The perfect response: Endless support after my diagnosis of MS

As my family had my back, I found strength and the courage to move forward

Mike Parker avatar

by Mike Parker |

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When my general practitioner first spoke about the possibility of a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in February 2022, I walked out of his office. I broke down in tears; I was terrified.

At that instant, my first thought was, “OK, so how long do I have left?” I had no working knowledge of MS at that time.

My only thought was to phone my wife for support. My tears hadn’t stopped when she answered, but somehow, the words managed to find a way out of my mouth. ‘’The doctor has told me to expect the diagnosis of MS,’’ I explained, without a second thought. Her reply was total understanding and acceptance.

“You’ve got this. We’re all right beside you,’’ she said. “I love you.’’

The difference support makes

Those were the exact words I needed to hear at that time. They made me feel strong and almost lit a fire in my belly. My tears stopped because my fear had just become my passion, one that gave me courage to keep moving forward and stop MS from having the power to control my life.

We agreed to meet at my dad’s house at the end of the call to discuss what the doctor had told me. While I was walking there, all sorts of thoughts and feelings arose; the biggest was determination.

Once we’d all sat and spoken, it was clear my family would do everything to support me. Nothing would be too much. That helped me see I wasn’t alone, no matter what happened from that moment on. As strange as it might seem, I started to feel calm because although my life was changing with every moment, the people closest to me had my back and made the potential diagnosis seem much less scary.

In August 2022, it was confirmed that I had MS. Since I’d been warned that was possible, those words didn’t come as a shock. Again, everyone around me met the news by doing everything they could to help, which filled me with hope and gratitude.

Since talking to people on social media about my story, I’ve been asked by some caregivers if I have any advice for someone supporting a newly diagnosed person. My biggest tip is to always listen and show that no matter what is happening, you’re there.

In my experience, the best support is sometimes just a friendly face with no judgments, just care and compassion. Learning that we have MS can be incredibly frightening and make us feel immediately lonely; having someone listen and be with us can make all the difference.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

David Orlowski avatar

David Orlowski

I have a message as well got it December 1999 same thing tears coming out of my eyes whenever I was first diagnosed ,however it’s almost 2024 and I’m still here. My biggest suggestion for you. Keep moving keep up your strength and keep laughing. It’ll take you a long way all the best.

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David W. avatar

David W.

I am now 73 years young. When I was first informed that I had M.S. I reacted coolly, calmly and well-collected. Actually I didn’t know any better at that age (29) since I had little knowledge of the disease other than it sounded frightening. I didn’t understand the threat to my future. My father was an M.D. and he understood but kept his reaction about my news to himself in the moment. My mother reacted far differently. She immediately broke down in tears, started wailing, threw her arms around me in a fit of despair. That vision still haunts me 40+ years later. I will take that vision to my grave. I remember being terrified by her reaction. Fast forward: I became very interested in disease-processes, especially trying to understand ‘auto-immune’ diseases in which the body attracts its own tissue, in this case, it principally attacks nerve tissue, i.e. spinal cord, brain and nerves. The sites attacked result in locally damaged areas called scleroses. Since there an be many of them (multiple) the disease gets its name — multiple sclerosis. I grew interested in the field of Immunology and Biochemistry and earned degrees in Biology and Biochemistry. Having been trained in those disciplines has its pluses and minuses. I understand, but disagree with, the adage that ‘ignorance is bliss.’ Understanding the disease process helped me prepare for my potential future. Not to be morose, but that knowledge helped me deal with such ‘trivia’ as my Will, my health insurance, eliminating some debt, etc. For a few years, it prevented my from having children. In a nutshell, that news was beyond devastating, it was literally life-altering. My fellow M.S.-ers understand what I’m talking about. It reminds me that “To be for-warned” is “To be for-armed”. That can be considered to be great advice, IMHO. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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