Dealing with MS: My Family's Journey

I was only five-years-old when my dad was diagnosed with MS. I remember this day was so clearly, like it happened yesterday. I got up. It was a Saturday morning, and I got up out of bed it was kind of early. I stumbled out into the hallway had to go to the bathroom and i walked into the bathroom and there was a man there and he was kind of kneeling down and he looked like he was talking into a walkie talkie or radio or something and then there was somebody else lying on the floor."

The man on the floor was my dad.

My mom came home and she sat down with us kids and tried to explain to us that my dad had had some kind of attack. They weren't sure what had happened yet, but he was feeling very dizzy and he didn't feel well. He fell over and she had to call the ambulance that morning.

You know as a kid you kind of shrug it off like off he's just sick and he's going to come back. It wasn't until I was a little bit older that i understood he had had his first ms attack.

Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a disease that essentially lead the body to attacks itself, specifically the central nervous system- making communication between the brain and other parts of the body difficult. MS is often physically or mentally disabling to patients. My dad has some physical symptoms including blurred vision, slurred speech and dizziness; but the majority of his problems are cognitive.

'I knew it was going to be a life long condition i just didn't know how it was going to affect, affect my life as my life went on,” my dad, Clay Schilder explains.

Ten years after his diagnosis he was forced to leave his job.

"The doctors said no.. I don't think it's a good idea for you to go back to work and that's kind of hard to take. You feel like everything you have dreamt about in the years previous has been taken away from you and to have that all taken away is. That's very disarming."

Sadly, my dad is at the stage where he can no longer be left at home alone.

"I guess i don't know why I have this, but it's in God's plans, so i guess it's just for me to take”, he says.

It's scary because there's so little known about MS and what it could do- because it does affect the central nervous system which is responsible for making sure your heart beat. I know it could kill him.

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