I am so honored to have the beautiful Christine from Empire State of Mind as our first guest blogger! Christine’s mother lives with MS, and today she is sharing a little bit of her experience and what she has learned along the way with us. Please comment with any questions you might have for Christine about her and her mother’s journey. You can also go check out my guest post, When I Grow Up, on Empire State of Mind today to learn more about my state of mind during the grieving period after diagnosis.
The Heart of the Matter by Christine Mons
Multiple Sclerosis (MS for short) is a chronic illness that occurs when your immune system attacks the myelin in your central nervous system. Myelin is the material wrapped around your nerve fibers to protect them. Without this outer guard, you are unprotected, and your nerves become damaged in your spinal cord, brain and central nerves. This damage affects how your brain receives, sends and reads signals internally, leading to symptoms such as chronic pain, muscle and joint damage, tingling or numbness, fatigue, trouble remembering, brain fog, loss of balance and depression.
My name is Christine, and I talk about this disease because it’s one my mum has suffered from for 16 years. I am 18, and have watched her journey through this physically and mentally. 16 years of recovery, relapse, recovery, relapse … and as this illness progresses, so do the relapses. The cause is unknown but thought to be linked to genetics or environmental factors that affect your immune system. There is also no known cure, only treatments to help improve function of life.
There is a lack of education about chronic illnesses, but my mum shows me that it takes immense strength to fight. The physical symptoms are easy to educate yourself on, and if someone close to you has a chronic illness, learning more about it helps you help them immensely. But MS is an invisible illness in which your body is fighting itself, and the mental symptoms of the illness are also “invisible” and harder to understand. I see the toll that fighting this daily battle between your own mind and body can take on your soul. My Mum’s actions and mind are sometimes controlled by miscommunications, and recovery is a daily battle for her that I am proud to say she is still fighting. I am amazed at what she is capable of doing now, that she couldn’t do 7 years ago.
Thank you so much Jessica for sharing a bit of me and mum on your blog. You have deep strength, courage and a genuine will for life that shows your illness does not define you.
– Chris x