I was going to put together a collection of information and statistics to share about multiple sclerosis, but as I started to write, it became more about what I personally do to raise MS awareness. My hope is that my story will give insight and shed some light onto a patient’s perspective. I feel like understanding is one of the keys to better support and care for patients living with a chronic illness.
March is MS Awareness Month – a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve been living with relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis since 2003 and I try to live my life every day as if it is “MS Awareness Day.”
Unfortunately, I’m not a scientist who will discover a cure. I’m not a neurologist or a nurse who will treat patients. And lastly, I’m not fortunate enough to be rolling in money that I could fund clinical trials or research studies. So what can I do to raise awareness about MS?
I can SUPPORT.
Whenever I hear about someone who is newly-diagnosed, or someone who may be struggling with the disease, I’m always ready to hand out my phone number or email address. I know all too well that it can be a continuous struggle, but I want them to know they are not alone. There is hope, and they will get through this battle learning strategies to improve life and ultimately discovering how truly strong they are.
I can stay POSITIVE.
I went through all of the typical emotions after my MS diagnosis, and I had to go through the grieving process and let go of my life, or at least my perceived life, before MS. Now, I’m actually thankful for MS. I have let go of a lot of toxic people and negativity, and I try not to sweat the small stuff. I have chosen to take the path where I value life and take little to nothing for granted.
I can EDUCATE.
I have always been very open about living with multiple sclerosis. I love shocking people with the fact that I have MS. I encourage questions and enjoy sharing my experiences and knowledge. There is a lot of misinformation out there and people tend to have such misconceptions about what MS looks like, and what it means to live with MS. It is such a varying disease that presents so differently and affects people in so many different ways.
I can LIVE fully.
I live the best life that I can with MS, and along the way, I try to educate others on what MS is and what it means to people battling it every day, every month, every year. Raising awareness for MS and living fully is my way of advocating and giving back to the MS community.
I will never give up HOPE.
I have this silly personal belief that if I say something, or believe something long enough, it will manifest and become reality. So…There will be a cure for MS. There will be a cure for MS. There will be a cure for MS…
To continue raising awareness, I’m marking my 13th year living with MS by participating in my first half marathon this summer. 13 years, 13.1 miles! Never give up!
Please use these free resources on NursingCenter to learn more about MS and to help spread awareness by sharing with your colleagues, patients, and the public.
The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
and the Journal of Infusion Nursing
are both honoring MS Awareness Month by offering subscription discounts in March. Enter promotion code, WFS115GN, and take 40% off the subscription price for either journal.