COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Being diagnosed in 2009, Rita Joubran remembered the day she discovered she had multiple sclerosis (MS).
“I was having dinner at a friend’s house who happens to be a neurologist," said Joubran.
"I had gone eight years without being diagnosed at least when my daughter was six weeks old when I lost my vision,
"At the time there wasn’t as much awareness as there is today,
"For eight years I heard from doctors there was nothing wrong and I was fine – but I wasn’t."
Joubran said the options for helping symptoms of MS have doubled in the past 10 years and attributes the continued awareness of MS.
“When I was diagnosed in 2009, there were maybe eight or 10 disease-modifying therapies," Joubran said.
"Today, we have 23 plus,
“I tell everyone we have options, which is great because 25 years ago it was diagnosed and adios – people did not have options.”
Physician John A. Lincoln, associate professor at the UT Health McGovern Medical School in Houston described MS in further detail.
“MS is an immune disorder that involves the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves – it’s basically where your own immune system attacks one or more of those components,” said Lincoln, MD, Ph.D.
Lincoln says MS is not always noticeable.
Symptoms vary from person to person, with some cases being very severe to almost not visible at all.
“The symptoms that they are feeling are related to where the attack occurs," said Lincoln.
"So, if, for example, in the optic nerves, those are the nerves going to the eye, then they can have vision loss or blurred vision associated with it; the symptoms can really be varied,
"For some individuals, it attacks deeper parts of the brain,
"Some symptoms that are clearly visible are what other people can see and many others are invisible to what others can’t always see.” said Lincoln.
For Rita Joubran and her huge team of supporters, she says that is what keeps her going and believing in a cure.
“My husband and I, my family, and friends, you’ll see a bunch of crazy people at the finish line," said Joubran.
"I owe them - they go out and cheer this on to make a difference because we believe the cause."
Rita says the ride to find a cure for MS isn’t over but is hopeful in her lifetime she will see a breakthrough in medicine with a cure.
Riders will start the bike ride from either Houston or Austin, meeting in La Grange Saturday night to rest and continue Sunday morning to the finish line at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.