what the chronic condition is. Being able to relate to each other based on that fact is what helps us all to keep going. Which is why I found your hub so interesting. :-)


LadyRavenSkye profile image

LadyRavenSkye 6 years ago from Ohio

Jen, you're amazing! You're strong! I love you, and I am sure God does too. :)

This hubpost made me feel a little guilty about my rant of sleeplessness, but reading this--your story--has opened my eyes a little bit.

This is a hub I plan to share with many people I know.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Your welcome Madison22, thanks in turn for your comment!


Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC

Thank you for sharing this hub. Your hope and endurance is truly inspirational:)


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thank you for the compliment, prasadjain, I appreciate it.


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 6 years ago from Tumkur

Your hopes and optimistic attitude is praiseworthy Mrs Jen.

Those who complai about small problems follow your attitude. Good hubs.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware Author

Thank you thoufeeq, I'm glad the hub cleared up your misunderstanding.


thoufeeq profile image

thoufeeq 7 years ago from India

Very nice one. It's something really great. I landed here from your profile page. Actually I misunderstood when I first heard about MS.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Dolores, I plan to do as you suggest, nice to know at least one person will be reading. HaHa


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

jen - i've known so many people with MS...maybe you could write more and inform us about the condition


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks global, both for your encouraging words and for reading what I had to say. Empathy is an amazing quality to possess, I'm glad you don't have to personally suffer, in order to feel compassion for another's situation.

I hope you have a great day too.

Jen


globalslick 7 years ago

Jen,

Hey, good to hear from you. I can't say I know the specifics of what you are going through, but I can empathize with your struggle. I'm glad you're reaching out and moving forward.

Have a great day.

global

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