What Does “Newly Diagnosed” with Multiple Sclerosis Mean?
For many, being newly diagnosed finally gives a name to having some unexplained symptoms. Often before a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a person might experience various symptoms, such as visual problems, numbness, or weakness, for example. Not knowing what is wrong and what might happen next is both worrisome and frightening. Once someone has been newly diagnosed with MS, he or she may actually feel a sense of relief in knowing the reason behind the different symptoms. From here, learning more about the disorder and its treatments will be of great help toward developing a positive plan for the future.
MSAA offers a collection of “Multiple Sclerosis information” (MSi) online educational videos and webinars. These are easy to access through MSAA’s website by selecting the topics that are of interest to you. For individuals who are newly diagnosed, or who are experiencing initial symptoms and have yet to be diagnosed, a portion of these MSi videos and webinars may provide helpful information for you. These include:
- An Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis
- The Treatment and Management of MS Exacerbations
- How to S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for the Right MS Therapy For You
- A Closer Look at Clinically Isolated Syndrome
If you are newly diagnosed, you may have never heard of the term “MS” before, and some people even confuse the name with other disorders. Now, however, the term is linked to you personally. You may feel very alone, but you are not. The fact is, an estimated 400,000 people in the United States have MS, not to mention as many as two-and-a-half million people in the world. And these estimates could be low, as a number of cases may not be reported or have not yet been diagnosed. Many individuals with MS continue to work and be active in the community – some you may even know, but you are unaware of their diagnosis.
While finally getting a name for your symptoms may give you a sense of relief, you may also still feel frightened and confused. After all, MS can be quite unpredictable with its hallmark flare-ups and remissions. You may feel you have lost your compass, your perspective, and everything experienced now is under the cloud of this new label of an “MS patient.”
But while you may have been diagnosed with MS, this does not change who you are. You still look the same, have the same family and friends, and you have the same thoughts and dreams. When MS enters the picture, it usually requires some adjustments, but most people can still enjoy a full and productive life.
For more information about MS and people who are living well with this disorder, MSAA’s free Lending Library may be of help. Among the many resources that may be borrowed from the library is the book, Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (TJ Murray, CS Saunders, and NJ Holland, fourth edition, Demos Medical Publishing, 2013). In this book, the authors state: “The disease should not be in control – you are in control of your life, your attitudes, your relationships, your approach to problems, your interests, and your activities.” They advise readers to get more information about MS, to beware of misinformation, and note: “People with MS are happiest and at their best when they live as normally as possible and carry out the activities they enjoy… if you feel like climbing a mountain and do not have symptoms and problems that limit you, go for it!”