What will happen in the first 6 months?
It can take time to come to terms with a new diagnosis of MS and just like the condition everyone reacts differently to being diagnosed. There is no right or wrong way of reacting but you can learn to work through your feelings in your own time in your own way.
In the short term, life doesn’t stop at diagnosis. It’s too early to predict what life with MS will be like. Longer term, your symptoms will vary from day to day and from year to year. For some, the course of MS will affect their life and the choices they make along the way, but MS does not need to define who you are. Continue to live by your core values and always ask for help when you need it.
There is lots of support available online and finding information that you can trust is important, it will help you take control, adjust and in turn you will learn to live with MS. Joining online forums and talking to others with the condition can be a huge step in helping you to feel less alone and more able to manage day to day. There are also a large number of health professionals available to help you understand and adjust, people such as your MS nurse, who will be assigned to you once you’ve been diagnosed, as well as physiotherapists, dieticians and your GP.
Everyone’s experience is different, but MS is broadly split into two types.
85 out of every 100 people with MS are diagnosed with Relapsing and remitting MS. This means that they have periods where symptoms flare up, which is known as a relapse, followed by times of recovery, known as a remission.
Relapses normally last a few days to a number of weeks or months. The length of the gap between the attacks is unpredictable. On average, most people have one or two attacks a year.
A small number of people with MS will get steadily worse with time, without periods of relapse or remission. This is called Progressive MS.
Currently, there is no cure for MS but there are a number of ways to manage your condition, including medications, exercise, healthy living and diet. These days it is more about what you can do with your condition, not what you can’t do.
There are a few people and organisations that you need to tell about your diagnosis.
If you drive you must inform the DVLA, they will send you a form to fill out and may contact your doctor. You may be able to continue driving or you may be issued with a short term medical license which would be reassessed between one and five years. Depending on the severity of your condition will depend on whether they deem you fit enough to continue driving.
You may need to inform insurance companies that have issued your car, health and holiday policies. Check the small print as to when you need to inform them of your condition. Always call them if you are unsure rather thank risk being uninsured.
There will of course be other people in your life who you need to tell, however it is totally up to you when and how you tell them and there is support available to you to share with them to help them understand your condition.