March is a special month for me–one of my dearest and oldest friends was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago. March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, and orange is the color.
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that doesn’t get a lot of attention or funding, yet it’s a horrible disease that has no cure. Even with the research they’ve done, they don’t know how someone gets it or why. There are just too many questions regarding the etiology of this disease.
Diagnosing MS can be an extremely long process. It’s not like the flu; when you get the flu, you get a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle / body aches, and fatigue. Each person with MS is affected by it differently. Flare-ups of MS vary from person to person. Some people can’t use their legs, others lose a sense or part of a sense (going blind in one eye for a time or permanently, going deaf in an ear, etc.), which makes it particularly difficult to diagnose. The entirety of the disease is unpredictable.
There are four types of MS: Relapsing-Remitting MS, Secondary-Progressive MS, Primary-Progressive MS, and Progressive-Relapsing MS. Each one difficult to diagnose and each with different treatments. Treatments? You thought I said there was no cure! There isn’t. The treatments only help the person deal with MS.
Multiple Sclerosis, simply put, is a disease where we don’t know why it happens, we don’t know who is likely to develop it, we don’t know how to cure it, and there is no set way it “looks”. It’s a process to rule out other possible diseases and to perform proper testing to even diagnose this disease. Then figuring out a treatment that will best suit that individual is also a process, figuring out what works best for them.
The National MS Society is an amazing resource on MS, and is the sole resource I’ve used to write this. Please, get involved! There are walks, bike rides, and muck fest you can do to help those who suffer from this disease. Get involved with the National MS Society or donate to my friend’s specific page here.