My little brother is my hero in life with multiple sclerosis

Michael may be 10 years younger, but he's one of my role models

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by Desiree Lama |

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My mom always wished for a son and a daughter. Ten years after I was born, her dream became a reality with the arrival of my baby brother, Michael. Because I was the only child for so long, I had never considered becoming a big sister, nor did I understand what that truly meant.

When my brother was born, my mom wondered what kind of relationship he and I would have, given the large age gap. She worried that we wouldn’t get along or that we’d resent each other. After some time, it became clear that there was nothing to worry about. Michael is my best friend and a profoundly significant person in my life.

I was a high school senior when I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), but I experienced my first episode of optic neuritis at 14 years old. During my initial neurological occurrence, my brother was only 3 years old, and when I received my diagnosis, he was 7.

Amid such difficult and uncertain times, we chose not to inform Michael about my health because he was too young to fully understand multiple sclerosis. But we knew we’d eventually have to tell him.

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Walk MS 2017

Shortly after my diagnosis, I searched online for MS fundraisers and events that my family could participate in, and I came across a walking fundraiser organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. My mom and I gathered my brother and a few of my close friends, and prepared to participate in Walk MS 2017, held at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

At this point, my mom and I still hadn’t told Michael about my diagnosis, so he was confused as to why we were participating in Walk MS. I no longer wanted to keep him in the dark, so we told him right then and there.

Keep in mind that he was only 7 years old, so there was only so much we could explain. This was a little boy who called me “sissy,” because he couldn’t say “sister” when he was younger.

My mom pulled him to the side, and all she said was, “Sissy is sick, and she will always be sick.” In an instant, tears were flowing down his face.

Setting an example

Being a big sister to Michael is one of my greatest accomplishments, but he has taught me so much more than I’ve taught him. Since we told him about my health, he has always been extremely patient, kind, and understanding, even on my darkest days.

On the days when my mood shifts toward darkness and irritability, he is there with his comedic tendencies. Through all the ups and downs our little family has encountered, he has grown into an amazing young man. For me, that is the biggest silver lining of living with MS.

Even though he’s almost a decade younger than me, Michael is one of my biggest role models.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Cielo avatar


El hermanito es el apoyo que ella necesitaba. Naturalidad frente a una enfermedad rara. y la explicación de la Mamá, muy bien para la edad de Muchael.


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