X’s and O’s
Dinner rolls and stuffing, it’s still bread;
Forks and spoons it's still cutlery;
Motrin and Aleve they’re still pain relievers;
An apartment and a house, they are still homes;
Or.. A Camaro and a Hummer, they are still vehicles.
One sneezes and another coughs, both could have a cold;
Two individuals have cancerous cells - one in their breast, the other in their prostate. It’s cancer;
A bank gets robbed and a purse is snatched - it's theft.
It's all relative
The intention of the aforementioned examples is to show that in spite of their differences, they are all relative to a bottom line. It’s like X’s and O’s -
different characters, but of one particular thing.. the game of Tic Tac Toe.
I overheard someone talking about two men that she knew to have MS. One was bedridden and the other, no visible symptoms at all. This person was dubious that the men truly shareď the same condition since Mr. No Visible Symptom seemed ‘fine’ and didn't ‘have it like’ Mr. Bedridden.
The importance of awareness
Initially, I was appalled, but that emotion was short lived. One word came to mind: Awareness. This is why we sponsor events, create MS sites, blog, etc. - to bring awareness to a complex disease that many don't understand. I'll be the first to raise my hand. When diagnosed, I didn't know much about MS other than it was a chronic condition. I educated myself right away.
By the way, as for that private conversation, I didn't engage because I didn't want to be seen as an eavesdropper and deemed rude. BUT.. if I'd chosen to throw caution to the wind and placed myself in their conversation, I would have shared this short lesson on X's and O's as it relates to MS..
MS greatly varies from person to person
MS symptoms and it's course greatly varies from person to person, and from time to time, within the same individual. For instance, one person might experience chronic fatigue, another might have severe vision problems, and some may develop attention and memory issues. There are people afflicted with MS that can have temporary or permanent partial or complete paralysis at some point. There are some who require assistive devices and others who don't. In addition, there are three types of MS:
Relapse Remitting - Attacks, also called relapses or exacerbations, of new or increasing neurologic symptoms occur and are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions).
Secondary Progressive - The relapses and remissions that used to come and go change into symptoms that steadily get worse..
Primary Progressive - This particular form of MS is less common than the others. It is progressive from the start with no relapses or remissions.
And just like that, that person and her audience would have been made aware that in spite of the differences in what the two men ‘looked like’ healthwise, the bottom line is that they both still have MS.
It's still MS
Just like X’s and O’s are different, they still make up Tic Tac Toe. And no matter the differences in types, symptoms, or severity, it's still Multiple Sclerosis.
I have the hardest time with my MS during the following season: