Jack Osbourne & MS: The Condition That Turns Fathers Into Sons

Jack Osbourne has revealed that he has MS, a condition that struck my Father in his mid-20s. My advice would be to make every day count...
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Jack Osbourne has revealed that he has MS, a condition that struck my Father in his mid-20s. My advice would be to make every day count...

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Jack Osborne has recently become one of only a few celebrities to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  It seems as though the disease has caught him where it catches most people, in their prime between the ages of 20-30's.

My dad along with many others in the UK was diagnosed at a similar age, so what is it?

MS is a disease that wears away a material called myelin sheath; this material insulates the signals sent through your nerves to your muscles. So in effect the signals begin to stop going through or go through sporadically. There are different kinds of MS such as relapse and remitting, this is where symptoms get worse during a relapse and improve during remission. Progressive MS is the kind my dad suffers from, this is where symptoms get worse and worse over time…walking stick, crutches, wheelchair. There is no known cause and no cure.

Awareness of the disease is frustratingly low even though around 100,000 people suffer from it in the UK. So what are the Jack and the Osborne's facing?

The father son roles are blurred and I often find myself more affected by seeing someone else suffering from MS

Quite bluntly it has the ability to beat down the most optimistic of people in its own silently destructive way. It can turn boys into men and men into boys, wives and husbands into robotic saints. Frustration and depression are by products of the physical debilitation and quite often it’s the psychological damage of the sufferer that has the greater impact on the family. Seeing a loved one fall down and picking them up is understandable and tangible but it's hard to visualise someone's mind falling down a pit. My dad often struggles to derive joy from the things he should and can enjoy still, tangled up in the web of MS means his mind is elsewhere. The father son roles are blurred and I often find myself more affected by seeing someone else suffering from MS, this is bizarre to me but probably a result of the emotional distancing that family members have to give themselves.

Jack and his family will have to deal with all of this in the public eye. Some aspects will be easier for them, a spacious house and carers when needed will make a difference but instances such as this money will have little to no benefit. Some people can lead normal lives with MS and only suffer occasionally and I really hope this will be the case for Jack Osborne as he is clearly someone who enjoys the physical aspects of life. His fiancée has recently given birth and he has strong family support which will be needed in the coming years.

Even from someone who has been indirectly affected by the disease understanding what a sufferer is going through is near impossible. This is perhaps why they often seek refuge on forums and chat rooms with other sufferers of MS, some of which have no one. This can be somewhat beneficial but what I will state is that family members are the ones who understand the sufferer's individual situation; isolation from them isn't the answer.

My view on the disease is that if tomorrow was going to be worse than today then I would make today count. Jack Osborne is someone who appears to live life to the full and I really hope he continues to do so whilst learning to live with MS.

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