Accepting a New Diagnosis

Accepting a New Diagnosis
4.3
(21)

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.

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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.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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  • neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself
  • neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself
  • neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself
  • neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself

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2 comments

  1. Janette Murphy says:

    Jennifer, I commend your continued positivity under an avalanche of extra conditions to cope with, and also such constant pain. I appreciate your articles which help me to live beyond my diagnoses.
    I too have comorbidities, namely Diabetes (of 45 years duration) and Coeliac Disease (of almost 20 years duration). I like to say I have the Holy Family of autoimmune diseases, in the hope that 3 will be my maximum. My MS is new to this mix, less than a year, so I am constantly reading of how others cope with more than just MS.
    Thank you for your articles and positive insights. Stay well.

  2. RG says:

    Jennifer – I also believe our mindset plays perhaps the biggest role in how we experience our lives and challenges, including MS. I worked hard to change my perspective to being grateful for beautiful things and people, angels that cross my path, moments of calm amid the storm of stimuli that overwhelms my MS.

    I have a number of serious comorbidities, one hit me just like a sledgehammer –> Trigeminal Neuralgia. Relapses and “crap” always arrive Friday evenings. An entire weekend of waves crashing the side of my face and jaw until my neuro was back in the office.

    As you are a Health Columnist, Jennifer, I wonder if you take prescription medications? If not, I highly encourage you to explore taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) for your peripheral neuropathy. Once you find the right level of medication and adjust to any side effects (perhaps sleepiness), you can live a life without that awful pain. I applaud your strength that you are able to be awake and mostly hide the agony you’re experiencing but, think how much more you can enjoy the entirety of your life without using so much of your precious energy stomping down relentless pain.

    Please consider it. My heart hurts for you as I know the pain.

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