Monday, September 13, 2010

The Many Faces of MS: A Person with MS aka My Perspective!

I'm so appreciative to the people who participated in the series "The Many Faces of MS" and I thought I would end the series w/ my perspective. Now I do realize you hear from me on this blog all the time but would play along anyways. . . so hope you enjoy.

If you haven't read the previous posts in this series you will find them here:

A Co-Worker's Perspective
A Roommate's Perspective
A Friend's Perspective
A Father's Perspective
A Mother's Perspective

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

I remember hearing the words, "You have MS" like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my neurologist's office who I had just met hours earlier. So many things went through my head - especially after he told me he was admitting me to the hospital right then for 5 days! I was worried about work and getting clothes and all silly things. Denial works well in these situations - haha. I also remember that I started crying a little but not really feeling anything. I was just numb. I was sitting there listening to everything he was saying and just wondering how I had gone from a healthy person to a person w/ a chronic illness in a matters of hours.

What did you know about MS (if anything)?

I really didn't know much about MS at all. I didn't know anyone personally who had MS and really had never thought about MS at all. The weird thing is that the day before when I was googling my symptoms MS came up in my google search. I briefly read about it but never thought that I was dealing w/ something so serious so I pretty much put it out of my head.

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?

Well kind of difficult to answer this question about myself but I would have to say that I know I have changed and I know that it has impacted many other people in my life. It has been interesting to watch my family and friends and to observe how they have dealt w/ me having MS. There are the people who aren't really comfortable talking about it and the others who ask me regularly how I'm doing and want to learn more about MS. There are those who show their support by walking w/ me at the Boston MS walk or donating to the cause. I hope that people close to me are dealing w/ it ok at this point and if they aren't then let me know b/c maybe I can help!

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

I know I've changed a lot since being diagnosed both in good and bad ways. For the bad I know I'm tired a lot more, sometimes more moody or cranky (due to not feeling well) and sometimes have to cancel plans last minute b/c I don't have the energy. There are many good ways that I think I have changed. I try harder to live in the moment since I can't predict how I will feel hours, days or weeks from now, I appreciate the good health I've had and that the MS meds are working for me, I appreciate my family and friends, and I'm filled w/ hope. Those are just to name a few. I don't think you can be given a chronic illness diagnosis and not change.

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

I've always been an advocate for many things, I've always volunteered, I've always been passionate about helping others. . . now I'm advocating for MS, I'm volunteering for MS and I'm passionate about helping myself (and others w/ MS). This has been a big change for me. I've really had to adjust to feeling ok about advocating and volunteering for an organize to benefit myself as I'm so use to putting others first. It is also difficult to ask for money for myself when fundraising but I'm also learning to be more comfortable w/ that. Over the past 2 years I've been comfortable w/ sharing my story and using what I've learned to help others (part of the reason for this blog). For me this has been a scary journey filled w/ many unknowns. But being active with the Greater New England MS Society has been really good for me. It keeps me busy and gives me something positive to focus on.

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