According to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”
Did you get all that? Good me neither.
The simplest way I can describe it is to use an analogy of maintaining paved highways. Everyone’s brain has these awesome nerve highways. It’s really a marvelous thing. The nerve highways send signals all over our bodies to make all the awesome stuff happen like blinking your eyes, walking, talking, shaking hands, holding your baby, kissing your partner, etc.
With age, healthy brains will eventually start to get some potholes and experience normal wear and tear. A brain with MS, like mine, has started to get run-down a lot earlier and maintaining those potholes becomes an issue. Depending on the stage, those potholes become way too big to be fixed and you lose the ability to do all the awesome stuff. At the RRMS stage, however the disease can be managed very successfully with lifestyle changes and/or medication. I currently have chosen “farm” over “pharma” as well as made a bunch of other small and magnificent life changes. I’ve seen some immediate positive impact and don’t plan on letting that change!