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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Ann Romney, Multiple Sclerosis and the Presidential Campaign

By April 30, 2012

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I was prepared to really hate this piece about Ann Romney's multiple sclerosis (MS), preparing myself for words like "suffer" and "victim" to be sprinkled throughout the video (after all, this was on Entertainment Tonight). Sure enough, there was suspenseful music and large graphic letters filling the screen, reading "MS ATTACK," preceding the segment where Ann Romney spoke about some increased MS symptoms during the Super Tuesday primaries.

However, after overlooking some of the production aspects of the video, I found that I really, really like Ann Romney. She seemed warm and genuine. I related to her quote: "For people that have MS, there are certain rules that we've got to follow. One is go to bed on time, don't have stress in your life, eat balanced meals every day and, of course, being on the campaign trail none of those things work." Indeed, how many of us with much more "normal" lives can really do these things - even one of them? I cannot imagine what her life has been life these past months. I cannot imagine what her life will be like if her husband is elected president.

I'd love to hear from you about Ann and her portrayal of MS. If you can, put your political beliefs aside and take a good look at this woman who is living with MS. She may just turn into "the face of MS" for the entire country, after all.

Read the article, watch the video and decide for yourself:†Ann Romney's Multiple Sclerosis: Will It Limit Her Role In Mitt's Campaign?

May 1, 2012 at 10:45 am
(1) Lamar Freed says:

My reactions to Anne Romney’s MS have been largely to try to ignore it as much as possible. I don’t think that it has any place in the political campaign. Discussions I’ve had on-line with others with MS largely have been negative, resenting how easy her life with MS is compared to so many others who don’ t have easy access to help, to insurance, to professional care and to the amenities of wealth that she enjoys. It is often overlooked that the Obama’s also have been touched by MS in their family — which I wish would take our illness out of the world of political pandering and spinning. But it is, ultimately impossible for this to occur– it is politics that will help fund the search for the cure, the provision of services, the protection of those of us who end up not being able to care for ourselves and it is on these issues that I suspect PWMS will largely vote.

May 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(2) Angela says:

I like that people are learning about this disease because of her, but it’s hard to relate since she has no idea what it feels like to worry about a job or the bills that need to be paid.

May 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm
(3) Marcia says:

I have MS and am 48 years old.

What I would do to have such a benign case as she does at the age of 63.

What I would do for me and so many others who lack insurance and the money, be able to have the care that she can afford, butlers, nannies, cooks and the like when she is down.

I have had this disease for 22 years. I told some people back in March that is was obvious Mrs. Romney was on steroids to keep going (the rounder face than normal for her was my clue).

Anyhow, if she wants my sympathy, then maybe if she and her husband showed more sympathy to all those diagnosed with a much more aggressive form of the disease who are ALL ALONE, I could respect her more, otherwise, to me, she just is going to milk having MS, even though she has such a very, very benign case of it.

May 2, 2012 at 11:48 am
(4) sharon says:

I think it is good to get info on multiple sclerosis out there but how unfair of her husband to think of her being in a job where she has to be present, travel and be “on” so often. Incredibly insensitive!!!! As we all know bad days are always there.

May 2, 2012 at 11:48 am
(5) Colleen says:

I agree with the above posters. It’s difficult to empathize with her when she has ALL the options in the world to treat and handle her disease. She doesn’t have to worry about keeping healthy to keep her job because she needs the insurance to treat her disease.

I further tuned her out when she discussed how horseback riding is good therapy for MS.

Yeah, let me hop right on my horse.

May 2, 2012 at 11:52 am
(6) Lisa says:

I think Ann Romney having MS and being a possible First Lady is so great for MS. And I think that it (MS) has every right to be a part of the campaign trail – its a part of who she is. Its a daily part of who I am. I think she has so much class and will help so much in educating people about what this disease is. I was worried, too, about the press and they did sensationalize it too much. “Ann Romney’s big health scare” was one headline I saw. Its not a big health scare, its what we deal with every day ~ our life expectancy is about the same as anyone else, we just have daily obstacles to overcome. I love what she said, that there are just some rules we have to follow in order to feel good. So true – the days I over-do it are the next days that I feel bad. Sometimes there are whoppers thrown into our daily lives, but we overcome those too and live OUR best lives. I’m just glad I don’t have something terminal, like a fast-moving incurable cancer. I plan on being here for my kids now and when they get older. And, I hope to teach my kids about living their best life, as well. I’m am very excited for what she has to offer for raising awareness for us in the MS world in the future!

May 2, 2012 at 11:56 am
(7) Roger says:

MS doesnt discriminate with who it’s victims are and I am sure she struggles just as you and I do with even the simple things. Why do we always have to bring up the money thing? Compassion is a much better attribute than jealousy. I hope she has a chance to shed light to the whole world about this God awful disease and we can find a cure!

May 2, 2012 at 11:58 am
(8) Leslieann says:

I understand the above posts – but I look at this in a positive light – she has MS – she is well known – maybe more recognition of the disease and hunt for a cure will taken.

I also have a moderate benign version of MS (at this time) – although I can’t jump on my horse – I find other ways to try to keep active and flexible (I coach & direct recreation volleyball for kids) – that is ‘my horse’.

I thankfully have always had insurance since diagnosed but I don’t have the support when I am having an ‘episode of fatigue’ – muddle through it and continue on. Everyone is different in symptoms, severity and support.

I see no difference in her circumstance than Montel Williams, Squiggy or other celebraties who benefit from wealth – the more recognition we get out there – we all benefit from it.

