Whenever I attend an MS-related seminar – and I attend as many of these things as I possibly can* – there are a couple of elements I can always rely on to be part of the event. I could set my watch by it… if I had a watch.
First, there will be food. I wouldn’t be there if there was no food. There are plenty of opportunities to hear people talk, but if you want me to take time out of my schedule, drive somewhere to hear that talk, you better feed me.
One other constant is that the first question from the listening audience, regardless of what the topic of the talk is, will invariably be about stem cells. Somehow, somewhere, people with almost every physical problem think stem cells are the silver bullet that will make everything better, a virtual panacea. I’ve even heard an ad for a stem cell therapy for “puffy and baggy eyes”. Really?
How did this happen? Are all these folks conversant in the biology of stem cells and understand some mysterious processes by which they’ll bring miraculous recovery to everyone from MS sufferers to people with traumatic brain injuries? I have my doubts. More likely, people got caught up in the political hot potato tossed about by the media in past elections. Since everyone was talking about it, it must be true.
Now, I’m all for hope and there’s reason to believe stem cells offer hope. Some day, or more likely some year. But I’m also a big fan of reality. And the reality is that the promise of stem cells, assuming something will come of all that research, is a ways off. My fear is that people will do nothing for their own good while waiting for the Miracle Cure of stem cells to ride in like the cavalry to rescue them.
There’s plenty we can do while waiting for those hopes to be fulfilled, including, but not limited to:
- Get moving. I hate to nag, but this can’t be emphasized enough.
- Pray. Stem cells aren’t the only source of miracles.
- See the RX list in my last post. No need to repeat them all here.
- Have a good laugh.
- Attend MS talks with food.*
I hope and pray a cure, or at least a more effective treatment, comes along sooner than later, whether it’s stem cells or some other source. I also hope that those who have the most problems, especially those with the progressive forms of MS, get to try those options first. They’ve been left out of the research picture too long. It’s encouraging to see the tide is changing in that respect.
We need to do what we can for ourselves while others do what they can for us.
*My favorite resource for talks (and food) like those I mention is the MS Cure calendar. The MS Cure sponsored talks are far and away the best. As you’ve already read in my list above, they’re highly recommended for those with MS. Besides the food and the information, you get to hang out with some folks with whom you have a lot in common. Tons o’fun.