When I was first diagnosed with MS, I spent about a week thinking I had Muscular Dystrophy. Which I quickly felt silly about, but the more I learned about Multiple Sclerosis, the more I understood why many people had such a difficult time really grasping the disease. Multiple Sclerosis literally refers to the multiple lesions the disease creates when it attacks the myelin sheath that coats the entire central nervous system. When the myelin sheath (think of the plastic coating on a wire) gets lesions, the messages both received and transmitted by nerves get fuzzy. When we don’t receive the correct messages through our nerves our sensory system becomes impaired and when they can’t transmit clearly motor functions get impaired. As a result, MS symptoms can affect all functions of the central nervous system including numbness, vision and hearing impairment, speech challenges, loss of balance, fine and gross motor troubles, fatigue, and depression. With the exception of symptoms that require the assistance of a wheelchair, cane, or other tools, most symptoms of MS are invisible. This can make it challenging for people to understand the severity of one’s symptoms and difficult for patients to receive the support they need. It can also leave the general public confused.
As of today there is no cure. Researchers are working hard to develop treatments to help limit flare-up and minimize symptoms, but none are a guarantee. And none have yet stopped MS in its tracks.
Most people who find out I have MS are shocked. After all, I don’t look sick. I’m active. I’m social. I look healthy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel my MS every day. To stay healthy I practice yoga, to keep both my mind and body healthy, and I focus on eating clean, whole foods. I am hopeful that maintaining a healthy life style will minimize the impact MS has on me. But I also, believe in the work doctors and researchers are doing to find out how to stop MS. And that is why I devote so much of my time and energy to supporting these research projects and raising funds to help find a cure.
If you are also interested in contributing to the fight against MS, please make a donation to the National MS Society at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/goto/108daysofyogaMS