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.

Shauna F.

RRMS Patient

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16 Comment(s)
  • Sammy | June 21, 2017
    I was diagnosed fifteen years ago but I still try to do what I did before it just takes more time but I still look for automobiles to restore it's not going to stop me
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 21, 2017
      Thanks for sharing, Sammy.
  • Diann | June 22, 2017
    Thank you for this...
    We live with something others can't see and just reading your words knowing im not alone is a blessing...cheers to you!
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 22, 2017
      We’re happy to hear that you liked the post, Diann.
  • Precious  | June 23, 2017
    I daughter was diagnosed with 02082017 so far she has been okay she have good days and bad days she is only 23 I want her to talk to other people that live with how do I get her in groups like that
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 26, 2017
      Did you know there is a Lift MS Facebook page, too, Precious? It’s filled with MS patients and Care Partners sharing stories you might enjoy. You can check it out by visiting https://www.facebook.com/liftms.
  • Janis | June 23, 2017
    After I was first diagnosed, my husband and I went on a vacation we had previously planned. I spent a lot of time noticing people in wheelchairs and how they managed. That was 17 years ago and I'm not in a wheelchair, don't even use a walker. The thing is that when you're first diagnosed, you have no idea what kind of MS you have. I guess that what I would tell myself now is not to worry so much.
  • Erica | June 23, 2017
    Thank you for your comments. I was dx on Jan 7, 2010 and still remember the phone call I received at 710 that evening. I was 37 years old and have two disabled children that need me on a daily basis. At dx I was a neuro psych nurse that was dx with what my patients have. The road has been very hard but experiencing what my patients experienced was a true eye opener. This has made me a better RN.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 26, 2017
      What an inspiring story, Erica! We appreciate your contribution to the community.
  • Bonnie  | June 24, 2017
    Thank You for Your input...It Really helped me...!
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 26, 2017
      Bonnie, it’s great to hear you enjoy the community we’ve built here! We welcome your contributions to it.
  • Gary | June 25, 2017
    I was diagnosed when I was 21 I am now 80 in one month. I have had a full career as a bank sr Vice President . My legs are numb and I use a walker or wheel chair . I feel that I have blessed
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | June 26, 2017
      Thank you for sharing, Gary. We wish you the best!
  • Phyllis | June 27, 2017
    I feel the same way just got to keep myself up lifted and Happy and live this sickness out and ask God for our healing Blessing. God Bless you.
  • Dianna  | June 30, 2017
    Thank you for your positive outlook. It was encouraging to me.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 03, 2017
      Thanks, Dianna. Best wishes!
  • Tracy Kay Fifield | July 01, 2017
    Staying POSITIVE is KEY for me!!
  • Nicole | July 01, 2017
    Good read!
    I'm Newbie to MS world as April 2017. I agree with you as trying stay normal as possible and listening to my body.
    I try stay positive as much as I can be whining about don't make it go away😉!
    We Are MS Strong!!!!
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 03, 2017
      Thanks for sharing your story, Nicole. We hope you’ll look around the blog and let us know which other posts you enjoy!
  • Sally  | July 02, 2017
    You are very strong about everything in life .we love you a lot big time sis
  • Dana | July 07, 2017
    People don't have no idea what people with MS go through a lot every day and most people don't care so I will deal with it alone. All I need is my sweet dog Ali and we will be fine without family! I'm not gonna deal with drama ever again from no one
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 09, 2017
      That’s great to hear, Julie!
  • Julie | July 08, 2017
    Hi...you are spot on on this writing...I thank you and good luck with the little ones...and of course your self....
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 09, 2017
      Thank you for sharing your experience, Dana! We hope you continue to lean on the community for support. Best wishes!
  • Kristie | July 12, 2017
    Shauna! THANKS for sharing your information and advice!
    I felt so very connected to you and totally understood what you were writing!

    It was nice to hear what you were saying and to know that no matter when kind of day or moment I'm having it's "normal" for me and several others.

    THANKS for sharing your thoughts! :-)
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 13, 2017
      We’re glad you liked this, Kristie. We hope you’ll check back often for new content!
  • Tonda | July 15, 2017
    I have had Ms for 20 years.It is now getting very hard.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 17, 2017
      We appreciate your honesty, Tonda. Living with MS can have its difficulties, but we hope you continue to come here for support and a little lift.