I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the fall of 2004.
For those who don’t know much about the disease, I will try to offer a quick explanation of it before I proceed. Multiple indicates more than one of something. Sclerosis is clinical speak for “scaring”. So basically you have multiple scars throughout your brain tissue and spinal cord. This is caused by a body’s own immune system, for reasons yet to be determined, reacting toward the brain and spine tissue like it’s a foreign invader. Because the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues within one’s own body, it is termed and auto immune disease. Auto, indicating “self” as in autobiography is a biography of one’s self.
When the immune system attacks the brain/spine it strips the coating from the nerve cells. This coating, called myelin, is necessary for the nerves to transmit signals properly. When the attack is over, the body attempts to repair the damage. The tissue that was damaged is patched up with what could be called scar tissue (sclerosis). The repaired tissue doesn’t transmit the nerve signal as well as the original tissue but it is better than no repair at all.
In most cases, this isn’t a constant progressive battle with the immune system but a period of attack followed by a period of remission. This cycle continues indefinitely throughout the remainder of the person’s life.
So much for a quick rundown huh?
I will continue this discussion in another post and tell the story of my diagnosis, which I hope I can convey the nuances of the moment.
Until next time…
–The Twisted Cripple