Friday, February 10, 2012

Everybody’s got something

Travis White
Travis Bikes America  

When I was a kid, I remember my mother saying, “Everybody’s got something.”  She didn’t say it frequently but often enough that I remember. Since it was often accompanied with a sigh and maybe a sad-eyed look, I always assumed it had negative connotations as in, “Everybody’s got a cross to bear.”

I gradually learned that my Mom’s words also had another layer of meaning. It wasn’t just that you’ve got something – you also need to deal with it. She was a practical woman – and a strong-willed woman – and she meant, “Don’t spend too much time whining and complaining. Everybody’s got something – you’re not a special case. Just get on with it.”

My Mom’s words came to mind when I was diagnosed with MS in 2008. Since I was 58 at the time and generally healthy, I was stunned. But then, I’ve always been a late bloomer. So what did my Mom now long dead – have to say to me?  Pretty simple: “Everybody’s got something – just get on with it.”

So, I’ve been trying to get on with it. I was angry for a while but then decided that anger was getting me nowhere. Like my Mom, I’m a fairly practical person and I realized that it’s not practical to waste any time being bitter. So, as much as possible, I stopped being angry and focused on what I could do rather than what I couldn’t do. (I should say that I have a relatively mild case – relapsing-remitting – and my main goal is to avoid a relapse). 

As I focused on staying healthy, I realized that my mother’s words had yet another layer of meaning. As she might say, “We’re all different but we’re all God’s children and everybody’s got something to contribute.” We all have problems to face but we all have something positive to contribute as well. 

So what can I contribute? Well, I have a background in marketing and I’m pretty good at asking people for money. I decided that I could contribute by raising money for the National MS Society. So far, I’ve raised about $40,000. I also enjoy writing and I’d like to contribute my thoughts for this blog. Maybe what I’ve learned will be useful to others as well. As my Mom would say, “Everybody’s got something.” Turns out she was right.


  1. I'm glad our something (MS) has you. I like your positive attitude. Since we really have no control over getting MS, we should certainly control the things we can--attitude, nutrition, exercise, etc.

  2. Good to hear from another "late bloomer". As Ms. Baker said, all we can control is our attitude and affect what we can. All the best with your fund raising.

    From Terminator Salvation:
    "This is John Connor. And if you're [reading] this, you are the Resistance."

  3. Hi Travis.... this is really how I feel about MS too. I have made a link to your post in my blog.

  4. What MS Ride are you doing? I was dx 10 yrs ago and will participate in my 3rd this April...Homestead to Key Largo!

  5. What a fabulous post! I was a "late bloomer" too (my diagnosis was at age 55, almost 2 years ago) and I know how easy it is to get all wrapped up in our own problems. So many people out there with troubles far worse than mine, God bless you and God bless your Mother.

  6. Relieved to see other "late bloomers," a term I like much better than late-onset. I was diagnosed when I was 50 and living in Nairobi, no less. I'm R-R too. Every time I go to my MS clinic and see people who are in worse shape than I, I feel humbled.

  7. Like you, my Dad also shaped my thinking with his saying, "Everything works out for the best." I'm not sure how having M.S. works out for the best, but my Dad's words taught me to "Make the best of everything."
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