The good news is that multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence. The bad news is that, as the disease progresses, it can gradually affect your quality of life. We’re going to take a closer look at just one of the many debilitating symptoms of MS that crops up as the disease progresses. We will consider the effects that paralysis can have on your quality of life, but also offer comfort and hope that your life hasn’t ended simply because you can’t do everything you once did.
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Researchers wanted to learn what the most debilitating MS symptoms were according to patients. This is important because it allows researchers to focus the symptoms of the condition that are having the greatest impact on a person’s quality of life. The results of the study were published under the title “The disease burden of Multiple Sclerosis from the individual and population perspective: Which symptoms matter most?” Paralysis ranked number two (behind muscle rigidity), reducing patients’ quality of life by an average of 8.7 points using the EQ-5D index. What does that mean?
In short, it means that you are not the only person with MS who is experiencing the effects of paralysis. Among patients around the world, this is one of the symptoms that cause the greatest effect on how a person lives from day to day. Why is it so important that research like this is being performed?
To begin with, it is nice to realize that you are not alone in what you are coping with. If there are others, hundreds of thousands of others, who know what you are going through, then you can take comfort in knowing that people wake up and are productive every day in a similar situation to you. Plus, it can be a comfort to know that researchers are specifically targeting the primary things that are affecting your quality of life to search for better solutions.
But even with all of these positive things in mind, it can still be a daily struggle when you are in the midst of dealing with the effects of paralysis, so how can you start to get your life back?
The first thing you have to do is recognize the effects that your paralysis has on your life. This is not an exercise in negative thinking, but rather a part of the acceptance that you may not be able to do everything you once did, or at least not in the same way.
Take, for example, the experience of Chelsie Hill. While she became paralyzed due to a poor decision as a teenager rather a debilitating disease, she still had to learn to deal with the effects. She had to accept that she could no longer dance, at least not the way she did before. But seeing her continue to take part in the activity that she loves, despite being confined to a wheelchair, is really inspirational for others.
So I have a question for you. What did you love to do before the paralysis that you can’t do anymore? Maybe it is about finding a creative way to continue doing what you love, rather than giving it up as lost.
Of course, not everyone will be able to continue enjoying the activities they did before dealing with paralysis. Maybe, like Chelsie, you once loved to dance. However, the idea of dancing in a wheelchair may not provide any enjoyment for you. Look at this as an opportunity. There may be a hundred other activities that you can love as much as dancing, but you may never have tried to find them if you could still dance. Depending on the type and degree of your paralysis, there are many different artistic forms of expression or hobbies that you can try. This may even be an opportunity to draw closer to a loved one if you need assistance in order to take part in a new hobby or activity.
Having someone say, “You can do it!” is one thing. Seeing someone in a similar situation who already has done it is another. That is why many people who have become successful despite dealing with paralysis have become public speakers or in other ways reached out to help the community. If you think a person who is successfully dealing with paralysis no longer feels a sense of loss or struggles with depression simply because he or she has now become successful, think again. Loss is loss, no matter how well you cope with it. Paralysis leads to grieving, sadness, and bouts of depression no matter how well you deal with it.
But it can also lead to a greater sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you conquer your ailment and know that you are an inspiration to others by doing so.
You are not alone. Your life has meaning. You can still thrive despite dealing with paralysis. That is what this site is all about. So be sure to check the blog regularly to learn new and exciting ways that you can thrive with paralysis. We will share inspirational stories, provide suggestions for ways to grow within your new circumstances, and even offer spiritual comfort. We look forward to helping you, your family, and your caregivers to succeed.
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