Illness is NOT a Choice

Let me start this off by saying that I’m a bit frustrated…. Because I’ve had some people make comments here and there that imply that I ASKED to get multiple sclerosis. First and foremost, there is NO asking for multiple sclerosis. I don’t know anyone that would ask for it, or any other chronic illness. Who in their right mind would do that, let alone IMPLY that we ASKED for it.

It’s for those small-minded people obviously. It’s rude, and no one should EVER insinuate that we asked for this. I didn’t ask to take medications everyday. I didn’t ask to get infusions every four-weeks. I didn’t ask my immune system to attack my Spinal Cord/Brain.

It seems to be that these small-minded people only like to look at things from a certain point of view. That point of view being, having ‘benefits’ with a chronic illness. Now, let me just say that there are NO BENEFITS, except for meeting other patients that are AMAZING people. But to some people, they see certain benefits in having a chronic illness. What is it they see??

Well first off, they see that some are on disability and CANNOT work. Now let me tell you that this is a CAN’T and not a WON’T. Another ‘benefit’ being that we get medications, such-as muscle relaxers, etc. They also see that we take naps, or sleep a lot… because hey, who doesn’t like napping. But it’s the FATIGUE that we’re talking about here. They aren’t thinking about what’s CAUSING us to sleep more often, but just that we ARE sleeping.

It’s sort of like a ‘cause and effect’ theory. Except, these people are BLIND to the CAUSE and are only seeing the EFFECT, no matter how much you try and tell/show them otherwise. Trust me, I’ve tried to tell/show these people that it’s not something that I WANT to have, but they don’t see it that way. It’s almost like they are treating me like I’m ‘faking it’ to do what I want, when I want to. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So, if you know of someone that is small-minded and has view of what I’ve listed about. Let them know this….

While you might see us sleeping a lot, or napping a lot… what you didn’t see is that the pain kept us up all night, with no relief in sight. While you might see us taking medications to help ease the symptoms, what you aren’t seeing is the side-effects of these medications… you also don’t see that these medications don’t make the symptom go away 100%. While you might see us using a handicapped-parking placard and compare it to a ‘valet’… what you didn’t see is us struggling to even get out of the house to get where we are going.

I could probably continue that list for a LONG time… but I think I’ve painted a good picture thus far.

So if you want to keep going through difference scenarios, it all leads down to this…

While you see all these so called ‘benefits’ … what you DIDN’T see is the COST that comes with all of it. So instead of trying to just summarize it all, I want you to take a look at some information I found from Rocky Mountain MS Center Website.

MS has a significant emotional and physical impact on the quality of life of those who have it as well as their families. Seventy percent of people living with MS have a level of impairment from the disease that interferes with at least one essential daily task. After 10 years of disease, seventy percent of people with MS will not be working outside the home. After 15 years, fifty percent will require at least a cane to walk. Thirty percent will eventually need to use a wheelchair.

Because individuals are diagnosed and become symptomatic during their most productive years, the financial cost for the individual and for society can be staggering. Direct costs are high. The medications used to treat MS cost between $20,000 and $30,000 per year and the cost for treatment of a disease flare-up is estimated at $12,870. MS also has high indirect costs— from lost wages to under or unemployment. The direct and indirect costs of MS are now estimated at $57,500 per patient per year. The total lifetime costs associated with MS for an individual is estimated at $2.2 million.

Although the cost of treating MS is great, the cost of not treating MS is probably greater. An estimated seventeen point two percent of Coloradans do not have health insurance. It is also estimated that, nationally, one out of three adults without medical insurance has a chronic disease and many of them do not receive regular medical care. The Rocky Mountain MS Center estimates that at least twenty percent of the MS population in Colorado receives medical care through the Medicaid system and have very limited access to MS specialty care. Individuals who do not receive specialty care are less likely to be on a disease modifying therapy and are more likely to experience more serious levels of disability.”1

On that note I’m going to end this article but I will most likely touch base on the subject in the future.


Ashley Ringstaff

Follow me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Pinterest

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

How well do people around you understand MS?