MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, is a progressive disease that affects your brain and nerves. Each person is affected in a different way: it could be paralysis one day, loss of vision the next or impaired memory the day after that.
When suffering MS you slowly start losing control your body, until one day it’s not your body anymore.
To make things worse, people with MS also suffer discrimination triggered by how society perceive limitations in controlling your body.
From a great article on MS:
Society attaches [a stigma] to the inability to control the body. Because physical behavior is so intricately associated with the brain, and the brain with mental functioning, people often associate a failure in motor ability with a failure in mental functioning.
They assume that a slowness in action means a slowing of thinking or intellect.
This is difficult for patients for two reasons. First, it is saddening to realize that others are treating you differently in order to accommodate your non-existent mental problems. Secondly, because the attitude is so pervasive, patients may actually believe that their motor problems are signs of mental problems also. They may interpret these problems as failures on their part rather than biological processes for which there is little help and no cure.
Naturally, and sadly, many opt to keep the disease it a secret from friends, colleagues and family members. So, not only you have to go through the disease, but you have to fight it alone.
Thinking about how Hispanics rely on our family networks, it’s easy to see how MS wrecks havoc on the natural tools we use to cope with adversity. The stigma takes away our ability to share and lean on our loved ones.
I’m very blessed that nobody close to me has been touched by this disease. But I know people that have. And I want to help them.
So, this is why I’ll ride my bike for 160 miles. To do a small part in helping end this disease. You can help me fight too, by visiting my page and donating to the MS society.
MS is a cruel and painful disease. But we can end it.