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MS is BS (Multiple Sclerosis is Bull S#$!): Please Donate

January 23, 2010

My best friend has MS, diagnosed in 2005.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which myelin sheaths around axons (nerve conduits) of the brain and spinal cord are damaged. Picture an electrical wire with damaged insulation – the electrical pulse can short circuit or otherwise malfunction, causing a broad range of symptoms. Read more about it on wikipedia.

M.S. is B.S. There is no cure and much of the treatment is experimental, expensive, and can have some scary side effects. It is a debilitating illness, striking unpredictably, but we can fight.

I’m trying to do my (small) part by raising money – and I’ll be risking life and limb (I’m not a good skiier!) to ski an obstacle course and do a scavenger hunt with fellow participants. Fun for us, good for MS.

We can do better in our fight against MS. Please donate to help make that possible.

More about my experiences:

Lots of bizarre things started happening to my friend’s body before it was figured out. I remember her telling me about the numbness and weakness in her hand (that she thought was just due to writing too much) or when she called me with severe vertigo and couldn’t get out of bed. We went out for dinner and she had trouble crossing the street because her eyes would vibrate (“nystagmus”) when she tried to look to the right to see the coming traffic. Neurologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, and many others were involved in the diagnosis. We were hoping for a curable brain tumour.

Her MRI showed extensive plaques, and she was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Scary. It’s unpredictable – not knowing when you are going to have an ‘attack’ could be as awful as enduring the flare up. She’s had periods of blindness requiring IV steroids and unusual sensations and weakness in her extremities. Originally, she moved to the far North to take a job that had benefits that would cover her medications and had to travel by plane for her MS specialist appointments regularly.

While it saddens me to think about how this disease will take over her body, and how scary it must be not knowing when she’ll have an attack, her attitude and humour in all this inspires me. For her and for everyone touched by MS, we can do better.

When I was little, I loved to read, so I automatically participated in the MS-Read-a-thon, not knowing what the disease was at all. My grade 5 teacher had it. She worked half time, and it wasn’t surprising to have a substitute teacher regularly. All I knew about MS then, is that it meant she walked with a cane, was weak, and got frustrated a lot (in retrospect, probably because she couldn’t do all the things the other teachers could do). Now, as a physician and a friend to someone who has MS, I know a lot about it – and I don’t like it!

More Information:

– MS has been in the news lately with Dr. Zamboni’s controversial theory and surgery; much more information is needed before this treatment (or any other new one) is considered safe, efficacious, and is made widely available.

MS is BS – a blog about a family and their fight with MS, mainly focused on their current fundraising efforts

MS Society of Canada – Canada is a leader in research – partly because MS is prevalent in Northern Hemisphere countries; 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians live with the disease

Serving people with Episodic Disabilities is a challenge; not knowing when an attack will happen makes it hard for people to maintain meaningful employment


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