Standing Alone Together
Yesterday, it popped up on my phone that Christina Applegate has been diagnosed with MS. I have been following her career since the 1990’s when she was on the TV series Married with Children. She’s cute, witty and, I’ve always thought, likable.
It’s funny how you can connect with some celebrities more than others. I’ve always found Christina Applegate relatable. I admired her openness when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and underwent a double mastectomy. Now, for unfortunate reasons, I identify with her even more. She has joined the MS sisterhood. I’m sure she didn’t aspire to join.
As I scrolled through the news clips on my phone, a health professional explained the importance of Christina sharing her diagnosis publicly; it brings awareness to neurological diseases and helps others feel less alone.
“Alone”; it struck a chord and I began to cry. Even with an abundance of love and support, it’s easy to feel isolated when dealing with illness. It’s YOU that has to navigate the symptoms. With MS, it’s hard to explain the daily invisible negotiations with my body, and my mind. How much is “too much” and what will be the price if I “push myself?” Is the price worth it? Am I Ok to spend a half day in bed so I can play 9 holes of golf in the sunshine? Sometimes.
When reading about a new diagnosis, it reminds me about the adjustment to living with the unpredictable nature of MS. The scariness of it all, and how that fear dissipates with time, but it still lives, under the surface. It also reminds me of how I have embraced a heartfelt gratitude for the strength and life that I continue to have.
Little does Christina Applegate know, that today “while she takes some time privately” to digest her new normal, she reminded me of the power of sharing one’s vulnerabilities. Even alone is a feeling that can be shared.