What is MS?

I have had people ask me, “What is MS?” If I say it stands for multiple sclerosis. It’s a chronic progressive disease where the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, and the optic nerves in the eyes become damaged as the outer coating on the nerves called myelin gets eaten away by the immune system causing numbness, speech impairment, muscle coordination difficulties, blurred vision and severe fatigue (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we go through)…I tend to get a blank stare and “huh” comes tumbling out of their mouth. Either that or they proceed to give me their cure for this incurable disease or tell me about a relative of theirs with MS that died.

It’s interesting to me that we live in a time where knowledge is readily available and easily accessible (more accessible that any modern day business with wheelchair ramps and elevators) yet so few actually use the knowledge available to them to actually KNOW anything. We are pros at the latest gossip and celebrity news; we know all the cheat codes and hidden passageways in the newest released video games; we even know the difference between tap water, distilled water, spring water and mineral water; but when it comes down to things that actually matter, we are fairly ignorant.

If I were to write an entry in an acronym dictionary on what MS stands for, it would look something like this…

MS – an acronym for:

Multiple Sclerosis
Messaging Short
Many Sores
Majorly Sexy
My Strength
Mighty Strong
Many Smiles
Making Strides
Moving Still
Monster $(^&
Mystery Solved (coming soon to a theater near you)

The next time someone asks me, “What is MS?”, I’m going to whip out one of my acronyms because even in our highly intelligent and knowledge driven society, people can’t seem to grasp an understanding of multiple sclerosis. But I don’t blame them too much, I still have trouble with MS and I’m the one actually living with it every day.

Don’t get too discouraged when you find people are clueless about MS. I didn’t know anything about it until I was diagnosed with it. But now…now I’m more knowledgable than even some of the finest Neurologists out there. Maybe that means I’ve actually earned a doctorate degree. So call me Dr…Dr. Penelope! I like the sound of that.

I have an MS Degree and didn’t even know I was studying for it. It’s not an honorary degree either. It’s a real life, up close and personal, in your face degrees. One of those “I studied my butt off” degrees. Do you have an MS degree too?

10 replies
  1. Ru
    Ru says:

    You nailed it Dr.Penelope.. couldn’t agree more to every word you said …as always your post made my day.. Thank you for being you xx

  2. Ru
    Ru says:

    You nailed it Dr.Penelope.. couldn’t agree more to every word you said …as always your post made my day.. Thank you for being you…

  3. bunny
    bunny says:

    dr. penelope- thank you for your wonderful summary of the MSmonster 😈. perfect and succinct. now can you give the same on the latest hollywood gossip?? of course not because your an MS doctor not the average person who loses interest 1/4 way through an explanation of what the MSmonster is. but… start a discussion about
    whoever in hollywood and they perk up, eyes sparkle, they smile then go on and on and on and on about insignificant people. uggg

    your posts make my day. no matter how bad a morning i’m having, your posts bring it down a notch or 2.

    you are very very special, thanks for caring ❤️.

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope a very well point to bring up.I have a problem with itchiness and did a bit of research for this. So I typed in ‘itchiness all over’ and got more than 50 sites and they were all medical sites and most said you should be treated with creams and other physical means and that is what has been taught for doctors etc. So I added ‘.. from MS’ and came up with 3 sites. ! was Multiple Sclerosis. inc, the 2nd was Multiple Sclerosis NZ and the other i didn’t even check. But those 2 sites wrote that a’itchiness from MS is not treatable by any medical treatments. It should be treated by these drugs which will help.’ They then listed 3 forms of drugs which includes anti depression drugs. So I copied that and showed that to my doctor and she just looked at it and then ignored it.
    A week later I tried the same search and came up with more than 10 sites and 1 of those was National Health site. I opened that site and lo and behold a MD had read a bit of information from National MS society site and he stated the same thing that neurological itchiness problems do not respond to medical problems should be treated with the following drugs. They were a copy of the other previous sites. I copied that and presented my doctor with that and now I’m on an anti depression drug and it works!
    Sometimes we have to remember that medical doctors don’t know it all and sometimes we know more than them. This also applies with others who don’t know what this. You are quite right as I had no idea what MS is and what is Primary Progressive meant. But now I can tell you what it means and what it does to me.

  5. Jan
    Jan says:

    Dear Dr Penelope,
    Thank you for your versions of what MS stands for!! So true!! I never feel alone with this disease after reading your posts. You know exactly what we all go through!! Jan🙋🏻

  6. Janet Stanzel
    Janet Stanzel says:

    Dr. Penelope you hit the target again! Also an excellent marksman or Marksman Superior 😉 with a French accent added to make it sound sophisticated of course because as you know most of us MSers walk with drunken French sailor uncanny smoothness like no one else can mimic.
    Thanks for the giggles! Your posts are always enjoyed. 😊


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