Monday, September 6, 2010

The Many Faces of MS: A Co-Worker's Perspective

I hope you have been enjoying "The Many Faces of MS" series. It has been a lot of fun featuring other writer's on my blog. I would love to keep this series going but don't have any more posts scheduled. So if you know me well and want to contribute let me know! My readers and I would love to hear your perspective.

If you haven't read the previous posts in this series you can do that here:

A Roommate's Perspective

A Friend's Perspective

A Father's Perspective

A Mother's Perspective

Today's perspective is by Joana. Joana and I worked together at the adoption agency (my previous job) for several years. When Joana had her baby Carter and decided not to return to work I was devastated. I honestly didn't know how I would work there w/o her. Somehow I managed but it just wasn't the same w/o her. Now I'm at a new job and trying to figure out how to get her to come work w/ me!

Joana was working w/ me when I was diagnosed with MS and she was the main reason I even went to the doctor that day. She was very worried about me and really encouraged me to call my doctor. I'm so glad she did!

When you first learned that I had MS what went through you head?

Holy cow! I was in total shock. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. You had a doctor's appointment for some "strange" symptoms and although I was concerned about it, I never expected you to be diagnosed with MS. I had been waiting for you to call me all day and when I didn’t hear from you, I called your cell phone and then your house phone. I was on the T on my way home from work and your roommate, Stephanie, answered and said you were not home and that you would need to talk to me. That made me panic. Every time I asked if you were ok she just said, “She will talk to you”. I was very glad that you called me back right away because by that point I was thinking you were in the ICU. When you told me you have MS, there was an immediate sense of relief that you would be “ok” followed by total shock and sadness. I just couldn’t believe it! I just kept thinking about how this would impact your life. How would MS manifest for you? What can be done to keep you healthy? How will MS affect your dating life? How will it impact your ability to become a mom? Yes, I thought about a million questions about your future and being pregnant at the time, maybe I was a little more emotional.

What did you know about MS (if anything)?

I was familiar with MS because one of my friends from college was diagnosed when she was in graduate school. However, I was very glad that you shared information about your medication course and prognosis with me. I was happy to know that research has come a long way from when my other friend was diagnosed. Your openness and positive outlook was very reassuring for me. I think I’m naturally an optimistic person, but your attitude was key in how I dealt with your diagnosis. I have also learned a lot more about MS from you.

My life has changed since I was diagnosed with MS. What about me living w/ MS has made the greatest impact of you? How have you dealt with that?

I have become much more aware of how fast life can change and that we truly do need to appreciate what we have. I am much more aware of how health issues are interconnected and that it is important to take care of yourself. I think most people take their health for granted but your diagnosis has made me much more appreciative and careful with my own health.

Do you think I have changed in any noticeable way since being diagnosed with MS?

Yes! You are taking better care of yourself. You still have a very busy social life but now I think you make sure to get more rest and “listen” to your body. I’m glad that you made a career change that gives you a better quality of life and less stress. Jodi, I honestly could not be more proud or impressed with how you have adjusted your life after being diagnosed.

Your attitude after being diagnosed is probably the think that has impressed me the most about you. I am so impressed that you immediately started educating yourself and those around you and began making life style changes. We all know the things we “should” do but few of us follow through; you did.

Anything else you want to tell my readers about what it is like to be "another face of MS?"

Jodi, I'm sorry this has taken forever and a day to get to you. I think I've been writing a word a day. If it's too late or you don't want to use it its fine, but I still wanted you to know how impressed I am with how you have handled your diagnosis. I don't know that I would have "taken the bull by the horns" the way you did. You have just done a phenomenal job!

Thanks so much Joana!

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