As many of you now know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November, 2007. For me and the past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. The day I was diagnosed, I was shocked and scared. To me, MS was synonymous with life in a wheelchair and an inability to do the things that I love such as dancing at concerts and snowboarding. After initially feeling scared and helpless, I empowered myself by learning so much about this disease which was dormant in my body until last year.
Multiple Sclerosis is believed to be an auto-immune disease. Healthy immune systems are necessary for fending off viruses and other diseases. For some unknown reason, the immune system of Multiple Sclerosis patients attacks the body’s own cells. Over time, the protective layer of the cell called myelin is worn down from these repeated attacks. The areas of decreased myelin form scars on the brain and spine. Multiple Sclerosis literally means “many scars.” As the cells lose their protection, the brain’s signals to various parts of the body are slowed or stopped completely.
Multiple Sclerosis can cause a variety of problems including blindness, bladder control problems, headaches, slurred speech, balance issues, numbness, and paralysis. For a young man like me, potentially facing these major problems has been very daunting. I have started this blog which helps me to express all of my fears, anger, frustrations, and problems that stem from Multiple Sclerosis. Most importantly, it reinforces all of the goals that I wish to achieve in life that are now in jeopardy because of my diagnosis.
Although many people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis share common symptoms such as chronic fatigue, the disease affects each person’s body differently. For me, I have experienced constant fatigue from even the smallest physical activity. Even mundane tasks such as walking my dog, or taking out the trash have become exhausting chores. My balance has also been affected and I often find myself bumping into stationary objects around my apartment and workplace. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when and where in the brain the next attacks will occur. Although there have been major advancements in the development of treatments to delay the effects of the degenerative disease, there is still no cure for MS.
To help combat this disease, I am participating in the Multiple Sclerosis 5K Walk in Denver in May. This event will help raise money for research to improve the lives of myself and the nearly 3 million other people across the world living with Multiple Sclerosis. Alongside me will be a team of both family and friends who have all dedicated their support in making a difference in the lives of MS patients.
I ask for your support to help us in our mission. With your support, we can make a significant impact in the quest for an MS cure. Your contribution will have a direct effect on me and so many others living with MS. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our team’s page at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/msisgoingdown. If you would prefer to make your gift by check, please email me and I will be happy to provide you with instructions on how to do so.
Thank you in advance for your support and generosity. Together, we can make a difference.