MuckFest: Getting Dirty for a Cause

Recently I came in to contact with someone from #MuckFestMS. I had heard about it before, and it looked like a lot of fun, but I was always telling myself I wouldn’t be able to complete it.

It’s a 5K-obstacle course/mud run that raises money for MS. I decided to ask more about it and how it works… Turns out its designed so that people with all levels of fitness can take part, and you can also skip certain obstacles if need be.

I haven’t done anything that required a lot of strength and endurance since my diagnosis, because I feel like just getting through the day sometimes wipes me completely out. However, I told myself no more.

I’m no longer going to let my MS run my life. Even if I can’t complete the 5K, I can at least say I tried and I did my best. I know not everyone with MS is even able to consider doing this, and my heart goes out to each and every one of you. So I’m not only going to be trying to conquer MuckFest in Dallas for me… I’m doing it for all of us.

I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am today without my followers. I can’t even begin to explain the strength y’all have given me. I save your kind words and words of encouragement and go back to read them when I’m feeling down.

So, I’m looking forward to getting dirty (no pun intended) for MS. Luckily, my husband is doing it with me, so just having that knowledge I feel will help me along.

Now, who wants to do the 5K with me?? Because guess what… you can enter to win a free merchandise to wear when you attend #MuckFestMS with me in Dallas on September 29th! To enter in the contest, all you have to do is comment. I’m taking comments from my blog and from social media and will announce the winner in two weeks!

If you don’t win, don’t worry! You can still sign up using my special discount code: MUCKASHLEY. That gives you$20 off registration 😊

Just think y’all, this is an event where we will look normal stumbling around.

If you can’t compete at this time, please don’t let that stop you from attending a great cause to cheer people on, or from donating to the National MS Society!

Read more about MuckFest by clicking here.

For more information about the 2018 Dallas MuckFest, click here.

You can also check out the obstacles beforehand… gotta love the names of them. View Obstacles

PS: I just read on the site… you get a free beer…. I’m just going to throw that out there…. #MuckYeah



EMPOWER Study for Multiple Sclerosis

Recently, you have probably seen posts about a MS Blood Test Study in my blog as well as on Social Media, if you missed the original blog post, click here.

I’m doing a follow up article talking about my experience participating in the EMPOWER study and just how easy it was to help make a difference with MS Research. I know some people out there don’t want to be ‘guinea pigs’ on clinical trials… However, this is one where you aren’t taking any medication.

The process all runs very quickly and smoothly, also the company running the study, DxTerity, has multiple tools to help you along the way and stay in communication.

If you haven’t signed up for the clinical trial yet, you can still do so by clicking here.

I can honestly say that this is probably the easiest study I have ever been a part of. It took about 5-10 minutes to complete, all from the comfort of my home. If you have ever tested your blood sugar, this study is very similar.

Basically, I just had to prick my finger, let drops of blood go into the tube, then close it all up, then you just mail it back in the pre-paid shipping box. Even better, you get $50 for your participation as well!


We all want to help out with breakthrough findings in Multiple Sclerosis, and by taking part in this EMPOWER study; you will be helping that process.

The goal of this study is to try and create a blood test to help monitor our disease activity and treatment response for those diagnosed with MS.

For more information on the EMPOWER study and how to sign up, click here.

Wishing all of you the best,

Ashley Ringstaff

Join an MS study from the comfort of home. Receive $50 for your time.

Are you interested in helping advance research for MS but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Taking part in a research study for MS can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

A new at-home study called EMPOWER (Evaluating Multiple Sclerosis Patients ShOWing A GEnomic Signature of Therapy Response) is seeking volunteers with MS nationwide to better understand how MS affects the body. The goal of the study is to develop a blood test to help monitor disease activity and treatment response for people diagnosed with MS. The study is being conducted by DxTerity, a genomics company developing tests to better manage autoimmune diseases.

Do I Qualify?

If you’re 18 years of age or older and have been diagnosed with MS (any type), you qualify.

Why Should I Take Part?

EMPOWER is an at-home study that can be completed in your free time. All you need to do is sign up online and a study kit will be mailed to your home.

