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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence


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Kevin Byrne "Laugh Until It Hurts"

Kevin Byrne on his bike with his dog Monte



Laugh until it hurts…


If it hurts this much now, I have a lot of laughing to make up for.  I’d better get started!  I always tell my friends “Try not to take what I say too seriously”.  When I want to speak seriously with them, they’ll know it.  Besides that, it’s as if about 90% of what comes out of my mouth is sarcasm.  Nothing bad, nothing hurtful.  Just fun.


I’d like to blame that on my MS (I’d like to blame all of my quirks on my MS) but that’s not true; at least it’s not entirely true.  Call it what you want to (sarcastic, witty, smartass) I have always relied on humor.  I just do it a whole lot more now than I did before.  For me, it softens the mood.  If there is no reason to be all serious and tense, I say “why not relax a bit and enjoy life?”  It definitely helps take the edge off…

When I was first diagnosed with MS in 1999 there seemed to be little reason to relax and enjoy life.  The numbness, pain, vision loss mixed with question. I questioned what was going on and what’s going to happen to me next.


 My diagnosis was faster than many others I now know.  Those first few weeks were dark.  Before I even really knew what was going on, I knew that my career was over.  The Army was the only thing I knew since I was 17 years old.  After all of the initial testing I was sent to Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.  More tests and more waiting.  By the end of the week, I had all but given up.


I was in the office with the chief neurologist as she explained what was going on and what was going to happen to me.  The conversation went something like this:


Neurologist: You have Multiple Sclerosis.

Me: What does that mean? What will happen to me?

Neurologist: We have some treatment options that we can look at trying.

Me: Can I still fly?

Neurologist: No.

Me: Will I ever be able to see again?

Neurologists: We don’t know for sure.  You might in time.

Me: Will I ever get feeling back in my arm again?

Neurologist: We don’t know for sure.  You might in time.


For me, this was a make or break point in my new life with MS.  I reached out for the only way I knew to take the edge off of my stress.


Me: Will I ever be able to play the piano again?

Neurologist: We don’t know for sure.  You might in time.

Me: Good, ‘cause I never could before!


She was to taken back by that, for the next half hour I don’t think that Colonel blinked even once. I sure felt better! Laugh until it hurts… 





May 2010