So Much Change

As we all know, “Change” happens all the time. It happens as time goes on, it happens in technology, etc. So, with life, you have change. And… when you get diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, you have a lot of change going on at once and you are frustrated and can’t keep up and you want to pull your hair out. At least that’s how I felt at times.

I’m still dealing with change, due to my MS… even after being diagnosed for over four years. I think that’s something that a lot of people who don’t have MS can’t understand… we don’t just have to deal with change once we’re diagnosed, we have to deal with change throughout our diagnosis. Do we need to change our DMT meds? Do we need to change our Medication for Symptoms? Do we need to change our lifestyle?

I’ve made a lot of changes since I was diagnosed in August 2010. I’ve changed DMT meds a few times, and I’ve changed symptom management medication more times than I can count. But I’ve also had a lot of changes in my day-to-day life. I’ve also had a change in my priorities/morals along the way as well. Meaning, what mattered to me a lot right before I was diagnosed, probably isn’t that big of thing to me these days.

I’ve changed in regards to my maturity. I was diagnosed in my early 20’s, and now I’m getting closer to 30, and with that my mentality has changed. But not just how it would with “growing up” but with the realizations I had since I’ve been diagnosed.

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I’m not so worried about making everyone happy. I’m not trying to be everyone’s friend, like I used to, sadly. Instead I have a select number of friends, and I’ve come to realize that I’m much happier now with fewer friends, than I was with A LOT. I don’t care for drama…. I don’t like to admit that I used to be into ‘drama’ but in a way, I was. The whole gossiping thing, which caused a lot of issues w/ me back then, doesn’t cause issues now. As you may have learned, I’m not good with holding back with what I want to say, so when I WAS gossiping, I wouldn’t just do it behind the persons back… if I had something to say about someone, I would say it to their face as well.

But I had an eye-opening experience since I’ve been diagnosed, and I’m actually thankful for it believe it or not. I don’t judge others like I used to, just by seeing someone out in public. Why have I changed in that way? Because I’ve had it happen to me… I’ve had people judge me out in public, without knowing me personally… and it hurts. Why do I refrain from as much gossip as possible? Because it’s stressful, and stress isn’t good for us MS’ers! Another reason is because I knew at some point that I was being ‘gossiped’ about too. It’s not a good feeling, especially when you can’t control what’s going on within your body. So it hurts when you’re being talked about in a high school drama “mean girls” type way, when you are going through so much as it is. Do I still gossip at times? Why yes of course… I am a female, after all. But I don’t gossip like many would think. I gossip about certain situations I went through, I gossip about books, TV shows, etc. But I try to refrain from doing any negative gossip about another individual… but I can’t say I’m an angel… sometimes people just deserve my attitude. Is that rude? Yes… but I’m no saint, that’s for sure.

What else has changed? I don’t go out all that much. Not because I don’t want to interact, but when I do get invited to go out and do something, sometimes my MS prevents me from doing that. Now let me just say, has MS impacted my priorities and the things I do, yes most definitely… is it all about my attitude or who I am as a person that caused that change, not necessarily. Why? Because let’s face it, having Multiple Sclerosis is EXPENSIVE!

So that extra money I had here and there to do something that I wanted to do or go do something with the family… it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, because I have medical bills in a BIG way. I know that it’s not usually discussed out in the open all the time, but when I have a $3,000 deductible for myself… and a $9,000 family deductible on insurance, and I meet not one but BOTH deductibles within a month or two, that’s saying something. Especially when I have to tell different doctors offices to check and see that I’ve met my deductible, when they try and make me do a co-pay… a lot of office staff at doctors offices find it hard to believe that at the end of January, beginning of February, I had already met my deductibles. Fewer headaches for the rest of the year, but it’s a big cost no matter what.

I’ve had people tell me that I’ve changed since I got diagnosed, that I’m not the “Ashley” that they once knew… well DUH! I guess it’s hard to understand what a life changing diagnosis can do to someone’s personality… So take me as I am, or move on. Since being diagnosed I’ve realized everything I took for granted… the easy things that I did before, that now take a lot of time. So I’m more appreciative of the smaller things in life, and I don’t have to deal with people who don’t like who I have become, that’s the bottom line of it all.

With all this change caused by my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, you would think I would be fed up, but I’m the opposite. I’m thankful, in a way, for the eye opener. I don’t know who I would be today had I not been diagnosed because I’ve adapted to the change that this diagnosis brought on. Because of my diagnosis, I’ve met so many wonderful people, that I now call my family with MSWorld & what started my involvement in the MS Community. I’ve interacted with so many people due to my writing here at… and I feel like I’ve made a difference within the MS Community, and helped some people out along the way.

So maybe not everything that MS changed in my life is a bad thing.


Ashley Ringstaff

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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