The Multiple Sclerosis TapestryInterviews With People Whose Lives are Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

Merely Me Health Guide

    It was during my limbo days prior to my official MS diagnosis that I stumbled upon a charismatic lady named Diane J. Standiford.  I was immediately drawn to wanting to know more about her.  Diane has dealt with many health issues in her life and MS is just one of them.  She is a true survivor and she now uses her experiences to help others through her writings on her blog.  Diane writes about her life with such a wit and charm that you walk away smiling.  I am sure that you will be charmed as well. 


    I introduce to you, Diane J. Standiford!


    Diane J Standiford

    Blog: A Stellarlife

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    Seattle, WA

    51 years old

    Secondary Progressive MS

    MS Symptoms Began 41 Years Ago



    When were you given your official Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis?

     May 15, 1990


     Did your diagnosis take a long time?

    I saw my family doctor for a knee problem. That appt. lasted 15 minutes; I was sent across street to a neurologist, next day to a mobile MRI, within 5 days I had my diagnosis.


    What tests did they do to get to the diagnosis?

    MRI, Evoked Response, Pinching, Limb Movement Observations, the usual stuff that neurologists like to look at; nothing invasive. It was pretty obvious. I was a typical case.


    What was your reaction to hearing that you have this disease? 

     Relief. I was certain it was a deadly brain tumor.


    What sorts of symptoms do you or have you experienced?

    Over 40 years, all of them. I bought a book once that listed all the possible symptoms, and it stated: "Don't worry you will only have about ten of these." I checked them off as I got them---all checked since 1990.


    What meds, treatments, or alternative therapies have helped you the most?


    I truly have no idea. If I guessed, I'd say aspirin and a fan.


    Do you have a personal philosophy that has helped you to cope with having a chronic illness?


    The same philosophy I use for coping with life: Take responsibility for your own choices. Believe that anything is possible. Stay away from negative people. Laugh, love, keep giving to others, never give up/never stay down.


    What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with MS?


    Take a deep breath. Know you can handle this and an opportunity for personal growth has just been bestowed on you. Your MS won't be as bad as your worst thoughts about it. There has never been a better time in history to have MS. You are not alone and people all over the world are working on ways to help YOU.


    What is the worst thing about this illness?

    For me, the loss of freedom and independence. I can no longer act spontaneously. "Losses" sums it up.


     Are there any silver linings to having MS?  If there aren't talk about that too.


    Silver linings are everywhere. We make the choice to find them. I've had my eyes opened to many injustices that people with disabilities must endure. I've met many inspirational people. These are the core of opportunities for me to make the world better. I'm honored.


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    Do you believe that we will see a cure for MS in our future?

     Depends on your age. 50/50 chance, but one day---absolutely.


    If you could tell all the doctors and neurologists something that they would listen to, what would it be?

     Be kind. Don't sell out to drug companies. Remember: you work for us.


    Last thoughts? 

     Sharpen your emotional tools and be kind to yourself.

Published On: November 03, 2008