May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm
(9) Kara says:

Though I am an Obama supporter, I would like to say that we should be happy for Mrs. Romney that has been doing well with their MS…Isn’t that where we all want to be? We don’t know all of her struggles. Yes, she may be more fortunate than most of us, but she still has MS like ALL of us. It might be a good thing to put another famous face on this terrible disease.

May 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm
(10) desertpunkin says:

So much for putting political beliefs aside…the obammas have had nannies, cooks, etc. for years just because they can afford it too and neither of them are sick–so what?

May 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm
(11) Kim says:

I just can’t get over all of the negativity surrounding Mrs. Romney–she is a sufferer just like US!! All of the money in the world won’t make her MS go away. I think she is a wonderful example of handling her disease and presenting herself and our issues to the world. You GO, Anne! You have a fan in me.

May 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm
(12) pam says:

I think all ‘normalising’ of MS as an aspect of daily life is useful, and I’m pleased she has spoken about the effects MS has in her case. There are all sorts of MS and any furthering of understanding is good. The more there is, the fewer big red letter headlines there will be and maybe MS funding will become as mainstream as cancer and heart disease.

May 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm
(13) Lisa says:

I tried horse therapy – what a joke it was. Balance on the horse was their concern! I sprained my ankle getting off the horse and had to do REAL therapy for my ankle!
Another comment about having a First Lady would help MS….. wait a minute, don”t we already have a First Lady’s dad who died from complications of MS. I have heard nothing from her. a First Lady normally has to help a concern for EVERYONE

May 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm
(14) Cathy says:

I give Ann Romney so much credit for being out there with her husband knowing that to much stress, not enough rest and having to deal with all of the negativity that this campaign has had and will get over the coming months.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t hurt any less mentally ro physicall. I agree with many of the comments above. The Obama’s have been wealthy most of there adult life. It is so disingenuous to use wealth to divide our country. Has there been a president in recent history that has not been wealthy? I just hope that Ann Romney doe not try to be so “normal” that she has back to back exacerbations.

May 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm
(15) Mary says:

I am shocked at the bitterness and negativity in some of these posts. Of course, money can make any disease easier to handle, but it won’t make it go away. Ann Romney has MS and must deal with all that goes with it … just like all of us who have it must do. If she can put a face on MS and bring more attention to what it is and what it means to live with it, that will benefit us all. I have had PPMS for 24 years. All I have to do is look around and I will see others, with different diseases, who also struggle with the limitations their diseae imposes on their lives. MS can steal many things from you, but don’t let it steal your dignity by making you bitter and jealous of others.

May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(16) Torie says:

It is sad that there are so many people that are so negative about a person who is basically one of us. She has chosen to speak out about something very personal, try to explain MS to the public and does it in a positive way, To overcome this disease, to make it only a small part of your life, you need to be positive and mentally strong. Talking negative about some one because you think she has it better then you only makes you weaker. I admire what Mrs. Romney is doing and hope is able to stay strong and healthy during tough campaigning months.

May 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm
(17) A says:

I think that any attention that can be brought to this disease, ESPECIALLY by people in power can be helpful overall. We do not live in her body and do not know how “benign” her disease is. For the record, benign disease can turn on any one of us that has it. No one knows why some are relatively stable and others are not. We need to work together not tear each other down cause “My MS is worse than your MS.”. It gets us nowhere.

May 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm
(18) Danielle says:

I am thankful that Mrs. Romney is bringing more attention to the cause. The publicity that she will bring to the cause will most likely be invaluable, as it not only pairs a well known face to the disease – but also shows that the struggles that are encountered on a daily basis.. highlighting how hard it can be to keep up with the unafffected population on a daily basis.

Although I am not particularly shocked by the negative comments that have been posted here, it is quite sad for people to think that just because Mrs. Romney does not have a typical 9-5 job that she has less to worry about. Sure, she has more money than some to try out non-FDA approved therapies to assist with her disease course does not make her any better off than some. I am sure that her tight schedule and high stress factors do not serve her well when trying to keep within her physical restraints like the rest of us.. as a matter of fact, I’m sure when the inital slurred speech and fatigue kick in everyone is ready to fluff up the pillows for her so that she can rest as her doctor has ordered… I am suspecting that just like ordinary old me she tries her best to push through and smile even though deep down she’s probably scared s?@!less just like most MS’ers that this time she might just push too far and not rebound like the last… perhaps those of us that are on our high horse should realize that just because you have more money than most does not mean that the course of your disease is made any easier.

May 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm
(19) darcy says:

It’s funny I could tell she was having issues with MS because her balance was off that night only someone with the disease would notice, My fear is the fact that Ann Romney has a “mild” form will hurt people with a more aggressive form of the disease. Example Ann Romney has the disease and she can do such and such why can’t you. I also feel she is minimizing the disease like it’s no big deal.
I know for myself it is a big deal when I can’t do what I used to do.

In regards to Mrs Obama’s dad they do not even mention it it is like it is a dirty little secret.

May 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm
(20) bluridgelvr says:

Why isn’t the fact that her husband has stated he would repeal Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill (which is modeled after her husband’s) ever mentioned whenever her MS is discussed by the media?

I would like Mrs. Romney to tell her husband to stop attacking the Health Care Reform Bill and instead educate their fellow Republicans that the bill has nothing to do with states’ rights, but with our right as Americans to affordable healthcare.

May 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm
(21) Anne says:

I have found that I really, really like Ann Romney in spite of myself. I also think that the publicity might be a great boon for MS awareness and research fundraising.

May 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm
(22) Don says:

She has MS,her husband is successful,so she is lucky. I don’t care if she ever has to look for a job and anyone who holds that against her needs to understand that it doesn’t matter because unless you LET your MS control you are not limited by it. I am 34 and have had MS for 4 years I won’t let it slow me down and I bet she won’t.

May 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(23) Carolyn says:

oh, my. I am sorry she has MS. I am sorry when anyone has MS. I wish more than anything she would take every opportunity to relay the fact that MS symptoms and severity are different for everyone. People see her, even if her activities are curtailed, looking good, feeling good, traveling, entertaining, etc. and then they compare. They just do; even if intellectually they know everyone is different in the course of their disease..they judge by what they see. And she is doing well.
I wish she would keep telling everyone that she is doing well, but others may not.
the health care bill which will be rejected if her husband becomes president…oh, my. We will be in danger of losing our coverage (lifetime limits) at specifically the time when we need it the most! It won’t be a worry for her, or her MS treatment, and I wish she would say so…andmaybe tell her husband.
I wish I could look as well, feel as well, and do as well as she does. She may struggle from time to time, but maybe she and Michelle Obama could talk about the ravages of this horrible disease.

May 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm
(24) Anne says:

Wow! I can’t believe some of the comments! Believe me, I know what it is like to struggle, worry about insurance, push through fatigue to go to work, and cry every day, but the bitterness that is coming through in these posts is hard to see. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is someone out there who has it better than you. The reverse is true too. There is someone out there that has it worse. Focusing on the positive is tough sometimes, but it really does help. We can lift each other up or tear each other down. Even if it’s hard, aren’t we better off if we at least TRY to focus on the positive.

May 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(25) Cindy says:

I am sorry Mrs. Romney has M.S.
The thing I worry about is if her husband gets elected president, what will happen to Medicare. I am unable to work because of M.S. and I cannot afford $3,000 a month for the M.S. medication.

May 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm
(26) Johnny says:

While I understand everyone’s positive and negative thoughts around this issue of Ann Romney speaking out, I think it is something else that is what really bothers people here and I am not shocked at all to see the negativity. Her husband saying to someone who is diagnosed with a serious illness and doesn’t have access to health care, “Too bad, that’s not how we play the game”, when they desperately need health care is what makes people resentful. He simply doesn’t care about those who suffer and have to deal with issues of no health care. Whether he really doesn’t care or is just saying things for political votes is up for debate.The negativity though, I think, is based around those who have money get given medical treatment, while so many who don’t have money simply have to deal with the massive issues surrounding a serious disease.

Mitt Romney talks a lot about this health care issue in an effort to try to get votes, but in reality, to get the far right votes, has to say things like the above statement. There simply is NO safety net for those who are poor. Medicaid and Medicare ARE NOT given to those who are poor automatically as one Fox News contributor stated. Even having MS is not a given to be qualified as disabled to get Medicaid and even then it’s a 24 month wait after disability is granted. It’s a shame to see this two faced medical care game going on over something so serious for so many people worldwide.

No need to troll me. I understand and am happy to see MS get the publicity it should. It is a much underfunded issue and needs a lot more attention and awareness in our society. I am also sorry to hear that another person has this disease and wish everyone only the best. It is a hard thing to live with (understated) no matter what stage of the illness you have, as I am personally affected by this disease and can understand the emotional nature of it. Again my thoughts go out to everyone here affected by MS and the best wishes to all.

May 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm
(27) Don says:

The healthcare law needs to be re-worked because there are flaws,I can’t afford my meds also but there are people who can so to tell them that they must be “insured” instead limits them to what others say they can have and even if everyone joins will that be enough, Anyway thats a debate for another time,I think Ann Romney is a strong person and it makes me like her even more that we have something in common.

May 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm
(28) Cathy says:

It still amazes me that there is so little understanding of the healthcare law. It is not an affordable alternative to what we have now. It will LIMIT the services that we now have through medicare and private insurance. My sister is a Dir of Nursing and an RN and just so happens to be having a meeting today with a major hospital to talk about how to keep people from being re-admitted to a hospital within a short period of time so the hospital will not lose money. The hospital is paid a lump sum (under the affordable care act) and tries to get patients out of the hospital as soon as possible. What ever is left from the lump sum is their profit. By having the nurses watch for signs and treat quickly they don’t have to re-admit people to the hospital. I don’t know about you, but as I learn more from the medical community i fear for our healthcare. I would rather have the best healthcare possible and not have the hospital worry about the bottom line.

My Dr. told me the other day that there will be less Dr. to treat us in the future and is very concerned for his patients such as myself.

As far as Romney repealing Obamacare, I believe the supreme court of our country will do that before the election so that is a mute point.

I hope that when Mitt Romney is elected, Ann, as the first lady will take on MS as an issue and educate the public on the various kinds of MS. I happen to have PPMS and hope that more research is directed in my direction since 90% of research is in RRMS at this time.

All Proposals by the republicans is to re-vamp medicare so WE HAVE medicare in the future. What will we do if medicare goes bankrupt? I for one would like to see all of the waste identified immediately which would immediately enhance the medicare system. Re-vamping is not a bad thing… No one is suggesting Medicare be discontinued as far as I know and I try to keep up with both parties.

May 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm
(29) Carol says:

I thought she made some relevant points regarding MS. Her statement on having “no reserve” was right on point. However, I have a difficult time relating to Mrs. Romney on many levels. I worked many years being quite ill with MS and not knowing, as my physicians had not diagnosed me properly. I have not been able to work since I was 48 and I am on Disability. I have to worry about my medical expenses (as do most people with MS) and I know she never had to worry about her medical bills. Also, my financial picture has taken a big hit as I can no longer work. This loss of income has greatly affected my husband and me. Also, the taxes I pay on my Disability income, is a higher rate than the rate her husband pays in his taxes. Finally, I cannot afford a cook or a house keeper to help me out in my home. I just do not think she is the “average” face of MS.