What’s Next?

Follow the instructions in the fingerstick blood collection kit to collect a few drops of your blood (much like at-home glucose monitoring). Mail your sample to the research lab using the prepaid envelope.

When you’re done, log in to the secure study portal and complete a short survey online. You will be compensated $50 for your complete study participation, which you can keep or tell DxTerity donate to an MS charity of your choice. That’s it!

Ready to make a difference in MS research? I know I am. Click here to get started.

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#KickMS – What I CAN DO

Bottom line, Multiple Sclerosis is a game changer; at least it was for me. I didn’t know a whole lot about it and what to expect; I didn’t know how it would impact my day-to-day life. Usually when speaking about MS, or reading about MS… you hear a lot of the worst case scenarios, or you see all the pictures of people using assistive devices, and think that is going to be you. Yes, there are people with MS that are in wheelchairs, etc. But there are also large amounts of people that have a more ‘invisible illness’ aspect of it; where you can feel it, but others can’t see it. I’ve dealt with both spectrums of this, BTW.

Due to MS, I have trouble with fatigue, spasms, etc. What you don’t hear a lot about is what you CAN DO despite having Multiple Sclerosis. So I wanted to take this time to share some things that MS cannot take away from me.

I can still go outdoors, in the heat… (Mind you I live in Central Texas). It may not be like I used to or as long, but I CAN DO it still. Making small modifications and just being self aware of when it is too much. Making sure I stay hydrated and have cooling equipment near by, or a place to go inside with A/C. To see a blog of mine about dealing w/ heat & MS – click here.

I can still enjoy outings with my kids. As a parent, you don’t want to be the reason your kids cannot go out and do fun things, especially something that requires a lot of walking. I CAN DO this, just with modifications. Making sure I rest before the outing. Plan to take breaks, have someone with me to help out if needed. Knowing my limit… I feel like that is the most important thing I learned. As long as I don’t push myself past my ‘limit’, I feel like I can still do things that I did pre-MS. I also take with me a water bottle, which I put ice water in. The water bottle has a mister & fan on it as well.

I CAN DO whatever I set my mind to. It doesn’t have to be a physical task that I’m speaking about either. I can still read books… it might take me a bit longer than it used to, but I CAN DO it. It’s something I enjoy and helps me get away from my worries and current issues that I might be going through.

I’ve learned that I can at least try to do things; and if I fail… at least I tried. I am a very stubborn person and I don’t like being told that I can’t do certain things, or that I need to sit down and watch people have fun. Don’t get me wrong, people watching can be pretty amusing… but I don’t want to miss out.

I’ve come to realize that if I’m doing something I enjoy, that my stress level decreases. I don’t focus on the possibility of failure, but focus on succeeding. From personal experience, it seems as if I would ‘psych’ myself out of doing things that I enjoy doing; the fear of the unknown, so to say.

I am aware that if I decide to go to the lake with friends that I might be super tired the following day(s). I’d rather be prepared for what was to come, rather than it coming out of nowhere, in regards to fatigue, etc.

FYI – For outdoor activities, I always make sure to have options available to cool off/rest. I’m in no way saying I go out there and push myself beyond my limit in 100+ degree weather. I’ve done that before, did not end well.

Don’t let someone tell you that you CAN’T do something; because you CAN DO anything you want to. It might be modified a little bit ever since being diagnosed with MS, but it’s better than nothing.

I CAN still have fun playing games online, video game system, etc. Chat with others on online communities for Multiple Sclerosis, Snap Chat friends, go on Facebook… you get my drift.

I #KickMS by doing everything that I once thought I couldn’t do.

To read more info about the CAN DO MS mission, as well as the #KickMS initiative, visit or click here.

You can submit your own photos, stories, etc. for the “#KICKMS” campaign for the month of September!

Some of you may have heard the MS quote before… something along the lines of, “I have Multiple Sclerosis, but it does not have me.” Or something along the lines of that… I understand what people mean when they say that. However, for me, I would not be the person I am today, had I not been diagnosed. It changed a lot in my life, and that includes my personality and way of thinking.

