Befriending the Enemy I miss me before Multiple Sclerosis. I really do.
You must be wondering what Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is and why on Earth would someone start a blog post by wearing their heart on their sleeve?
I’ll tell you why. One day, you can wake up with an inexplicable loss of speech, sight or immobility. You feel off. Way off. Like your brain isn’t cooperating. All of a sudden, your body goes numb and no matter how much you try to explain the horrifying shock along with the brand-new pain…no one seems to fully understand. This, my friends, is the closest thing to a Multiple Sclerosis attack.
Photo by Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers
Woah! Slow down, will you? Of course, I will. Let me start with first things first.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin and later affecting one’s central nervous system. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, an autoimmune disease is when somebody’s “immune system attacks their body’s healthy organs and tissue”. In other words, if your immune system rebels against you and perceives your healthy body organs as viruses and/or bacteria launching attack after another, your immunity becomes drastically compromised… (enters MS). Those brutal self-imposed attacks evidently scar the myelin (the protective coating of all the nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord). Those multiple scars are scientifically known as lesions or plaques and they appear in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) acting as decisive indicators in an MS diagnosis.
Photo by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)
Why is MS Dangerous?
Unpredictability. With MS, no specialist can expect when the next attack will be or what organ is targeted. No amount of precaution makes a patient safe. And no doctor invented a cure for MS but only medications that can slow down the impact of the flare-ups. Last but not least, MS is also categorized as a chronic illness…so yeah, it clings to the patient for life.
What Causes MS?
Until today, there’s no definitive reason why someone’s immune system can suddenly behave in an insurgent manner, but based on a study published in 2014 and cited by Health Line, women around the world are more prone to autoimmune diseases at a ratio of 2 to 1, compared to men. You only had one job, you damned immune system!!!
How does it feel like living with MS?
Once diagnosed with MS, it feels like being kicked in the face with a chair. TWICE. And Google never makes it easier especially during the first days post your official diagnosis. Almost every article you come across makes you feel like your life has come to an end and you better say your goodbyes before it’s too late.
Your life as you know it no longer serves you the way you always thought it would. You didn’t sign up for this. You start witnessing huge changes overnight. You’re no longer your old spontaneous self but rather a helpless, clueless and insanely worried someone.
Are MS patients fearless? Well, it’s debatable. But let me say that being diagnosed with something this volatile is beyond scary. And god, I’m terrified…all the time. And yes, “stress” is a contributing factor to triggering an attack. And yes, attacks can never be intercepted. And yes, anxiety attacks become an integral part of your everyday. And yes, sometimes, the pain is invisible.
And yes, fatigue and mood-swings become your lingering unwelcome guests. And yes, doctors aren’t always understanding, comforting or supportive. And yes, people always assume stuff about you and your disease. And yes, you feel overwhelmed beyond anyone’s comprehension. But this is what I’m here for, my friends. I understand the confusion, the frustration and all the rage that constantly eat you up. I feel you. I really do. All those bottled-up feelings are valid. All your mental breakdowns are justified and every ounce of fear you project is totally commonplace. But, trust me; it’s not over, yet! How to be at peace with your diagnosis? When it gets all gloomy and your breathing starts getting heavier by the second, take a moment to consider how resilient you’re. You’ve been through hell and high water. You are battling uncertainty everyday while being armed with nothing but faith and hope. You’re stronger than you think you’re. And blimey…you’re super cool too! As weird as it sounds, I find MS so darn unique. For as long as we’ve lived, it’s been an enigma that continues to startle doctors all over the world. And God, we got diagnosed with this super unfathomable disease?
W O W. Just WOW! Dark comedy aside, seriously…you’re not damaged nor cray-cray, my friends. Every single autoimmune patient is exceptional in countless ways. We all continue to suffer on a daily basis yet we have the audacity and the mental stamina to joke about something we don’t fully understand. Before I dash, always remember that you’ve got a friend in me and I’m happily willing to walk a hundred miles in your shoes because I heartily understand. Ciao, fellow warriors! Until next time. wink wink