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“‘We have MS,’ he said when I was diagnosed one year after we married. I am a widow now, and my strength lies in the foundation he laid for me. I have MS now, but his legacy cannot be measured!” —Stella
relationship—or even a friend- ship,” Phillips said. He learned from experience. Now, instead of being swallowed up by feelings of vulnerability and insecurity,
he focuses on his strengths. “I
bring things to the table most
men don’t,” he said. “I bring
compassion and understand-
ing—all of those feeling words
that most guys run from. So if
a woman isn’t interested in me
because I have MS or because
I’m on disability and can’t work,
that’s her loss,” he said.
As long as we’re doing that, it’s
To develop the strong sense
of self Phillips now has, many
people with MS have to learn
not to be consumed with their
diagnosis. Phillips spent a lot of
time working on his spiritual
and emotional health before he
even considered dating.
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Staying in the game
Despite the effects of MS, almost
half the people with MS surveyed
by the National MS Society say
the disease has had some positive impact on their lives—often
in the form of pushing them to
develop inner strength, meet new
friends or become involved in
new activities. And while some
people feel MS is a massive strike
against them on the relationship
front, others report the disease
actually intensifies important
connections. A network of close
friends can feel like a team facing
a common enemy.
in the USA
For singles as for couples, living
well with MS requires courage to
stay connected and in the game. ;
Offer subject to
GE Money Bank
This may be paying off. Recently,
Phillips began dating a social
worker who is in remission from
cancer. “I don’t have my expectations up. I’m just having fun,”
he said. “She’s great, and every
time I talk to her she gets better,
and she thinks the same of me.
Amy Paturel, MS, MPH, is a freelance
health writer in Murrieta, Calif.