Tara, a mother of three, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in March 2007. Since then she has had to deal with the multitude of symptoms that come with MS, and had to learn how to deal with how to live with MS.
She likens dealing with accepting her diagnosis to the stages of grief.

She says that first she went through denial, in which she felt the doctors were wrong and that MS was just an illness or phase and she would get through it.

Then, she said, came sadness. She said she was sad that she had MS and that she was scared of what the future held and the fact that she knew that she would have this disease for the rest of her life.

Then she dealt with anger. She was angry at the doctors because she felt they took too long to give her an answer, and she was also angry that this was happening to her.

She went through a “Why Me” phase for awhile before finally coming to the acceptance phase, although she says that she is not sure one ever truly gets through the acceptance phase.

As she states, “There are times that you accept MS because maybe things are under control or maybe you are learning to cope and deal with the symptoms, or the changes in your life that you have to deal with. However, every once in awhile there is a time that the MS sneaks up on you and all of a sudden you find yourself repeating all the grieving phases all over again.”
Her advice to newly diagnosed MS patients is to never give up or let MS control them. As she states, “There are times it will be stronger than you but keep fighting it.”
She also advises the newly diagnosed to learn everything they can about the disease, and take good care of themselves. She says that they should eat well, take vitamins, take time for themselves to relieve stress, and, most importantly, take their shots. She says that taking their shots is the only thing there is that will help protect them from permanent damage and will lessen the exacerbation’s.
She claims that having a positive attitude is key: “Don’t dwell on the bad stuff. Focus on the good and what you can do to fight MS.” She encourages young MS patients to find good support, which she says may be hard at times to find. She describes MS as an invisible disease which may be visible for only a few days in which MS patients may have trouble walking and need to use a cane or wheelchair, and then the next day they may be walking fine. “People don’t understand that,” she says, “They don’t see what is going on inside of you.”
She goes on the say, “Some family and friends will never understand nor try to understand, and they may leave your side. But your true friends and family will learn to understand the best they can and will stay by you. You can allow yourself to get angry at the disease but don’t allow yourself to be angry at the world.”