So, maybe this title seems a little weird. Hear me out.
Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day, and strike/wear red/be conscious about spending choices to support “A Day Without a Woman.”
So, what does this have to do with MS?
Being a woman in general has “a lot to do” with MS, and many other auto-immune and immune-mediated conditions.
Did you know that MS affects women disproportionately compared to men? According to the National MS Society, MS is more common in women than in men, and recent studies have suggested that the female-to-male ratio may be as high as three or four to one.
Most people are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS between the ages of 20-50, but the average age of diagnosis is right around 30.
Putting the pieces together, being a 29 year old woman seems to put me right at the top of the curve of what a newly-diagnosed person would look like (not physically, statistically!) and would explain why my neurologists seemed less shocked about my diagnosis than I first did.
Sure, I had heard of MS before in my life, but in no way had ANY idea that I was *clears throat* a POSTER child. I’ve literally been a poster child for other things before (proof is on my parent’s basement wall), but MS was not one I was particularly working hard on. Way to overachieve, huh?
But, knowing those statistics beforehand surely would have made the initial blow of my diagnosis a lot easier to bear. So now, when I tell people I have MS and they make the same face I did a couple months ago, I can lay on the facts. And maybe, one person at a time, we can bring some visibility to an invisible condition that is predominantly diagnosed in young women.
MAJOR, MAJOR shout-out to the badass women I know who are living life to the fullest with chronic conditions/illnesses and proving to the world that your life is yours to live. You have inspired me and encouraged me in ways you may never know.