This weekend I will be participating in the MS Walk. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis several years ago. For most of those years she has had a mild case and not too many symptoms. Unfortunately her symptoms have worsened more rapidly over the last two years. Every year I (along with my sister, cousin, and aunt) walk in the MS Walk to help raise money for a cure.
So this week I'm gonna stray from the things about myself, and do 13 things about Multiple Sclerosis and my mom.
1. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. MS is not contagious and is not directly inherited.
There is no cure for MS yet, but drugs can help slow the course and/or symptoms in some patients.
2. While the exact cause of MS is unknown, most researchers believe that the damage to myelin results from an abnormal response by the body’s immune system. It is believed that MS is an autoimmune disease. In the case of MS, myelin is attacked.
3. Scientists do not yet know what triggers the immune system to do this. Most agree that several factors are involved, including: Genetics, Gender and Environmental Triggers [viruses, trauma, and heavy metals (toxicology)]
4. Common Symptoms:
Dizziness and Vertigo
Depression and other Emotional Changes
Fatigue (also called MS lassitude)
Difficulty in Walking and/or Balance or Coordination Problems
Abnormal sensations such as Numbness or ""pins and needles""
5. Approximately 400,000 Americans acknowledge having MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals. A few famous people who have MS include Annette Funicello, Richard Pryor, Clay Walker, and Montel Williams (just to name a few of the very many!)
6. My mom found out she had MS when she went to the doctor for a minor eye irritation that wouldn't go away. She thought it was something minor wrong with her eye, only to find out after numerous tests that she had Multiple Sclerosis! Needless to say, this was an unexpected finding!
7. For many years she was very lucky to only have very minor symptoms.
8. The last couple years the symptoms have become noticeably worse.
9. A couple months ago she had knee replacement surgery. This has caused an exacerbation of her MS.
10. She has fallen a few times recently, and other symptoms have gotten worse. It got so bad 2 weeks ago that she couldn't take more than 2 steps at a time.
11. She had to go in all last week for IV Steroids in an attempt to slow or stop the exacerbation. She felt much better and could walk all over the place again after this. We hope that continues, but who knows what will happen now that she is off the IV steroids.
12. It is very hard to watch your mother (who is still young- in her 50's) deteriorate before your eyes. I try not to think about what *could* happen, and just focus on being thankful that it isn't any worse than it is. It's so hard to know what to do, I feel helpless as to how to help her. That is why I do the MS Walk each year. It is the only way I can help. Every dollar raised is another step towards a cure. (I also wear the MS Band of Hope every day to show my support)
13. For more information and facts, and ways you can help end the devastating effects of MS, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . (Or if you'd like to sponsor me for the MS Walk, email me for the direct link to my personal page)
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