Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis - Part 2

To read the first part of Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis, click here.

Ready for a diagnosis

Monthly Multiple Sclerosis MRI

He did, however,want a diagnosis to find out exactly what was wrong. He needed to put an end to the mystery. His general practitioner referred him to an neurologist who suggested he do a spinal tap or an MRI. Cir wasn't going for the spinal tap, so an MRI was done.

His doctor didn't say what he was looking for. He took Cir's medical history and did some neurological tests. He never told Cir what he thought until he had the actual results from the MRI.

A process of elimination

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis, as I said earlier is more or less a process of elimination. Doctors rule out all the other possibilities and then MS is what's left.

When Cir went in for his appointment, the neurologist showed him the MRI. The white spots on his brain were the determining factor.

He had MS

Cir was more relieved than anything. He wasn't surprised. He had more or less expected it. He called me after returning to work and told me he had MS. After work, he went to his kung fu class as usual.

I didn't know very much about multiple sclerosis at the time. Just the little Cir had shared with me after his appointment with the ophthalmologist years before. He had done a little reading and knew a little about multiple sclerosis from his research about his symptoms.

What next?

I'm not sure how typical Cir's reaction was when just being diagnosed with MS. But he continued to do what he had always done. He worked, he played, and if he had an exacerbation or relapse as we later learned his episodes were; he dealt with them and went on.

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis may be the last thing a doctor or neurologist wants to do to their patients. But living with MS is what you, as the person with MS, has to learn to do. It's not impossible to do. But at times, it can be very difficult.

As a caregiver

I don't have MS, but as a caregiver, watching Cir live day to to day with multiple sclerosis, is not easy. Some spouses and partners just give up and leave.

Cir and I have lived through some very difficult days. But for us, for me, leaving isn't an option. We grow closer with each difficulty. We are committed to be together no matter what happens.

Your diagnosis may at first seem very frightening. Or you may be angry and wonder why it happened to you. Most of these feelings come from not knowing what MS is. Learn as much as you can about multiple sclerosis.

How to manage your symptoms. What types of treatment are available. What resources are available. Information is power. It is what can help you make informed decisions about your life and your care.

Hopefully you have a loved one in your life who will offer support. Resist the urge to keep everything to yourself. Share what you know with your family and friends. At least you will find out who will be there when you need them.

Don't feel sorry for yourself

Also, don't give in to the urge to feel sorry for yourself. That's an easy one to fall into. Cir had his days like that. There were many days he wondered why him. Only to come to the conclusion - "why not him?"  He was just the same as everyone else. No better, no worse. So, why should he not have MS and not someone else?

Remember to let everyone around you know what you need. And don't feel guilty when you need to remind them. Most people, your loved ones included, tend to focus on themselves most of the time. This isn't a negative thing. It just is what it is. Remind them until they get it. They will because they love you.

Doctors diagnosing multiple sclerosis

When diagnosing multiple sclerosis, doctors may be reluctant to give you one. And when you do get a diagnosis, it may take a while for you to get your head around. Realize your limitations and change the way you do things. The sooner you can come to terms with your diagnosis the sooner you can continue on with your life in spite of MS.

Others experiences

Want to read other peoples stories? Check out the Famous People with MS page and Interviews with people like you who have MS.

Go from Part 2 back to Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis.

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