MAKING MEANING WITH MS
Featured in Healing MS, Winter 2017/18
In this edition of, “Making Meaning in Your Life with an MS Diagnosis,” Carol and Paul share how traveling has been meaningful in their lives together, and how they have not allowed challenges to stop them.
Paul Morgenstern: “Nothing thrills us more than to explore the world, whether it be alone, with friends, or with our family and their children. Since our first trip to Paris in 1991, we have explored France, Italy, Spain, England and more, trying our best to plan new adventures yearly. It was on that first trip to Paris that Carol had her first MS symptoms. We were walking from our hotel all the way up to the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, in the Montmartre section of Paris, when her foot gave out and then a few days later, recovered. So, began Carol’s MS journey that soon brought us to Dr. Sadiq. It became increasingly more difficult for Carol to walk any distance independently even with a cane or walker. Hesitating at first, we understood that a wheelchair was necessary to reasonably get around to see and experience new places. We realized that the consolation of sitting in a wheelchair was far more desirable than sitting at home.”
Carol Morgenstern: “In 2005 I was in my first motorized wheelchair, and Paul developed a heart condition. It forced us to take stock and make some lifelong decisions about traveling and living our lives in general. However, as the movie Shawshank Redemption put it, ‘get busy living or get busy dying.’ We chose living and were determined that no matter the difficulties we would try to lead as normal a life as possible, for as long as possible. We figured out how to travel under varying circumstances and continue to look at each ‘new normal’ and adjust our journey. It’s been an incredibly wonderful and fulfilling adventure. We continue to travel with a lightweight motorized wheelchair. We’ve learned the ins and outs of all aspects of travel, from making reservations, getting to the airport, the terminal process, the flight, getting from the airport to your hotel, to getting around town, we have experienced it all.
We are looking forward to our trip to Italy this summer where we’ve rented a villa in Tuscany and will be joined by friends and family. You can’t imagine the joy of spending time there, of seeing the sights, cooking, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.”
Because of the experiences they have had, Carol and Paul have started a travel blog at www.accessibleglobaltravel.com. They decided to share their stories with others in an effort to encourage people with MS to enjoy a world they may have thought was not available to them. Their hope is that you will share their experiences and perhaps add to it by telling yours. There is also a place to ask any questions that you may have. Bon Voyage!