I realized when my middle school son asked me what I had I didn’t know how to explain it in a way he could understand it. People are familiar with MS, but they don’t really know WHAT it is. I’m not a doctor, have heard it explained and shown in “adult” terms, but I’m going to try to put it in terms that ordinary people can understand.
The 1st thing I can tell you MS is an autoimmune disease. It means a person’s immune system thinks its own immune system is the bad thing it has to fight. Just when a normal person gets sick, the immune system fights that illness so you get better.
Now let me try to explain it Your nerves have a protective coating, kind of like a wire to a cord has a plastic coating to protect the wires. With MS, your body starts eating away at the protective coating. Once places in that coating get eaten through to the nerves, that’s when you start seeing disabilities in people with MS.
MS affects everyone differently. Some people it affects sight, speech, hands, arms, legs, and/or back. A person gets disabled when the nerves are made bare. It can even go as far as effecting urine and bowel control. That’s why you see many people with MS in wheelchairs. The disease has worked on that person for a long time, so they are no longer able to walk. Others use a cane or walker to get around because of balance issues.
My husband saw me writing this and later he asked “WHAT and HOW do you feel with MS”. I was confused at first because I see him everyday and several times a day because we live on the farm where he works. He knows I don’t have depression so I’m confused about your question was my thought. I was sitting on the couch with my legs up and he was sitting in the recliner. My expression looked puzzled at his question, so he said “if I want to stand up, I just stand up. Show me how you stand up?” I put my feet on the floor and pushed myself up with my left hand while my right hand was on my walker handle. He asked “Is that the only way you can stand up?” “No” was my response. So I did it again by putting both hands on my walker handles and just stood up. I need a walker because I have balance issues that a cane won’t help anymore with my MS.
He asked me “Do you feel anything from the waist down?” ” Yes, I have a slight tingle in my thighs, but a tight tingle from my knees down.” Can you feel if something is touching your legs?” “Oh yes,” was my response. He’ll touch my arms, hands, legs or feet and ask “aren’t you cold?” “No” is my usual response. “Can you feel that?” he’ll ask.”Yes I feel the temperature difference between him and myself, but I don’t FEEL (frigid to me), like I need a blanket.”
With MS, my body temperature tends to run a little higher normally, so it is hard to tell when I get sick with a slight fever. I have become a basic germ-a-phobe so I don’t get sick. I always use Germ-X type stuff and have Clorox germ killing wipes to use on door knobs, light switches, fridge or kitchen cabinet handles when 1 of the other two in my house get sick especially my son who goes to school!
As far as it is for me, I use a walker around my house and for places that I don’t have a lot of walking. There is a leg brace I wear when we go places because it keeps my foot from wanting to turn. I use a manual wheelchair when we go places with a lot of walking. It stays in our vehicle and I refuse to use it in the house! At this time, there are plenty of chairs around our home to sit in when I need to. I just make sure I have a hand on the arm rest because they have wheels! Besides a manual wheel chair still works my arms and I am able to get in/out of it easily. It’s also lighter weight, easier to handle and my son can even handle it.
The funny part comes when we go into a store that has the steps in front of the door and the handicap ramp going around. Then my husband says “Let’s just go this way. (as we come to the steps) You’ll get down this way, too!” I know he wouldn’t seriously do it. He says it to lighten the mood.
.https://g.co/kgs/uVK7os This is a picture of what a normal and MS nerves would look like
This is a video from the MS society website if you do better seeing the information than reading it.