Like most others worldwide, my prayers went out to the people who absorbed the unimaginable earthquake- and tsunami-induced devastation in Japan.
Intense images from there triggered aftershocks in my heart that was beating half a world away from the epicenter:
• The man in a business suit high-stepping his way into the street to avoid the falling office building debris
• The river of vehicles raging with the flood that flattened and consumed a once-thriving city
• The little boy in a makeshift shelter walking around desperately clinging to a photograph hoping someone could direct him to Mom and Dad
But unlike most others worldwide, I took one part of the media reports personally. Very personally.
Several times the media reported how regions of Japan had diligently prepared for such situations. Buildings were constructed to withstand the earth’s initial and follow-up seismic shifts. Communities exercised monthly tsunami warnings to get ready for when Mother Nature unleashes her fury.
In the end Mother Nature didn’t care, and I began wondering how is my MS any different?
I realize in a way I was comparing apples to oranges, but it’s hard to argue against the parallelism. Like the people and regions of Japan, I’m diligently fighting the devastating effects of this disease. I’m taking my disease-modifying medication to decrease the frequency and severity of MS exacerbations. I’m eating well and exercising regularly to stay in shape and keep moving in case the mega exacerbation ever hits.
In the end MS doesn’t care and, like the earthquake and tsunami, it’s going to do whatever it damn well pleases.
And this isn’t a call for me to give up and quit trying. It’s a charge for us all to continue what we’re doing and fighting like hell to keep this disease in check. We can take measures to take charge of the things we can control such as our attitude, our gratitude, our diet, our faith, our spirit, and so much more.
In the end I do care, and if the big one ever comes I hope that I, like the people of Japan, can spend less time looking back at what I should have done differently and focus more on looking ahead at what I can do to keep moving forward through the aftermath.
Whether it’s last month, last year or five years from now, it all starts with today.