Diagnosed with MS
I am newly diagnosed with MS
If you have recently been diagnosed with MS, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Before you read any further, remember that you’re not alone. For an adult in Canada, the probability of being diagnosed with MS is approximately one out of 500 to one out of 1,000 people. Although anyone can get MS, most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 15 and 40.
A diagnosis of a chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis can be overwhelming. It takes time to adjust to this new reality. It is normal to feel a wide range of feelings, and there is no one right way to cope with this new addition to your life.
It may be helpful to keep these tips in mind:
- Educate yourself about MS. Knowledge can help you to have a measure of control, even in the face of the uncertainties of MS.
- Communicate openly with the important people in your life. The people in your life will deal with your MS in different ways. Sharing feelings openly and with respect for other coping styles can be helpful. Partners, family, and close friends may help you adapt to the news and learn how to live with this change. However, it may be wise to think about who you disclose your diagnosis to: you may or may not wish to tell casual friends, acquaintances, or those in your work place about your MS, especially soon after diagnosis when you are still adjusting to the news.
- Build or strengthen your support system. As well as close friends and family, your support network may include health care professionals, the MS Society of Canada, support groups, and community organizations.
- Remember that you can have a full life with MS. A diagnosis of MS represents a very real and complex change in your life. It may be unrealistic to expect that you’ll ‘accept’ this diagnosis right away, or all of the time. If possible, try to find small ways of adapting to the presence of MS in your life. Being adaptable does not mean giving up your plans, priorities, or goals. It means finding what works for you so that your life is as enjoyable and full as possible, even with the changes that MS may bring