A friend recently asked me, “What is Multiple Sclerosis?” I was honored that she wanted to know. I hope this helps.
This graphic basically explains the nature of how Multiple Sclerosis works. I don’t expound on this because there are numerous sites that do, but I can explain how it effects me. Before I go any further I just want to remind family and friends that although there is no cure for M.S., it is agreed upon that it is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. Although, this time honored theory is presently under fire! But for now just know that M.S. patients experience problems based on the location of these plaques or lesions. This is why everyone experiences MS differently. In fact you can have lesions on parts of the brain that you don’t use.
Above is an MRI scan, basically a picture of a brain. You can see the one on the left has no white spots (lesions) and the one on the right does have lesions. And that my dear is the culprit of Multiple Sclerosis! I don’t know when they came, but the bloody bastards appeared and slowly began to not only alter the physical geography of my brain, but also my life as well. It took me a while but I’m starting to appreciate how it affects my family and my husband. Since I have MS, my husband, mom, dad, and sister do too! In fact we all have to deal with my MS the best way we know how. It’s been a long time yet, I know I am still learning!
The doctors are quick to tell you about physical aspects of the disease. To name a few: fatigue, tingling, numbness, loss of balance, weakness, and blurred vision, but I felt less prepared to deal with the emotional roller coaster I would soon be on. Sometimes disability bring on denial, depression and dependence on others. Defense mechanisms can be cruel and insidious. Denial can masquerade as your best friend, but can be the very thing that causes a complete meltdown! It serves to separate me from what is.
The brain on the right has about 7 or 8 lesions. As I have said before the doctor told me I had “too-many-to-count”!!! I’ve told you that this illness is nibbling away at my idenity as I once knew it. When I’m at my lowest state of mind, I declare I am but a scaffold of what I use to be. But another blogger has challenged me to build a new life, a new identity, a new structure if you will, on the skeleton that I have now.
I can pursue my desires within the context of my limitations. I still think this is a horrible despicable disease that strikes those we love. But now I can finally have time to take a Spanish class. I can pursue my bliss. I can spend time with my family. I have a definitive boundary between what I can and cannot do, and that infuriates me! I haven’t made it to acceptance, but at this point, I just may be headed in the right direction.