5 Things I Learned After My Diagnosis
- by Shauna F.
- June 19, 2017
Shauna F. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Five things I wish I knew when I was first diagnosed.
I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) when I was 32 years old. At the time I had a three-year-old, a one-year-old, and a newborn baby. Life was hectic enough without the stress of living with a chronic illness, and I had a perception that I would never lead a “normal” life again. I began researching and figuring out what worked best for me, and in doing so, I learned many facts about RMS. Here are a few things I wish I would've known when I was diagnosed:
1. MS can be invisible.
Many people with multiple sclerosis, including me, do not have visible symptoms. Sometimes it can be hard for others to understand a disease that can be silent or invisible. Most of my symptoms are things no one can see from the outside, such as numbness, tingling, nerve pain and fatigue. Even though my symptoms are invisible, they are still very real and I had to learn how to manage them.
2. I am still the same person.
After I was diagnosed, I often wondered why this happened to me. I didn't look any different and didn't want to be treated differently by others. I was a mom, a wife, a social worker, and a friend, and although I had just received an RRMS diagnosis, I did not want to be defined by it and I maintained a positive attitude.
3. MS can be a blessing in disguise.
Although it took me some time to realize this, living with RRMS has brought many blessings my way and helped me find comfort in simple pleasures. I have met the most courageous and amazing people who also live with this disease, and we share a bond that is like no other. To be with others who understand how you feel can be very uplifting. Thanks to the support of those around me, I feel I have a more meaningful and thankful outlook on my life that I didn't have before my diagnosis.
4. I can lead a “normal” life.
After my diagnosis, I wondered if I would ever feel "normal" again. I found over time my new sense of “normal,” which includes accepting that I have a lifelong disease. I take better care of myself and listen more closely to what my body is telling me.
5. Outlook is the key.
MS is different for everybody. I have chosen to be proactive when visiting my doctor and to educate myself about MS. I have also armed myself with a wonderful support network of friends, family, and doctors to offer support and guidance along the way. I learned how to feel positive and hopeful for what my future holds.
Although no one asks for this disease, it is part of who I am today. With the help of friends and loved ones, I have managed my disease proactively and with a positive attitude. Life is full of ups and downs just like MS, and I plan to enjoy the ride.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.