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MS: A Disease We Need to Start Talking About?













































Provided photo of Rhondelyn Moore

By: Deprina Godboldo, Nov 15, 2016

Imagine being at the peak of your life. All you can think about is all the exciting things you have planned for your future. You always hear about sexually transmitted diseases or the million forms of cancer, but the one disease that you may not hear about often is Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack itself- in this case the central nervous system.

Yet about 200 people are diagnosed with MS every week, so it may be time to talk about it.

Doctors don’t really know what the causes of MS and can’t figure out the pattern to how it is developed. MS is possibly ignored because people who have it typically look normal and healthy on the outside but they are actually living an internal struggle everyday. Symptoms can range but people usually experience pain, numbing/tingling and there is also an emotional component as the disease can contribute directly to depression and mood swings.

I noticed about a year ago that six women I grew up with from Michigan all have Multiple Sclerosis. Crazily enough, most people think it is an “old person’s disease” but it isn’t. Anyone between the ages of 20-40 can develop MS and without warning. In fact some people have it right now, but because it hides under the radar for so long it can take a while before being detected by doctors.

To find out a little more about MS and the impact on a person’s life, I interviewed Rhondelyn Moore,  32 year-old-woman living with MS. She was diagnosed at 29 but her doctors believe she’s been struggling with the disease for longer and was misdiagnosed after having her first child.

DG: Did your diagnosis take a long time or was it recognized right away?

RM: My diagnosis took years, but I’m partially to blame for that. I was going through a series of tests when I decided I just didn’t wanna do anymore test. Consequently, years later I noticed how bad I was getting and decided to follow up and complete my testing.

DG: What tests did they do to get to the diagnosis?

RM: I had a MRI, which showed over 21 lesions on my brain, I had an emg, I also had to see an ophthalmologist.

DG: What was your reaction to hearing that you have this disease?

RM: I was in shock initially, I was very afraid because I had a friend who’s father had MS who was not doing well and he later died from complications of MS.

DG: What sorts of symptoms do you or have you experienced?

RM: Well, I have a wide range of symptoms, but I mainly suffer from pain, weakness, numbness, pricking sensations, itching, fatigue, short-term memory loss, and cognitive issues.

DG: What meds, treatments, or alternative therapies have helped you the most?

RM: As far as meds, I take copaxone to slow down the progression and that seems to be working for me, I don’t have any new lesions. I believe when I was in inpatient therapy for physical, occupational and speech therapy for two weeks following an exacerbation it helped a lot. Inpatient therapy is more intense than outpatient.

DG: Do you have a personal saying or phrase that has helped you to cope with having a chronic illness?

RM: I always remind myself that I have multiple sclerosis, multiple sclerosis does not have me.

DG: What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with MS?

RM: I actually recently had someone who is newly diagnosed reach out to me via my blog. I tried to give a lot of tips but I have two huge factors that I feel is important and that’s have a strong support system and reduce stress as much as possible.

DG: What is the worst thing about this illness?

RM: Personally, I think the worst thing about MS is that it can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. My family and friends make a great support system and I’m currently in the beginning stages of starting my own support group for mothers with disabilities.

DG: Do you believe that we will see a cure for MS in our future?

RM: I personally believe there’s already a cure, but there’s money in pharmaceuticals. MS drugs can annually run about 60 to $70,000 annually.

DG: If you could tell all the doctors and neurologists something that they would listen to, what would it be?

RM: I would tell all of the doctors and neurologist to listen, and take a few lessons in empathy.

DG: Finally, How has your relationship with family or friends changed ?

RM: Some relationships got stronger and some had to be severed. Any individual in my life has to be strong, understanding, patient, and empathetic. Unfortunately, not everyone has those characteristics.

Rhondelyn Moore is a 32-year-old woman living with MS. She, and others like her, are living among us every day. Don’t think that because someone has a disease, that disease has them.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by OPENMIC
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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