If you’re newly diagnosed with MS chances are you have in the middle of coming off of having some sort of attack or relapse or whatever you want to call it where you got sick and your diagnosis was made to be MS. At this point is usually shock. And I’m sure you come home from seeing the doctor and go right onto the Internet looking up everything you can possibly look up for MS. But let’s start at the very beginning of what really should be done when you are newly diagnosed. Maybe not as soon as you’re diagnosed should you be on the Internet looking at everything because what your heads gonna do is look at all the bad stuff and you’re going to get upset. Eventually yes knowledge is power the more you know the better but when you’re at this step get the right information. There is tons of wrong and erroneous information about MS so stick to the big MS sites. The national multiple sclerosis society is a great place to start. Another great place is www.msworld.org. Not only does this sight have tons of information but they have amazing chat boards with every topic you could think of relating to MS as well as some off topic stuff. It is a great place to connect with people who also have MS and are going through or have been through what you are going through. The site is even great for people who are caring for someone with MS. These are real people who are sharing real experiences and it is probably the most valuable site, in my opinion, because it has been around for a very long time. I just want to reiterate that you want to go to the sites that have the real information about MS when you’re first diagnosed so you don’t start “future tripping” over the unknown, what if, what’s going to happen.
My next recommendation for the newly diagnosed is track your symptoms. Remember that MS is unpredictable which is very frustrating and scary but there are some little things you can notice. For instance, what I use to notice in the beginning was if I went through a very stressful period for a set amount of time, like two weeks, a few weeks or so later something would trigger with my MS. I also noticed a little later in the disease, I’d get a small infection in my mouth and about a month later something would happen with my MS symptoms. Not every time was it a relapse sometimes it just was worsening of my everyday symptoms but something went wrong. Again tracking things. Track when your symptoms act up or your having a relapse try to remember what was happening leading up to it. Jot down the weather conditions, stress level, change in diet or exercise, change in lifestyle anything significant you can. See if you can make out any pattern. Yes we have an unpredictable disease but some of our worsening or relapses you’ll be surprised you can see. You might not know what symptoms will arise but what caused the breakdown of your body you may. This is the time to also learn your body pay close attention to FATIGUE which will be that one symptom that throws you off because it can come on easily. Learn what your body can do and watch overdoing it. Again jotting down information and keeping track is so important at the beginning to learning your body again to taking care of your body and paying attention to it.
Finally don’t look at the diagnosis as life ending. Don’t give up hope. Stay positive since your mind, your attitude, is the best medicine. When I got MS it was almost 19 years ago there were only 2 available drugs on the market for MS. Now in 2016 there are 13 with more coming each year. They are developing and researching more and more to repairing the myelin sheath and stem cell research is showing such promising results. I believe that one day MS will have a cure. Just remember you aren’t alone there is an entire website (www.msworld.org) available to answer your questions or give you support or just listen to you when you need to vent. Your going to be Ok.