Learning to Not Be Defined by RRMS

  • by Mark O.
  •   January 22, 2018

Mark O. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

Being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) can be scary, stressful and life changing, and for me, it certainly was. After my RRMS diagnosis I began to look at life differently. I made it a priority to not let my RRMS define me. I surrounded myself with positive support, planned to strictly follow the care plan my neurologist and I came up with together, and even viewed my diagnosis, and the subsequent journey, as a starting-over point.

I had heard of multiple sclerosis before, but I didn’t really know what it was. All I knew was what it was doing to me based on my symptoms, and some days it felt like my RRMS was working against me. I decided I was going to try my absolute best to overcome the challenges my RRMS presented. I began to look at my daily routines, adjusting them so they were right for me. I also found a neurologist that I liked, and together we came up with a disease management plan that worked for me. Learning all I could about RRMS disease management and managing my stress and body better led me to change my diet. I reached out to Teva’s Shared Solutions® for resources and support. I was embarking on a new journey and needed to be well prepared.

Despite feeling scared and somewhat alone, I now had a support team of people who could help me and answer my questions. I was comfortable with my neurologist and I had a fresh outlook on prioritizing my health to manage my RRMS.

I also started to look at everything as positively as I could. My RRMS came with some challenges, but I used daily coping strategies to maintain a positive outlook, I didn't take anything for granted and stayed true to myself. I realized that although my life had changed, I was not going to be defined by my RRMS diagnosis.

A journey is just that. It isn't a single step and your goals aren't handed to you. Roads get bumpy and sometimes new roads have to be taken. I have had to walk down some roads I never intended to walk down. I chose to cherish the journey and I am determined to continue to overcome any obstacles by facing them head-on.

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Mark O.

RRMS Patient

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2 Comment(s)
  • Jil | February 12, 2018
    Hi Mark,
    "Starting over" is a good way to look at an MS dx. And an accurate description for living a lifetime with MS--multiple "start overs." And it's ok...keep moving forward..in anyway you can :-).. Do not stop! Enjoy the journey even if your travels may be different than you ever planned, enjoy the people in your life and every moment you can. After 29 years with MS, I do. Best always!

    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 13, 2018
      Thank you for sharing your positive outlook, Jil.
  • Betty | February 15, 2018
    Mark,
    You are right. A positive outlook on the journey with MS enables us to be resilient and focus on turning obstacles into opportunities. Yes, we have MS, but it no more defines who we are than one’s hair or eye color. Stay positive. Stay strong.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 16, 2018
      What a great way to think about things, Betty!