FROM OUR EXPERTS
Patients living with more than one chronic disease face unique challenges. Unfortunately, comorbidities seem more and more common especially with autoimmune diseases. As someone living with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, I am understandable drawn to other patients who live with the same combination of diseases.
This week is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week so I asked a few MS/RA patients to share their stories with us today. Six patients were kind enough to contribute. Diagnosed with RA before MS, patients AH, CL, and Momuv6Boys09 (MB) share their stories below. Stories from patients diagnosed with MS first can be found on MS Central .
When were you diagnosed with MS and when were you diagnosed with RA?
AH: I was diagnosed with RA a few months before my diagnosis of MS in 2008. Having the two diseases together somehow tripped up getting a diagnosis.
MB: I was diagnosed with ...
You've received the diagnosis . You have multiple sclerosis. Where do you go from here? Your personal physician will be your first source of information. He or she will try to give you an idea of what to expect, though you will probably be cautioned that each case is different and prognosis is difficult. You will be given information on the various medications currently available and it will be your task to choose. Making sure that you have a good neurologist with whom you can form a solid doctor-patient relationship is your first priority. Take steps to ensure that your neurologist and your primary physician are each aware of all treatments and medications. Beyond that, you must take it upon yourself to get an education in MS and become your own advocate . Books, peer groups and reputable websites are all good sources of information. Do be careful and check your sources. Don't fall victim to misinformation or magic cures. Unfortunately, there are those who wo...
The months or years of mystery have been solved. In many ways, you feel relief at having been given the diagnosis at last. MS...multiple sclerosis...is forevermore part of your life. Now one of your immediate concerns is telling family and friends. Who should you tell? When and how? Your health status is a very personal issue and there is no one correct formula for sharing the news. Naturally, the people most effected...your spouse, children, parents or anyone who shares your home...should be told. It's a good idea to have some knowledge of the basic facts of MS so you can answer their first questions. Encourage them to educate themselves. At the time of my diagnosis, I had three teenaged children. When I gave them the news, the first fact I revealed was that MS is not contagious and they cannot “catch” it. Young children and teenagers need to have those fears addressed at the very start. I assured them that MS is rarely fatal and that I could be expected to live a long...
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