HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — May 31 is World MS Day. Multiple sclerosis affects more than 400,000 people in the United States alone.
It’s a disease you’ve probably heard of, but many people don’t know much about it. Brianna Moss said she was the same way when she was diagnosed six years ago, but now she says knowledge is power and that’s why she’s speaking out about MS.
“I have to do everything perfect. I like to do everything the best,” Brianna said.
She’s mom to 10-year-old Sean and 9-month-old Shannon. The baby girl completed the Moss family last year, but it was more than six years ago, at age 29, that Brianna first considered having a second baby.
“Then I was diagnosed and everything came to a screeching halt,” Brianna said.
After nine months of testing, doctors discovered Brianna has multiple sclerosis.
“With MS, you have your good days and you have your bad days,” Brianna said.
On the outside, she looks like any other mom, but MS is a serious disease. It can leave people with fatigue, tingling and numbness, muscle weakness, balance issues and vision problems.
“It can stop dead in your tracks and that’s the thing. It can, but if you let it, then it’s won. And I’m very competitive too and I didn’t want it to win,” Brianna said.
That’s why after much research, thought and prayer Brianna and her husband Brandon, decided to have another baby, despite the disease.
“I had to go off my medication, which was very scary, because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Brianna said.
Now a healthy family of four, Brianna wants to be a positive example of those living with MS and continue to educate the community about the disease.
“For a while, I didn’t say anything, but now I want to. And my goal is just, even if I can help one person, and they can say she did it. I can do it too. As far as getting pregnant, having a child, and being ok,” Brianna said. “It’s not a death sentence, you shouldn’t be judged differently in your work place, you can still do all of the things that normal people can, it’s just different for us.”
There is no single “MS Test.” A diagnosis usually requires a number of tests and exams and a close look at the patient’s medical history. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with MS compared to men and diagnoses usually occur between the ages of 20 and 40. It is not an inherited disorder, but some researchers believe there may be a genetic predisposition to developing the disease. Also, those with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and inflammatory bowel disease are at a slightly increased risk of having MS.
The disease is also a costly one to treat. It ranks second only to congestive heart failure in terms of costliness ranging from $8,500 to $54,000 per year.