Photo by thom masat on Unsplash

“You say you have MS, but I think you’re just drunk.”

Tears plucked at the backs of my eyes, although my stumbling gait accurately reinforced the accusatory comment. The speaker’s words were weirdly understandable, but the intention stung.

How should I interpret this? The intense heat of the summer sun didn’t insure a positive response, but that was totally my problem, not hers.

“Maybe you should take a break on the beer.”

Maybe I should punch you in the face. I hope I didn’t say that out loud.

Why do people find humor in cruel judgment? Especially compounded with obviously mean intent?

To make matters worse, the speaker was a guest at my mountain retreat for an annual summer vacation. If this was her entrance, it was going to be a long and painful week. I hope my sobriety or lack thereof would not be a problem for her because suddenly I felt the need to tie one on.

Knowing this was a defeatist reaction, I instead smiled tightly and stumbled into the camping trailer, hoping she would get the snub and knowing she would not.

I could go on a rampage and spit out hundreds of comebacks, but life is too short to waste that much energy on such a clueless human.

Society requires education in its quest to understand. Unfortunately, multiple sclerosis will always be difficult to understand when even the experts (that’s us Warriors) cannot claim that gift.

Let’s all work to define ourselves on this planet, MS. We’re all different. We’re all the same. We are weirdly dysfunctional. We are family.

We’re not drunk. (Most of the time.) We have MS.

Lisa, Lady With the Cane



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July 1, 2001, six months after the birth of my only child, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.