Multiple Sclerosis: Silence Is Not the Best Medicine

I am finally sharing my MS story

Multiple Sclerosis: Silence Is Not The Best Medicine

I have always been reluctant to share that I have multiple sclerosis (MS) because I feared I would be seen as a person with this sometimes debilitating disease, and not as me. Since my diagnosis, I have consciously made the decision to live life as normally as possible. Yes, I do have MS. Yes, my life has definitely changed, but the person inside has not. Inside, since the very beginning of this journey, I have always known that even though I have MS; MS is not who I am

Sharing my story, in the hope of helping someone else, has been on the back burner of my mind for a long time now. I have finally decided that silence is not the best medicine, talking and sharing is.

MS Facts

  • There are approximately 100,000 Canadians living with MS.1
  • Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of MS in the world.2
  • MS is most often diagnosed in young adults, aged 15 to 40,1 and is four times as likely to occur in women.

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). There are five different types of MS. The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. The damaged nerves, which as of today cannot be repaired, are what cause the symptoms of MS.

MS Symptoms

Not everyone with MS will have the same symptoms. During an “attack,” different symptoms can manifest themselves. I initially had symptoms of MS more than fifteen years ago. My symptoms would appear and then, for the most part disappear only to reappear in a few days, weeks or months. Numbness in my legs, difficulties with my speech, items falling from my hands, tingling in my face and down my body whenever I turned my head, heat intolerance, balance issues, a tiredness that you can only imagine, and double vision.

There is no cure for MS.1 However, even fifteen years ago, disease modifying treatments, although still in their infancy, were available. Was I aware of these treatments, yes? Did I push for them, no. Would my disease progression been different had I received earlier treatment for MS?  Yes, most likely. And this is why: it is now known that early treatment of MS may affect long-term disability outcomes.

If you think you have MS, or you know someone who may have MS, PUSH them for early treatment. Insist on a neurological consult and an MRI. Work with your neurologist to identify the right treatment option for you. Include those with high efficacy, high tolerability, and a good safety profile to help manage your disease.

Disease Modifying Therapies (DMT's)

Back when I first started treatment, there were DMTs available. These medications, as the name suggests, are capable of modifying or influencing the underlying disease course. They work by targeting an aspect of the inflammatory process to reduce relapses and slow disease progression. At that time, DMTs were available only by injection.

Today, people living with MS have more treatment options than ever, including newer disease modifying therapies, which offer higher efficacy and easier dosing. Nine months ago, I started taking oral medication daily in place of my daily injection. Check with your doctor for treatment options that may be a good fit for you.

Although the oral medication I take is not without a few issues, it sure beats taking a daily injection. I am thrilled with this new disease modifying delivery system, as is my entire family. My kids are so happy that mom no longer needs to have a daily needle!

MS and Motherhood

I vividly remember sitting with my husband and each of my children and explaining that I had MS. My husband had been begging me for months to seek treatment and he actually suspected MS, so he wasn't surprised. My children were old enough to know something bad was happening to mom. When I told them of my diagnosis, although very upset, I think they had been thinking the worst and were relieved I wasn't dying. We all were.

My husband and kids had literally hundreds of questions for both the "patient" and the "nurse" side of me. They were all extremely supportive, demanded transparency (I guess I can't blame them for that) and wanted to be involved in my treatment.

A few considerations to help manage MS

Living with and properly managing MS requires a fulsome approach, including medication, diet and nutrition, exercise and proper rest, among others. Here are a few words of advice to consider:

  • Take charge, it is your body. Speak to your physician about all available treatment options and understand the risks and benefits associated with each treatment.
  • Remember, patients who begin treatment later do not reap the same benefits as those who begin treatment earlier.
  • Silence is not only the best option. Although you may not want to be perceived as a burden on your family and friends, it’s important to talk to your spouse and children. They are going through this too!
  • Realize that diet and nutrition are important. A healthy diet for people with MS is very much what is recommended by the Canada Food Guide. Maintaining your health and weight will ultimately help you to manage MS.
  • MS fatigue can be one of the most disabling symptoms of MS. Get adequate rest and don't be afraid to say no.
  • Recognize you may sometimes need to ask for help.

A Bright future ahead

Over the years, with the help and encouragement of my family and friends I have learned to manage my disease. It hasn't been easy but I have learned to ask for help. My family knows I need my rest and plans are sometimes fluid. Together, we have learned the importance of diet and nutrition and we all work together to prepare meals and to do the cleaning up. There are many times when I am not feeling well that I have a beautifully prepared dinner tray delivered to my bedroom.

Even though you may face challenges and roadblocks along the way, today, the future of MS treatment is brighter than ever. MS no longer has the grim prognosis it once did.

People with MS are so much more than the disease.  We are strangers on the street or in the mall; sons and daughters; brothers and sisters; aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. We are friends; husbands and wives; moms, dads, mommy and daddy. This has become my mantra for battling MS:

For more details about the information included above please visit: MS Society of Canada.


1 About MS. MS Society of Canada. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014. Available at:
2 MS experts estimate number of Canadians with MS is 55,000 to 75,000. MS Society of Canada. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014. Available at:


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When I first decided to stop working, people would ask me, “what are you going to do now”?  I would jokingly tell them I was going to start writing a blog about my life as a mom with older children and I was going to call this blog, Older Mommy Still Yummy.  Well, my joke became reality and Older Mommy Still Yummy was born!

I live in Atlantic Canada, have been married for many years to the most amazing man in the world and together we have two grown children. In my “other life” I was an Operating Room Nurse in a fast-paced regional hospital. My life is now less structured and since deciding to stay at home, I am very quickly becoming addicted to blogging and social media!

I first had the idea to start a blog for “older moms” when I started noticing a lot of blogs were aimed toward moms with young children. I applaud these and the help, companionship, information and support they provide and I still remember those days well…well, most days I remember them well!  However, my kids are now older and some of the information I was getting “out there” was no longer relevant and some of the information I was seeking was not available. I thought there must be others out there who felt the same… so, here I am and I hope I’m not alone!

I love to write about my adventures with food, recipes, healthy living, reviews, books, living green, travel and life in general.