Reactions to a diagnosis (in my case of MS) are widely described in literature as following similar patterns to a bereavement:

Shock – perhaps confusion or denial;


But then acceptance.

One of the (several) emotional conversations I had during my recent Lemtrada treatment was with a fellow patient who had symptoms extremely similar to mine. He was the same age (almost to the day) – and was even (slightly spookily) of similar appearance. But he had been diagnosed much earlier than me – some 3 years previously.

In the last few months, triggered by symptoms very similar to what I had been experiencing, he had stopped full-time work; and “retired” from his sport (where he had reached a decent level). He now used a walking-aid when his symptoms were at their worst.

He was quite incredibly calm and phlegmatic about these concessions (or, at least, described himself this way). I tried to articulate the amount of fight I still felt I had – but he was philosophical about this as well. His story was that he had been ‘furiously angry’ for 2-3 years after his initial diagnosis (I think he had taken out a lot of that anger playing ice hockey which was perhaps why he’d got so good at it!), and his marriage had fallen apart. But he believed that he was now calmer and happier; growing with his condition – living with it, rather than fighting against it.

I still have not accepted the changes that MS is bringing, will bring, to my life. It seriously agitates me. I wonder if, in time, this will calm, and I too will reach my own acceptance of sorts. But I wonder, too, if this is really what I want – or part of what I want to fight.


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