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Reclamation.

INSIDE MS thought readers would be interested in this approach to coping with MS.

Karen Abramovitz is an Israeli citizen. Her home is in Petah Tikva, a town near Tel Aviv.

Three years ago she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She writes, "In the midst of [my last attack], which seems to have turned into a chronic progressive stage of the disease, I was working on completing my PhD in Education. As one of my projects, I was asked to describe what happened as I struggled with the disease and the medical establishment."

Ms. Abramovitz, who is active in the Israeli branch of the MS Society, sent us several sections of her paper. It is an insightful analysis of the toll multiple sclerosis can take emotionally and psychologically, and the re-evaluation she is making to help herself return to wholeness. She describes the process in stages, which include "Loss," "Anger," and, finally, "Renewal." We've excerpted this from her stage three: "Reclamation."

"I prefer to use the term reclamation instead of rebuilding, planning or renewal because I regard this process as an expression of the reassertion of being alive and a redefinition of self.

"1. God is not responsible for justice or fairness in the world; man is. It is up to us to make sense out of our lives and find meaning in what happens to us.

"2. The future is never lost; we need to choose to move into it. If it is not what we-expected, we must redefine our expectations of what is 'acceptable.'

"3. We need to choose trustworthy doctors (leave or try to change untrustworthy ones). We have to gather information for ourselves -- if we know what is going on, we can reasonably ask for appropriate treatment.

"4. We can make contact with others who have MS. This allows us to exchange experiences and validate perceptions of reality; it gives us an opportunity to give and receive support. We have a right to ask for professional support-givers during rough periods .... " 5. The search for aid devices- walking aids, money aids, technological aids- is not 'knuckling under' to the disease. These are practical solutions which can change the environment so that it doesn't impede functioning ....

"6. Substitute goals are necessary, both in long and short terms- to replace previous goal expectations or in addition to them. In my own experience, I needed to answer questions such as: when had I done 'enough' to deserve a rest? What does 'doing something meaningful' mean? What makes a day worth having lived through it?

"Hopefully...[with these guideposts] I will be able to accomplish independence with less heat and noise ...... "
COPYRIGHT 1992 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:coping with multiple sclerosis; Peer to Peer
Author:Abramovitz, Karen
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Sep 22, 1992
Words:440
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