#ChatMS = #YouHaveToParticipate

Do you have someone you can talk to about your life with Multiple Sclerosis?

Sure, Jennifer and I have each other, but our MS world just got a whole lot larger after just one hour last Monday evening.

We guest hosted a Facebook and Twitter conversation through #ChatMS, a weekly chat dedicated to discussing different topics related to this chronic disease.

Our cellphones still were buzzing Wednesday morning with people continuing their conversations. So incredible!

We are so grateful to Randy Patrick — one of the brains behind #ChatMS ­— for reaching out to us to serve as moderators for this lively discussion!

He’s the real deal.

In addition to developing the online MS awareness and support group Must Stop MS, he and his MS colleague Kayla Chatkiewicz launched #ChatMS on Twitter in March 2015. Facebook came a little later.

What amazing resources to connect people living with MS with others worldwide … from the comfort of their own homes.

MS and maintaining relationships

We had free reign of whatever we wanted to talk about in our online chat. So, not surprisingly, we wanted to get people talking about their MS-related relationships.

It was about more than relationships between significant others. We also addressed relationships people with MS have with their children, parents, friends, caregivers and doctors.

We wanted to know:

  • How has having MS impacted your relationships with others?
  • Who is the rock you rely on to help you stay solid in your fight with MS?
  • Who is the cinder block that weighs you down and keeps you from moving forward?
  • What do you need most from your relationships with your friends and family?
  • What do you strive to give most to others in your relationships?
  • People w/MS sometimes lose friends – They can’t handle our new realities. What’s helped you to overcome this hurt?
  • How do you manage anger when dealing with your spouse or caregiver – both anger they have w/you and you have w/them?
  • How do you maintain a married relationship with your spouse who also is your primary caregiver?

For that hour, I had two computers going to post the questions on Facebook and Twitter while Jennifer used her cellphone to reply to comments. Such a rush!

It turns out, within that hour, Randy said the #ChatMS hashtag had nearly 617,000 impressions.

Not too shabby for a couple living in the middle of Michigan, right?

You have to participate

This was an incredible experience for us, and even though we’ve commented in chats from time to time in the past, we are all in for #ChatMS.

We encourage you to connect as well! The conversations are live from 7 to 8 p.m. EST every Monday, and continue, well, for as long as people comment to the questions.

It’s a great way to make the world a whole lot smaller and to show you you’re not going through this disease alone.

Search #ChatMS on Facebook to get involved with this closed community (this will help to protect your privacy and increase your comfort with being totally honest).

And on Twitter, follow the conversations at #ChatMS

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