This month is very near and dear to our hearts. March is MS awareness month. MS is short for Multiple Sclerosis (click link for definition), which is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Although this disease affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide (according to the national MS society), there is still no cure or answer to how the disease is contracted.
In 2012, my husband was diagnosed with MS while playing professional basketball in a small town outside of Istanbul, Turkey. Raising awareness and supporting research efforts is very important for us. Even though the disease is more common in white males, it is much more aggressive in black males (my husband). Chris is a father, husband, son, brother, uncle, basketball player, and much more. His disease does not define him or our family. Of course, we have tailored our lifestyle a little, but we do everything any "normal" family would do. He fights his disease daily and our family is right by his side each day fighting with him. I hope this posts reaches someone who may have MS, know someone who does, or simply gives someone hope.
|Chris and CJ (our son) practicing in the gym in Pesaro, Italy.|
|Chris and I in Istanbul, Turkey 2014. This was the first time he had been back since being diagnosed in 2012.|
|Chris doing a campaign for insurance in Israel because his disease was pre-existing.|
Since Chris has been diagnosed we have lived in three different states in the U.S., three different countries, and over a handful of cities. We have two wonderful children, a boy and girl, and a spunky little French Bulldog. One of Chris's main goals was to play in the NBA. Despite having MS he accomplished that goal. In 2013, he got called up during national MS week to the Dallas Mavericks. I say all this to because anything is possible. MS affects people in many different ways. Everyone has different symptoms and there are a few different types of medications patients take depending on their severity of their symptoms. So, everyone's lives are different. Everyone's fight is different, but that does not mean we cannot come together and spread hope, love, and awareness.
Having a great support system is very important and so far has worked well for us. Even though we travel nine months out of the year, Chris has an amazing doctor in our home town. Dr. Heidi Crayton is an amazing doctor. Both of our families are very supportive of us and our dreams. We've mapped out a plan for our family and are determined to see it through despite the MS.
For me, it is a learning process. It can sometimes be difficult when because MS is a disease where the symptoms are not always visible. There are moments of frustration and moments of anger, but don't we all have those moments with or without multiple sclerosis?
|Meeting a fellow MS fighter in Pesaro, Italy.|
Since it is the month of awareness, I encourage anyone to get involved. Involvement is such a big word and I don't mean to scare anyone off! Involvement can be familiarizing your self with the disease, offering to be a support system, joining in on many of the walks going on in March (I will post information below), or just simply donating a few dollars to one of the many MS foundations would be awesome.
From our family to yours, FIGHT MS! Sport some orange this month :).
|Chris getting his monthly infusion.|