As some might know, I live with MS. I have never thought of myself as a MS advocate, but more of a guy trying to accomplish his goals that happens to live with Multiple Sclerosis. But it is a part of my life and I thought I would write a little about it.
First, here are a couple links describing MS:
I am not sure why I am talking about this so openly here as I rarely speak about the Monster to anyone but my wife. I guess I thought it might shed a little light on awareness and let you see a little more about me as the person telling you to change your life, get healthy, pay down debt, etc.
So in 2007 I was on vacation in Ft Myers for Red Sox spring training baseball. Go Sox!! Anyway, while sitting on the beach I noticed a small, quarter sized numb spot on the bottom of my right foot. When I returned to Charlotte I went to a neurologist, went through the testing and eventually was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. Within a couple months of noticing the numb spot, I had numbness to my shins on both legs. Eventually, the numbness would move to my fingers and other locations on my legs. Numbness as it relates to my MS also brings nerve pain that I can only describe as a burning in my feet and hands that feels like fire!
My symptoms are as follows: nerve pain, numbness, blurry vision, headaches, severe fatigue, lightning flash nerve pain in my hips to my feet and my shoulders to my hands, wrist and general leg pain, hyper-sensitive reflexes, sensitive skin spots, sensitivity to loud noises/places and chest banding (aka MS hug). I have dealt with other effects such as social anxiety, depression, strain on my marriage, loss of employment, etc.
The side effect of MS that I find difficult to deal with is the sensitivity to loud places and noises. I find it difficult to be in loud places such as restaurants or bars where lots of people are talking or places with loud music. I can tolerate it for about an hour, but then the noise combined with focusing on conversations drains my energy and I must go home. Because of this lots of MS suffers learn to be home-bodies. I am by nature a social butterfly and have had to make serious lifestyle changes to accommodate my situation.
Oh and these symptoms do not include the side effects associated with the ever-changing prescription medications! Lyrica, hydrocodone, tramadol, Baclofen, Carbamezipine, tizanidine, Betaseron, Solumedrol, Copaxone….jeez! And trust me these side effects are far worse than the symptoms sometimes!
With all this said, I have a great life! I have the greatest support system ever; my parents, sister and brother-in-law, friends and wife are the best. I lean on my wife and she holds me up with her strength, courage and patience. She tolerates my ever-changing mood swings, helps me with some of the simple tasks with which I struggle, nurtures and loves. I have said and will continue to say she is my angel!
I am not in a wheelchair like many living with MS and do not require any assistance walking. Although I am no longer able to actively participate in physical activities like P90X, Insanity, basketball and golf, I have turned my life in new directions. I love writing and I love the research required to provide an educated opinion on the topics that I write about. I have reignited my love affair with first century Christian history, a passion that amazes and provokes my intellect. And I focus lots of energy on living a healthy lifestyle.
Living with MS has given me a new perspective on life. I have very little sympathy for those that complain about life while living a life of neglect. I find it irresponsible to watch people filling their bodies with tons of fatty foods, lying around and getting fat when their bodies are fully capable of doing better. If you have read my strong opinions on this topic maybe this post puts that in perspective. If you are capable of more you should expect more of yourself. Period. No excuses. Stop being so lazy. Get up off your butt and do something other than eating crap food, getting more complacent and less active!!! I cannot and will not relent on this subject. If you are able, then DO. There is no excuse you can give me that will validate or justify an irresponsible lifestyle. In the end I say “I battle a disease daily that is trying to destroy my body, yet I still DO. What’s your excuse?”
I will always advocate that people manage their lives with the responsibility that will allow them to live the life they want to live. Whatever that dream should be, live it: moving to a mountain lifestyle, changing jobs, traveling, entrepreneurship, paying off debt, living a healthy lifestyle, etc. You can have what you want, if you want it bad enough.