A Few Thoughts for the Newly Diagnosed

So I was reading an article in a magazine about multiple sclerosis (I won’t say which magazine) that talked about coping with MS if you are newly diagnosed. I finished reading it and all I could think was “wow, that was really weak and uninformative” which then got me to thinking “What do I have to say to people who are newly diagnosed with MS?”, because frankly that article really sucked haha… So, if you were just diagnosed with MS or if you think you might have it but have not got an answer from your doctor yet and are just browsing the internet reading all sorts of stuff that is just making you more worried let me tell you just a few things I think are really important for you to know.

First, I want to tell you that just because it can be really bad for some people does not mean it is that bad for all people. MS affects everyone a little differently so you can’t read one person’s story and think it will be your own. Most people with MS are not in a wheelchair, do not use a cane and do not need that little motorized shopping cart/scooter thing so stop freaking out about that. Most people with MS live pretty ordinary lives so most of them obviously do not have a blog or YouTube channel because… what would they really talk about? If all I did was go to work, stop at Starbucks and pay my bills I would not be much of a writer would I?

Secondly, you need to realize that there are way moremedications available today than there was even just 5 years ago! I think there were only about 6 (or so) medications available when I was diagnosed in 2010 which were all given by injection or infusion but now there are about 13 medications, many of which are a simple pill and there are still several more being developed or in the approval process right this second! Now, I am not saying that there is ever a GREAT time to be diagnosed with MS but if you had to be diagnosed than right now is probably the better time because there are so many options for treating MS right now and so many new options being worked on! It’s getting to the point where I can only imagine that when someone is now diagnosed and treated right away that their disease progression should not be all that bad (keyword should) thanks to what we now know and the new treatments available to us. So, my point is, you should rest a bit easier knowing that there are many forms of treatment available today that were not available just a few years ago and the right treatment should allow you to live a pretty normal life doing all the thing you wanted to do.

The world of MS is rapidly evolving and not just because of scientific/medical breakthroughs. We live in the era of the internet; the world is interconnected in such a way that information is just a few clicks away and instant communication with anyone anywhere in the world is as simple as clicking “post comment” or “send”. We are “lucky” for this because it is so easy for us to connect with others instead of feeling so alone as many people did before social media. The fact that you are sitting down reading this right now is proof of this! 10 years ago I would not have really been able to share my story or speak to the MS community like I can today.

This leads me to what I personally believe is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you; knowledge is power. We as people naturally fear what we do not understand so most would say one of the best things you can do is learn everything you can about MS! From the day I was diagnosed till today I have done everything I can to educate myself about MS because that gives me more power over this disease than it has over me. Sure, it’s great to read from actual books or attend speaking events but that is probably a little over the top for the average individual who is newly diagnosed with MS. Thanks to the internet you can learn about pretty much anything so learning about what MS is, how it works, how it’s treated, how it affects people and advice on treating/living with MS is incredibly easy. By learning all you can you can make sure that you can make an informed decision about your health so that MS is not dictating your life but instead you are dictating the role MS plays in it.

What advice do you have for people who are just diagnosed with MS or think they may have it? On the flip side, what advice are you seeking if you are new to MS? Share or ask in the comments below!

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