Friday, October 30, 2015

Invisible MS Symptoms Mask Disabiltiy

MS is such an invisible disease. Very few of the symptoms can be seen or detected by others, and only if they are really paying attention, they may notice tremors, inability to walk, balance impairment, speech problems, or bladder/bowel issues. Many MS symptoms cannot be seen, such as pain, spasticity, numbness, itchiness, fatigue, vision problems, dizziness, cognitive problems, or emotional changes.

Most of the time I do not look disabled. I am blessed to be able to move around easily, only getting noticeably fatigued with severe heat or exertion. Symptoms such as spasticity or pain respond to medication, exercise, and rest. Very rarely have I lost bladder control in public and even then I was able to go home to get cleaned up and change clothes.

To look at me, you can’t tell that sensation is diminished in my feet and ankles. My proprioception is affected and I dare not stand with my feet together and close my eyes for risk of losing my balance and falling. I am careful how I place my feet on the ground to avoid the ‘kissing the sidewalk’ symptom which I’ve experienced on a number of occasions. Those face plants are no fun and can cause extreme embarrassment and pain.

When invisible symptoms are hard for others to see...or hear.

Last weekend one of my invisible symptoms - impaired balance - caused a public disruption. I was in the airport in Newark, New Jersey, when TSA agents at the security checkpoint repeatedly asked me to stand in the body scanner machine. I’m not sure what went wrong the very first time I stood there. But in repeated attempts in the machine, the agents complained that either my feet were not far enough apart, or my hands weren’t high enough, or I wobbled which made the image blurry.

Read this post in its entirety:
Invisible MS Symptoms Can Cause Frustration and Mask Disability

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