MS Center and The Spoon Theory

The Spoon Theory is a story written by Christine Miserandino that Antonia Fowler, President of the MS Center, took to heart. When Christine was trying to tell her friend how difficult things are because of her Lupus, she created this beautiful illustration of the difficulties ressulting from her illness.

Christine wanted her friend to understand how much energy it takes just to exist. Healthy people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions.

So for her explanation, she used spoons to convey this point. she wanted something for her friend to actually hold, for her to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If she was in control of taking away the spoons, then her friend would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

After the spoons were counted, Christine explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee, she said, that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting.

She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. Christine said no, and she knew right away that this little game would work, when her friend looked disappointed, and they hadn’t even started yet.

All of us with chronic disease want more “spoons” and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? Christine also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

When her friend listed the tasks of the day, Christine would take away a spoon. Her friend was amazed at the simple tasks and how quickly the spoons disappeared. So it is with living with MS.

Antonia could see the similarities between Christine and those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis. She provided a fun activity based on ‘The Spoon Theory’; all the supplies to make a beautiful bouquet of…spoons! 🙂 We wrote on each of the spoons the events that we do every day to remind us of the cost of energy it takes.

Even though I didn’t actually take part in the craft project, it was validating to listen to the story and be involved with my new friends. You can go here to read the rest of the story.

I’m very grateful for the Alaska MS center. I didn’t realize that it is a volunteer, non-profit organization that develops educational and exercise programs for people with MS in Alaska. All the money raised here goes to activities and programs in Alaska. You can find out what resources are in your area by checking the National MS Society’s website here.

 

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

10 Comments:

  1. Your story is thought-provoking. Thanks to my parents I am blessed with empathy, and I try to see things from the other’s point of view. As a child I learned not to “judge another until you have walked for two moons in their moccasins.”

    Once I told a Bi-Polar friend the old adage “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” He told me that seeing people who are worse off only depresses him. I guess there is such a thing as a mental handicap.

    One of my sisters has MS, now in remission, I think. Another sister has diabetes, and another has melanoma and kidney cancer. One of my good friends has cerebral palsy, and she is truly an inspiration to all who know her. I have posted an inspirational video of
    her on a special channel I created for “handicapped” people who choose to do the best they can with what they have: http://YouTube.com/yesIcanVideos Watching her will warm your heart. She lights up our life.

  2. Hey Linda,

    This story really helped me begin to understand the challenges faced by someone with MS. It’s incredibly easy to take good health for granted when you’re well. I think it was a very creative idea for Christine to come up with the “spoon theory” to help her friend understand her illness.

    • Dave,
      Yes, I agree, Christine’s idea was very creative! It was fun watching the ladies create the bouque of spoons. I’m spending all of my creativity right here online!
      Linda

  3. Very nice article and video Linda – and what a thoughtful way to share your important message. It’s difficult for people who enjoy good health to understand what it can be like. One of the best lessons of my life was having to hobble around on crutches for a couple of months … you just never realize how much you take for granted. Thanks so much for caring and sharing!

    • Marquita,
      Thank you for visiting my blog! It is amazing how we take or health for granted! I was just like you, I’d say ‘I appreciate my health’ but I didn’t know what that meant until I lost it! It’s all about personal growth!
      Find your joy,
      Linda

  4. Hi Linda,

    I have been really healthy, so it is very difficult for me to image what it is like living with a restriced lifestyle.

    It is a good reminder to be grateful for every little blessing in life and not take things for granted.

    • John,
      I totally understand, MS was practically my first experience with illness – ever! Wild! Well, I did have chickenpox, cold sores and my tonsils were removed when I was a child, but as an adult, I never caught a cold or flu, just MS. I really took it for granted. Well, it is what it is!
      Linda

  5. I do trust all the concepts you have offered on your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for starters. May just you please prolong them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

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