I am stronger because of it, it has brought me down numerous times and I continuously fight against it. I once saw this on a quote – and it stuck with me. “The only thing strong enough to kick my butt, is ME.” (Mind you it used a different word for butt, you get the idea.) It’s a daily battle… one many of us go through. I can also tell you that I have met some of the most AMAZING people BECAUSE of my MS.

“My MS & I go hand in hand; it does not define who I am but I wear it like a badge because I continuously fight against it and not let it hold me down. It just goes to show you that the only thing strong enough to bring us down, is our own body. Fighting against it like we do is a show of our strength and fight to never give up.”

– Ashley Ringstaff


Ashley Ringstaff

Blogger @

Diagnosed w/ MS since 8/30/10

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Diagnosis Acceptance

When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t really know what MS was, what caused it… I didn’t know that there wasn’t a cure available. It seemed the more and more I learned after getting diagnosed, the more I didn’t want to believe it all.

I’ve come to realize, and explain to others that get diagnosed with MS and their loved ones, it’s that we seem to go through a phase. It’s almost like a grieving process, because in a way you are grieving what used to be and trying to find your footing in this new journey.

This can be said for many other illnesses out there, not just MS. I’ve come to give a slight comparison to grieving a loss. There are the steps you go through; Denial, anger, depression and acceptance.


You’re sitting there thinking that the doctors and tests are wrong. You don’t believe what is coming out of their mouths. You aren’t accepting the MRI reports, etc. You know that as long as you deny it, you don’t have to be accepting of it. Things won’t change. Your regular schedule & life will not go up in flames. Now, I’m not saying that being diagnosed, that our lives are over… not by any means. But at the time, for me, it was just devastating and I didn’t want to believe any of it.


Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Is this karma? I was so overcome with so many emotions that it got to the point that I was extremely angry. I was taking it out on my husband, and my family, when all they were trying to do was be there for me. I’m ticked off that I have to undergo all these tests, and there is nothing that can fully stop what is happening to me. I was mad at myself, thinking that in some sort of way, I did this to myself. Not sure how, but I did it. I don’t want to hear ‘sorry’… I just don’t want to have to go through this at all. It’s like an emotion overload, and the one that pushes to the front to express itself is anger.


At this stage, I was coming to terms with everything that was going on. I was sitting there, silently taking everything in and just not wanting to participate. I could literally sit there, surrounded by friends and family that were having conversations, and I just didn’t want to be a part of it. It’s like being an outsider, looking in. You’re there physically, but emotionally you’re worlds away. Because again, we’re overloaded with emotions and questions and it’s just so much at once, that we just get depressed. Now, this isn’t for every person diagnosed, but I had to make a lot of changes, due to my flare up. So I had to stop doing certain things that I really enjoyed doing, and that added on to my depressive state.


This is a hard one to describe. I got to the point that I had to get up and do something. I had to start fighting back. All that anger and depression drove me to get the kick in the rear I needed to get my life back, as much as I could. I started really listening to the doctors and figuring out what I need to do, to be the best I could be while living with MS.

Now, let me tell you… there is no time frame for these stages… it’s also not something that everyone goes through… maybe they only experience some of them. But I wanted to share what I went through. I still have to go through these stages over and over, it seems. Every time a DMT (MS med) fails me, I tend to go through the same stages. Because literally WHY? Every time I have a relapse… I’m going through the stages again. I always come back to being ‘me’ again, but I just need to go through those emotions on the journey.

Anyways, everyone hang in there. Y’all aren’t alone in this… what you’re going through and/or feeling isn’t wrong. You have the right to feel what you want to feel. You have the right to deal and process in anyway you need to. I just wanted to give a little insight on what it was like for me.


Ashley Ringstaff

(Click on my name above for ways to contact me.)

**Originally Published on** 

Actions vs. Words

I’ve always been that person that believes that actions speak louder than words. I’m not sure if that’s how everyone feels, but it’s just a personal attribute I guess. I wanted to share just some experiences I’ve had in the past, both good and bad, just to get it out there and get it off my chest.

