Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Disease of the Week

So it's Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, which seems redundant as March is MS Awareness month. In case you have some awareness to spare, consider some of the other causes that try to go viral in March:

Colon Cancer Awareness National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Brain Health Brain Injury Awareness Month
Kidney Cancer Awareness National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
Multiple Myeloma Awareness National Myeloma Awareness Month

National Nutrition Month

National Endometriosis Month

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

National Save Your Vision Month

Hemophilia Month

Mental Retardation Awareness Month

National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month

American Red Cross Month

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

National Eye Donor Month

National Poison Prevention Month

National Professional Social Work Month

Save Your Vision Month

(list courtesy of

 It's a busy month, but I guess every cause needs its 15 minutes.

Tucson hosted an MS walk last weekend as part of the week's festivities, and the local paper printed a story about a local high school athlete who was recently diagnosed with MS and organized a fundraising team for this event:

I applaud Braden's efforts, but I have a hard time not being somewhat cynical when this week rolls around each year. For every genuine story about real people dealing with the disease or synopsis of new research to find the causes and cure there are dozens of ads along the sidebars of our lives hawking everything from overpriced supplements and procedures to photos of people waving $100 bills proclaiming the availability of disability windfalls. This month above all others reminds me that a chronic illness is a cash cow, and I personally feel taken advantage of when I see such blatant money grabbing at the expense of genuine suffering.

I go back and forth on the awareness bit. Long ago I stopped telling people I have MS unless they mention it or keep badgering me about being slower on the race courses. If people ask I'm happy to discuss what it's like, though it gets iffy when it comes to describing some symptoms if I'm talking to someone like my boss or anyone I feel is sizing me up. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed, but I am...cautious. That said, if you want to know about MS feel free to ask, though I can only speak to how it is for me.

On the running front things are going fairly well, though inevitably I compare my training to what I was doing last year. The thought of further decline due to age or MS is difficult to swallow, and I've taken to measuring my pace only once or twice a week to push these thoughts away. I've done very short speed(ish) workouts for the last few weeks with mixed results. I would probably be better served by following Mystery Coach's advice to start with short bursts (30 seconds to 2 minutes) of up-tempo running, untimed, but inevitably I fall prey to comparing this week's 400's to last week.

 I have a 5K coming up this weekend, which is followed by a 7.4 mile race up and down the road in Sabino Canyon a few weeks later. I'm hoping to run similar times to last year for these races, and with the weekly mileage hovering close to 40 I should be able to. Before I know it March will be over and I can start focusing on National Library Week.

No comments: