When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20+ years ago there wasn’t a lot of information available. You can my story here. In truth outside of diagnosing me with Multiple Sclerosis or MS for short. Doctors were unsure how to treat me as there were not many medications available at the time or even treatment plans.
In the past few decades, the science and treatment of MS has come a long way. In fact, currently, there are 16 drugs approved for treating and managing MS, with even more in development, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Yet despite these advances, some myths and misconceptions about MS continue to persist.
Myth #1 About Multiple Sclerosis It Causes Significant Physical Disabilities
False, not everyone suffers from a physical disability with MS. Some will have mild disabilities that may interfere with certain aspects of their day, but they’re still very active with family life, friends, work, and even travel. For me, it’s my eyesight. Because Multiple Sclerosis did some serious damage to my optical nerve my eyesight isn’t as good. I have had to give up driving because of it. However, with the help of family, friends, and in some cases a good Uber driver travel and getting around to places is easy.
Myth #2 About Multiple Sclerosis It Is The Same For Everyone
Because MS can attack different areas of the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves, symptoms can vary from person-to-person. While some people have very mild MS, for others it’s more aggressive.
Usually, however, people with MS will experience neurological symptoms for days or months, followed by quiet periods when these symptoms go away either partially or completely. This is known as relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, affecting 85 percent of people with MS, according to the NMSS.
For me the hot weather is a huge trigger and, yes I know I live in Florida one of the hottest places in the US.
Myth #3 About Multiple Sclerosis Is Women With MS Can’t Have Children
Many women are diagnosed with MS in their child-bearing years. For me, I was in my 20’s and newly married with my whole life ahead of me. So I was told becoming a mother would not be possible in those days however as most of you know I beat the odds and have a beautiful teen boy.
With that said becoming pregnant won’t affect the course of the disease in the short or long term, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. However, talking with your doctor is a must especially when deciding which medicine to stop or continue while pregnant.
Myth #4 About Multiple Sclerosis Is It Won’t Cause Pain
Years ago, doctors told their newly diagnosed MS patients that the condition wasn’t going to cause them pain. However, up to two-thirds of people with MS do report pain, according to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation in London. The most common sources are headaches, burning pain in the extremities, back pain, and “pulling” pain during spasms.
Myth #5 About Multiple Sclerosis Is MS Relapses Don’t Affect Cognitive Dysfunction
An MS relapse can sometimes interfere with your ability to think clearly or find the right words. About half of all people with MS have chronic short-term memory loss or multi-tasking problems. Occupational therapy, workplace accommodations, and organizational skills can help you cope.
For me having a written to-do list and sticky notes help me keep up with the things I need to do and to remember. Pus making sure all appointments are in my calendar.