There are many faces of MS. Not just the persons who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but those around us who share in this experience. Last week I interviewed my mother to get her perspective on this disease.
Another important Face of MS to recognize is the one seen in the eyes of those you have the closest relationship with: your spouse or committed companion.
Dating when you have MS can present special challenges.
In 2005, I was actively dating and met a man on a blind date just one week before I mentioned tingling/numbness in my left hand/arm to my doctor. On the date we were both shy but had a great time talking about many things, including our love of music.
Hey, he was actually going to a symphony concert that evening with friends. This guy had potential. ;-)
It would be the next month while he was scratching my back that I noticed the numbness had spread over my shoulder blade to my spine. I made another doctor’s appointment and these would be symptoms which led to an eventual MS diagnosis.
That was five years ago and we are still dating at this time. I’ve invited Rob to share his perspective and experience with us today, to discuss how MS has affected our lives and our relationship. Please welcome Rob to the community.
We began dating in mid-May 2005. It was early June that you were scratching my back and I noted a difference on how my shoulder felt. This is what prompted my doctor to order an MRI. I honestly don’t remember, did I say anything to you about that at the time?
I don’t recall that you mentioned anything at that time.
It can be a significant issue for folks living with MS to tell their friends or dates about their diagnosis. When was the first time I mentioned the possibility of MS to you?
I believe you had mentioned your experience with optic neuritis that occurred some years before I met you, and the fact that that episode was a possible indicator of MS. I think this came up not long after you had a swimming accident. This was probably in the first month or so that we’d met.
Had you known anything about MS before that time? Did you have any experience with the disease?
I knew just a little about MS. In high school and college, I’d played the cello and thus remember learning about Jacqueline Du Pre, a well-known cellist who had MS. I recall participating in money-raising events for MS in elementary school as well. That said, I don’t know that I knew much about the disease itself other than that it was a nervous disorder and that a cure did not exist.
I remember crying on your shoulder a lot during 2005 and 2006. I was also angry and scared. How did you deal with all of the rapid changes which were taking place in our lives? Did you ever want to simply "bail" on the relationship?