Why MS Doesn’t Scare Me Anymore

“Overcoming Fear”

January 11, 2015

Fear can be paralyzing. It interferes or overtakes one’s thoughts and actions. Fear causes immense stress. People with MS are confronted with it before, during and after diagnosis constantly. After all, there is no cure for MS, no two cases are alike, and it is highly unpredictable in its course.

To make matters worse, fear is intensified by what is read or said by others, health professionals and social media. The fear of ending up in a wheelchair or becoming very mobility impaired; the fear of losing cognitive abilities, the fear of losing employment or becoming incapacitated….

Even MS Associations who try to portray MS in a positive light often unintentionally create fear due to their messages of “get on a treatment ASAP” or “you need to call your doctor…” Lately, all of the emphasis on cognitive issues causes misconceptions that losing one’s mental faculties is inevitable; or a memory problem such as brain fog is due to MS.

I lived with that fear of the unknown, and with the thoughts of the many “what-if scenarios.” After my first ten years of living with MS, I didn’t fear it anymore; and I still don’t.

Why not?

• As time went, I realized that the more knowledge and experience I gained, the less fear I had. I got to know my body relative to my own MS patterns and responses, adjusted my lifestyle, and learned how to manage both my MS and my personal life. I felt more in control of my MS; the more control I acquired, the less fear I had. Yes—MS is a manageable disease.

The most common triggers of MS symptoms are stress, fatigue, and temperature/weather changes. Learning how to manage these triggers usually settle the symptoms down and prevent a relapse. By not managing them, they will become chronic which will lead to a flare/relapse.

• Research taught me that statistics were on my side. Here are some major fears, with research to show that they are not as bad as many think:

**It is estimated that 40-50% of people with MS experience mild to moderate impairment; severe cognitive decline like dementia are extremely rare (source: MSIF.org). Check out this MS post—“Are Cognitive Problems Blamed Too Much on MS?”

** Over a lifetime, only 20-25% end up confined to a wheelchair. That was the statistic in 1980, and it probably is less today due to the development of the disease-modifying drugs that have been available since the mid-90’s.” Check out this post “The Truth about MS and Wheelchairs”

**There are more benign cases of MS than publicized. For example, a current starting point is to get specific data on DMT’s from reliable sources. On Page 13 of “The Use of Disease-Modifying Therapies in MS: Principles and Current Evidence” (The MS Coalition– http://bit.ly/1oEnTqY ), the colleagues point out that 50% of persons diagnosed will have “benign MS”. People with benign MS will have an Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) 6 and 23% had converted to SPMS.
Read closely, and always double-check hear-say. Another post to read–“Where and how to get your information.”

• Reaching out and accepting support from family, friends and the MS community helps immensely in minimizing stress. My physical, mental and emotional states were significantly improved. I wasn’t alone. Those that really want to help—let them and tell them how.

• Having a focus on overall wellness and health is a priority. When one feels better physically, one will also feel better emotionally and mentally. It is common sense but it’s amazing how many people lose sight of this. In addition, I take all measures to prevent flus, colds, sickness and injuries. These will lead to relapses, thus frequently resulting in MS progression.

• The advancements in research for treatments and a cure have been increasing exponentially. It WILL happen in your lifetime.

• The brain is a powerful organ, and it is gratifying that brain health is finally being addressed. The brain CAN be retrained and repair itself to a certain degree. I had symptoms for years that I no longer have.

I’m an ol’ MS vet, and there are many of us out there. We are folks who have lived and survived MS well for decades, and most would agree with what I just wrote. We know, and we are a positive group. And more positivity will also reduce fear.

It took me ten years to get over my fear of having MS; nowadays, that span of time should be much shorter. After all, it was still the dark ages for both MS and me between 1980 and 1990. Times have changed.

www.DebbieMS.com
Author, MS Counselor, Living with MS

28 thoughts on “Why MS Doesn’t Scare Me Anymore

  1. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

  2. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  3. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I’d also like to mention that video games have been ever evolving. Technology advances and enhancements have helped create practical and enjoyable games. These entertainment video games were not really sensible when the concept was being tried. Just like other styles of technological know-how, video games also have had to grow by way of many ages. This itself is testimony on the fast development of video games.

  4. After going over a few of the articles on your site, I honestly like your technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site too and let me know how you feel.

  5. Hello, I do think your site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, great site!

  6. I am saving this webpage in my bookmark’s folder to visit again. You offered valid points as part of this content which I believe require additional investigation. And I concur with almost all of this information.

  7. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  8. After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I really appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website as well and tell me what you think.

  9. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this during my search for something concerning this.

  10. Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

  11. I’m pretty pleased to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your blog.

  12. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉

  13. I’m very happy to discover this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and i also have you book marked to check out new information on your site.

  14. This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  15. The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I really believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  16. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always exciting to read through articles from other writers and use something from other sites.

Comments are closed.