If you have recently been diagnosed with
MS, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Before
you read any further, remember that you’re not alone.
For an adult in Canada, the probability of being diagnosed with
MS is approximately one out of 500 to one out of 1,000 people.
Although anyone can get MS, most people are diagnosed with MS
between the ages of 15 and 40.
A diagnosis of a chronic illness such as
multiple sclerosis can be overwhelming. It takes time to adjust
to this new reality. It is normal to feel a wide range of feelings,
and there is no one right way to cope with this new addition
to your life.
It may be helpful to keep these
tips in mind:
Educate yourself about MS. Knowledge can
help you to have a measure of control, even in the face of
the uncertainties of MS.
Communicate openly with the important
people in your life. The people in your life will deal with
your MS in different ways. Sharing feelings openly and
with respect for other coping styles can be helpful. Partners,
family, and close friends may help you adapt to the news
and learn how to live with this change. However, it may
be wise to think about who you disclose your diagnosis
to: you may or may not wish to tell casual friends, acquaintances,
or those in your work place about your MS, especially
soon after diagnosis when you are still adjusting to the
Build or strengthen your support system.
As well as close friends and family, your support network
may include health care professionals, the MS Society
of Canada, support groups, and community organizations.
Remember that you can have a full life
with MS. A diagnosis of MS represents a very real and complex
change in your life. It may be unrealistic to expect that
you’ll ‘accept’ this diagnosis right
away, or all of the time. If possible, try to find small
ways of adapting to the presence of MS in your life. Being
adaptable does not mean giving up your plans, priorities,
or goals. It means finding what works for you so that your
life is as enjoyable and full as possible, even with the
changes that MS may bring.
There are many resources that you may benefit
from. The MS Society of Canada is here to provide as much information
and support as is right for you.
If you haven’t done so already, please
visit the section on Multiple
Sclerosis to find out more about MS. In this section you
will find the answers to common questions about MS, a discussion
of symptoms and how to manage them, plus tips for living with
the disease. A publications
guide (with many of the publications available online) and
recommended resources are also available.
In the Living with MS section you will find out about services and other
resources offered by the MS Society to help you manage your
MS. Other programs and services may be available in your local
area; call 1-800-268-7582 to reach your MS Society division
office, or visit In Your
Community to locate the MS Society office nearest you.
For more information, please visit
the following sections on our website: