Mark McNairy, diagnosed in spring, 2004
What do you remember most from the day you were diagnosed?
It’s actually pretty humorous. My doctor has an accent so there are times I hear something he didn't actually say. This crucial point in my life was one of those times. He told me he reviewed my MRI and that it was MS. However, what I heard was "I reviewed your MRI and it's a mess." So of course I waited for him to expand on this very interesting diagnosis, but when he didn't go on I quickly realized I had heard him wrong.
What have you learned from living with MS?
My learning thus far has really been about my brain - not my neurons, but my mentality. I have realized how much the ability to accept big unchangeable parts of life helps me with the little stuff. I am a chemist and have a very analytical mind that causes me to really scrutinize things. MS has actually helped me understand things are not perfect and won’t be no matter how hard we try. I have more or less come to peace with what my life may be in the future, and I try not to dwell on how negative that could be but rather, try to focus on today. That realization helps me relax and not sweat the small stuff. I haven't perfected that art of course, but like I said, nothing can be perfect!
What advice do you have for someone newly diagnosed?
Try to really understand and accept what you may have to deal with in the future, but take things one step at a time. There is definitely a myriad of individuals who are much more qualified than I to give advice. I'll stop there and leave it to the pros.
What are you doing to move us closer to a world free of MS?
I am trying to get more involved in what the society has to offer. There are many wonderful people who have chosen a career that helps to facilitate a cure through giving, volunteering and education. I have decided if I make myself available to the direction of those trained professionals, I can be utilized just by being myself.
What do you enjoy most about your participation in the MS movement?
I enjoy that there are always people around who are happy to see me, but I think that has to do with the fact that when you volunteer you feel warm and happy. So I suppose that answers the question, the most enjoyable thing for me is that I know I am making a difference for someone else.
Does your involvement change your perspective on having MS?
I have come to understand that my involvement and the collective involvement of others will help increase the speed with which we move towards the cure. So come on people, help a guy out and get involved!