May 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm
(30) Mike says:

Holy Crow! I can’t for the life of me understand the negative comments bringing politics and money into this article. I haven’t mentioned to many people about my MS. The reaction usually is “I never would have known” reason being many of us can “fake it” for some period of time during the day. My worst time is trying to sleep at night but many days I come home and just collapse on the couch for a nap because I’m just too fatiqued to climb the stairs to bed.

Why bring money into this? There will always be those who have more than you whether it be because of luck, connections, IQ or just god given talent. I don’t understand the current trend toward Socialism. Thinking back to the days of the U.S.S.R. except for party elites everyone was equally poor. I’m not convinced that’s better. Let’s not be jealous just do the best YOU can.

May 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(31) Cheryl says:

I share Lamar’s thoughts on this issue. That fact that Mrs Romney has MS should not factor into a political decision that will be made this November. Of course, for some it likely will. But I certainly do not want to have a president simply because his wife can shine a light onto this disease that I have.

May 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm
(32) Allison Gaisford says:

My daughter has MS so the moment I heard Ann has MS I was like, I can relate to this women plus I am also a horsewomen so I voted for her husband in the Florida primary she was my big sway. I guess you can say I was a little selfish because what this women can do to raise awareness and generate money to help find a cure if her husband is president is so exciting. My daughter lives with MS it has been tough because it does effect her life style. She cannot take any stress which is so hard esp if you are in the work force so I would love to have more exposure for MS like Michael J Fox has done for Parkinsons.
You go Mrs Romney we are pulling for you and your husband!

May 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm
(33) Steven Ingham says:

Ann has no clue about what it is to have to worry about finances,jobs,housing accesability,medical,or any of the things that most of us experiance. Her husband’s ideoligy is more important than people having universal health care so peoples lives arn’t destroyed financially . I expect she shares this belief.They also would like to end Social Security including Disability, because in their ideoligy, it is socialism. Romney has also said he will end medicare,medicade. How many here are on medicare,medicade, Social Security Dis, or will be,or might have friends or family that may need this national ins. policy to prevent extreem poverty, sickness, and the death of people with disabilities and the elderly. Does Ann and her husband support housing assistance for disabled? No. They think thats a government hand out! The basic problem with the Romneys and many of the other so called 1%ers out there is that they lack the basic human emotion called empathy. Think of it. A Billionare can with the stroke of a pen give a billion dollars to research and MS and other things like it would go the way of polio. Imagine being able to end poverty amoung the disabled with the stroke of a pen and it would hardly be noticed. It’s really very simple. It’s against their principals to share with others because ,,in their minds if you arn’t rich,it’s your own fault. I think it very likely that stricktly clinically speaking they and many of the other 1% super rich are very likely, psychopaths, with the number one visible symptom being a lack of empathy for others. This is why we have to use the collective power of the people, who are the gov to have Social Security, a national ins policy for all,just incase they get some thing like MS, and to make sure we don’t have to beg on the streets when we get old. It is the reason why we have to collectively have the FDA, and State funded research Colleges and Universitys. No one else is going to help us when our lives take an unexpected turn.

May 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm
(34) Tricia says:

I may have just found someone with MS that I can’t relate to. Ann Romney! Do you think she has to worry about the cost of her health care or whether she can continue to work? Or how she would pay her bills if she was denied disability? And the republicans want to do away with the current health care plan? Whoever said that it is politics that will help fund the search for the cure, the provision of services and the protection of those of us who end up not being able to care for ourselves must be one of the 1%. Mitt Romney’s budget doesn’t include anything for anyone other than tax breaks for the rich. Sorry Ann has MS but I can’t think of a better lifestyle to manage MS with than what she has. A lifestyle that has afforded her the opportunity to never have to work a day outside the home.

May 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm
(35) richard says:

i should simply think that she (they) would be more supportive of universal health care in usa knowing how expensive ms treatment/medicine is and the fact that it is often a preexisting condition which can not be covered or that financial limits are imposed on the amount of coverage – not to mention, last time i checked, my daily copaxone was $100 here and $50 in canada. as far as struggling with the day-to-day life of living with ms and raising/supporting a family, and more of a role model for me, i find michelle obama’s story of her father’s efforts to bring home a weekly pay check, which was absolutely necessary to the family survival, to be more compelling as a point of personal sacrifice and example of continuing-on in the face of adversity than that of ms. romney who was so poor at one time she thought they might have to sell family stock to pay for her college. that said, i wish no one bad things nor bad results and hope the best for all. it should be remembered n. gingrich’s 2nd wife, the one he cheated on for 6 yrs, had recently diagnosed ms when he divorced her. as far as politicizing ms, i think it should be avoided; as far as putting ms in the news, i should think any awareness in the public eye of any ‘rare’ affliction is good. by the way, another person i admire with ms, whose politics i don’t necessarily agree with, is neal cavuto – google his storly. in summary, those with insurance and the personal means for treatment and assistance from support staff, please remember those who do not have those advantages and whose treatment and disease monitoring is limited to what they can pay for and to what ‘charity’ services they qualify for. i seriously need to make more money for quality of life but if i make too much i will not qualify for my medicine and mri’s . . .

May 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm
(36) Mike says:

Holy Crow Again!!! MS doesn’t check to see if you have money or not before deciding to screw you over. Get a grip people. Stop the dividing of people who have MS. Some are more fortunate than others and I’m sure no matter your situation there is someone less fortunate than you.

When you were or anyone was born you weren’t stamped on the butt “Life will be fair”.

