Okay – I’ve had this on my mind for a while… but it’s really started to bother me more and more lately. What am I referring to? What I’m talking about is when healthy individuals try to compare what I go through with my MS with something they have dealt with in the past.
Let me just get one thing straight about this… Notice how I said that people try and compare what we go through every day with something that they have dealt with in the past. That plays a big factor, when you’re trying to compare two completely different situations.
So, here are some things that I have had people try and compare ‘symptoms’ with me in the past:
Fatigue – So for those of you who have MS, you know that MS fatigue is something on a whole different level to, “I’m tired”. Because if someone is tired, exhausted, sleepy, etc. They take a nap or get a good night’s sleep, and they are back to normal the next day, more than likely. Now I don’t know how to get it through to people that my fatigue from MS, can’t be fixed like that. I can get a full nights rest and even have a nap during the day, and still suffer from MS fatigue. So there is no comparison to that, no matter how hard the person tries to prove otherwise.
Weakness – Now, the weakness I suffer from, is due to damage done by MS. I also have weakness/heavy limbs when I’ve done too much, or for instance, if I walked or did a lot a certain day, my leg will feel heavy and tired and achy. I’ve had some people try and compare this to when they workout and are experiencing weakness after their workout. I’ve experienced both, and they aren’t the same thing AT ALL. I haven’t dealt with or come in to contact with others, who work out or run a lot, then have their foot literally dragging because your body just can’t compute to pick up that leg.
Insomnia – “Well, if you suffer from MS fatigue, how can you suffer from insomnia?” That’s a VERY good question I wish I had an answer to. But basically, I’ve been productive throughout the day, as best as I can be, and at night my body is exhausted and I’m still fatigued, but I just can’t sleep. Sometimes there is no reason for me to not be able to sleep, but other times, it’s because I’m in pain from carrying out my daily activities.
Pain – Now this is a tricky one. Everyone has experienced pain in his or her life… but to what extent? Personally, my most common form of ‘pain’ is neuropathy aka ‘nerve pain’. This isn’t something that is easily explained to the general public either. For most, if they’re in pain… they take a pain reliever… but with neuropathy, pain relievers don’t help relieve it. I am on medication to help manage my neuropathy, but it wears off as the day goes on. So when it’s later in the evening, my nerve pain is rearing it’s ugly head, and there isn’t a whole lot I can do for that.
Numbness/Tingling – So this can kind of be classified in the neuropathy/pain category, but what I wanted to point out differently is that, when we have a numb/tingling limb or something like that, others try and say they have experienced that as well, like having a foot “fall asleep” or something like that. The difference, they get the feeling back in a short period of time. People with MS… it’s not that easy.
Those are just a few of the symptoms that I have had healthy people try and compare with me. Now, I’m not talking about the people who are actually compassionate on what we’re going through on a day-to-day basis, but just those “know it all” kind of people, who have to bring the focus back to them.
My mom had surgery again on her shoulder at the end of last year, from a torn shoulder. She is of course, still in a lot of pain from it… and she said to me the other day, “I don’t know how you deal with the pain that you do every single day… I’ve been dealing with this one issue and it’s driving me insane.” So, yeah… not much I can do about it, but it all around just blows.
One thing that REALLY bothers me… is when someone finds out I have MS and they say, “Well at least it’s not worse. At least you don’t have Cancer or something.” Yeah, it could be worse, I completely understand that. But that doesn’t mean that what I go through everyday isn’t hard. You can’t compare MS to other diseases/illnesses. Especially something like cancer.
What’s the point of this whole rant? Anyone who has been diagnosed by any kind of illness has their own unique struggle each and ever day. Heck, even all of us who have MS, we all don’t suffer the SAME exact thing everyday. But if you’re a healthy individual who doesn’t have to deal with what we do on a daily basis, please keep your thoughts to yourself, mainly when it comes to the things I wrote above, or on my article “MS & Things People Should NOT say”.
I know we all learned this growing up and I think a lot of people now a days need to keep it in mind… “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”