Just about every day I browse through the National MS Society website, soaking up information about the disease, and this morning I was reminded about the importance of a timely and accurate diagnosis. There are two very important reasons for this.
First, finally getting a diagnosis is a relief. No more worrying about other diseases you may have – you finally know why you’ve been so uncomfortable and frightened with symptoms. This is not necessarily an issue for me because I’ve been living with these pesky symptoms since July of last year. Needless to say, I’ve adjusted. And, because I was initially diagnosed with clinically-isolated syndrome (CIS), I did not get scared that it would grow into something more serious. I only had a 20% chance of developing MS after all. Hmpf.
Second, we all know about the permanent neurological damage that can occur with MS, even in its earliest stages. Starting treatment promptly after diagnosis is very, very important. I was telling my partner last night that I am anxious to get started on Copaxone as soon as possible. Sure, I’m anxious about starting the shots but I am even more eager to get started on treatment right away. When will I get contacted? When can I schedule the visit with a nurse to show me how to administer treatment? Bring on the shots, I say. I am ready. I do not want this disease to progress any further. I’d like to keep everything right where it is today, or better! One lesion on the brain, two lesions on the spinal cord. That’s enough thank you very much!
I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out that the lesion on my brain showed up so soon. It’s only been since November that it showed clean. I cannot help but wonder if the disease will progress just as rapidly in the months ahead. Will another lesion or two show up on my brain? Will my symptoms worsen? Will I still be able to walk in 6 months, without tripping and falling down? Will I still be able to click the shutter on my camera? Jeez. One can go downhill fast and I try to snap out of this by reminding myself that treatment is designed to slow down progression of the disease. Don’t go there, I remind myself. It’s really too soon for that. But I may end up in a wheelchair and how on earth will I get up the stairs in our condo? Will I have to inch up on my butt? One step at a time? You won’t end up in a wheelchair, I remind myself. How will I manage if I loose my eyesight? I panic that I will no longer be able to take pictures. You won’t lose your eyesight, I remind myself, and photography will always be part of your life. I have this little battle with myself sometimes and I snap out of it by reminding myself that treatment really is going to help. Bring on the shots, I say! I am ready!