Interview With My dad

August 2, 2012
When I was one and a half, my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which is a disease of the central nervous system. Now, twelve years later, I have decided to interview him to find out his opinions on questions about MS that have been on my mind lately.

Q: What have you found to be the biggest struggle that has come from having MS?
A: The biggest struggle with having MS is trying to explain to everyone that my body cannot easily perform simple tasks that are normally taken for granted . For example, I have trouble putting on my shoes by myself and often have difficulty maneuvering through public places like restaurants or stores with my scooter because of objects blocking my path.

Q: How long before you were diagnosed had you noticed symptoms of MS?
A: I had symptoms of MS for about a year or two before I was diagnosed which I mistook for common aches and pains.

Q: What do you miss the most that has been taken away because of MS?
A: Easily, being able to walk without a scooter or a walker.

Q: Do you remember the day you were diagnosed?
A: Yes, about three years after my first symptoms were occurring, I went to the doctor because my right eye was very blurry and I was having trouble seeing out of it. My doctor informed me that I had MS and there was currently no cure and did not know of any way to repair my vision.

Q: Do you believe a cure will be discovered anytime soon?
A: Yes! It seems that there are lots of new drugs coming out every year and some actually seem to make a significant impact on people with MS.

Q: Is there anyone that inspires you to keep fighting MS?
A: Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s Disease, which is somewhat similar to MS. He continuously spreads his message about fighting the disease on TV and works hard to raise money to find the cure to Parkinson’s Disease.

Q: Has MS changed your life?
A: MS has totally changed my life. I have had to find new ways to do everything from bathing to driving.

Q: Had you ever heard of MS before you were diagnosed?
A: I had heard of MS before but never fully understood what exactly it was or what it could do to your body.

Q: How much time passed between the time you were diagnosed and when you first started using a scooter to travel around?
A: It generally got worse it steps, so at first I was able to walk fine and then a year later I needed a cane. A year later, I needed a walker. About three years from the day I was diagnosed, I got my first scooter. It has never drastically improved since then and has gotten noticeably worse to the point where I can not stand up, even for a few seconds, unless I am leaning against a wall. I have been in a scooter ever since and I have to keep one inside the house as well.

Q: What is the worst physical side-effect of MS?
A: The worst side-effect is the pain I get in my muscles sometimes even when I am sleeping.

Q: What is the worst emotional side-effect of MS?
A: The worst emotional side-effect is depression because now everyday things like getting dressed which used to take two minutes can take at least ten minutes, on a good day.

Q: How does it make you feel to see people supporting the search for a cure by participating in MS walks or donating money to the cause?
A: It makes me feel great to know that I have people on my side.

Q: Do you have any ideas about what might cause MS?
A: I have no clue to be honest. I have heard everything from tobacco fields to sunlight.

Q: Do you feel that our family is supportive of you?
A: You are very supportive. You go to all of the MS fundraising events and have your own MS walk teams every year to raise money.

Q: Do you wish we would do anything different to help you out?
A: I wish you would better understand how difficult some things that you take for granted are for me. Even things like leaving the dog’s toys on the carpet can cause my scooter to get stuck and when nobody else is home, it can be a very tricky situation to get out of.

Q: How big of an impact do you think MS has had on our family?
A: A very big impact. When I am unable to teach you and your sister how to learn some tricks for softball or play mini-golf with you, I get really angry. When that happens, you start to think I am yelling at you but really I am angry at MS for taking away some good memories I could have had with my family.

Q: Do you think people understand how difficult living with MS can be?
A: Not at all. I had to invent a new way to do practically everything like while I am grocery shopping, I have to balance all of the groceries on my scooter and in my arms. A lady walked by once, looked at my scooter, laughed and continued on her way, knocking some things out of my arms on her way. I have gotten some weird looks when I had to put the mail in my shirt because I was unable to hold it. I think that getting more people to understand what MS is will help people like me since more people would have an idea of what I am going through and will be more understanding.

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