Mom’s Story; A Child Learns About MS tells the story of a young girl who sees her mother with some frightening health problems and learns she has MS but she will not die from it. This book is a compassionate, accessible and easy to understand account of symptoms, search for help, diagnosis and adaptation to this heart-wrenching disease. Amy fears the worst, which is common when one is confronted by the unknown. Her best friend, Kayla, doesn’t quite understand why Amy is so worried. Amy’s older sister, Kelly is concerned and does her best to help, while older brother, Tony, tries to deny the whole situation. Information is the key to allaying much of her fear along with understanding from parents, adult friends and her older sister.
In the United States today, there are approximately 400,000 people with multiple sclerosis (MS)—with 200 more people diagnosed every week. Worldwide, MS is thought to affect more than 2.5 million people.
This book is about MS, but it’s also about much more. Families are challenged everyday by disease, accidents, financial woes, drug abuse and just about any imaginable disaster. The underlying message is finding help, especially through information. Information can be obtained from many different kinds of reputable sources. Health care professionals, financial professionals and social workers can be helpful. The internet is a vast resource if used wisely. Libraries contain vast amounts of information and resources to help with almost any problem.
Mom’s Story attempts to put into words the emotions of a child, or anyone, who is living with or close to someone who is experiencing the symptoms of MS. The symptoms can be frightening and frustrating or they might be subtle or missed completely. Some people don’t know they have MS because the symptoms are mild and only cause a little inconvenience from time to time. These people usually chalk these symptoms up to a cold, the flu or just a stiff muscle. Physicians sometimes don’t diagnose the disease at this level because the symptoms are mild, infrequent and seem to exhibit no set pattern. It is only when symptoms have a repeated effect on the patient’s quality of life or they last for an extended period of time that physicians begin to look for an underlying cause.
With the coming of the MRI, MS diagnosis has become more reliable. Though there are other demyelinating diseases, MS can be diagnosed with some certainty if other known symptoms and signs are presented. Other tests, including evoked potentials, lumbar puncture, and visual tests, are also given. MS diagnosis is most often arrived at by a process of elimination because several other maladies mimic MS, or vise versa.
This book is not meant to assist in the diagnosis of the disease or substitute for consultation with a physician. If anything, this book can help families be aware of the possible emotional toll the disease can take on family members and some of the ways it will manifest itself. It provides an up-to-date list of resources on MS that can supplement but not replace information from a health care professional.
Anyone with MS or who knows someone with MS will want this book. Readers of all ages will find a compelling story of a family forced to confront this chronic disease for which there is no cure. They will gain an understanding of MS, who gets it, how the disease is diagnosed, the various forms of MS and listings of material and organizations available to assist families in the fight against MS.
Mary Jo Nickum has had MS for 30 years. Currently a magazine editor and freelance writer, she lives with her husband in Fountain Hills, Arizona, and has two grown sons. This is her first book for children and their families. Visit her website www.marynickum.com.
Ten percent of the net proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.