Hi everyone, my name is Isabella Sutton and I will be sharing my story about my Nan who has Multiple Sclerosis. My Nan was 35 years old when she was diagnosed. One ordinary day, my Nan ran a bath and was in it when she got a phone call. When she got out, my Grandad went to step in and he couldn't even stand with both feet in the tub. The temperature was excruciatingly hot. My Nan didn't feel how hot it was. My Grandad was immediately concerned and took my Nan to the doctor where she had a brain MRI. There it was, multiple sclerosis. She felt dejected. With this condition so fresh but escalating rather quickly, she was fired from her job as customer service manager because they thought she was coming in drunk during her shifts because of her slurs or the way she walked as a result of her MS. She was too embarrassed to speak up or fight to stay so she moved on. She has been in relapse every year but wont go to the hospital because all they do there is drug her and make her feel worse. She has tried being a guinea pig for new trials but nothing helped. In England the medical field and help is terrible and unfortunate. My Nan only sees a doctor once every two years which is super unhealthy but it's on her terms at the level she feels comfortable at. This disability limits my Nan to a lot of things she enjoys such as gardening, traveling, exercising and even wearing heels. She hasn't been able to wear shoes other than sneakers for thirty years because her legs feel so heavy but numb too. She now cannot walk without holding my Grandad's arm or a shopping cart as her balance is really bad and it’s now affecting her bladder as she cant hold anything in for very long. Every time she has a relapse, she slurs and ends up in bed for days because she does too much. Despite these challenges and life interruptions, my Nan is so strong and independent. She does not let MS define who she is. Eventually she will end up in a wheelchair but she won't give up easily. For now, she maintains a fresh and nutritious diet, drinks red wine, stays away from medication and keeps a smile on her face. She is an inspiration!
Today is World MS day, a global campaign to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis. Here are some facts about MS:
Multiple sclerosis impacts people's lives in vastly different ways, and its debilitating symptoms are often unseen. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although children and older adults may develop it. More than two to three times as many women as men develop this disease and the gender difference has been increasing over the past 50 years. Studies show that genetic factors increase the risk of developing MS but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. Increased risks can be environmental factors such as low Vitamin D and cigarette smoking. Worldwide, more than 2.3 million people have a diagnosis of MS. Research indicates that the average life expectancy of people with MS is about seven years less than the general population because of disease complications or other medical conditions. MS has no cure but there are FDA-approved medications that have been shown to "modify" the course of the disease by limiting new areas of damage in the CNS, reducing the number of relapses and delaying progression of disability.
On this day, consider donating to the National MS Society, World MS Day or an MS focused charity of your choice.