Relationships change with MS

I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis since August 2010; I was 22 at the time. I had so many friends and a huge social circle that has since dwindled down to a select few. I have no hard feelings against the friends I had that are no longer, I did at one point, but I’ve dealt with it emotionally and moved on. Now, there have been a few friends that drifted away after I was diagnosed, that tend to pop back up here and there, when they see I’m having a hard time on social media, or otherwise. So, these people reach out to me and say things like, “Oh, I miss you! We need to hang out the next time I’m in town.” Or they even state a certain date, etc. You get my drift, right?

We all know that memory can be an issue with those that have MS, and it affects me. But when I have something to look forward to, like getting out of my daily routine and catching up with someone, just having some ‘me’ time… (Moms, you know what I’m talking about. You need that time for yourself.) So needless to say, this is something that I would look forward to when someone come to me and suggests that we hang out on a date/time. Then, come to find out, they dodge my attempt to confirm that we have plans, but don’t refrain from posting their activities on social media outlets on what they did instead of keeping the get together we had planned, even if it was a bit far away.

Actions speak louder than words

So what am I getting at here? It’s simply that actions speak louder than words. I’m guessing these certain people feel like if they say nice things to me, they are doing a nice gesture, and they don’t necessarily have to follow thru with it. That’s where you’re wrong. Because for one, I am THAT kind of person that will call you out publicly, if you want to be rude and just ditch me. I mean, I know I’m not as much of a social butterfly as I used to be, but I could have turned down other plans, because YOU had approached me about getting together. Get my drift? Another situation on this topic… is when people see that you are going through a lot, are always busy, etc. So these certain people approach you, without being asked/prompted, and you offer to help out with something at sometime. The end of your offer stating, “Just let me know if there is anything I can do for you or help you out with.” Does that sound familiar?

Grateful for help

Now, when someone offers something like this unprovoked, I’m grateful. I share what was said with my husband, mom, etc. It was a very kind gesture for someone to offer a helping hand. I’m not saying that I will take every one up on their offer, but it’s just nice to have that support. We all know that crazy things can happen, something sudden can come up, and that is relevant to everyone… having MS or not having MS. However, when you have MS… it’s like you have to ‘expect the unexpected’. So all those people that reached out to me offering help, I might need to take you up on that at some point. So when I try to contact you, seeing if you are still able to watch my kids when I get an infusion for 2-4 hours, have to get an MRI, DR appointment, etc. And the response I get is… **crickets**… nothing.

I would rather you answer me and give me a polite brush off rather than ignore me. Especially when social media/technology has this little tool on a lot of it’s messaging apps that will show you if the message is ‘read’ or not. So, basically, I see that you have read my message and **crickets**. This is what I’m talking about when I say ‘actions speak louder than words’. Bottom line is, don’t offer to help someone out, especially if they are dealing with enough as it is, if you are just going to blow them off. I would rather never be offered these ‘kind gestures’ rather than be ignored when I attempt at trying to take you up on your offer.

As usual, I could probably keep going on this subject, but you get my drift for now. I might return to the subject in the future.


Ashley Ringstaff

(click on my name above for ways to reach me, etc.)

**Originally Published on**

You Don’t Get It… Till You GET It

You know how frustrating it is, when someone comes to you that does not have Multiple Sclerosis, or any other chronic illness, but tries to compare what he or she is going through to what we are going through. It’s annoying, at least for me. I know that I’ve touched base on this a few times in the past with, “You Can’t Compare”. However, I feel this is something that I need to touch base on again.

I’ve heard it all before

I wanted to write this article in more of a ‘scenario’ way, sort of like what someone says to you, and what I’m thinking in my head but try not to say out loud so that I’m not being ‘rude’.

