Growing up with Multiple Sclerosis: Why I’m thankful for my young diagnosis

Multiple Sclerosis Blog Los Angeles, MS Blog, Morgan Shelley, Multiple Sclerosis researchThe statistically typical person newly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis is a female, around the age of 35, and Caucasian.  When I was diagnosed the only one of those “typical” things that fit me was being female.  I’m a Spanish/Mexican/Austrian mutt (so, only slightly Caucasian) and I was still a decade and half away from my mid-thirties.  Some people feel sorry for myself and others diagnosed at a young age but I believe it to be a positive thing and am actually grateful for my young diagnosis in many ways.  M.S. and I got the chance to grow and develop together.

An adult diagnosed with M.S. faces many changes to their lifestyle such as:

  • Making work accommodations
  • Changing eating habits
  • Adjusting to your treatment
  • Changing your overall attitude and approach to life

  As a recently found “independent adult” I was just beginning to create my own lifestyle and habits so I had the opportunity to develop them based on my needs concerning M.S.  I had to quit working for a while to focus on my health but thankfully I hadn’t started a real career yet that I had to leave on hold.  School was a bit difficult for a while but it also came with some new benefits like being able to register with the Office for Students with Disabilities where they helped me make any arrangements needed and allowed me to gain very coveted priority registration for classes.  I had horrible eating habits having just left my teenage years but I was also just learning how to cook which gave me the chance to take control of what I put in my body and learn how to make it still taste good at the same time.

multiple sclerosis, early diagnosis

As far as adjusting to my treatment went, I didn’t really comprehend the seriousness of the situation so I approached it with naïve levity.  I simply put full trust in my medical team and the advice of my support system without scaring myself with too much thought and research into it.  I know that sounds incredibly immature but being so wet behind the ears is what allowed me to cope, by the time I understood everything fully I had already reached a fair level of acceptance and there was no turning back.

My overall attitude and approach to life is that of optimism.  Being diagnosed young and being aware of how bad it could be has made it easy to push past the usual problems that plague young adulthood.  I may not be able to afford to go out this weekend but at least I can afford my medication refill.  I may not want to go to class or write that essay, but at least I can walk into class on my own two legs and hand my professor my work.  Friend drama?  Thanks to M.S. I know exactly who my real friends are and don’t have to waste time playing games to figure it out.  Boy troubles?  Any issues that have ever risen between my fiancé and I do always seem very insignificant when I take into account the fact that he was with me before my disease and has made me confident he’s here to stay long after.

Being young and diagnosed with M.S. opens the world to coping opportunities that you would never have at a later age.  When life hands you lemons yes, you make lemonade, but you have to learn how to make lemonade first.  My life’s recipe was written along with my acceptance and diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis so it’s only ever been as sweet or sour as I make it.

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1 Comment

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