Brittany Quiroz aka “A HOT MS”, 34, Multiple Sclerosis
How would you explain Multiple Sclerosis to a child?
I remember clearly like it was yesterday explaining what multiple sclerosis was to my two step kids when they were 7 and 8 years old. I sat them down and explained that MS is sort of like living in a body similar to a computer that is not working quite right. I explained that my neurological system or “body’s computer” sometimes malfunctions. That my neurological system controls a lot of how my body operates. So sometimes my system may not be at its best leaving me really tired, in pain at times, confused and may even affect my mobility or how I walk. I knew I wanted them to be more educated than afraid. I truly believe confidence changes how a child walks through life. By allowing them to be a part of my diagnosis and ask whatever questions they want, it allows them to have more confidence and not fear what they can’t understand.
What would you want the world to know about Multiple Sclerosis?
I’d love the world to know that a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence. There’s so much negative stigma that comes with a disability diagnosis I believe because of the overall “unknown” behind it all. People fear what they don’t understand. Knowledge and awareness is a strength and power I think a lot of people underestimate. By widening perception and changing the way we view disability- less fear can be housed in a space of knowledge and confidence.
What does it feel like to live with Multiple Sclerosis?
Living with MS I believe truly gives you a better sense of all the things you are truly capable of overcoming but never thought you could to begin with. It has given me a better sense of self awareness and has allowed me to find value in the most challenging parts of life. Fear is inevitable, but our reaction to it is believe it or not, a DECISION. But everyday with MS is a bit different. Some days are more smooth than others. It has given me the gift of flexibility. To be able to adapt fast and go with the flow. Which for me was a huge adjustment as I like to map out my day and life quite a bit. It’s given me the ability to be able to “chameleon-ize” myself in any situation to better adapt.
What brings you joy?
I think life is what you perceive it to be. If you only focus on the negative, that’s all you will be able to see. If you observe the takeaways and value, I think that is a far better experience to carry through life. I find joy in creating. I would not be authentic to myself if i didn’t act on being an artist everyday. Whether it be through my writing, speaking, advocacy work, painting, songwriting or whatever new creative and artist thing I decide to try. I’ll try anything twice. But for me honestly the most joy I’ve found through being in the disability and MS community is the power of community. Don’t underestimate people in the fox hole in numbers, because we are relentless and intrepidity is our vibe.