Our Voice in Song with David Osmond

Why me?  Why not me.  

An interview with David Osmond

While multiple sclerosis may not be hereditary, a positive attitude could be in the genes.  Diagnosed ten years ago with MS, David Osmond is not unfamiliar with the illness.   He watched it take his dad, Alan Osmond, off the stage after a lifetime of performing.  And then, after his own lifetime of performing, the illness struck him hard.  The tripping and falling was bad enough.  But then it took David’s music, his passion and livelihood.  His fingers failed him as guitar strings sat quiet and his voice vanished.

At 26 years old, one of the famous Osmond family performers had no way to perform.   Life as he knew it was over.    

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is like a fingerprint; no two set of symptoms the same.  Because of the way the MS was attacking, much differently than it had his father, it took awhile for David to be finally diagnosed.  Then it came, relapsing MS.  Really?  What is this disease that strikes people so different, so random?  David went into absolute denial.  This was his father’s disease.  It’s not genetic.  Why me?  

But then things started to change.  After being stripped of his livelihood, there was nowhere else to turn but to his true self.  To that deep down faith and those core values that are practically part of David’s DNA.   

The Osmonds were born and raised to find the good in life.  They were inspired to use talents for good and to thrive to be a good example.   David remembers fondly his Grandma Osmond, a strong and positive influence.    

“This too shall pass,” she would say, showing just how this family rolls.  From the top down the Osmond family has had a push for the positive.   

Not every family has a motto.  Brought about by challenges, endurance, good times and bad, the Osmond Family has adopted “ETTE”.  Or, “endure to the end”.   This motto has been revised by David to say, “Endure to the end of the day,” because sometimes with MS it’s just enough to get through the next 24 hours. 

Despite the struggles, David has been surrounded by positivity.  Never once did he hear his dad, Alan, complain.   Instead he was taught to look inward from the outside, to take a different perspective.  To “recognize the disability in order to define [one’s] abilities”.  

One prominent change in life happened when David took a new view on the old, “why me?” victim mentality.  Instead of asking himself, “why me?” about the MS, he turned the question around and started asking, “why me?” for each of his blessings.   He focused on the positive.   And then, the negative just seem to fade away. 

“Practice” is what Osmond attributes much of his success in staying positive.  “Life is tough,” but get up, go forward and focus on the blessings.  “Why me?” Yes, me.  Why am I blessed with so much?”

Performing has also helped David cope with his illness.  When one is always on stage and in the public eye, one quickly learns to wear a smile. All the time. Combine this with a positive upbringing and, well, when life gets tough, one learns and practices to “put a smile on and deal with it”.

David bought up a great point about what it means to wear a smile.    That wearing a smile is a choice.  It’s a person’s choice as to how they react to life.  Life is tough.  For everyone.  

At this point David quotes a great philosopher, “Socrates thought that if all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence every one must take an equal portion, most persons would be contented to take their own and depart”.

But being positive is not always easy.  “It’s not the disease but the lack of hope that gets you down,” says Osmond.  It takes practice, a lot of practice, to remain positive in life.  Then adds, “Being sad and negative isn’t worth it.   It’s just much easier to be happy.”

And then David reminded me of another great philosopher, Dr. Seuss, when he started to quote his poem,  Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad . . .
you should do what I do!”

With years of practice, surrounded by positivity, David Osmond told his MS to take a hike.  Ten years into the disease David is back on the guitar, has three amazing children, and a loving wife.  He not only has a voice to sing but also to advocate loudly for MS.   Those feelings of denial grew into gratitude, thankful for everything the disease has brought to his life.

In appreciation of this gratitude, a new song was written and performed by David.  If music is what feelings sound like then David nailed it with his song, 'I Can Do This'.  He wrote it to inspire people with relapsing MS to do more than simply cope with the disease, but to live a better life with it.

As part of his efforts to advocate and help folks with MS, a new campaign was created to pay special attention to folks with relapsing MS.  This campaign is called “Our Voice in Song,” and is located at ourvoiceinsong.com.  

In addition to the song, there are many resources available on the website, Ourvoiceinsong.com.   In addition to a full-length story of David’s fight with MS, there are tips and tricks, and a free music download of his song, “I can do this”.  

While positive attitude may not be in our DNA it is transferred from birth through growth in everything we do and everyone in our lives.  Every moment we have a chance to respond to life, we have a choice.  Is it positive?   If not, find a way to smile.  Turn it around.  Ask a friend, family member, support group.  Ask someone to help you find your smile.  It will be worth it.     


My Life with MS

Check out the article that David Lyons wrote about my life with MS. Thank you David! Together, all of us, we are going to #BeatMS


Caroline Craven, the Girl with MS
My story via @everydayhealth.

Not all great MS stories come from competitive athletes, bodybuilders and fitness contest winners. There are stories that inspire, motivate and encourage from those who suffer from MS and choose to fight the disease through health and fitness without looking at the prize attached to a contest.
Caroline Craven is an individual who takes control of MS through many different aspects of health and exercise inside and out of the gym. She blogs, tweets and social medias her way into the lives of many to lift them up and help them on their MS journeys. Caroline tells us about herself and her goals in today’s blog and inspires us all to stay active and enjoy our lives. Here is Caroline’s story in her own words:
MS Fitness: Are you simply surviving or are you thriving?
In 2001, while traveling throughout Guatemala with some friends, my vision and balance started waning. Fast. Approaching the airplane to return home to Los Angeles, the local vendors chattered about the “American on drugs” as I stumbled through the airport, palms splayed on walls. But I hadn’t taken any drugs, and I didn’t know what was wrong.

This link should work now! Sorry about that.

A New Year. Time to manage some stress!

Another new year and several intentions to follow for my multiple sclerosis. Fourteen years since my diagnosis yet I'll never forget how lost and scared I was stumbling to my doctors office looking for answers. Well, not the answer I wanted with an MS diagnosis, but better than being dead. So bring it on and let's do this.
Fourteen years later and I've learned so much. I've talked a lot about nutrition and other ways to manage ms. One area that does more for me than anything else is stress management.
How do we best manage stress?
A few of my tricks include:
  1. Take a break and recharge the battery. Even if it's just five minutes in a quiet, dark place can help unwind and recharge. No lights no sounds. No electronics. Just me, relaxing and recharging. Five minutes can mean making the afternoon or not. Try it out and see what works for you.
  2. Let go let God. We have enough static in our lives to charge an army. Now seriously, is what we are stressing about even within our control? Time to staple it shut, give it a name, and throw it away. Choose carefully what your energy is spent on because if it's used up on silly stuff we have no control over then where do we get the energy to deal with actual important stuff? Let go of it. Staple it shut. Throw it away.
  3. Ask for help. My friends told me, after I got sick, that MS taught me how to ask for help. Finally. And that's a good thing. We are not in this alone. There's a huge community out there waiting to help us. From twitter @thegirlwithms and @mspals to MS nurses and support through programs like http://onetoonems.com there are a variety of ways to find support.
These are just a few tricks. Movement and attitude are other contributing factors. Often I participate in morning free flow and chat sessions to help me deal with my MS, life and all that goes in between.

In addition to flowing and chatting, it's imperative for me to stay on top of the stress management aspect of MS. This means every few days, checking in with myself and seeing how I am really doing. Am I sleeping? Am I eating healthy? Am I full of angst or able to sit, relaxed in a chair? No two of us are the same. But we all can have similar feelings of unrest. These feelings often are a result of stressors that haven't been dealt with in appropriate manner.
Wow, and let's watch those words we are using in our daily lives. Are we setting ourselves for success? Or for failure? Are we saying "I get to work for the next hour" or "I have to work for the next hour"
Every word we use, even in the minutest of details, can set us up or start to destroy us. Words like Try, Have to, Need. Let's use words such as Do, Get to and Want.
"I don't have to work today. I get to work because God gave me another day on this earth that wasn't guaranteed" (what is guaranteed anyway?). "I get to work because my clients believe in me and hired me to do their work."
Whatever it is we are doing, let's use the words that put it in the right frame of mind. If we go in negative, we come out negativ. And that is not managing stress for MS. Positivity helps mange stress.
In addition, get moving. Can't emphasize this enough. Even a scooter ride around the block will help get the blood flowing and the air moving.
There is so much we can do to help manage stress.
What are some of your top stressors and how do you Manage them?
Join the conversation!

Let's get moving!

Even from bed or a chair, we can get the body moving and flowing. I was able to stand for some of these as I've been working daily on balance and other MS related issues. Wanted to share and continue to receive inspiration from you, my friends. Please remember I am not an instructor. I practice a casual form of stretching based on yoga to help keep my MS at bay. Yoga has been my number 1 solution for this crazy disease, from emotional support to physical confidence. Don't know where I would be without it!
Whatever we do, we need to be safe, gentle and always thinking about our illness. This is what I do: