So….It’s MS Awareness month!
If you’re active on social media I’m sure you’ve seen more orange than normal for it being March and not October.
But, what does MS Awareness Month really mean?
Well, I can’t speak for all. But, for me it’s a chance to get rid of all the preconceived notions of this disease and to really understand it from the people living with it.
Let’s start shall we…
MS is a disease that affects the Central Nervous System, you know the brain and spinal cord, important things. MS is called a snowflake disease meaning no two people will have the exact same symptoms.
My symptoms more often than not are
But for some the list is much longer. You might be thinking man…that’s rough or maybe even It can’t be that bad. And to be honest sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it’s worse.
There are four different types of MS
CIS- Clinically Isolated Syndrome- this one is tricky, the MS society states that CIS is the first episode of neurological disease caused by demyelination in the Central Nervous System. The attack must last for at least 24 hours, which is a characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis, but that doesn’t mean it’s MS. Only if the brain scans show lesions similar to those seen in MS the likelihood of a second attack of neurological symptoms and being diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS is high.
RRMS- Relapsing Remitting MS- where I and 85% of all those diagnosed fall in the spectrum. Meaning most of the time I’m in remission, I might have some symptoms like pain and fatigue- the main players, but for the most part I’m okay until I have a relapse. After the relapse I’ll go back to my baseline or remission of feeling good or okay. These relapses are usually far apart from each other. I’m going on three years of no relapse! And claiming another three!
WONT HE DO IT!!
SPMS- Secondary Progressive MS – Where I, like most on with RRMS, might fall later on if my symptoms worsen over time. Secondary progressive MS is when the disease or neurological functions worsen over time. It can happen with relapses or without relapses. Meaning it won’t take an episode for the symptoms to get worse, they just will.
PPMS- Primary Progressive MS- This form of MS happens to 15% of the MS population. Primary progressive is a steady progression of worsening symptoms, it happens from the onset of symptoms. It can be due to occasional relapses and new lesion activity or due to no lesion activity.
Are you still with me? Good!
While it’s important to note that unfortunately MS is a progressive disease and as of now there is no cure. People with MS are able to lead great full lives!
The MS society did a recent study and found that there are 2x the amount of people living with MS than originally thought. What does that mean? It means that a million people are living with MS in the U.S. Yes! You read that correctly, one million. One million out of over 300 million are living with this debilitating disease. I think it’s way past the time to give it some recognition. And to shed some light on what this disease is and what it’s not.
Let’s just get this straight right here and now.
Just because someone has MS doesn’t mean they’ll end up in a wheelchair.
Just because someone has MS doesn’t mean their brain is broken.
Just because someone has MS doesn’t mean they can’t do all the things they used to.
Just because someone has MS doesn’t mean they’re broken.
Just because someone has MS doesn’t mean their life is over.
MS can change someone’s life, but it’s not a death sentence. If you know someone who has MS or any other chronic illness do them a favor and extend grace and understanding. That’s all we really want. Not to be put into category, not to be your token sick friend- seriously the last thing anyone wants to be known as is so and so, who has xyz- NOT cute!, and not to be handled with kitten gloves. We just want you to treat us the same as before.
‘Til next time