10 years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) I am still a very active, happy, and contributing member of society.
When I got diagnosed with MS it sure didn’t seem like it would be possible to live a happy fulfilling life that included anywhere near as many things as I am involved with now.
At the time I was 20 years old, attending a top design school in NYC just like I always wanted to do. In fact, I’d recently been given a golden seal of health when I was told that my risk of stroke was that of a normal 20 year old after going through heart surgery to patch a small hole (PFO) in my heart thought to have contributed to my stroke 2 years earlier.
What a relief! I was a normal 20 year old girl again and wouldn’t have to take coumadin anymore! Of course all of this was abruptly washed away when a month after the surgery the right side of my body went numb and heavy bringing me right back the the emergency room I’d gone to when I had my stroke.
Another month later and I was in my neurologist’s office as he gave me the news that I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder called multiple sclerosis. Then he told me not to look online or at any books in the store about it, just to take my drugs as prescribed and live my life as normal.
Of course I didn’t listen, and I did do research, I even went to some support group meetings and it was very scary! Most of the groups had nobody even close to my age, and few people seemed to be able to walk normally. I was terrified and felt like the odd one out for being as ‘normal’ as I felt.
Now, years later, I know that this is not the case!! I know hundreds of people young and old who have multiple sclerosis and while some of them do have some pretty severe disability it is certainly not a sure thing that any of us will be experiencing in our lifetime.
If you were recently diagnosed with MS I highly recommend doing as much research as possible and keeping an open mind. It is a condition that seems to be having breakthroughs regarding treatment by the minute, especially if you pay attention to a wide variety of medical specialties and how they see it through their lense of focus.
There is one piece of advice that I do think my doctor was right about which is that any old books about MS, over a few years old, are not recommended for the most part. Reason being so much has changed as we learn more about how we can abate the progression through changing our daily habits, diet and self care while also taking the medicine and supplements recommended by our doctors.