Every year, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society sets aside a week in the month of March to raise awareness of MS. Why do this? Facts will tell you that every hour someone is diagnosed with MS. Every hour. And during that same hour, at least one more person is affected–a spouse, child of that person, coworkers, friends.
It’s not an easy diagnosis to hear because it is so unpredictable. Some people have mild to moderate symptoms while others, fewer than most, have severe symptoms leading to a complete change in lifestyle.
Take a moment and explore the National MS Website if you know someone with MS or want to know more.
I am proud to say that in Ohio, “my” state, legislation was passed in 2006 to make the entire month of March designated for MS Awareness. Representative Kenny Yuko–who also lives with the diagnosis of MS– and Senator Teresa Fedor introduced the bill
Life goes on after a diagnosis of MS but it changes. MS can stop you from moving but information is power. Do whatever you can to slow the progression of this neurological disease until they find a cause and a cure.
When I was diagnosed in 1987, with symptoms dating back to 1973, there were no medications for MS, no Internet for me to explore and no celebrities touting their books about MS. All that changed in the early 90s and now there are 4 disease modifying drugs, in the form of injections, that have proven to slow the progression of MS: Betaseron came first and Avonex, Rebif, and Copaxone followed. The pill form has been developed and more are in the development stage currently.
Personally, I was on Avonex for 5 years and Rebif for 1 1/2 years. These are Interferons and caused flu-like symptoms that never faded for me. In April 2007, I began taking daily injections of Copaxone and am thankful I never feel sick and I feel in control, as much as possible, of this disease. I’m doing all I can to stay active by stretching, walking safely using whatever I need to do that–a cane, walker or the steady arm of a family member or friend–taking my injections and learning all I can how to manage symptoms such as spasms, numbness and fatigue.
The National MS Society encourages everyone to find which medicine works for them and stay on it! Good advice.
We must cling to hope that one day this disease will only be a memory. Meanwhile, we learn and adapt our lifestyles to let this disease be a part of our lives but not the master of our lives.