As a person living with MS, I am in the strange position of having to fight against my own body, to try to halt the damage it’s doing to me. I’m not the only person in this position of course. Other people with MS (multiple sclerosis) are in the same situation. People living with other auto-immune diseases are dealing with it too.
Auto-immune diseases happen when the immune system attacks a person’s own body. With MS, the damage is to the Central Nervous System (CNS), causing scarring which interferes with messages being sent from the brain via nerves to other parts of the body.
I don’t know why my body is doing this to me. The actual cause of MS is still not known. There are thoughts and suppositions, but no positive proof for any of them. There are various treatments for people who have MS. These treatments initially were given using injections, either daily, every other day, every three days, or once a week. There is also a treatment that involves having monthly infusions. These treatments were able to slow the progression of the damage and resulting disability, but they weren’t a cure, and they didn’t work for all.
There have been other treatments developed in more recent times. These include the capsules I am on now. I began my MS journey in 2010 when I was diagnosed by a neurologist after I had an MRI scan. This scan showed parts of my CNS that had scarring. I was given the option of the three injectionable treatments. I was in slight shock at the time, and chose Avonex, the one you only had to give yourself once a week.
That treatment went well enough – I remained affected, but relapse-free. My walking improved a little, and I exercised to help further. I was a long way from being cured, a very long way. Then a new treatment came to Australia and was put on the PBA which meant it cost much, much less than it would cost without the government assistance. I was given the option of using this treatment, and was glad to take it up.
I’ve been using this treatment (Gilenya) and am happy to report it is working well for me. I’m feeling better, my mobility is vastly improved, and my life is as good now as it has been since this horrible MS came into my life. I’m eating a healthier diet, with less meat and more vegetables. I’ve lost weight too, because of those two things. I’m also able to live the life I want to live, concentrating a lot more on creative writing. This brings me joy!
I’m also strengthening my connections with my community, and have many friends, old and new who care for me and help me to stay positive. Being happy is my core and basic position, and I strongly believe leading a happy life, choosing happiness over sadness on every occasion, is also an important part of my current happy life. I’m a long way from how I was before I became ill, in terms of mobility, but I’m doing well, considering what I have. Gilenya isn’t a cure for MS, but for those it works well for, it may vebe the closest to a cure available.
If you have MS, do you have ideas on how one can live a good life? My life suits me well enough, other people have different lives and different answers.