It doesn't help that it's nearly impossible to find a group of people with MS who have the exact same symptoms. Double vision, tremors, paralysis, chronic depression, chronic pain, an inability to learn and retain information, and sexual dysfunction -- it's like a bingo game in hell. And not only can you start off with any random slew of those symptoms, but, at any time, without warning, you can develop brand-new ones.
"Dammit, my stigmata is flaring up again."
Every medical issue has to be checked out for possible MS. Digestive problems? Nerve damage? Arbitrary break dancing? Spontaneous telepathy? Who knows? Could be MS. Let's do a bunch of expensive tests!
The Rug Can Be Pulled Out From Under You At Any Time
Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
I live in a world of constant uncertainty, not knowing if my insurance company will drop me after the next election or what. My dad is a Republican who supports "Obamacare" because it made it impossible for companies to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions such as MS. Thanks to that and Medicaid, my MS treatment now costs me a grand total of $0. Without both programs, it would cost about $24,000 a year for the next ... all my life. There's no way I could afford that. That's why every time the GOP tries to repeal the law, I feel like I'm sitting on hot coals while waiting for the outcome of the vote.
Incredibly, "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" is not an effective MS treatment.
I don't expect anyone to read this and start hearing sad violin music in their heads. People with MS are not looking for pity. All we're asking for is that the government help some of us so that we don't end up on the street because of our disease, and, hey, credit where credit is due: That's what they've been doing so far. And they will continue to do so if more people know that folks like me exist, and that we are trying our damnedest to live normal and independent lives.
You fight an invisible disease the same way you'd fight an invisible monster: Throw a bucket of paint on it, so everyone can see what they're fighting.
To learn more about multiple sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Danielle Fryling is an MS advocate, writer, photographer, and soon-to-be Australian. Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com.
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