“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.” ~ Bethany Hamilton

Image Source: http://virsitil.com/wp-content/uploads/virsitil_inyourhead_1024.jpg
Image Source: http://virsitil.com/wp-content/uploads/virsitil_inyourhead_1024.jpg

One of the most frustrating parts about getting the diagnosis of MS is just that….getting the diagnosis of MS.

Many of us with a diagnosis of MS either have gone through years of testing and doctors to get the diagnosis. Then, some of us may go through yet another round of testing later on down the road to determine if it really is MS, or maybe something else?

Why does this happen? Why do we get put through that? And how can we cope with the emotional turmoil that can result??

During any diagnosis, you can start to feel a bit…well, nuts. This is especially true when your symptoms can be the result of many possible diseases or disorders or injuries.  And depending on the doctor who sees you, different approaches or diagnoses can occur – even complete disbelief and the diagnosis of “normal”, when you know something is just not right and tests just keep falling into the limbo zone.

You can find yourself wondering if it is just all in your head. Is it? Well…The irony about having MS is that it basically IS all in your head… (Though some of it may also be in your spine, or elsewhere depending on your illness… the manifestation of symptoms may show up elsewhere such as in your limbs etc.)

Whenever I find myself going through the emotional turmoil that comes with the ups and downs during the process of medical diagnosis, re-diagnosis, investigation and re-investigation, I try to ground myself in the facts as I know them. As a scientist myself, I understand that doctors too are basically scientists – and they need to gather data to prove or disprove their theories. That is their job. They are humans asking questions and investigating theories. They each have their own opinions based on information presented to them. Doctors are not gods, nor are they infallible.

As a patient, it is much more personal, of course. If I don’t ground myself in my own knowledge of science, I can rapidly find myself becoming emotionally cock-eyed – weepy, cranky, and in need of extra human connection and reassurance. So I return to my own knowledge of myself to become grounded – my health data. After all, who knows me better than me? (Well – except for the memory challenges I may have due to the MS and seizure symptoms…but that is one of the reasons I write!)

My most valuable tool is also all in my head – my intelligence. And it gives me the ability to adapt, survive … and even thrive. 

“It’s up to you today to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are just healthy for your body, but healthy for your mind.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience