Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

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:
Bladder Dysfunction
Bowel Dysfunction
Cognitive Function
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""
Sexual Dysfunction
Vision Problems

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)

If you are participating in Thursday Thirteen this week, please add yourself to the auto-link thing and leave a comment. Thanks to Uisce for the linky and Chana for the TT banner at the top.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


d.challener roe said...

I do the AIDS (my dad) walk every year, as well.

Becky, Mom, Mommy, Hey you, said...

I wish you and your mother all the luck in the world.

The Shrone said...

I know what it is like to live with a chronic illness. I wish the best to both you and your mom. It isn't easy to have to live with this disease.

Norma said...

What a difficult and frustrating disease. I have a friend who was a caregiver for her husband who had ALS, and now is helping her daughter who has MS. Your emotional support for your Mom and raising money for research is critical.

YellowRose said...

Good luck on your walk! And thanks for all the info you provided, very informative TT!

Happy Thursday!

Ginger said...

Great list... I learned something good today. Thanks :)

Karen said...

Oh Courtney, you poor thing! I can't imagine what you're going through and your poor mom!!

Good for you for participating in the walk. You said you didn't know what to do - just being there for your mom is a huge thing, truly.

Hang in there.

stacey said...

That's so awesome that you are participating in the walk. I personally don't know anyone with MS.
I wish you luck and I will pray for your mom.
My TT is up.

Chana said...

MS is a scary disease! Good TT...gave me an idea for the next one! Thanks and I hope your mother is doing ok!

Caryn said...

That is facinating; I've known people with MS, but so far no one close to me has had it, so I haven't learned much about it. I'm sorry about your mom, and I hope she stays as healthy as possible as long as possible.


Denise said...

That's a horrible disease. They don't have any walks around here, but I do try to donate.

Laura said...

send me a link please
good luck!
thanks for visiting my TT

ladydaria said...

What a wonderful and informative TT. Well done. Happy TT!


Lazy Daisy said...

Wow, what a wonderful cause and great daughter. Great information. My TT is up.

Moogie said...

What a wonderful TT. Thank you for sharing all of that information. I had no idea that it was so widespread. You are helping getting the word out. I will keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers.

Rusty said...

What a great TT...thank you for sharing it. I'm going to order 4 of the wristbands right now. I whis you and your mother all of the best.

Alexia said...

One of my friends friend was recently diagnosed with MS at 24 years old. It is such a hard illness. Thanks for stopping by my TT.

Lifecruiser said...

Wow, that was a very information rich post! Very good to know facts there.

Have a good walk :-)


Carolyn F said...

There are two ladies at work who have MS... one just had to do IV steroids...

Kelly said...

Thanks for all that info.
I plan on buying a bracelet and participating in the walk here in my town.

Angie said...

A very imformative list! A coworker was diagnosed about 5 or 6 years ago when she was about 24. She takes a weekly shot and does pretty well so far. I dont think she has had "an episode" in at least a year.

I pray the best for your mom!

My TT is up.

Carmen said...

I had a boss once with MS. I know it was bad for her. That didn't give her an excuse to be a you know what, but I still felt for her.

Renee said...

I know too many people with this. Praying for cures to this and other stuff too.

here's my tt

Undercover Angel said...

Good luck on your walk. I wish you guys all the best. My TT is up.

Leanne said...

I am so sorry about your mom and hope she keeps fighting and living life to the fullest. Good for you for getting more information about it out there, you should be very proud!!

Thank you for stopping over to see my macros today. Have a great walk! :)

Tanya said...

How difficult for you. Am thinking of you and your mother and wishing you well.

Katherine said...

Oh what a great post! I'm thinking good thoughts for your mom. I can't even imagine how hard it is for her and for you to watch. Good luck.

monica said...

Oh sweet friend yes. I have a friend who is fighting this and it's getting worse. We do the walk, not this year, but every other year. I'm so glad you are able to love on and help your mom.


Holly said...

MS has always scared me. My heart goes out to your mom, as well as you and the rest of your family. Not an easy thing to live with.