It’s one of those things that happens with scary chronic illnesses. Upon mentioning that you live with one, a laundry list of people you “might know” appears. Why might you know them? Well, they’ve got the same diagnosis. Don’t all of you people hang out together?
Don’t tell them it’s not true..they think we’re all telepathically connected. Especially to Squiggy.
So no, I don’t know Jack Osbourne, son of legendary Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy. But I have an idea how he feels and what it’s like to publicly state that you live with something that people are afraid of/don’t understand.
I went back and forth for a while last year on revealing my own diagnosis to the press while doing the promo junket for the shows. Finally, I decided I should say something and stop hiding. What made me change my mind was remembering that up until the day he died, Captain Beefheart denied that he lived with MS. His obituary gave his ruse away, though: “Multiple Sclerosis Claims Captain Beefheart.” I also realized that I didn’t see many people in my age bracket who were “out” about having MS. This was the “young adult crippler,” remember? Why do I only see people nearing retirement age openly talking about it?
Probably because people do treat you differently when they know. You become a different creature, more delicate sometimes. Stronger, others. Sometimes, people think you’re faking it. Sometimes, people are convinced that they know you’re faking it. Apparently, it’s-sexy?-to pretend to have MS? I’d rather fake something that sounded exotic but was really common. Living with MS requires a startling amount of fluidity you’d never believe a human could accomplish.
Anyway, on to Jack. I just wanted to say that I really like his mantra regarding dealing with MS- “Adapt and overcome.” Timing on his diagnosis was cruddy- mine was right 1/2/08, so I my memory of that New Year’s Eve is burned into my brain forever. Great night, singing along to the Upper Crust with Gent and John Powhida…followed by a dark day…and an answer.
Adapt and overcome. That’s something most MS patients have to do every day. Sometimes, other people in our lives aren’t able to adapt and overcome with us. Sure, we have to say ‘no’ a lot more than we’d like to…but there’s always tomorrow…