Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friends and Family

When my doctor first told that M.S. was a possible diagnosis in October 2007, I only told my immediate family. The 5 of us were hopeful that more tests would rule out M.S. and that I would have a different condition when a final diagnosis was given.

I think partly I didn't widely disclose my problems because I didn't have a medical explanation for the symptoms I was experiencing. I didn't want to worry people until I knew how to fix whatever was wrong. Additionally, at that time I considered my symptoms to be temporary, nothing that I needed to concern anybody else with.

After more extensive testing and a brief stay in the hospital, I was given the M.S. diagnosis the week before Thanksgiving 2007. The time came to inform my friends and extended family of what was going on. I knew I had to tell people, but I didn't know how to do it. How do you tell people that you have known for your entire life that you have a life-long illness with such a stigma attached to it? How will they react?

Bad news can cause us to run a gamut of emotions. What made telling people about my M.S. so difficult was dealing with various emotional reactions to the news. My friends and family demonstrated shock, fear, sadness, love, perseverance, compassion, disbelief and just about any other feeling that one can experience upon hearing such news.

Friends whom I had not spoken with in over 10 years called me upon hearing. Family members from all over the country (and even Canada) just wanted to talk with me and express their feelings when they first heard. One of the most difficult times in my life was met with so much love and an outpouring of emotion that it was incredibly overwhelming.

Although sharing the news about my condition was an extremely tough thing to do, I was blown away by people's reactions. It is simply amazing at what the human soul is capable of feeling for another person. I feel so much more empowered knowing that I have a huge team of supporters that are right there fighting with me. One man's struggle became a rallying point for dozens of others.

4 comments:

cshapiro33 said...

Daniel,

Love the photo - it is so you!

I personally wouldn't worry about any supposed stigma attached to MS. As I have found from the mental health community (regarding autism), once you start talking about it, so many people will share stories and successes of their loved ones. Look at all the advances that came about in battling breast cancer once awareness and funding was front and center.

Keeping you in our thoughts.

Love, Cheri

LISA EMRICH said...

Daniel,

I'm so glad that you have introduced yourself after reading the 'Carnival of MS Bloggers.' For good or (well less good), you are an automatic guaranteed member of the 'club.'

The Carnival has an edition coming up next week (Valentine Special) and I'd like to feature this post of yours. Is that okay with you?

Lisa

p.s. is there a significance to your blog's name 'blogbuster'? btw your photo-header is awesome!!

Shauna said...

Welcome to the MS club Daniel.

Glad you had a positive response from family and friends (even those Canadians, eh?).

Shauna

Jim said...

Sharing with someone about MS is a tough thing but sometimes, it can be good.