Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease without a known cause or cure. The immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves in the brain and spine (CNS).
There are different types of MS - Relapsing Remitting, Primary Progressive, and Secondary Progressive. I won't go into detail on each but please see the link below if you'd like to find out more.
As is the case with around 85% of people with the disease, I have been diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS. It is likely that my condition will develop to Secondary Progressive MS but there is no way of knowing if/when this will happen.
As I mentioned on my previous post, when I was first diagnosed I delved deep into online forums and anywhere else I could find to get an understanding of what was going to happen to me. I assumed that I would be able to find out exactly what my future holds, and get an insight into the possible routes I'd take to get there. I saw hundreds of scenarios, all different and most quite scary. I was fixated on needing to know the answers and got myself so worked up when I wasn't finding anything absolute. I carried on searching for months, building more stress and fear.
After a while, I came across it being described as the snowflake disease. Each case personal and without equal. This was one of my biggest breakthroughs - understanding that every case of MS is completely unique. No two people will progress in the same way...or have the same severity of symptoms...or the same rate of attacks/relapses.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Uncertainty can be scary, and at first (being a bit of a control freak by nature) I found the unknown of my individuality to be a great source of fear. I've since realised how empowering it can be - my disease is unique to me and I will do everything I can to manage it. By learning about our bodies, paying attention to what exacerbates our symptoms and what relieves them...we can all learn to manage our snowflakes.
If you or somebody you love is struggling to understand what their diagnosis means for their future please try not to compare too much. You are on your own journey and although there are many unknowns, there are things you can do to manage this condition - I'll be talking more about these in upcoming posts! For now though, just remember that we are all individuals taking our journeys with our unique snowflakes and it is so important to keep reminding ourselves of that!