May 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm
(37) Jenn says:

I agree with almost everyone. I was initially angered by the fact that she has money to be able to afford treatment whereas a number of people with MS. (any form of) do not. Then I realized that she can help with the fact that her husband is rich about as much as she can help that she has MS. With her publically talking about it, I can only hope that it draws attention to the cause., and encourages people to become more educated on what the disease is. I’ve had RRMS since 1/2005, and some days are better than others. I sincerely hope that Mitt Romney is not putting his political aspirations ahead of his wife’s health.

May 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm
(38) june says:

I just don’t see Anne Romey as the “face” for ms. I am envious of her that her ms hasn’t progressed but don’t wish ill of her. It is different not having to worry about financial matters. I have been unable to work since shortly after diagnosis, use a cane and can’t walk more than 600 ft or so. I don’t do errands and rarely leave the house. I am on my husband’s insurance through his work. What if he wants to change jobs? If money were no object . . .

There are four drugs enabling men to get an erection but no cure for cancer let alone ms. Will Anne put ms and all its forms on the front burner? Of course, I hope so. But people see her crossing the nation and able to “deal” with her ms. Surely, I should be able to go and get my mail – but I can’t. I feel people look at her and then me and say, “You just don’t try hard enough”.

May 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm
(39) Annette says:

I agree with Tricia: “I canít think of a better lifestyle to manage MS with than what she has.” I was diagnosed in 2008 with RRMS. Thank goodness I can still work full time and insurance from my job. But if things change in the future in that respect, I promise you, my financial situation will NEVER be as sweet as Ann’s. If I didn’t have to work and had someone to prepare my meals and clean my house, etc., etc., I am sure it would have a beneficial effect on my disease.

May 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm
(40) Daniel Salizar says:

How did trolls get here?

I think some of the people who are dismayed at the anger here are missing the point of the negativity. It isn’t because the Romneys have money, It is because of the political policies touted by the husband of a person with MS.

No one is whining because they are rich. That’s just a simple cop out to trivialize the feelings of the less fortunate, when the real issue people are trying to illuminate to you is the disparity between the person with MS and their husband’s political agenda. No one here is mad at the Romneys because they are rich and have MS. *Sigh* get a grip and stop flaming. For the record I can pretty much agree one way or another with everything said here except for the flaming. Peace.

May 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(41) Sandra says:

Richard (#35), I agree with you regarding your point about universal health care. That’s what really irks me, especially since Romney signed the Massachusetts plan into law when he was governor. I’m sorry that Anne has MS–I don’t wish this disease on anyone, regardless of how much money they have– but I have no respect for their utter lack of empathy for the rest of us poor slobs.

May 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm
(42) KiKi says:

I am saddened out how people lash out at others that are more fortunate than ourselves. All’s I can think what a blessing it is that correct information is being shared. Sadly, like snow flakes the disease process is different for every person that is affected by any disease they may be struggling with, as no persons journey is like that of another in any way including in health. Shame on you for attacking another person that may be suffering at the hands of a disease just because they have MORE or suffer LESS than you. I am sorry that you suffer, that I suffer that anyone suffers, but please don’t minimize her suffering because it is not like yours.

May 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(43) James Huchthausen says:

It’s nice to hear about her contribution. However, it’s sad to hear her husband expand on her life raising 5 children.

I wonder how many nannies she hired. How many tutors did she have? What about those who did the shopping for her children? Who cooked all their meals?

I’m just a regular middle class American. I’m not in the one percent.
How can she be a genuine person when she has lived a life style of opulence?

May 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm
(44) Julie says:

It’s not Ann Romney’s fault that she’s rich, just like it’s not her fault she has M.S.!

If I had a choice between having M.S. and being rich or not having M.S. and being poor, I would pick the latter (BTW, I am a Democrat so I have no agenda here).

May 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm
(45) Julie says:

I am trying to figure out what the deal is on all this Ann Romney bashing in the M.S. community. It is like the Montel bashing I have seen in the past. Michael J. Foxx doesn’t get slammed by the Parkinson’s community. We need all the publicity we can get for our little orphan disease. Perhaps Michelle Obama will be more vocal about her father’s M.S. in light of the Ann Romney factor. Perhaps a win/win situation for all of us??

May 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm
(46) Ric Kelperis says:

After reading many of the posts, I find myself getting a little defensive for her. Those of us with MS know that every case is unique. I do not know for sure how severe Mrs. Romney’s case is, but I also don’t think it matters much. Many have lamented that she must have a benign case, and that she has all of the help that money can buy. Are we doing the same thing that we worry so much that non-MS’rs do, and that is to minimize the illness based on non-medical facts. Are we really saying that she is lucky to have the resources she has? We might as well say, “But she looks so good!” I guess I would like to ask the people who feel this way how they would like to have their MS, and their manner of coping with it, on public display to be bantered about by 300 million people. I sure hope that when I am that age, my MS will have gone dormant, or turned benign, or whatever, but mostly I just hope that it will no longer be such a major factor each and every day of my life. I hope that the normal aging aches and pains of everyone else will finally get close to what my aches and pains are like, so that I can feel like I am part of my age group again. So thank you Ann, I sure hope you are able to keep up with the life of being the 1st Lady.

