Multiple times, I have heard these unwanted words: “You must only have mild MS.” Not exactly welcome words when you’ve been living with a notoriously unpredictable disease for the past 25 years of your life.
I am not entirely sure about what exactly is “mild” about living with a chronic, unpredictable illness. Each and every day, I struggle with all of these MS symptoms: debilitating fatigue, weakness, heat intolerance, depression, numbness, tingling, spasticity, impaired coordination, heat intolerance, reduced frustration tolerance, and slowed information processing.
Should I experience an MS exacerbation, I will develop any combination of the following additional symptoms: blurred vision, slurred speech, loss of vision, vertigo, difficulty walking, trigeminal neuralgia, headaches, paralysis, and incontinence.
I will have absolutely no idea of how severe such symptoms will be, how long they will last, or what their residual impairment may be.
No, I am not wheelchair-bound. No, I can still walk independently, without requiring the use of an assistive device. Yes, I am able to dress myself, to feed myself, and to drive a car. I am unspeakably grateful for these facts.
However, my life continues to be affected significantly, every single day, by having relapsing-remitting MS. All things considered, you can see why I really dislike being told “you must have only mild MS.”