  • “Oh! I get muscle cramps all the time too! They are such a pain.”
    • No, muscle cramps and dealing with spasticity caused by MS is NOT the same thing. There is no comparison. I wish it were just a muscle cramp that I had to deal with.
  • “I can’t sleep either, it’s so annoying. I am running off of so much coffee right now!”
    • Yes, not being able to sleep is very annoying. But the cause for the lack of sleep is most likely very different. I can’t go to sleep because of the pain that I’m in. And there is no way that coffee is going to help me the next day.
  • “Oh girl! I don’t know where my head is at half the time either! I can’t remember a darn thing!”
    • Yes, forgetting things is very annoying. But having to deal with cog-fog aka cognitive impairment is something completely different. This doesn’t just affect our memory, but many other things in our daily lives as well.
  • “Girl! I hate bras too! They are the most annoying things ever!”
    • True statement, they are pretty annoying. But when you wear once, it’s just that… it’s annoying. When I wear once it can bring on the MS Hug along with spasticity, where it feels like my insides are squeezing me in a bear hug.
  • “I don’t have any energy to do anything today either! I just want to be lazy!”
    • Having no energy for just one day out of so many, is not that bad in the grand scheme of things. But everyday having to deal with this chronic fatigue that is trying to keep you down when you don’t want to be ‘lazy’, you want to get out and do things. There is no comparison between being ‘tired’ and having ‘chronic fatigue’.
  • “My legs fall asleep all the time and it’s soo annoying to try and walk after that because your leg feels heavy.”
    • Yes, it is a horrible feeling for your legs to ‘fall asleep’, the numbness & tingling. But for those who do not suffer from a chronic illness like MS, the feeling comes back for most. I haven’t been able to feel the bottom of my feet and tops of my toes for I don’t remember how long. Also, that heavy feeling of the foot, it’s a constant for a lot of people with mobility issues due to MS. Not to mention the random spouts of numbing/tingling that comes on with no warning.
  • “Oh man, I hate it when my vision changes too!”
    • Yes, it is a common thing to happen to many people that are ‘healthy’, however, we usually experience drastic visual changes that can cause double vision, blind spots, dizziness & vertigo. I would love to only deal with ‘normal visual changes’.

Bottom line

These are just some of the recent things that have been said to me, when someone is trying to ‘relate’ to my MS symptoms. But the bottom line is, you don’t get it, till you get it. Meaning, you will not understand exactly what I’m going through unless you, yourself, getting diagnosed with MS as well. Which I’m hoping does not happen to the person making these comments either.

Some people just want to try to relate to us, and I can understand that, thank you. But there are others, those people that try and ‘one-up’ everyone else, that always have to have been there done that as well.

No one wants to deal with these symptoms, but we also don’t want what we’re going through to be categorized as something many others deal with on a daily basis that are ‘healthy’. Because there is no comparison… by making the comments like the ones above, you are making it out to seem like we are overreacting to our illness, when that is not the case. Most of us usually try and ‘hide’ what were going through from others, and just respond with “I’m fine”, when asked how we are doing.


Ashley Ringstaff

(click on my name above for ways to reach me, etc.)

**Originally Published on**

Disability Discrimination Part 2

Have you ever had someone look at you, and not believe that you have Multiple Sclerosis, or something similar? Have you ever had to show proof that you are, in fact, considered disabled, due to Multiple Sclerosis? I’m not talking about showing proof where it’s required, but just in your local community, with people you are around.

This is something that I have had to deal with in the past. If someone doesn’t know that I have MS, and they are around me in a conversation, and my husband asks me if I’m feeling okay, do I need to rest, etc. They first off think I’m sick… but when they learn I have Multiple Sclerosis, the face they make when they hear that coming from me, can be pretty comical at times. They give me this look of shock, some of the time. Full on jaw dropping sort of shock, where you know they are thinking, there is no way that is true.

Discrimination and Disability

I never thought that after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, that one of the things that I would deal with is being discriminated against due to a disability. I never thought that I would deal with people just trying to sell me bogus ideas, or judge me. There is a long list I’ve made in the past on what NOT to say to someone with Multiple Sclerosis. Click here to read that list.

