Navigating My New "Normal": Life with RMS
- by Ruben A.
- August 20, 2018
Ruben A. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
It’s been 13 years since I was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), but it seems like it was just yesterday. I would love to say, “I took the diagnosis like a champ!” but the truth is that I didn’t handle it so well.
I clearly remember the day I was diagnosed and how my doctor told me about helpful resources I could find on the Internet. He said there were also online communities and that he would refer me to a neurologist. That first night was a long one and the weeks to follow were tough.
I felt scared and I had a lot of questions; “Will I see my kids grow up?” “How will I support my family?” “How much longer can I work?” “How long do I have to live?” Looking back on it, the emotional challenges were much more difficult for me than anything else. I have always felt the need to provide for my family – it’s just in my DNA. The uncertainty of whether I would be able to continue to do so was a lot for me to process. I struggled to embrace my new reality and at times I felt hopeless, but with the support of my wife and children, I figured it out.
It took me some time to get used to my new “normal,” but I was lucky enough to have my wife by my side from day one. In my experience, having her on this journey with me to navigate life with RMS has helped me tremendously. I find it valuable having another set of ears in doctor appointments. With my neurologist, we all figured out what might be the best health plan for me, inclusive of diet, exercise and RMS medication. My wife also holds me accountable and makes sure that I am taking my RMS treatment, especially when I am busy. She motivates me to eat well and exercise, even if it’s just going on a nice walk after dinner since I’m not a “gym rat” by any means – go figure! It helps not only my physical health, but my emotional health as well.
Going through this with my wife and kids makes it easier to accept my RMS diagnosis and enjoy this new way of living. I encourage others with MS to work with their neurologist and family to find a process that works for them, and stick with it! It’s also important for me to be nimble and adjust my plan as needed with my neurologist. I still find myself tweaking my health plan 13 years later and the rewards are worth it.
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