Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world with 11 Canadians diagnosed every day.
The disease attacks the protective covering (myelin) of the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin in patches. When this happens, the usual flow of nerve impulses is interrupted or distorted. The result can be a wide array of symptoms, depending upon the part(s) of the central nervous system that are damaged. Symptoms can include dizziness/loss of balance, cognitive impairment, depression, fatigue, pain, heat intolerance, weakness and difficulty speaking.
Each person’s experience with MS can be different. Not all people with MS will experience all symptoms, and they can improve during periods of remission. Managing MS can differ from person to person, depending on their disease course, type of MS, symptoms, prior health status, and lifestyle. Life with MS can be challenging, and its effects have a significant impact on those with the disease, their loved ones and their caregivers.
Whether you have been recently diagnosed with MS or have been living with the disease for some time, the MS Society provides a great deal of information and resources to help manage daily and long-term challenges that MS may present. Their website is mssociety.ca
In the Comox Valley, a peer support group - The Day Trippers - meets monthly to share information and support each other through the tumultuous MS journey. A peer support group is an informal way to link people who share a common experience. The group’s goal is to provide and receive emotional support, and to share practical ideas for living with MS. No one knows more about the disease than those living with it.
If you or someone you know has MS and is interested in joining The Day Trippers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook group, CV MS Support Group, to get connected.