Anyway, in today’s society you hear about discrimination against race, gender, religion, etc. However, you don’t ever hear the disabled brought up in regards to discrimination. Why is that? Is it because it doesn’t exist? Well for me, unfortunately, it has happened on multiple occasions. Getting told off for using my handicapped-parking placard when it’s 115 outside at the grocery store… Not being able to walk a straight line, due to vision/vertigo and gait issues. Being told I’m just lazy, or I’ve had too much to drink, and that I’m not really disabled really hurts. I didn’t ask for this, it’s already hard as it is, and people just add to it with their judgments.

Not just physical symptoms

For being called ‘retarded’ because my cognitive function is not ‘normal’ and I can’t think of easy things like I used to or I’m not able to understand a simple sentence. When I’m not able to get the words out of my mouth, which I have formed in my brain. Being made fun of for that is just despicable. I don’t have control over how my body is affected and being treated like I’m the cause of the problem, that I did something to be this way, is just very hurtful.

When I was using assistive devices, I felt like I was being discriminated against. I’ve had notes left on my car for parking in the handicapped spot. I never told anyone this, but one time I needed to use a scooter that was provided by the local store and I was asked to leave for abusing the store’s property. That the scooters are not there for joy rides. Now, when I get emotional in any way, my thought process does not want to work correctly either, so I just sit there dumb founded, not able to even come up with a response.

People are quick to judge

I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people are just really judgmental, and are quick to jump to assumptions without even knowing any facts at all. Just because I’m in my late-20’s and “look healthy” doesn’t mean that life is perfect and I don’t have any issues. This sad part is, that the reason people believe that I might be ‘abusing’ a handicapped placard, or an assistive device, is because there are people out there that DO abuse these things. So the people that are actually in need of these things suffer the consequences of people that have poor judgment.

I don’t really know if this could be classified as discrimination or not, but do you understand what I’m talking about? I have to carry my handicapped permit with me when I’m out and about, in case I get confronted assuming I’m abusing the system.

Not only that, but I have to deal with the emotional effects of any sort of confrontation, which in turn causes issues with my MS symptoms. I get fatigued, I get a migraine, and I get weak. Because I used all my energy I saved up to go out in public, and had to use it on defending myself, instead of completing what I set out to do in the first place.

I’ve just realized that I’ve already written about this issue a while back (sorry, memory issues) but I believe that this is something that needs to be brought to the attention of many people. To read my previous article on this topic, click here.


Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on**

My Apologies

As I was getting to my computer so I could sit down and write this, before I forgot, I made my first apology. I apologized to the end table that I repeatedly run in to with my toes. Yes, I am now apologizing to it, because I feel that I have caused it a lot of damage for jumping out in front of me all the time.

Now, on a serious note, I wanted to write a big apology, for those I have been abrupt with, rude, snippy, etc. Since I can’t remember things I have said or done to everyone I have come across that meant well, I just wanted to write one big apology and try to explain why I reacted the way I did.

I’m Sorry for…

To the person that saw me struggling, trying to do something over and over again with out being successful. You offered me your assistance, and I replied with an attitude in an angry tone, “No I got this.” I’m sorry. Please know that my response and emotions at that time were not directed at you, but towards my MS. MS has robbed me of many things since being diagnosed, and I continue to fight it, trying to prove it wrong, trying until I can do what I want to do… even if that takes me over an hour to accomplish a pretty simple task, like lacing up a shoe.

To the person that insisted on getting up to get something for me, when you saw me struggling at the end of the day, to get up and get moving after finally sitting down. If I was rude to you after you offered, I’m very sorry. My emotions were not directed towards you. I’m mad at myself, my MS to be specific, for not allowing me to do what I so easily did before. Things people do so easily without a second thought or struggle. My reaction was probably a bit of jealousy also.

To the person that genuinely offered their advice and/or opinion to me, with true care and just wanting to help me out. I’m sorry if I was rude to you in my response or showed that I did not care what you were offering to me. I am very grateful that you care, and my reaction was not meant for you. It just so happened that I had dealt with three other people that same day, but they were trying to sell me a ‘miracle cure’. It’s hard to be told so many things by so many people, that don’t really realize how much they are getting your hopes up with their ‘opinions/advice/products. It’s hard to want to try something new from advice or suggestions that were given, when I have done so in the past, and ended up disappointed with no result.

