If I ever had a reason to pull my finger out and get blogging, it’s for the MS awareness month of March that we find ourselves in. It’s so lovely seeing so many people helping to raise awareness and really throwing themselves out there in all their vulnerability to educate and make the noise that little bit louder about Multiple Sclerosis. So, here’s my list of MS facts from my little world that I thought I’d share:
1. MS is a debilitating brain disease for which there is absolutely no cure. Zilch. Zero. Non. Existent.
2. People with MS have to live with the fear that they could literally wake up blind (my good ol party trick), not be able to walk or even lose the ability to speak (just to name a few). No Dr can predict if you will be “ok” or “not ok”. And just when you think you’ve got your head around handling this fear, you can read an article, watch a vid and the realisation of the diagnosis can feel as real as it did the day you were told.
3. MS won’t kill you. But the symptoms and illnesses it causes, can.
4. You can still live an amazing positive and full on life with MS. You just have to really balance it all out. I now know my limits and know that if I don’t listen to my body and be sensible, it will bite me on the ass. Could be in the form of an attack on my optic nerves, it could be that my leg goes numb, could be that I get foot drop…it’s basically a really crap game of Russian roulette.
5. Suddenly going vegan, doing yoga for breakfast and thinking Gin is the devil, isn’t going to cure me and will instead make me a miserable pain in the ass with no friends.
6. Stress is a massive NO NO. The one I struggle with. Life can be stressful, things can happen, people can be mean, work can throw you curveballs, jeez you can even break a nail on the same day you’ve had them done and feel like the world is ending. Consultants, Nurses, google and even Siri tell you “don’t stress it’s bad for your MS” but this is one I’m still adjusting to. If I can avoid a stressful or drama fuelled sitch, you betcha I’m out of there. But life isn’t that easy is it. So, despite whatever is thrown at me, somehow I have to get a grip on reality and not let things stress me out, because it can literally cause me to have a relapse and then that’s just pretty crap. Also being happy uses less energy, and feels a damn sight better, trust me 🙂
7. MS doesn’t define me. It’s just a part of my puzzle. Some days I forget it exists, other days it likes to remind me. I talk about it to educate and raise awareness, but out of all the things I do gab about, it’s way down on the list. I don’t see the point in moaning and groaning about it and being a right ol’ sad sack.
8. There is still so much stigma related to MS. I’ve been asked a few times, “when will you be in a wheelchair”….my reply, ERM “When will you!”. I’ve had people ask me if “they can catch it”…(you can’t obvs) but I’ve been tempted to just say yes and lick their arm for a laugh anyway. I even had someone tell me that, “MS is all in your head” – yup it really is mate, do you wanna see my brain scans to prove it 🙂
9. MS is more common in women and normally gets diagnosed between ages of 30-50. I was 32. Bang on the buck.
10. If more people talk about MS, then awareness can be raised and this in turn could lead to more funding, which one day could provide research to finally kick this disease right in the balls off the map!
Ok, I’ve waffled on enough, so my final parting words before I drift off into the land of nod wishing it wasn’t Monday tomorrow, is this… just be kind, be nice, be you, tell the people you love that you proper proper loveeeeee them, hug trees if you want, or dont. Eat the cake. Buy the shoes. Get a double at the bar. Just don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just not worth it. If someone could also remind me of this when I’m having a mini breakdown over said “small stuff”, I’ll be eternally grateful.