Category Archives: speaking

Blessings & Baton Rouge: MS On the Move Luncheon

More than 250 people gathered at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on the Louisiana State University campus for the On the Move Luncheon. #Blessed

On a typical Sunday, I often extend my right hand asking, “How are you this morning, Chris?” And her usual response is a heartfelt, “Blessed.”  That frequent exchange at church is quick, and so powerful.

Just that one word: blessed.

Dan and I often have discussed the concept of being blessed. Since we both are living with Multiple Sclerosis and the disease’s frustrating side effects, it can be difficult to see ourselves that way.

We realize that our recent recent trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a blessing. We met fantastic people and shared our story at the MS Society’s On the Move Luncheon. This annual event for the National MS Society Louisiana Chapter gave us an incredible opportunity to talk with and meet others living with MS and to help increase awareness of Healthline’s MS Buddy.

But sometimes we think there is no way the words MS and blessed belong in the same sentence; especially when we think about our numb hands, incredible fatigue or less-than-cooperative bladders. MS and cursed seems more accurate, right?

Honestly, haven’t all of us living with chronic illness had moments where we’ve felt cursed?  Like our bodies and the world are out to get us. It is a horrible feeling. Like when I’m trying to type this essay for our blog and my hands ball up into a fist and I can’t type. All I have to do is get my fingers to straighten out to push the keys. But my MS keeps it from happening. Things like this happen, and I feel less than blessed.

Feeling cursed while dealing with the realities of MS is a place we mentally visit now and again, but we can’t live there. We need to recognize and appreciate our blessings, no matter their size:

  • All smiles on a sunny day as we prepare to give our keynote presentation.

    Blessings like the “Buried Treasure” event where Dan and I met in 2002;

  • The support we get from friends, family and the National MS Society;
  • When Dan’s clumsy, numb hands effortlessly button his shirt collars or tie my shoes;
  • When I can feed myself — including cutting my own food — through an entire meal; and
  • The mere fact that we wake up every morning.

And blue skies and sunny days also are blessings to be appreciated 🙂 For as much as we could go on and on about how we seemingly are cursed, Dan and I know our list of blessings far outweigh the bad if we take the time to realize them.

Odds and Ends

Merriam‑Webster defines “odds and ends” as, “miscellaneous articles or remnants.” This is a perfect title to capture all of the assorted bits I want to share on this chilly fall morning. First and foremost, Dan and I thank each and every one of you who shared kind thoughts and words consoling us after Cooper’s sudden…Continue Reading

Discovering power in MS advocacy

Multiple Sclerosis possesses weapons that should make Dan and me feel powerless. Striking us with extreme fatigue. Weakening our limbs with constant numbness. Robbing me of my ability to walk. Powerless. But that’s not how we’ve rolled, both literally and figuratively, in our 10 years of marriage. Dan and I have lived to redefine what…Continue Reading

In front of Pharma in Philadelphia

In a less-than-silent protest Cooper is not posting his Monday morning blog this week. He’s extremely upset with Jennifer and me and made this known the second we got home late Thursday night. I kid you not: Cooper ripped off a litany of what I could only interpret as foul-mouthed meows to scold us for…Continue Reading

Mr. and Mrs. Digmann go to Washington

Either our Multiple Sclerosis finally is starting to get to us or we really are getting old. Dan and I are leaning toward the latter (OUCH!). What else would explain how we have been back from Washington, D.C., for over three weeks and have not written about this incredible experience? The Michigan Chapter of the…Continue Reading

Mind if we play through?

I enjoy that even with the challenges Jennifer and I face in living with MS, every day life is everyday life. The effects of these challenges  – including everything from her inability to walk to my constantly numb hands and feet – merely are par for our courses of this disease. It’s as though we…Continue Reading

Live Fully, Fight Back and Find Hope

Teaming up with the Jenkins Group in Traverse City, Mich., we launched our first nationwide campaign promoting our book, “Despite MS, to Spite MS.” The company worked with us to develop a targeted news release and this week distributed it to nearly 2,400 media outlets nationwide, including magazines, newspapers, websites and radio and television programs.…Continue Reading