What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease where the brain and spinal cord attacks itself (the central nervous system). This causes damage to the nerves, and symptoms often correlate with the area of the brain or spine that has been damaged. However, fatigue which is a main symptom for many, is thought to be caused by the brain & spine having to work harder to re-route signals around the body. So basically, the damage is bloody annoying! It is more common in women than men (3 to 1) and tends to be diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40.
There are a few types of MS, and it can be complicated. Most people have the Relapsing form, which is what I have. Progressive MS is the other main type. But for many people, Relapsing MS turns into Secondary Progressive MS years down the line, which is essentially the same disease as Progressive MS. It’s long, I know.
In Relapsing MS often at the start of the disease your body can repair itself to an extent and function can return. But the more relapses that happen, for lots of people some/permanent symptoms do remain.
There is no cure but there are now drugs that can help slow down the disease. It is an invisible illness for the majority and the symptoms are unpredictable and can vary from person to person and day to day.
These can be wide ranging, and often at times pretty damn weird. Common symptoms include numbness in body parts (hands, legs, face), strange sensations (electric shock feelings, tingling, burning, itching), problems with eyesight, overwhelming fatigue, muscle spasms and problems with balance. For detailed information you can read more on the MS Trust.
And actually, who the hell are you?
Um, well since you asked. I’m a 30 year old girl living in London. I have been diagnosed with MS since 2019 but had my first attack in 2016. On Christmas Day. That’s nice isn’t it? I’m lucky that my disease has not been that nasty yet, I am on a DMT early and hopefully I’ll remain relapse free. I’m planning to live my life the same as before (…OK, maybe a few less beers). I wanted to have a place to write about MS and all the things I wished I knew or couldn’t find out when I was frantically Googling pretending I was a neurologist (when in fact I look at illustrations all day for a living). I like reading other people’s experiences so maybe this will help somebody too.