Forty years ago, a visit to a neurologist and subsequent tests lead to a presumptive diagnosis of MS. At the time there were no good tools available to confirm the diagnosis. Doctors could only say things like “You probably have MS” or “You might be developing MS”. We gathered all the information we could in order to understand what could happen and how we could respond.
My then boyfriend, Kevin, and I attended a seminar about MS sponsored by the United Way.
A photographer snapped our picture that was later used in the attached ad.
The ad asked the same question that we were all asking – What about tomorrow?
40 years later we are still living that tomorrow and we have clearly learned about facing the future with determination and flexibility. This has helped us to achieve a great deal even as an illness like MS brought me increasing levels of disability.
In the 40 years since the diagnosis, we married, moved to Florida, then Philadelphia, and then back to Florida. We raised our two daughters, who are now wonderful adults.
We have traveled around the country and the world. We have worked as much as our health allowed. And we now continue to be involved with public service and small business opportunities.
The photograph of this ad hangs on my office wall.
I feel very proud that we did not let a disability keep us from living the lives we wanted. Certainly my disability made it more difficult for us to achieve some things, but it has not prevented us from having many others.
Worrying too much about tomorrow and presuming that potential disabilities could have kept us from having what we wanted. Instead, we focused on what we could do and found ways to overcome obstacles.
Optimism, humor and a positive attitude about the future can become self fulfilling prophecies for many of us. They may not overcome all of the problems we face but they make them so much less.
Today Kevin and I are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.
The young couple in that ad is now a mature couple, who can honestly say that tomorrow has been wonderful. Not perfect but absolutely wonderful.