Showing the mild(er) side of MS
Last updated: March 2015
The Today show ran a piece this week for MS Awareness Week to highlight that there are now 12 disease modifying therapies (20 years ago there were 0, nada) and the story of a woman who is not letting MS keep her down. I don't know about you, but when it comes to MS I think all publicity is GOOD publicity! I was stopped in my tracks when reading the comments under the Facebook posting that the National MS Society promoted of the clip. People were very negative about who they chose, saying that the Today Show needed to show the 'real' colors of MS and not someone who is doing well. Hello!!? Isn't that what we all want? To do well? I, for one, don't want people to hear that I have MS and automatically think the worst. Anyone with MS realizes that no 2 people experience the disease the same way. The clip on the Today show may have shown this woman on a good morning, with lots of energy, but she may have left the set and had no energy for the rest of the day, dizziness, balance-loss....etc.
Now, don't get me wrong, I understand the statistics. I know about the ugly side of the disease and have worked with people who no longer have much use of their body while their mind is perfectly intact. I also know that MS tends to fall into 3 categories of disease progression: 1/3 have mild progression, 1/3 have moderate, 1/3 have severe. If my math does not fail me, that means that 2/3 will NOT fall into the severe category. 1/3 becoming severe is still far too many but I want to look at things with a 'glass if 1/2 full' mentality. Those who fall into the 1/3 of having mild progression need to have their story shared as much as anyone else. It may just be the hope that someone watching/reading needs to not feel depressed about what the future 'may' hold.
Walking out of our home each day has inherent risks. No one is guaranteed their next breath-THAT is a reality everyone must live with. We know that MS is not something that anyone wished upon themselves and that there WILL be hard days but ALL people have hard days. People experience loss of loved ones, have horrific accidents in the blink of an eye, or receive a diagnosis that stops them in their tracks. MS stops us in our tracks at diagnosis and during relapse (more often for some than others). My hope for all, and myself, is that the times when MS is not stopping us in our tracks, we are doing all we can to support one another and bring awareness to the disease so that more can be done to stop IT.
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: