Spotting the signs
With a nose like mine, there’s not much that goes unnoticed. So when my best friend started to act strangely, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Playing fetch in the park every day, I gradually noticed that his aim was a little off. His fingers were unusually numb and stiff. At first, he just shrugged it off. But as time passed, he also experienced problems running around with me and the kids – his legs just didn’t seem up to it anymore. I’m usually good at sensing whether he’s excited, tired, or stressed – but this felt different. He blamed it on temporary exhaustion, a brief spell that would go away by itself. But when his vision started to cause problems, we knew something was up.
Returning from the clinic with news of his diagnosis, it was clear that it was something serious. According to the doctor, my friend has multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, slowly destroying the protective myelin layer around the nerves .
It causes a wide range of symptoms that can make everyday life a lot harder, from fatigue and paralysis to blurred vision, slurred speech, and continence issues. I can’t imagine what it’s like to no longer be in control of your own body, unable to freely navigate your surroundings and environment.
And like many of the 2.3 million people affected by MS worldwide , my friend found it increasingly difficult to get around, and was often embarrassed by his symptoms being mistaken for those more commonly associated with drinking too much alcohol.