I dedicate this blog post to MS patients for having the courage to celebrate life.
Young People Disease
“Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that attacks myelinated axons in the central nervous system, destroying the myelin and the axon in variable degrees and producing significant physical disability within 20-25 years in more than 30% of patients” (see Medscape). The disease may have been coined the young people disease, but it’s everyone’s disease. We should be aware and find ways to help MS patients and prepare our students for what may lie ahead.
Young people with MS are often misunderstood because they look very normal on the outside. For example, those with athletic backgrounds, may look like super athletes, but inside they are falling apart. It’s disheartening to see 18 year old kids barely able to get out of bed. Walking is a chore because they tire like someone who’s in their 90s. Think of the hard life young people ages 17-40 have because of MS. It’s a daily struggle with what “normal” people take for granted.
Teaching MS in School
Why not teach about MS in school? According to the American Academy of Neurology, ” Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the CNS and the second most common cause of disability among young adults.” Young adults should be aware of the disease so they can detect it in others early on. One of the problems of MS is that it’s not diagnosed in time. I believe that MS should be part of the school curriculum so that young people become aware of its symptoms and not ignore them. Early detection could make a difference in their lives. Today, we know a lot more about MS and the difficulties involved in learning. There are scholarships available to MS college and high school kids in the USA.
Pins and Needles that Stay
MS is Big Business
MS has become a huge business. It seems that for many MS patients money is the only solution. There are medications, but the prices are ridiculously high. Pharmaceutical companies are making huge profits from MS.
Are Drugs for MS Good?
However, just because the drug is out there and is expensive, does not mean that it’s safe or that it works. MS patients should be careful. According to Professor Jelinik, a doctor and MS patient, MS patients can live better lives than they realize. He watched his mother die of MS and was determined to do something about his condition when he was diagnosed with MS. He has a book out called Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.
Being Open to Others
It’s important to learn about MS patients and accept them for who they are. MS may not always be apparent on the outside, but MS patients know that what they are undergoing is very real. It’s painful and hard to bear.
Feeling Drunk When You’re Sober
MS patients look fine on the outside, like most of us, but go through constant battles within themselves as they experience feelings of dizziness and lack of coordination, as if they were drunk. They sometimes forget things and find it difficult to learn, not because they are dumb, but because the disease won’t let them. How do we know whether students have MS or not? Being sensitive to others and being a caring teacher is very important in the classroom. Teachers and students should think twice before judging others.
Teaching with MS
Your teacher or a student in your class may be an MS patient. Don’t be quick to judge others who slur their words or who cannot remember dates. They may have MS.
Annette Funicello was a child actress, who became successful as an adult, too. However, she went through a hard time as the disease progressed. Eventually, she lost her life to MS. MS patients learn to appreciate the little things in life. We can learn a great deal from them about finding happiness.
My son has MS
My son was diagnosed with MS on his 27th birthday 3 years ago. It was not a happy event and his birthdays are now a nightmare. He seems to be getting attacks every May. The first thoughts that came to mind when I learned that he had MS was blame. I blamed myself. I should have protected him.
I now realize more than ever that life is precious. We can let life happen and enjoy the process because, as much as we find it hard to believe, we have no control over ourselves, our children, or anyone or any thing. The best thing we can do as we journey through life is find happiness in being here in whatever shape or form. Finding happiness is no longer a goal. It’s a fact of life for me.
For a start, read 40 days of Joy and then join MeiMei Fox of Huffington Post and Dr. Nellie Deutsch in a conversation on WizIQ to learn about finding happiness on August 6, 2013 at 12 PM EST (check the time in your area here). MeiMei Fox is a life coach, author, Yoga instructor, and much more. She’s on the board of the Hope foundation. She holds an MA in psychology. According to Huffington Post, “her mantra is: Fear Less, Love More!”.