9.28.2016

11 Of The Worst Myths About MS Exposed




I've been writing a lot of serious things lately; it's time for an insipid list. Are you listening, Buzzfeed?


Myth #1 Spa treatments will cure multiple sclerosis

While it’s true you cannot spell ‘pedicure’ without ‘cure’, a fresh coat of polish and some attention to your cuticles is not, in fact, a quick fix for drop foot. I mean, I was convinced my pedi was definitely strengthening something when I almost power-kicked my aesthetician in the face; but that wasn't intentional, merely an involuntary reflex, and not a medically significant outcome. My disappointment was reinforced when I tried to claim this spa visit, and my insurance company got really crusty about it.   

Myth #2 You cannot get more than one disease at a time

I believed this was a thing; because, like, everyone has something, but nobody has two things, right? Having MS was my thing, which meant I was invincible to other calamities. I actually used to say this out loud. 

"I don't need a dentist. Duh. You can't get more than one disease at time time." 

So I stopped flossing, thought about taking up smoking, and was playing fast and loose with my breast exams. Then, out of nowhere (okay, Poland), I got diagnosed with a mild arrhythmia called Wolff Parkinson White. All I heard was Parkinsons and lost my freaking mind, until it was explained to me that they’re not really the same thing. Technically, they're not even kind of the same thing. (Which is really what the lab technician should have opened with instead of sending me on my way and telling me to follow up with someone who speaks English.) My life had flashed before my eyes, and now I wear my seatbelt, take my vitamins, and obsess over my own mortality all the damn time. Turns out this paranoia isn't unreasonable, because science says that having one auto-immune disease increases the risk of acquiring a second (or third...) auto-immune disease. Quick, somebody get me a lottery ticket. 

Myth #3 You have to fight to beat MS

Fight whom? Myself? My brain? Should I punch myself in the spine? I don't enjoy conflict, least of all with my own body. I don't know how to throw a punch, and my failed kick at the pedicure girl  missed by about 6 inches and smudged my polish in the process. That is a lose-lose fight. I guess I could slowly poison my liver with booze? That’ll teach my no good body to mess with me. 

Homer gets it.


Myth #4 There’s a cure! 

Wait, what? Tell me more! How have I have not heard of this?

Because there is no cure. There are some treatments that are effective for some people. I swear to you; I know all about them. Please stop telling me about something you sorta remember in Russia, or maybe it was Lithuania, but really it was just the headline of an article you saw on the inter webs; and anyway, I am not going back to Poland. I promise you that when there is a cure it is utterly impossible that I will first hear about it in a link you tweet me. Stick to updating me on the latest #timesup jerk, or why Meghan Markle's dad is ditching his own daughter's Royal wedding. This is the breaking news I trust you to deliver. 

Myth #5 Getting liquored and engaging in séances with your besties will give you MS

Every super hero has an origin story, and as the heroine of my own, I'd convinced myself that some cheap red wine and a sketchy book of spells gave me some bad karma when I started experiencing my first MS symptoms one week after Halloween. I wish I were making this up, but I believed in the power of my own shoddy witchcraft for at least three years. I may be a true Slytherin, but the fact is, Hogwarts isn't real. 

Myth #6 MS is contagious

I wish. Then I could give it to my enemies. Okay, I’m obviously kidding. No, I’m not. 

Myth #7 Pretty people don’t get diseases

Someone actually said this to me. Turns out pretty people can also get new friends.

Myth #8 Everything happens for a reason

Oh really? Tell me more about the holocaust.

Myth #9 It all works out in the end. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle

See #8

Myth #10 People with MS are descended from Vikings

This one might be true, and that’s good enough for me to claim to everyone I know that it definitely is true. Our pets were dragons. It’s the only cool thing about having a horrible disease. Or about having super pasty skin, for that matter. 

 
Thanks, asshole

Myth #11 MS is a journey

Journey was a band that your parents listened to. Journey is a PS3 game for nerds. Journey is an affordable midsize crossover. Multiple Sclerosis is a vile disease. Calling MS a journey is an insult to the ’70’s, gamers, and sensible family vehicles everywhere. Don’t stop believing, MS sucks.

The internet is full of bad information about MS. What are some of your favourite misconceptions? Anything you wanna clear up?








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6 comments :

  1. Another myth: Pharma companies are working very hard to develop a "cure" for MS and it's just a coincidence that the drugs that they have developed are "disease management treatments". Not a myth: It's more profitable to have a patient who has to take the drug for years than to develop a drug that will cure the patient.

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  2. Thanks for the laughs! Great and fun read!

    Cheers!
    Meg (aka BBH)

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  3. Thanks again Tripping - this is great and straight to the point!! I actually recently went through a
    'scene' like you've described previously. I have an elderly neighbor who lives across the hall and has been avoiding people. Her niece sent her neighbor, a nice guy in his late 60's, to try to coax this woman to open the door. I went out to see what the ruckus was about. After talking for a bit this nice guy (a complete stranger to me) said in a conspiratorial tone: "you have MS?" I sighed and reluctantly answered yes. He proceeded to tell me about the diet soda stuff and I
    couldn't believe I was hearing it. Thought of your post immediately. So he gave me the name of his cousin in NJ - an incredible 'healer' because "you might not have MS!!". And if he couldn't heal me… he sends his patients down to the Hippocrates Institute in Florida. I then told him I eat pretty much organic and never drank diet soda. I also answered him that, yes, I knew about the Hippocrates Institute - and asked him if his cousin actually PAID the whopping bill for his patients to go there; and that if he did, I might take him up on it!
    Barbara

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  4. Hey Tripping, I may actually be descended from Vikings too. And I am definitely familiar with Journey however am much more of a Van Halen and Led Zeppelin fan. Thanks for writing.

    JE

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  5. This is an old post but...I think I'm around your age. I just found out this year that I have MS. And I love every word you have written, but especially this post. I also may be descended from Vikings.

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    1. Hi Allison,

      Thanks for your note. I'm glad you found me, but sorry you have MS. That first year of diagnosis can be so hard. Effing Vikings!

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