Growl, Growl and Howl

Multiple Sclerosis is ticking me off!


While my blog and my book both strongly suggest that laughter is a valid coping mechanism, I never meant for my fellow MS’ers to think that humor is all there is.  Lots of other emotions are necessary on this crummy, sucky journey of life with a chronic illness.

For the first few years following my diagnosis, people were surprised that I wasn’t angry.  More than anger, the prevalent bummer emotion I was feeling was frustration.

How come I couldn’t figure out this or that? 

Why is everything so difficult? 

What’s wrong with me? 

What am I not doing right that makes my illness so confusing to others?

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Since surpassing my five year MS anniversary I have learned a thing or two and I find myself less frustrated.  Now I’m mad!

Really, really mad!

Furiously mad!

I no longer blame myself for anything.  Everything is MS’s fault.

In case you’re wondering, here are just some of the things that are making me mad-

People who think that the handicapped parking space is actually a rest stop for their no longer needed grocery carts. Dude, where on the little blue sign is a picture of your empty grocery cart?


The fact that as much as I have to pee, it doesn’t seem to matter if I actually do pee because I’m only going to need to pee again, minutes later.  This really pisses me off!  (I can’t take credit for that pun. It is a quote from my sister who also has MS.)

I am beyond angry that I can’t remember if I’ve taken my medications.  It’s not that I forget that I need to take them.  It’s that I can’t remember if I took them already or not.   Since we were talking about my bladder, let’s use my bladder drug as an example.  I need to take it in the evening between 6 and 6:30 and it is supposed to help calm my bladder down so I can sleep. I never forget to take this crucial medication.  I just can’t remember if I took it already or not.  I dare say that 60% of the time I take it twice.   30% of the time I don’t take it at all.  And maybe 10% of the time I actually take it the way I am supposed to. (I’m not mad about completing that math- I’m actually impressed as math skills were the first thing to disappear from my MS brain.)


And I’m also mad that many people who read the above and who don’t have the same issue are going to come up with little tricks to help me fix this problem.  And I’m madder still that the tricks won’t work.  Believe me, I’ve tried them all.

While on the bladder subject, I’m mad that because of the above problem, my bladder doesn’t let me fall asleep until at least 11 or 12 at night.  Since I need 10-12 hours of sleep daily just to function, I’m mad that I am usually starting my breakfast when the rest of the world is washing their lunch dishes.

I’m mad that since MS requires me to eat healthy, I’m munching on what are supposed to be green seedless grapes.  Yet I’m still pulling something seed-like out of them.

I’m mad that I spent a ton of time last week organizing, refilling and picking up my prescriptions only to get home and realize the ones I needed the most, I didn’t refill.  And if that wasn’t enough to tick me off, I’m angry that the next day when I set out to do a bunch of errands I forgot to do the main errand which was to pick up the previously forgotten prescriptions.  I had forgotten them again.  It wound up taking  me three days to get the pills I needed and I’m not even sure I have them all!

I’m angry that my hair is super greasy.  What does that have to do with multiple sclerosis you ask?   All the stylists say you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday but every day I forget if I washed it the day before and thus wind up washing it again, every day.


In the world of chronic illness you need to save and copy all of your important paperwork. I know this. I’m super organized and used to be a master multi-tasker.  Yet in the last month alone I have lost three different important pieces of paper and forgot to copy another important set of paperwork. So yes, that makes me furious,

And it makes me furious that people look at me and say “you look fine to me” and when I describe how I’ve lost such important things they smile and say I’m just spacey.  No, I’m not. I used to be spacey.  I know spacey.  This is not being spacey.  This is the result of a super crummy, sucky illness called multiple sclerosis and that ticks me off!

Phew…I feel better sharing my fury with all of you.   These are only some of the things that make me mad and I and my fellow MS’ers can easily come up with more.  And most are way more serious than seedless grapes that aren’t really seedless.

The question becomes what to do about this anger?


We could get violent but a criminal record won’t really help us much.

I prefer to take a lesson from my youngest nephew.  He’s 2 and is learning to talk.  Sometimes he doesn’t have the words he needs to express all of his emotions.  So when he gets mad he’s taken to letting out a scary growl.

He’s pretty good at it actually.  If you weren’t used to it, you might think a big scary bear just entered your living room.


The problem is that he’s too damn cute.  I know the growl is supposed to let me know that he is angry but instead it just makes me smile.  So I started putting my forehead against his little forehead and growling back.


Seeing his crazy aunt growl too makes him laugh which makes me laugh and before you know it, we are both making silly noises and silly faces and howling with laughter.  Like that, this adorable little guy has gone from mad to silly to funny.

Ahhh, to have the spirit of a two year old.    The thing is, it works.  That quickly, his mood can immediately go from fury to happy (or at least happier,) when somebody makes him laugh.


It works for him and I’ve learned it can work for us too.

Keep laughing friends.

Get ticked off, get fearful, get sad but when you can, get laughing too.

I promise you’ll feel just a little bit better….


If you need help finding things to laugh about, check out MS Madness!  A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis for some humorous inspiration….


Woman image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Emoticon image courtesy of farconville at

Cart image courtesy of Suat Eman at

Pills image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy at

Paperwork image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Jail image courtesy of Sakhorn38 at FreeDigitalPhotos,net

Bear image courtesy of anankkml at

Images of my cute nephew courtesy of his mom…



9 thoughts on “Growl, Growl and Howl

  1. Yes! Someone is being real about this. And, of course, one needs to look on the humorous, if not ridiculous, side of this, too. But, oh, what a breath of fresh air it is for someone to own up to the fact that this is not infrequently a royal pain. Thanks.

  2. Let it out, Yvonne! Let’er rip! It’s good therapy as long as, after the well-earned, extended tantrum/growl, you take a deep breath and let out a big laugh, just like your nephew taught you. “…and a little child shall lead them.”

    • Love that scripture Rick and believe it 100%! As for therapy, I believe in God and children way, way more than I believe in therapists but that’s just me!

  3. Loved it !!!! … When I get stressed out I try to go take a ride to the beach just to look out at the waves as I am not a beach person, but alas sometimes that is not possible and I end up yelling and venting… Not that that is the answer but i do feel better letting the pressure out, but I have to agree with you that yes kids can do silly things that make you smile or laugh when you really need it.

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