April 20, 2008

monday quiz: MS edition

emma kivisild is a writer and artist living in vancouver, and she guest stars this week in our monday quiz. take it away emma:

i have MS, a chronic illness that is notoriously variable, difficult to diagnose, hard to assess treatments for, etc. in addition, any MS patient can tell you about weird things that happen to them ("internal tingling," is one i have heard of) that they think might be, must be, related to their condition, but physicians tell them there is no reason why they should be MS related, ergo they are not. fact is, the things are still happening. what are they? the only thing to do is to go to other people with MS and ask them if they have experienced these weird things. we are all bodies of anecdotal evidence. as reliable as a short story anthology.

and then, everyone has a different constellation of symptoms, plus the symptoms come and go for most of us. why?

what i am getting at is this:

people with MS are ripe targets for almost any regimen or cure. there is always someone it worked for. there is no way to tell if that was what worked.

in the 15 or so years since my diagnosis, I have come across a few "miracle" cures.

which of the following is NOT a cure for MS?
snake venom
bee stings administered at acupuncture points
super blue-green algae
a strict paleolithic hunter/gatherer diet
removal of all dental fillings
massive doses of vitamin D
moxibustion candles
hyperbaric oxygen chamber
Free polls from Pollhost.com

thank you, emma, for a great quiz. so many symptoms, so many choices!

check out emma's
book two ends of sleep, a novel that describes the "difficulty of a life lived between waking and dozing" - a life lived with MS. and read her piece in body breakdowns, "a collection of true tales about brushes with mortality and the medical establishment."

finally, emma recommends this link at health watcher as a good source of information about the myths and misinformation behind MS "cures" and such.

april 28: emma posted the answer to this quiz along with an explanation of why she chose a certain substance as the only thing not suggested as an MS cure. you'll find it in the comments section.


Diane J Standiford said...

Ah, simple answer--NONE are a cure for MS, no empirical evidence even claims any HELP MS, other than as a placebo. True post, though, due to the mystery and come/go nature of MS, even MAJOR drug companies are making BILLIONS from drugs that may/could/might/posible/fill in the word that does NOT mean WILL, slow the progression(which is different in each body, so no way to know) and once ethical doctors are making money from the inability to prove any drug changed anything that may or may not have changed (good or bad) all by itself.

Donimo said...

I knew that MS had different symptoms and sometimes went into a sort of remission, but I hadn't thought how that would impact how drugs are marketed to people. That's intense.

Thanks for your comment and for furthering my education. There's so much to learn.

Lauren said...

I have had MS for 10 years now and have heard most of the things listed. I suspect that the cognac is a remedy against all the suggested cures given over the years!

I wonder if Emma has been hounded by people who have heard about the MS cure by Noel Batten? He claims that MS is the "greatest medical mistake" and is just an "advanced response to stress that can be overcome in a short amount of time". Can you believe this shit? Pardon my French.

I really liked the quiz and I'm glad I've found your blog, it's very funny.

Anonymous said...

Do we get the answer today? I really think it's the cognac. I couldn't find anything on the net about the curative effects of the drink. Although I would understand the NEED for it given all the pressure to just GET WELL. I looked up that Batten guy and his easy cure. JOKE.

emma said...

the answer:

yes, the only thing on this list that is NOT an advertised MS treatment is cognac. I picked it because it seems parallel to marijuana in my world — people who are into it think it cures everything. as I write, I bet there are people thinking they might try it now. also, like pot it has an enjoyment factor that injecting yourself with snake venom does not. I have been thinking that if I had chosen ‘absinthe’ for this list, it would have thrown more people off. more suitably obscure.

as a footnote, right after I posted this list, a trades person came over to fix something in my house, and HE launched into the heavy metal detox, which solved his child’s ADD and he thinks probably works for MS. very possibly. heavy metals can’t be good, whatever they are.

Donimo said...

ah, i see the method to your quiz madness, emma. cognac is MUCH more pleasant than snake venom... or bee stings, or blue-green algae, for that matter.

this has been a very interesting quiz for me because allowed me a glimpse into the lives of those who have MS. i hadn't thought about how the on again/off again symptoms and the individual nature of the disease would lead both complementary medicine and drug companies to target people with MS in so many ways.

thanks to everyone for your comments!

sarah said...

emma, i think if you listen to enough iron maiden you will be cured. hee hee.

FridaWrites said...

I picked cognac, I picked cognac!!

ChronicChick said...

I needed a good laugh on a Monday.