There’s plenty written about what MS is, but what isn’t it?
- An ‘easy’ illness (I’m probably not the only person to be told, ‘Well, thank goodness it’s nothing more serious, eh?’)
- An excuse – it is what it is and I won’t be apologising for it
- A competition – why tell me your MS is so much worse than mine? If it makes you feel better, go ahead; it just makes me feel guilty
- Always obvious – if you passed me in the street, you would have no idea I had MS (until I stumble, but hey, I could be drunk?)
- Cushy – you might think enforced sofa-dossing is a dream come true, I hate it with a passion
- The same for everyone – put 500 MSers in one room and you’d have 500 different stories
Recently, stem-cell treatment for MS has hit the headlines, and how – all the tired phrases were rolled out: ‘MS sufferer’, ‘cut down in the prime of life’, ‘tragic’. Funnily enough, I am none of these. However, I have been contacted by various people over the last few days all telling me the same thing – MS is curable! You can get back to real life now! You can dance again!
Now, anyone who has ever seen me dance will know that this is not necessarily a good thing. The only shapes I throw are the bodies of other people across the dance floor as I bump into them. Yes, the news from the trial is wonderful and I couldn’t be happier and of course the media loves a good news story, but behind the headlines there are thousands of us, millions of us across the world, just trying to get on with life.
MS, and more importantly, living with MS, has changed phenomenally over the last three decades. Sadly, the public perception of it is lagging far behind. Behind every diagnosis there is a unique life story and we don’t want that to come to an abrupt halt just because our brains threw up one lesion too many.