May 3, 2012 at 8:54 am
(47) Dee Dee Vickers says:

I cannot believe the negative comments some have posted about Ann Romney – just because she has the money to make her symptoms “all better,” MS does not discriminate between rich people and those struggling to make ends meet. MS is an “equal-opportunity” disease – it strikes no matter your economic situation. I am glad to see Ann Romney go public about her MS because it will help those of us who suffer from MS be better understood by those not “afflicted” with the disease. I have had MS since my mid-30′s, but was not diagnosed until i was 62 years olf – i am not 69. everything Mrs. Romney says about propoer rest, avoiding stress, diet, etc. is true. and the fact that she is dealing with these issues in the public eye is very admirable to me. we all are aware of hearing people say, “but you look so good” we they discover we have MS, and she is a prime example of that. MS does not affect the way we look unless we have a severe Primary Progressive MS, so it is good for her to show the non-MS world that MS sufferers look hust like they do. I am proud that i take care of my physical appearence – why not? i do ot have the money Mrs. Romney has, but i do “beauty on a budget” and it works. I am spo proud that Mrs. Romney has gone public with her MS, because it helps all of us who suffer from MS – she is a perfect example that MS does notr have to make you look “sick.” thank you, Mrs. Romney!

May 3, 2012 at 10:56 am
(48) wanda says:

why is she on the campaign trail? if her husband wins, she’s coming along into the white house. we’ll get the spouse regardless.

at this time, i tend to think they’re working on a sympathy vote, maybe not but i dont need to hear/see now, later, MS can be her “cause” as first lady, but now, i trying to figure the husband

May 3, 2012 at 11:03 am
(49) Alyssa says:

When she made the comment regarding most people having a ‘reserve tank”, but people who have ms don’t have that option. “When you’re done, you’re done.” I let out a small, satisfied sigh. I want more people to understand that if “we fall off the horse” we just can’t get right back up and try again…at least not right away.

May 3, 2012 at 11:13 am
(50) susan says:

I like Ann Romney. And I do think it is good that she is bringing some publicity to MS. I am glad that she is doing so well and that her MS has not progressed. But I have already seen that people who see how “well” she is, how she can ride a horse, how she can go on the campaign trail somehow think that for those of us who are not as “well”, that we are exaggerating our difficulties. I know she would never mean to portray it that way. But if the only understanding of MS is what people see when they look at Ann Romney, they are not seeing a complete picture.

May 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm
(51) Pamela says:

If I had the stress Ann Romney has I’d be able to do speeches, interviews, stand by smiling, waving, shaking hands. I’m sure she gets fatigued but she doesn’t need to keep going to clean the house, laundry, meals, etc. There’s no worry if health insurance will cover all meds, therapies, MRIs, tests, doctor appointments to name a few.
Certainly, money does not solve problems but it helps to cut down on the stress level.

I’m not counting on Mrs. Romney to do much for MS. I thought we’d hear something from Mrs. Obama regarding MS (her father had MS)but nothing.

May 4, 2012 at 5:30 am
(52) Robyn says:

Wow! Don’t take this the wrong way, I love America and I love Americans but hey, you are all so hung up on the womans money! As an Australian I’m thinking this is great, if the president of the USA’s wife has MS what a great way to raise awareness about our plight and you are all ‘rich bitch what would she know’ It’s gotta be a good thing if people begin to see this as a condition that needs a cure, but I do get where you are at. Maybe she will be like your current First Lady, pro active, a positive role model for health etc. Anyway God bless you all.

May 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm
(53) Carol says:

I have heard that Ann Romney went out of the country to get cell stem procedure for her MS. If cell stems can allow her to walk without any assistance, etc., wouldn’t it be wonderful if the rest of us with MS could afford the same procedure. Alternative options as well as a staff of help would also help us. I feel Mrs. Romney is a hindrance since she is not the face of an MS patient. People from the outside unfamiliar with MS would think MS is not even a disease.

I agree with the person who wrote that when Obama was running for Presiident how they used MS as a platform. How quickly they forgot about MS after he was elected.

May 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm
(54) James Arch says:

Sorry to all the “OMG YOU ARE ALL SO HUNG UP ON HER MONEY! YOU HATE HER BECAUSE SHE HAS MONEY!” I went back and carefully reread every statement and it seems everyone is bugged by the disparity of the political policies of her husband and those of many people with MS. Mr. Romney wants to do away with the support systems that many of us who suffer with MS use. Mr. and Mrs. Romney’s life won’t be bothered by trashing Mediacide, Medicare and other health support systems now currently in use (by the way, MA uses many of those same systems he himself implemented and bashes Obama for, coincidently. I’m simplifying the MA Romneycare program vs. Obamacare issue of course for those of you who don’t know). It’s easy for Romney to throw the health care away when he doesn’t rely on it.

To anyone who is whining about how we all hate her because she is rich, please go back and reread the comments you are referring to. It sounds like Rodney King himself has written several responses here actually. I simply think Mr. Romney should be more considerate with his words when his wife suffers from something and won’t be affected at all when he is elected and does away with “wasteful” government spending on programs like SS, Medicaid and Medicare. No one really cares if the Romneys have money or not – that’s NOT the issue. And to anyone else who trolls this again, if you just type “you all just hate her because she has money”, you are just posting that you didn’t bother to read or understand all the posts and just want to flame people.

In the end, I hope IF he gets elected, he doesn’t do what he said he would (what politician does?) and trash the health support systems now in place. But I agree more awareness should be brought to the disease. Just a shame it has to be politicized to do it.

May 5, 2012 at 10:35 am
(55) Brian Light says:

I have progressive MS and it has taken much including my legs. I do not support the Republicans as to my mind they are driven too much by ideology. I know Ann has many advantages I do not but I also know any MS is brutal. I empathize with her. She is walking a tough road and should Mitt win I hope she brings the issue of this unending suffering to the fore.

May 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(56) Maryellen says:

Wow! I hated reading all these posts of jealous pathetic whiners.I’
m very sorry Anne Romney has MS,I’m sorry her condition is unworthy of sympathy of understanding just because she is rich. She’s a fortunate one.Some times people make me so sick

May 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm
(57) connie says:

She is h ardly a mouthpiece for MS since she is virtually unaffected. She appears quite phony to me.
Also, she has great health insurance, servants, boatloads of money–of course she has no stress, does not have to work and has access to the best of everything.

