1. “How did you even know that you have MS?”
"I didn't even know what MS was when I was first diagnosed! I went to my primary-care physician because I thought that I had the flu. At the end of the checkup, the doctor noticed that I had great difficulty getting dressed because my balance was so off. That led to a referral to a neurologist and more tests than I care to remember."
2. "But you don't look sick?"
"One of the most frustrating things to hear is, 'You don't look sick.' For most people with MS, it is a daily battle against a host of symptoms. For the lucky ones among us, the symptoms are not visible. For those with more progressive forms of MS, even getting out of bed in the morning cannot be taken for granted."
3. "What does it feel like, though?"
"My primary symptoms are vertigo, fatigue, and headaches. The headaches come and go, but the vertigo and fatigue are generally always present at some level."
4. "Is it contagious?!?!"
"MS is not contagious!"
5. "Does this mean you're tired all the time?"
"Generally speaking…yes. Extreme fatigue seems to be one of the symptoms that many of us share. The levels of fatigue can range from feeling like you had a bad night of sleep to days where each step is a struggle."
6. "How did you, like, get it?"
"I remember when I was first diagnosed, I spent a lot of time researching hypotheses around causes. There are a bunch of theories out there, but the reality is that no one knows what causes MS."
7. "What is your worst symptom?"
"I hate the vertigo and fatigue because they are always there — I kind of feel like I just got off of a boat and everything is moving. The headaches are the worst, though, because they are so bad that I have trouble functioning because of the combination of pain and double vision."
8. “Do you think you’ve always had it and just realized?”
"Like most people that I've met with MS, I can look back at my symptoms occurring at different times in my life, but because the symptoms come and go, I was never tested or diagnosed."
9. "Wait, do you have to give yourself shots every day??"
"Three times per week, actually. My current injections are subcutaneous. I've also taken a daily subcutaneous, an oral, and a once-per-week intramuscular injection."
10. "Does this mean your parents have it?"
"The prevailing belief is that MS is not genetic although, for most of us, our biggest fear is passing MS on to our children."
11. "Are you scared about what happens when you're older?"
"I only think about making the most of today. I try not to let MS stop me from doing anything that I want to do. Overall, MS patients that I've met are a very positive group."
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All photos via Thinkstock.