Thursday, December 9, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis and Reality TV Part 1

The following will build to an unmitigated rant so if you have a weak stomach or are sitting next to a small child move on to the next blog. No wait, don’t do that, please! Just let me vent because I don’t do it often and sometimes I really need to. Tell yourself that by reading this you are stopping me from driving a busload of kittens and bunnies over a cliff while eating far too much chocolate.

Please explain to me what feels like a sudden onslaught of women on reality TV who have MS and use it as an excuse for their bad, irresponsible, stupid (and sometimes illegal) behavior.

Let’s start with the mother on the show Downsized. I have no doubt this woman has MS but she seems to be playing as fast and loose with her treatment and understanding of the disease as she did with her finances (hence bankruptcy and 2 foreclosures). Don’t get me wrong- I have a modicum of sympathy for her situation because lots of people bought on credit and now it sucks to be them. But in all the episodes and discussions of her MS- including an entire episode about her MRI –she makes no mention of taking any of the disease modifying drugs despite having health insurance. Instead the only mention of any treatment she makes is that she MUST drink lots of Starbucks coffee to keep the fatigue away. WTF? Yes, fatigue is a big part of MS but there are drugs (that only cost $25 or less a month) specifically to treat fatigue and Starbucks ain’t one of them. Any legitimate neurologist (or PCP) has to have told her that caffeine is a stimulant that can cause more damage for people with CNS disorders because it stimulates your system temporarily. Then you crash. IT IS NOT A SOLUTION FOR MS. 

Oh and the fact that this woman does nothing more for her MS then get MRIs every 6 months is highly specious. Does she think she's serving the MS community by not talking about injections? Because they're painful and have unpleasant side effects? It's ludicrous, insulting and incredibly irresponsible. The drugs suck but they are the only options out there so you take them. Instead, she runs around being thin and tan making a difficult to understand disease more confusing to anyone watching. It's NOT fun, it's NOT without its effects, and even if you are wearing shorty shorts and tank tops and refusing to take drugs it is working it's way through your brain and spinal cord.

Deep breath. I’m going to take a Xanax and come back to this later.

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