Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am MS; that's short for multiple sclerosis.
I enjoy tricking your body into attacking its own myelin, the material that protects the nerve fibers in your central nervous system. I know I've done a good job when the signals traveling through your CNS are interrupted, causing all manner of crazy symptoms, from simple numbness and tingling to paralysis or blindness.
I manage to hold off medical intervention for as long as possible by masking symptoms, and even disappearing altogether for long stretches of time. For sport, I sometimes masquerade as other diseases. By the time of diagnosis, many patients have had their sanity questioned.
The current state of health care coverage for people with a chronic condition is really giving me a leg up. Much to my delight, many MS patients do not see a doctor regularly, or cannot afford their medications. As long as there are no generic medications available, I'll be a happy camper.
Gossip is my favorite hobby. I love to imply that MS exacerbations are the patient's own fault. A lot of them fall for that line. The internet has been a wonderful tool for spreading lies about miracle cures and the power of the mind over MS. I just can't help myself.
I abhor the MRI and its uncanny ability to find evidence of my visits. Since its invention physicians are able to identify me earlier.
Disease-modifying drugs, unavailable just a short time ago, make my job a lot harder. I hear they're researching a vaccine now. I can only hope that's not going to happen.
Education and support groups are putting a damper on my ability to spread rumors and myths. It has become so easy to research the hard facts, that more and more people are catching on.
* Funding for Research
* Breakthroughs in Research
* Health Care Reform
* Patients Reaching Out to Other Patients
* Patients Taking Advantage of Disability Accommodations
What the Future Holds:
Things aren't as simple as they used to be in the good old days when I had free rein. Now I have to fight educated patients, researchers who won't quit, and a strong support community.
I'm not sure how long I can continue to hold them off and I'm beginning to worry about the future. In my younger days, I was certain that I would live forever. I'm not so sure anymore.
Published On: September 22, 2008