Meanwhile, her husband wants to gut the ACA, Soc. Sec/SSDI, Medicare and Medicaid.

May 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm
(58) connie says:

and the only thing people a re ‘learning’ about MS from her is that does NOT seem serious.

May 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm
(59) Jose Luna says:

lol I love how Maryellen says he/she is SOOOO understanding of Mrs. Romney’s her MS yet everyone else but her is a jealous whiner. Way to be a passive aggressive flamer troll! Bravo. Put people down cause they are not as compassionate as you. All I can say is in my travels doing talks with MS patients, many are angry. It’s okay to be angry, just try not to lash out at others. I myself am guilty when start reading name calling of well informed posters, but hey be angry, call names and basically flame on. You made my day by your comment … what a laugh.

@Mr. Arch you got it right. Maryellen has proven she did not spend time reading a single post.
@Connie, I agree.

May 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm
(60) Anne says:

Some of you folks are just plain mean. So her case is mild. Does that mean she should hide it? Perhaps she could fall down the steps in front of a thousand people. Would that make you happy?

Knock it off. Pull yourselves together. Bitter feelings will only make you worse!

May 26, 2012 at 6:40 am
(61) Ian says:

Every single thing that a politician says should be taken with a grain of salt. These guys do not really know about MS (multiple sclerosis) unless they have it. How about the entire health care program?

May 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm
(62) Curt says:

I , a person living with MS and the primary caregiver for my family, if a primary caregiver has the economic means to protect his/her spouse that has MS from undo stresses, such as the stresses that result during the campaign for the US Presidency, for the love of one’s spouse with MS, should not run for President. If Mitt had MS, it’s ok to run for President, but still not wise. But for him to put this pressure on Ann????? I doubt if Ann would run for President if the tables were turned. She seems wiser and more considerate from what I’ve read about her.

May 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm
(63) gretchen benedetto says:

MS is in my family, My dad died because of it at 35 yrs old. My cousins wife was a young gorgious women was totally struck after second child. She died in her 40s after a couragious battle. My friend was put into a nursing home at 40 because she could not be taken care of properly at home. Then compound it with Breast Canser. Please tell me because I really need to know how Ann is surviving so well and my family and friendsdid not

June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm
(64) Lisa says:

Connie – shame on you! we do not know everything that she suffers with. read the pamphlet “but you look so good”. I have MS and I force myself to do things, but it hurtsand exhausted. I am doing this for my daughter!

June 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm
(65) Victoria Dwyer says:

I’m sorry, but until healthcare becomes a RIGHT and not a choice, I won’t vote republican, no matter how sweet Ann is. Why wouldn’t she be sweet? She has the world at her feet – doctors come to her, not the other way around, she can afford new drugs OK’d by other Countries that we haven’t gotten around to getting FDA approval.

Picture the world’s smallest violin: I’m playing it for Ann.

June 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm
(66) Marguerite says:

Ann Romney said she hasn’t had a MS attack in 10 years. I’m glad. MS is a very difficult illness. It seems like she has no real problem in her daily life. For someone that has MS, she sure didn’t seem to have much to say about it on Hannity. Outside of repeatedly discussing the tiredness. Riding a horse!!!!! Come on. A merry go round horse would be a real feat for someone with MS. Ann Romney has got to be the most benign case of MS I have seen. Ten years ago she may have had an MS flair up and been fine since then. I have known people that have had that happen. This long suffering health issue she claims will never make her the face of MS. It kind of nauseated me listening to the Romneys on Hannity.. I have MS and after 12 years she should have had a lot more to say on the subject, if MS was the subject. What was the point? She said herself it’s been 10 years since she had a problem. It’s like looking for attention with a expired handicapped plaque. It’s all about votes. What’s next? I know I won’t have to hold my breath too long…………………

June 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(67) SundayMorn says:

I believe that Ann Romnney is a phony. No doubt she has had her share of health problems, BUT…when it comes to politicking… I can see right through this woman. She is using her sicknesses..M.S. and survivor of breast cancer to her best advantage. You might call it the sympathy vote towards her husband’s election. She definately wants this known as she talks about it on a regular basis.

I wonder what she thinks of her husband while speaking on the campaign trail striking down the healtcare act? She says she is of “regular folk” but is she?

Seeing her featured astride a beautiful horse practicing dressage on the evening news alienates her from regular folks suffering from MS, many of whom must struggle.

July 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm
(68) Julia Neely says:

I think we need her on our side with the “affordable health care” ( a big Joke). CVS Caremark just dropped me from Provigil, with no warning. I have been taking it for over 10 years. Can you even imagine with triple digit temperatures and I don’t have my energy pill? They told me Provigil was not for MS. I had a prescription from doctor. They said it is only for sleep apnea or narcolepsy. This health care is not for the people with problems. Mrs Romney, your husband has my support 100%. Please stay up-to-date with medicines and what is going on in MS world. That will help so much and do research. God Bless you and All MS patients in America.

July 5, 2012 at 10:48 am
(69) Jude says:

I was told by a friend who also my doctor…I did not ask for ms, certainly did not deserve it, but for some reason God saw a purpose for me to have ms, so what was I going to do about it…. I think about this alot and I have decided to work, try and be my best everyday. I wnat to live by example for others with ms. There is so much more in our lives than having ms….

