Multiple Sclerosis Is Not a Stop Sign. It’s Just a Detour.

Not that long ago, someone said, “MS isn’t a stop sign in life, it’s just a detour.” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I would add that it’s a detour with more joy than I ever thought possible when first diagnosed.

While talking about this with my pharmacist, she mentioned that one of her friends was recently diagnosed with MS, but that her friend didn’t want to know or talk about it. Of course, hearing “You have MS” is never easy, even to the most optimistic person. All kinds of emotions flood your mind. Suddenly you feel as if the ground under your feet has opened up, and you feel utterly vulnerable and desperate.

Given how multiple sclerosis impacts people, it’s only normal to go through lots of different emotions. Truth be told though, those emotions might pop up every now and then, but they will not last forever. Having MS means needing to adjust each day, sometimes each hour. You will get there eventually, so don’t give up. Ever.

Living with a chronic illness truly is a learning-curve process; you don’t wake up one morning and say, “Well, I know all about MS now!” Even neuroscientists admit not knowing everything there is to know about a degenerative illness like MS.

Looking back, I think about 10 percent of my first year after diagnosis I spent in Confusion. Yes, confusion with a capital C. I had a hectic job which meant I was away almost twelve hours each day, and often didn’t have time to learn about MS. The fantastic thing is, ten years later, I’m not confused anymore. Thinking life is unfair, or getting all worked up because my body has different ideas than my mind, is gone. Yes, that learning curve…yet again.

One awful year can turn into two or three fantastic years if only you let it. We’ve all heard the famous expression “I Have MS. It Doesn’t Have Me.” After hearing it so many times, I rather opt for my own words “Do not deny your diagnosis, but try to defy your verdict.”

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