Making Life Decisions with Multiple Sclerosis

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • During the course of life we occasionally find ourselves at a crossroads, a time when important decisions have to be made.

    I reached a crossroads early on in the course of my multiple sclerosis. It was rather quickly apparent that a 40-hour work week was no longer feasible. I made the decision to take a part-time job, working five days a week, four hours a day. It has been four years now, but I must “call in sick” due to MS symptoms more often than I would like.

    For the last several months, I have been straining under the increasing weight of those four hours. I see another crossroads ahead and another decision to make.
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    More and more I am questioning my ability to continue even this part-time job. I want to be fair to my employer, who has stepped up and accommodated my disability as much as possible. I have a mild fear of the unknown. If I leave this job, what will I do? Can I find a way to work at home, on my own schedule and still earn a living? Will giving up that morning rush to prepare for the workday hurt rather than help? Is this job keeping me in better health or is it wearing me down? Am I giving in...or giving up?

    I do not take this particular crossroads lightly but the decision need not be rushed. I will take time and give careful consideration to all angles.

    Those of us with multiple sclerosis find ourselves in this position more often than the general population. Upon diagnosis, we are bombarded with information about the drugs currently available to treat MS. Should we start with prescription injections? If so, which one? Should we treat the symptoms with other prescriptions? Should we use steroids? If we don't have solid group health insurance in place, we face additional financial consequences. To work or not to work. To get a handicapped placard or not. To continue driving or not. To tell or not to tell. Apply for disability or not. Purchase a cane? A Wheelchair? It is an almost endless series decisions which have enormous impact on our self image.

    We must not allow ourselves to be rushed in this process. Our MS isn't going anywhere, so we must take our time and understand that our decisions are the best ones we can make with the knowledge that we have at the time. We must accept what is and work with it.

    Trust your instincts. Decide with your heart as well as your head. There are more crossroads down the line and that's okay.

    Share your crossroads with us and tell us how you coped.
Published On: February 19, 2008