July 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm
(70) Susan says:

I am not too sympathetic to the woman.Though MS should be exposed for the life disruptor that it is more than someone who may use it for the wrong reasons,the “thing” that of should be addressed is the cost of medications.$ 1,800 a month for me just for 1 script for interferon and then there’s whatever else my doctor says I should be on. I don’t begrudge her for having money just that she could be doing something for the people that don’t have money to cover it all.Yeah,MS doesn’t discriminate between those who can pay for the medication and those who can not but it can differentiate between those with a purpose and those full of hot air and I feel she is the later.

July 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm
(71) Melanie says:

I left a comment here 2 days ago. It was #30. When I checked back it was no longer there?? The only conclusion I can draw is that it was deliberately deleted. Why I have no idea. The content briefly discussed my history with MS, the fact that as a resident of MA for the past 18 years, I lived here during the campaign, election and governorship of Mitt Romney. I discussed the fact that Ann Romney’s health issue of Multiple Sclerosis was virtually unknown. It was NEVER discussed in a public way. The NMSS rushed to make her a Board member but in 4 yrs. of service I saw 1 brief televised appearance of her appearing at an MS Walk on Cape Cod. To this day the average, lifelong resident of Massachusetts has no idea she has MS. If you think things will be different in this election then sadly, you are very naive.

I think this was an unwise topic to bring up. First of all it is her business how she wants to handle it. MS is a difficult, costly disease that wreaks havoc on careers, families and lives in general.

Of course people are going to be angry and resentful at someone who can afford a more comfortable life with this illness than most of us. My original post follows. Please be aware this author, Julie Stachowiak, is paid by the New York Times (Wiki.)

I do not tolerate censorship of factual data.

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July 25, 2012 at 9:06 pm
(74) Lucy says:

I have had MS for 25 years, and the first 17 years I did fine, a very benign form, few relapses. Now I struggle with it and have visible disability but I am still walking (with a limp).

I like Ann Romney, but she needs to understand that if she becomes the first lady, she needs to make sure to keep the stress level down. My MS got worse after 17 years because of added stress (went back to work full time, moved).

To those saying she has it easy because she has money: she still has MS and money or not the disease is there and flares happen regardless, so quit being so critical of Ann. I am glad she can afford to take care of herself, because that makes a lot of difference when you have MS.

I have managed to stop the progression of my MS through a gluten free diet, yoga, meditation and a less stressful job.

Good luck Ann, and if you become the first lady, please be an advocate for MS and health care in general. Understand that the rest of us rely on medical insurance so tell your husband to be more sensitive to those of us middle class folks who deal with a disease like MS

July 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm
(75) Lucy says:

why did my comment disappear?

July 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm
(76) Julie Stachowiak says:

@Melanie (#71) – You state that your original post disappeared, then apparently tried to repost it, but I did not see it. I assure you that I did not delete it. It is very rare that I delete comments, unless they are obvious spam or contain language that can be construed as racist or otherwise discriminatory (hate language).

The only thing I can think that may have happened is that your post(s) may have gotten caught in a filter for some reason, the usual one being that they contain several links (tags them as spam). I will investigate on my end. If you would like to e-mail your comment to me (ms.guide@about.com), I will make sure it gets posted. I don’t open up a topic like this in order to put limits on what people say.

July 26, 2012 at 12:44 am
(77) Lucy says:

” A merry go round horse would be a real feat for someone with MS. Ann Romney has got to be the most benign case of MS I have seen.”

I am not sure why you say this. I have visible disability: I limp when I walk, and I cannot walk long distances without having to stop and rest, so yes, I have MS and it got worse after 17 years.

But even with the obvious disability, I can still ride a horse, ride a bike, drive. What gives me trouble is walking. No one understands why I can ride a bike but not walk well. It is hard to explain, you would need to be in my shoes.

Quit being so critical of Ann. She has MS, and it affects everyone a bit differently, but it is still there.

July 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(78) Lucy says:

I was at a meeting today, and someone said something very valid:

Those criticizing Ann Romney do so because they say she does not have to work or worry about money. OK, fine, but what about Michelle Obama? Michelle may have worked in the past but right now, she has money (her husband’s book made them millions) and she does not work (and does not have to). The Obamas have money too, not as much as the Romneys but they have enough to allow Michelle to not work and travel – expensive vacations.

So both wives of the presidential candidates (Obama and Romney) are well off but Ann Romney deals with MS and Michelle on the other hand, is healthy and does not deal with an unpredictable illness.

Keep that in mind when you are critical of Ann Romney.

And btw, I voted for Obama in 2008, so my defense of Ann Romney has nothing to do with my political views

August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm
(79) Lori Giamnpa says:

I have had MS since 2/94. I have been on alot of drugs some for the 2nd time around. I was recently on Tysabri and the blood work came back, getting high for the blood infection so I had to come off. Now back onto another drug for another time. Searching & searching for that drug to put this MS to sleep. I will be 43 this year. I want to grow old with my husband & I WILL!! Positive attitude & Power of prayer, what a great tool to have!! I look up to all that carry this beast that lies with us!

August 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm
(80) sophia says:

Maybe Michelle Obama doesn’t mention the tragedy that MS was in her life because she has too much class.
Yes I feel terrible that Ann Romney has MS…but she has no worries about whether after this election she will be employed…lose her house…feed her children…have health insurance….

August 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm
(81) Eileen says:

So Ann has a benign case of MS? I am 48 years old, on disability and if you look at me I look like I could run a marathon! Obviously, I can’t and I suffer greatly. People, let’s not let political party choices divide us in the fight to conquer MS!

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November 3, 2012 at 12:29 am
(84) Azaelea Prawn says:

Ann Romney is wealthy overpriviled cow who doesn’t give a dam about others with MS & has no idea about the real world problems of ordinary people with MS.
Hippo therapy and dancing horses – oh it must be nice and nary a thought about how to pay the bills!

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