It’s worth mentioning a little about Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. (Apologies to Forrest Gump… and to my friends with MS.)
Or to paraphrase the immortal Joaquin Andujar, MS can be described with one word: you never know.
These are true because there appears to be nothing that is absolutely certain about it. A few get it and go right down the tubes, losing nearly all their faculties in a relatively short time. Others never have any serious problems and live completely normal lives. Those are a small minority. Most of us live in the middle.
Life is uncertain for everyone but that’s magnified many times with MS. Someone might be fine one day and virtually paralyzed the next. At any time, I might lose the ability to run, walk, see, swallow, stand, hear, grip, remember, reason, stay awake, talk, as well as to perform other, more “delicate” bodily functions.
What we don’t know about MS could fill a book:
- What causes it,
- how best to treat it,
- how to cure it,
- what will happen when you get it (i.e. what your prognosis is),
- why some people react to one treatment but others do not,
- why women get it twice as much as men,
- why, though not known to be genetic, it affects family members at higher rates,
- why it’s more prevalent the further you get from the equator,
- how stress affects it, and
- how many other things could be on this list.
It’s true that there are many theories about many of these questions, but none is fact. Unlike antibiotics, where we understand the mechanisms involved, it’s educated guesses with MS. In addition to the scientific theories, there are many more less-than-scientific ones. And if you have MS, you’ve heard them all from well-meaning friends and relatives.
How do you talk to a person with MS? Not this way.