On this day back in 1976, the Declaration of Independence was signed into law. Today, let’s look at a declaration of independence from five common symptoms of multiple sclerosis that I experienced and what it meant to me:
Vision Problems are one of the most common symptoms associated with MS. I have had Optic Neuritis where I lost the vision in my right eye. My independence from these vision problems required the interventions of a neurologist, neuro-ophthalmologist, MRI scans, and IV Solu-Medrol. Gaining my freedom from vision loss is definitely a reason to celebrate today.
Mobility issues are a common issue of MS. When I was first diagnosed, I could not walk at all. My independence from mobility issues required extensive physical therapy both, tradition gait training (for walking) and aquatic therapy. Gaining my freedom from mobility issues meant never taking for granted a nice walk in the park again.
Bowel and Bladder Issues
Bowel and bladder issues are uncomfortably common with MS. In my case, I suffered from bladder issues and was unable to urinate without the assistance from a self-catheter. Different kinds of bladder dysfunction can happen and can be learned about in my Urination Constipation blog. Critical to my success in self-cathertization was the nurse education I received. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is also a therapeutic intervention that can relieve these symptoms while strengthening and conditioning for continued relief. Nothing spells relief like freedom from bowel or bladder issues.
Cognitive issues are a common and scary symptom associate with MS. In my case, my short term memory was so bad I wasn’t safe around the house. For example, I set a pot of water to boil then walked out of the house. When I came back a couple hours later, the house was full of smoke and we narrowly avoid a complete house fire. I worked with a speech language pathologist for strategies of how to overcome my cognitive deficits. Freedom from cognitive issues meant that I could feel safe again.
An all too common and tough to discuss problem with MS are sexual issues. When I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, I lost feeling, sensation and ability to perform. This impacted my confidence and intimacy to the point where I was pushing my wife away. There can be several causes of sexual issues and are best discussed with your neurologist. Freedom from sexual issues blessed us with our two beautiful boys and the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams.
Happy Independence Day
If you are experiencing any of these issues, don’t give up the fight. There are many resources available to help improve your quality of life. Today is the day to declare your independence from MS. You can do it! I believe in you!