I have been diagnosed with MS since 27, and have spent a long time hiding it from people. One because no one understands it, they say you are faking the many symptoms, or they just don’t want to hear that someone they know may not be able to walk or talk in the future. I have been rapidly deteriorating over the last few years, slowly, bit by bit, yet I fight daily to make it not seem as if it is there. I ignore the pain and I sit through the tremors with my coffee in the morning. I suffer from extreme fatigue and balance problems, bladder problems, dizziness, depression, cognitive function, extreme constant pain in my entire body, emotional issues, vision issues, speech issues, hearing issues, extreme migraines, the list goes on for miles.

My ex used to get scared to death because I would forget very small words to common things, while being able to know the big word for the same thing. It drove him nuts that one minute I would be full of energy and the next unable to move. He was angered, feeling like I was faking. Many people with MS deal with this. I sometimes suffer from confusion, and for a person with a high IQ, it’s devastating. Oddly I function well under high stress but at the same time that same stress is what puts me under. I spend a lot of time fearing those I do business with will think I can’t do my job, that I will have an episode in public or worse. I spend lots of time ignoring that there is a chance I won’t walk or talk one day, but then again…that could not be the case at all. I stay around people, and music….music seems to make me feel better. I adore it. It’s like it works the receptors in my brain that are malfunctioned. I was at a music business Christmas party last year, and almost had a horridly embarrassing episode, thank goodness for my friend Paul Diaz from Tree Sound saving me from humiliation, as well as at a festival I threw this summer, where I had to run from the sound booth and have a friend cover the stage as I went into a seizure backstage right in front of the acts.

A little to know about MS:

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Today, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by the disease. The body’s own defense system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. The nerve fibers themselves can also be damaged. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur. In rare cases MS is so malignantly progressive it is terminal, but most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life expectancy. Severe MS can shorten life. There is no cure at this time, and most people choosing to be medicated are highly medicated.

As for myself, I choose to not be medicated. I don’t want to spend my life on one pill after another. It’s a waste of life. I stay busy, exercise, do yoga, try to eat ok, etc. The only thing that I can’t avoid in life is stress,  very high issues with those of us with MS..it seems to make it worse. I don’t have massive attacks a lot, here and there embarrass myself forgetting words or getting sick all the time because of the immune system attacks. Basically my body is slowly destroying itself little by little. I no longer can play guitar or piano, and percussion is getting there. I dread the day when I can’t write or sing a song…something dear to me. So far though I am doing fine. I have these attacks that put me under, and suffer from exhaustion and pain. I am blessed because I can walk and talk..some of my friends can’t. I don’t pose this note for pitty, I try to avoid that. I just wish more artists and people would speak out.

I ask that all of you find an MS charity and give to it. Not enough is done for us. You can read more here:

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/

Kimberly (33 Posts)

Kimberly James is an artist, writer, and artist agent in the International, National, Local and Regional music market. Based out of Atlanta, Ga, she has worked with some of the biggest acts in the music industry as a touring agent, artist rep and does forums, book interviews, as well as radio interviews. She is a strong supporter of artists and songwriters and works diligently in the market to get the music out there.