The Reality of MS

Posted on 2014/3/4

stickLike any man, I’m loathe to admit weaknesses. Even though I know I have Multiple Sclerosis, I’m too proud to let it be visible or show that it affects me in any way.

It’s been like this for the last 10 or so years I’ve had this disease. Relatively easy to hide. I’ve always been able to emulate a healthy person but it takes it out of me. I’m a mess for the rest of the day.. and night and possibly the next day too. That’s why they call it “The Invisible Disease”.

But I even find it hard to accept myself that it’s progressing.

My friends and business associates, the people I’ve networked with over the years… most of them wouldn’t have had any clue about my MS. They probably wonder where I’ve disappeared to!

So anyway, I’m telling a story. Today was a milestone. Today I bought a walking stick. Yep. A walking stick. Let that sink in.

I’m 42. I look able-bodied. I sound perfectly normal. So why the stick?

Transitions mess me up. Any time I  move from sitting to standing or standing to sitting, I get incredibly dizzy.

I knew this day would arrive, I just didn’t think it would be quite so soon. The only other people my age I know of with a walking stick are Tim Ferguson (of DAAS Fame) and a Twitter friend in Brisbane with Parkinsons.

I’m not sure how I feel about using it public yet. Without it, I stumble and trip more than your average Joe. With it, I look like an old man.

Then again, I’ve never been one to worry too much what other people think. I think it’s just hard for me to accept.

Maybe if I wore a Top Hat to go with the stick?

I guess the other big benefit of a stick is I can whack people who park in Disabled Bays.

Tread Softly and Carry a Big Stick? That’s me, it’s just my clumsy MS footsteps aren’t so soft.

My God. This disease is real. 8-(

5 Replies to "The Reality of MS"

  • jenny
    2014/3/9 (12:04:59)

    Thank you for sharing the progression of your disease. You are very brave. I have a young lady friend who is progressively losing her eyesight, and has recently given in to “the white cane.” I am older, but I have had double mastectomy. Once you have accepted “it” — your problems become easier to handle.
    You have amazing knowledge and brain. Does the MS affect that part of your body?
    Acceptance is the key. Sincerely,
    J. Millward

    • jas
      2014/3/9 (16:52:40)

      Hi Jenny, Sorry to hear about your medical troubles. I feel very fortunate that out of all the diseases I could have, I only have MS. It’s manageable rather than treatable.
      My biggest issue is that people very often can’t SEE my symptoms – and so they don’t know what I’m going through. I’m very often flat on my back with the world spinning around me – and I haven’t even had the enjoyment of drinking! I’m clumsy, I get double-vision regularly and I get extremely tired very easily oh – and I’m getting progressively worse memory loss… and they’re just the symptoms that cause me the most grief. Thankfully, my cognitive abiltiies are still mostly ok. I hope they find a cure soon. It’s too late for me to get back most of my function – but at least others can be spared. As I’ve told my Neurologist, I’m happy to be a Guinea Pig now. Try your new drugs on me. Let’s get this bastard of a disease sorted. Cheers, Jason

  • Bryce Nelson
    2014/3/21 (19:36:39)

    Hi Jason , heard you on the radio one morning talking about your MS. I am 45 and have a number of the symptoms associated with MS. Worsening vision, pins and needles, dizziness, getting clumsy, memory loss, shock pains , numbness and muscle aches. Thought it was just being in my forties…..have made an appointment to see quack, but keeping it quiet just in case all in my head. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story mate.


  • Friday Wright
    2014/10/16 (03:47:10)

    You totally rock that stick Jas. I just returned from visiting family I haven’t seen since my diagnosis. They all thought I looked great even though to me the symptoms were obvious. Which just shows we might at times find it more confronting than those around us. And thats because its happening to us.

    Keep on rocking it x

  • Nicky
    2014/10/16 (13:07:57)

    Hey Jas

    Just wanted to let you know that Fuzz was recently diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy and now has a stick, at age 25. Everyone experiences the change and the descent into acceptance, and the cold reality of your diagnosis, in very different ways. I hope it’s heartening to know that he has embraced it and now has a gnarled, wooden, wizard staff. He calls himself Gandalf the Wasted, and it helps to keep him smiling when he may otherwise be facing a really hard time.

    Make it as fun as you can, as long as you feel it’s giving you what you need to get through the day. All our love x

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