Accepting a New Diagnosis
I have long preached the merits of acceptance. In embracing my MS, I have mitigated much of the accompanying fear. This modus operandi has enabled me to live alongside my disease as opposed to clashing with it. While ideal, it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow my advice.
Two years ago, I had surgery for a fifth metatarsal fracture in my left foot. My surgeon made note of possible Raynaud’s syndrome after seeing slight discoloration. Several months ago, when my left foot began turning bluish-black, I assumed it was Raynaud’s. It was not until sharp, knife-like pain accompanied the growing discoloration that I called my doctor.
Comorbidity, the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions, is common in those with multiple sclerosis. After weeks of tests, we have ruled out any concrete precursor to my symptoms. I was experiencing peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy affects roughly 25% of those with multiple sclerosis. MS-related neuropathy occurs when there is damage to the myelin that surrounds nerves in the central nervous system. Damaged nerves send mixed signals to the brain. My damaged nerves are now firing without provocation. The widespread pain has been intense and unrelenting.
There is no cure. Because my neuropathy is due to multiple sclerosis, the best I can do is manage both my disease and the pain. In living well with MS, I can hopefully lessen the severity of the neuropathy. I am mad that I have to live with more pain. I am sad that so much of my energies are forcefully channeled into fighting it. But my faith is bigger than both fear and grief. I will continue to live a fulfilling life not despite but because of this disease.
I am reminded of a day 10 years ago. A day that changed my world forever. A day that called me to rise above the pain, beyond the fear, and thrive. As a result, I am living a life I never wanted but would never change. Little did I know that MS was more than a diagnosis. MS was an invitation to be the person I had always known I could be. I believe this diagnosis to be no different. With the sky as my limit, watch out. A new world awaits.
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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.