March, the month dedicated to Multiple Sclerosis awareness and education. For millions this month is one of 12 months of living with a disease that is insidious, one that can rear its head with little notice or warning wrecking havoc in the brain, body, emotions and affect and infect not only the person but relations and loved moments and times. It is past time that a cure is found, that lives are saved, that we STOMP OUT THIS DISEASE.
One step at a time; one voice, on foot on a pedal as riders around the globe mount those bikes and ride on MS exposing themselves to the elements of nature, riding for the cure, for those they love so strongly that they do not give in or give up on Hope, Faith, Love… We will find the cure as progress is being made each day with new discoveries and trials being seen to bring results that are astonishing. The brain in all its resiliency and its power to heal, as people use their own brand of strength and determination to deal with this damned disease in their daily lives. Multiple sclerosis or MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation (such as numbness). With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system. Thus, the condition is called an autoimmune disease. For the millions who walk or roll with this disease it is often called a pain in the ass, an inconvenience, a disturbance of a great day turned good or bad. It does not discriminate nor does it pay attention when plans are made in advance or a person is looking forward to something special or loved ones doing something great… it will rear its head when it wants to, where it wants to, and how it wants to. It just does not seem to care that a person is out having the best of times, or in the middle of the gulf of Mexico or walking about enjoying a cocktail with friends. All of a sudden, a great time can be met with a feeling as though a mac truck has just hit you out of the blue with exhaustion and heat rendering you weak in the knees and all over requiring you to lay down and wish for an ice cooler to lay in. Just like that!
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the condition affects approximately 400,000 Americans and is, with the exception of trauma, the most frequent cause of neurological disability beginning in early to middle adulthood.
MS is two to three times as common in females as in males and its occurrence is unusual before adolescence. A person has an increased risk of developing the disease from the teen years to age 50, with the risk gradually declining thereafter.
The central nervous system is made up of nerves that act as the body’s messenger system. Each nerve is covered by a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates the nerves and helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, or messages, between the brain and other parts of the body. These messages control muscle movements, such as walking and talking.
At times folks may appear under the influence of something stronger than soda as their gait will become a bit staggered, it is difficult to rise from a chair and often once you stoop down to get something, it becomes difficult to rise up again. Other signs may be seen in concentration, or flight of ideas, just running with it, going from one topic to the next, yet again that is something that many do without a diagnosis of MS!
Emotions can go from one extreme to the next as the brain is under tremendous pressure and the messages often get mixed with those neurotransmitters and the sheaths being torn from build up of plague and ideas that are born from hearing and seeing and thinking that often is skewed along with the depression that often accompanies the disease as a matter of course. MS IS A BITCH, one that must be cured. And many are finding a way to help raise monies to have or host events to help.
From bake sales, to candy bars being sold at places of employment; to car washes to walks to raise awareness and to bike rides, and the MS150 in Austin Texas… people are standing up, or rolling along in chairs saying, MS must go.
The symptoms of MS vary for each individual, no two people are alike yet the tiredness that is expressed is typically universal as are the tingling sensations, numbing, dizziness and blurred vision. Often people will come together on many of the same but unique symptoms of living with this disease. One thing is certain; those who are strong warriors have found ways to live well with such a horrid disease and those who love them find ways to accommodate them when the symptoms rise up during times of being out and/or about and continue on without making it the focus or main event.
Act to CURE MS
one step one action at a time in small and large ways; whether by support and learning more or joining in or creating a fundraiser in your local area.
Facts About MS
More than 400,000 people in the United States have MS.
An estimated 2,500,000 around the world have MS.
About 45 percent of the people with MS are not severely affected by the disease.
Diagnosis of MS is usually between 20 and 40 years of age.
MS affects more women than men, with a ratio of 2:1.
About 85 percent of those who are newly diagnosed have the relapsing-remitting form of MS.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about 50 percent of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will become progressive at 10 years.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about one-third of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will be using a wheelchair at 20 years.
MS does not significantly affect life span.
The course of the disease is unpredictable and no two people will experience the same set of symptoms.
There are four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing.
Among young adults, MS is the most common disease of the central nervous system.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS.
MS is not contagious.
MS is a progressive disease for which there is not yet a cure.
Increased understanding of MS has led to the development of many new treatments that target both the disease process and its many symptoms.
In countries further from the equator, the incidence of MS increases.
Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning hardening of tissue or scars.
MS is not inherited or genetically transmitted, although there does seem to be some genetic susceptibility to the disease.
This is the face of MS: A daughter Shauna who had just completed the MS150 bike ride with her Mom, Laura, a woman who has this thing known as MS…
BUT, MS will never have her, not as long as she has US. We will stomp this disease out. Shauna has been riding annually for her Mom and so many with this disease annually, and has raised more than 68 thousand dollars to cure this disease… yes, 68 THOUSAND DOLLARS.
WARRIORS ^ ^
PASS the word, the month, there are 12 months, let’s get busy and spread awareness educate and get to the streets in raising money for the cure… Maybe soon time for a carwash!
Walk in beauty,