Dave Anderson - Living with MS – 2012 Update
A lot has happened since my first article for the MSCoE newsletter in 2009.
I’ve been very blessed that my MS has become very stable over the past few years. I’m hoping this is what I can expect from here forward but I’m also not taking any chances. I’ve learned that being proactive about MS and health in general is very important. I get regular check-ups with my neurologists, take my MS medication as directed, keep my weight, and exercise levels where they should be. No magic here, just common sense. We Minnesotans are supposed to be good at that so that’s my story.
On the positive side of this, I feel good and can do what I want to enjoy life. This is quite a change from where I was after diagnosis in 1997 when I took up residence in my “cave”. Those were dark days and I’m glad they are behind us. I’ve learned that my experience with getting an MS diagnosis is pretty common, and we all have to learn in our own way how to make this work for us.
I remember being told by my neurologist that someday you won’t think about MS every waking moment. My response was, “Yah, right!” I really didn’t believe him when I was busy taking inventory when I woke up each morning to see what worked today and what didn’t.
One thing I did for myself and for my wife was to seek out the guidance of a talk therapist to learn how to come to terms with my feeling of loss of our future. I really did feel that my life as I knew it was over. Dealing with depression and fear of the future is something that professionals can help with that family members cannot. An outside perspective was what I needed to begin planning again.
One of the things my therapist had me do was to put together a list of what I wanted to be doing in 5 years, without considering MS as a factor. It seemed like wishful thinking at the time but looking back, I see the value. I still have that list and I have looked at it a few times. The good news is that the things that truly mattered to us did happen although it took closer to 10 years to happen. Looking forward seems to be a therapeutic endeavor as opposed to being “stuck” in the fears of the present. Seeking help with emotional issues isn’t a weakness. I’ve learned that it’s just another medical problem that trained professionals can treat. I’d encourage any of you struggling with the emotional side of MS to seek help.
I recognize that my story may be quite different from others as everyone’s MS is unique. I just hope my story can give you a bit of inspiration that, as I said in my first article, life with MS can be “okay”.
To read Dave’s first newsletter article use the following link: