In September 1995, my mom was diagnosed with MS. I was in 6th grade and remember visiting her in the hospital after her back surgery and almost fainting from the smell (to this day I am still not good in hospitals). The disease progressed over the years and I remember two years later finding out she would not be able to chaperone my class trip to Washington, D.C., like she had hoped. I think that's when it hit me that life was going to be different. Since then, she and our entire family have had to learn how to live with MS.
My mom lives with chronic symptoms, but she never complains. Because she never complains, I don't know exactly what all she experiences, but I think she deals with fatigue, pain in both knees, muscle spasms, vision loss, tingling in her left leg, and weakness in her left arm/leg. It is difficult for her to walk, but she is still on her feet daily (and all her grandchildren love her walker). She gives herself a shot every night in hopes it might help slow the progression. (Mom, we know you're strong, but you can totally complain if you want. I know I would.)
In 2003 I walked in my first MS Walk. I walked by myself because the event just so happened to start on the path behind my college apartment and I wanted to check it out. The next year, a few friends and family joined me. Since then, my sister (the firstborn, type A) has organized a team each year, and friends and family have traveled sometimes up to four hours to join us in our annual walk. It's awesome to gather together once a year to show our support for my mom and help fight for a better future. I wish the disease did not exist, but I do look forward to the event every May. Team Plain Jane was 33 members strong this past weekend!