FAIRMONT — The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) movement works toward addressing the challenges of today and looking for solutions tomorrow through awareness.
“Together we are stronger when it comes to increasing awareness and support to create a world free of MS,” nationalmssociety.org said.
Monongah resident and local author Lisa McCombs continues her personal campaign to support research and raise awareness not only this week, National MS Awareness Week, but every day.
In addition to being an author who writes about the illness after personally being affected by the disease, McCombs has re-instated a Marion County Multiple Sclerosis Self-Help Group.
“We meet the first Thursday of each month at Life United Methodist Church on Mary Lou Retton Drive,” she said. “Our next meeting is Thursday (April 6) at 11 a.m. ... The last meeting of the year will be June 1.”
When she was diagnosed in 2001, McCombs said she attended two support group meetings that left her terrified.
“The people there were beyond friendly, and I know it was a safe and loving atmosphere, but I was not ready to see the realities of the advanced stages of the disease,” she said. “When the National Multiple Sclerosis Society advertised training for group facilitators, I realized how important this type of support for any disease/condition is, so I agreed to go through the training and become an official facilitator for NMSS.”
McCombs said caregivers, friends and family members are all welcome to attend the Marion County support group.
“My goal in the Marion County MS Support Group is to offer a safe, friendly, positive environment for those who attend,” she said. “A Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis is frightening, and the more support society can offer its warriors, the better.
“So in group we talk about our personal journey, our successes, how we fight fatigue and cog(nitive) fog, what works and does not work for us. We reach out to others with MS and who are not able to make it to meetings. It is reassuring to connect with other MS warriors.”
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), more than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide. Although it affects many, McCombs said MS is often an invisible disease.
“There are many misconceptions associated with MS that society, and even medical professionals, do not understand,” McCombs said on why awareness is important. “The more we educate ourselves, the better we can offer legitimate support for individuals living with chronic disease.”
McCombs said it is important for people to know that Multiple Sclerosis cannot kill its victims, but the complications directly related to MS can.
“Multiple Sclerosis is an attack on the nervous and immune systems and is not related to MD (muscular dystrophy), a condition of the muscular system,” she said. “There is no cure, but there are many disease-modifying treatments on the market (many of them still in the experimental stage.) Once diagnosed, our personal priorities often take a drastic change, altering relationships and redirecting life choices. We are the same person, but facing life with a different mind set.”
She added that no two people with MS are affected the same.
“The four known courses that MS can take are relapsing-remitting (RRMS), secondary-progressive (SPMS), primary-progressive (PPMS) and progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS),” McCombs said.
It is important to be patient, open-minded and understanding of the disease.
“There are so many hidden and embarrassing issues associated with MS that get in the way of a normal conversation about the disease,” she said. “Life totally changes for the person diagnosed with MS. Prior to diagnosis, I walked five miles three times a week and I exercised regularly. That is the thing of the past.”
McCombs’ MS blog can be found at lisa-mccombs.blogspot.com.
“(It) is my attempt to relate, associate and share with other MS warriors, while airing my own dirty laundry,” she said. “Since March is officially Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, I post a blog every day for every day of the month. I invite interaction from viewers and share my own journey.
“A personal goal is to sign on 25 more official followers this month. If this happens, I will personally make a monetary donation to NMSS on top of the donation I make from the sale of my book ‘I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?’ The main focus of the blog is my multiple sclerosis, but a reader will also find information about my other publications, events occurring around the state related to both publishing and MS and engaging suggestions from readers. I suppose my blog is my personal outlet in dealing with this life-altering disease.”
To donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or to volunteer to work MS events around the state visit, nationalmssociety.org.

Yee-ha, I am a celebrity...No, I am not. I am only one 
of thousands of messengers trying to pass on the word. 
Trying to "get 'er done." YOU are the celebrity. 
I recently asked that my readers officially follow this blog. In
attempting to add eyes and ears to my word,
 my goal is to add 25 followers. The 25th addition will be 
awarded a copy of my book I Have MS. What's Your Super
Power? I wish I could give a copy to everyone, but sadly, 
starving artist and all, this is not possible.

You can make a donation to NMSS by purchasing a book, a
portion of the sales is donated to NMSS when you order 
from me. I even pay the postage.
Price: $12.95
Contact me here or at LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com.
Not heard of my book? Check it out on one of the following:
Just move,
Lisa