Disclosing our MS diagnosis to others is a matter both Jennifer and I seriously contemplated after being diagnosed in 1997 and 2000, respectively.
Telling family members and friends wasn’t as big of a concern as breaking the news to our employers was.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website, “When it comes down to it, the decision is yours and yours alone — you know yourself and your situation better than anyone else. Be clear with yourself about what your options are and take the path that works best for you. Be informed about your ADA rights and workplace accommodations, deciding to work or not, employment strategies, symptom management on the job, and information to share with your employer.”
After careful consideration of our individual situations, Jennifer and I each decided that it was best for us to be open and honest with everyone about the reality that we are among the more than 400,000 people nationwide living with MS.
Now fast forward to 2012, and we are VERY open about living our lives with this chronic illness of the central nervous system. It is our mission since being diagnosed and meeting each other to increase awareness about multiple sclerosis and help as many people as possible to move beyond the challenges they’re facing.
As Jennifer often says, “I’m going to talk about MS and the realities of my life with this frustrating disease until someone cures it just to shut me up!”
Through our efforts as bloggers, authors and public speakers, we were invited to appear on The Rehabilitative Medicine Show on Doctor Radio, Sirius XM 81 from 7-7:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22.
Among the topics we’ll address are our shared experiences with MS, how we met, offer advice for other people living with chronic conditions, and discuss our book, “Despite MS, to Spite MS.” The book is our story of trials, triumphs, and our constant battle for health and happiness, in spite of MS.
“We know from firsthand experience that when people are diagnosed and when they continue to live with MS or other chronic conditions, it can be quite depressing and overwhelming,” Jennifer has said about our book. “Many times, all it takes is an encouraging voice or real-life story to help you put things into perspective, discover an inner strength you never knew you had, and realize you’re not facing your challenges alone.”
Jennifer and I often pause to think that all of this came about because we were open about the fact that we have MS. But we realize the decision to disclose an MS diagnosis is one that each person needs to carefully consider.