When I was first diagnosed with MS I told few people. Like almost everyone on this site, I told only a certain few; those closest to me. When asked by casual acquaintances why I walked on crutches I gave what I am sure seemed like feeble excuses: leg problems, nerve issues, etc. It took a long time for me to open up and tell people I had MS. I suppose one could argue that I didn’t want people’s pity, or that awkward moment to occur when people just don’t know how to treat you after finding out. I couldn’t stop my parents from telling people though. It seemed like they were telling every Tom, Dick and Harry. That was there way of coping. They needed to talk about it. They needed to be open about it.
Gradually as time passed I became less militant about guarding my diagnosis. It was around that time when the questions started. In the beginning everyone had questions but as I was newly diagnosed most were polite enough not to ask me the questions directly. Later peoples natural curiosity got the better of them. I can’t blame them. Though talk of MS is bantered around, let’s face it unless someone you know is affected by it one wouldn’t know much about it. The nitty gritty details of the disease aren’t out on display day in day out. Naturally questions will arise. I have been asked what MS is more times than I can count. What does it do, what does it affect, can it be cured, can it be treated, can the damage be reversed, will you get worse, will you die? I am sure we have all heard the statement: well you don’t look sick. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Like I am sure you can all attest; the questions can seem offensive at times.
In the last few years I have started answering questions I have been asked about MS as honestly, openly and bluntly as possible. I no longer hide my disease. I answer questions with the belief that if I can enlighten one more person’s perception of the disease we are that much closer to curing this disease. I have spoken in classrooms, to friends, family, and strangers and I am happy to have been able to have spread some awareness. I no longer fear the questions that loom; I welcome them with a new sense of determination!