The month of March is designated as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. It is why on this 3rd day of March in the year 2019 that I write this posting. I will do this in a different form from of my other postings as the point is to help brings awareness to the disease.
I will start by stating the MS is not as rare as originally thought for Americans. It was recently reported that after a 5-year study by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that nearly 1 million Americans have the disease. This is a major change in the disease as for the longest time it was thought to impact under a half million people.
I know that I saw some on social media applaud this change in numbers impacted. They were thrilled that the numbers were higher as it meant there would be more funding. They also mentioned how this report could help bring light to all those that suffer from the disease. I, on the other hand, understand their thinking but disagree. I say that as considering how MS can impact people in so many different ways, I saw it as more people are going to potentially suffer.
You see, for me, MS has not been to life-changing to me, yet. I am still the same guy I was prior to my diagnosis over 10 years ago now. I have my “odd” humor which is a mixture of sarcasm, some self-deprecation, and just overall goofy as I just want people to laugh and smile. I want people to see me for who I am and not the disease that is within me.
I got to say that for me the biggest issues is the MS Fatigue that can come on out of nowhere. I mean imagine being wide awake, energy level on full, and boom your eyes can’t stay open. You just want to sleep. Your head bobs down, you snap back hurting your neck, down it goes again and again. It’s maddening, and sometimes a dose of caffeine will help me get awake again. Other times, well glad I got some comfy furniture for napping. (yep sign of that humor here)
The other issues I get are sore legs, and arms at times. I will say, just imagine that someone is sticking you with 100 needles all on the inside of your body focusing on those appendages. Yeah, if that helped you get a sense, at times it feels like 10 times that number. I got to say it really doesn’t hurt like you think it would but it’s enough to cause quite the discomfort.
Other problems that come to light due to the MS. Well, just say I’m glad I work from home and I have a bathroom really close to my home office. Otherwise, if I was in the office we may find out why most garbage cans are plastic lined. Yeah, I know that may have been an overshare, but it’s about awareness right.
Now, I got to say I am also one of those “warriors” that will not let this MSonster take me down. You see where I live there were over 5 or more feet of snow that fell this past February. I live in a home that has multiple adults within these walls. The ironic thing, I am probably the healthiest one so much of that snow removal fell on me. I may complain about it, but really it’s exercise and a few times I know I pushed it. My legs were in pain, my arms hurt, but I did it.
I feel pride in seeing the concrete on the sidewalk and my driveway. I look around at neighbors and many of them are still snow covered and ice underneath. I will be clear I live on a corner so I have plenty of sidewalks to clear but I do it. What is my motivation to make it so clear? Easy. I imagine someone like me who may have balance issues, or just unsure about walking in the snow. I imagine them slipping and falling on my sidewalk and breaking a bone. I mean I recently fell and if anyone saw me they would have laughed. I had to crawl up into a snowbank to get my footing back. There was pure ice under me so each time I had tried to get up, oops down again I went. This is why I go all out, I do not want someone having to experience that.
I know this is going long so let me bring up another subject quickly. It’s the awareness that is brought by celebrities going out in public talking about MS. Selma Blair was getting headlines for her courage for going to an Oscar’s Party after her diagnosis. She was utilizing a cane to be able to walk, as well.
I got to say by celebrities being willing to talk about their struggles helps to bring even more awareness to the disease. My major issue with that is there are so many others that show the same amount of courage or more on a daily basis. These are some of those near million people who have the disease. The main difference they do not have that celebrity status so they go unseen.
So, here let’s bring this all back together using that word unseen as the final point. You see, MS is can be one of those silent diseases. It is one that you cannot just look at a person and go, “They have MS”. We don’t all have canes, we do not all need wheelchairs, or other forms of transportation to get around. We put one foot in front of the other just like so many able-bodied people. The problem, inside we could be in pain. We may be exerting a lot of effort to just walk around a store. We may have handicap placards for our cars and look normal getting out. We get judged for that, but there is one thing I always want to say to those individuals. “I’ll happily trade my MS for this parking spot if you’d like.”
I’m not sure how much awareness I am bringing to MS with this posting. I am sharing at least my views and letting you into my thoughts. I hope no one got scared of getting a bit inside my head.
I’d love to share some names of those with MS that are like me, no celebrity, but I know some folks don’t even share with their family they have it. Why? It’s their choice as sadly like depression, MS can have a stigma with it.
So, with that stated instead let’s look at some of the celebs who have shared their diagnosis. Why? It’s to show you that MS does not discriminate.
Celebs with MS (Shortlist)
- Jack Osbourne
- Selma Blair
- Janice Dean
- Clay Walker
- Tamia Hill
- Montel Williams
- Jamie-Lynn Singer
- Trevor Bayne
- Teri Garr