March is National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

I will no longer be silent about the disease that lives within me. I have alienated enough people – friends and family alike – just because they don’t like to hear about my MS, they’re afraid they’ll catch it from me, they want to sweep it under the rug. You name it, I’ve heard it. Excuse after excuse about why they no longer wish to speak to me or listen to me. And it all has to do with their perception of multiple sclerosis, or the reality of me having multiple sclerosis, or whatever.

Get over your-selfish selves! I am the one suffering with this disease, not you! Or you! Or you!!! My family is the one that has to see me living with MS, not yours! Though we can agree on one point – I don’t WANT you in my life if any of the shoes mentioned above fit.

One of the issues that I face each and every day is stress. MS and stress don’t mix. At least not in my world. The goal in our household is to keep me stress-free, if at all possible. That means no arguments, no ugly words thrown at others, no stressful anything. However, you can’t stop stress, it’s just not possible.

So what happens when I’m stressed? Last year my younger brother passed away. I had a migraine for five or six weeks afterwards. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Nothing helped. Not prayer, not medicine, not sleep, not light, not dark. Nothing.

A few months ago I was stressed, too. At that time, I had just started on a new anti-migraine medication and it seemed to have been doing its job. So my MS body decided to step in and ramp up other painful symptoms – namely severe muscle spasms and the sensation that my feet were on fire from the inside out. When both of those hit me at the same time, I end up in the bed. I am maxed out on the medication I take for the muscle spasms so there’s not much else I can do except take a pain pill and I *really* dislike taking those except at bedtime. I can take an extra medicine for the nerve burning sensation, it only makes me sleep longer than I normally would. And I already sleep enough! MS causes fatigue. Most days I nap for three to four hours, and even at that, my husband still has to wake me up. However, more stress piled on top of the existing stress last week and the migraine finally started throbbing, waking me from my nap. It lasted just three days, until some of the stress was taken off my shoulders.

MS awareness is something my immediate family may not like but they have to deal with it daily. As do I. So when MS awareness MONTH rolls around, the least others can do is to stop and listen to those who have multiple sclerosis, and perhaps find ways to help ease their burden in small or big ways. Give an ear, m’dear!

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