To the person that told me, “but you look so good” or “you don’t look like you have MS” while being 100% genuine about it, thank you. My sarcastic response was uncalled for and I apologize. Unfortunately there are people out there that gain their self esteem by being rude and/or sarcastic with their comments, and it has caused me to be on guard. This isn’t your fault, and thank you for caring. (For some insight on what people with MS have to hear from people that are not genuine, click here. If you are a loved one and/or caregiver to someone with MS, and are wondering what you SHOULD say, click here.)

Also, I’m sorry to my loved ones.

I’m sorry that you have to live with MS, because of me. I know I didn’t ask for this, but neither did you. They say there are so many people in the world that have been diagnosed with MS, what about a number of how many people have to technically LIVE with MS, by having a family member or frienddiagnosed. I’m sorry to my loved ones, for not being the person I used to be, and I thank you for still sticking around when others left.

Finally, I’m sorry to everyone else that has to live with this ugly disease, or any other chronic illness similar to it. I wish none of us had to deal with the pain and struggle that comes with a chronic illness. I’m sorry that I can’t be there to support each and every one of you, when we all deserve the most support we can get.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis and other illnesses is not easy. It’s a battle that you have to fight each and every day. Because of the constant battle, we are at times frustrated, angry, upset, emotional, etc. I’m not trying to use this an excuse for my behavior, but I am trying to help you better understand our point-of-view.


Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on**

Then vs. Now

Ever since I was diagnosed, I went through so many emotions going through different situations. There were situations that I experienced from a completely different perspective. For instance, I remember having a conversation with a friend, and they brought up that they went shopping, during Christmas time. So, instead of parking far away and walking, they used a relative’s Handicap Placard. At that time, I knew it was wrong but I didn’t feel that it was something that I needed to argue or get on to them about it.

If that happened now…

If that were to happen now, I’m almost positive that I would go off about the abuse of it. I’ve been in the situation before that I’ve really needed to use my handicap placard and there were no available spots. As I’m circling around the parking lot trying to find a spot, I see someone skipping (yes, skipping), to one of the cars that is parked in one of the handicapped spots, by themselves. Needless to say, I didn’t keep my mouth shut about the situation. First off, I’m not going to jump the gun, so I asked for the permit form. She laughed, thinking I was joking. This girl is probably about 17 years old. She said that it’s her grandma’s car; I asked if her grandmother was coming out, she laughed and said no. Then got in the car and left. I called the police department and reported it, because I was livid about it.

Social security disability

Another situation I want to talk about is in regards to receiving social security disability. I’ve come across some people that were approved for disability, in a short period of time, that I know personally. I had asked what they did for a living, and they said, “Oh I get disability.” I asked what for, they said for depression. The next statement, “Yeah, I get free money for being “depressed” when I’m actually fine.” They then laughed, at the fact that they got “free money” for a really serious issue.

That person was really an acquaintance, let me just put that out there. It’s not someone that I hung out with on a regular basis, etc. So, after I was diagnosed I had to go through so many different things, which eventually led to me filing for disability. It was a long battle, I was denied multiple times, and ended up having to get a lawyer and go to court about it. I was finally approved, but then found out that I could not receive any money from disability, because I didn’t have enough credits and too many assets.

It’s not funny

I ended up seeing this acquaintance again… we ended up having a conversation about my MS, and what I’ve had go through in order to get disability. This person laughed and said, well that sucks for you. Like it was funny… but I wasn’t laughing. I was very emotional about my struggle and I was vocal about how I felt about the humor they were finding in the situation, when there is nothing funny about it.

It’s crazy to think back about how I used to be, and what kind of person I am today. I get that as we get older, we mature and gain knowledge. I gained knowledge personally, going through my own battle. I know that not everyone learns things the same way, cause we’re all different. But I sit back sometimes and just really think over how much I’ve changed, and I can honestly say that it’s for the better. The journey, of course, has been hard and emotional and every so much more, but I truly believe that I am a better person now, than I was back then.


Ashley Ringstaff

**Originally Published on**