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The Relief of an MS Diagnosis

Posted on November 30, 2021
Article written by
Rachael Tomlinson

Being diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) came as both a shock and a relief to me. I know that the “relief” part may not make sense to people who haven’t been through the process, but for years, I was wondering why I had certain symptoms, with no answers.

When I got the diagnosis, my first thought was, “Right, this is it. Now I've got a name for it.” I wouldn’t necessarily say I was pleased to have a name to go with the symptoms, but I was relieved, because I knew there was something wrong with me, and I didn’t feel like medical professionals had been taking me seriously.

I really had to fight to get through the system, because my general practitioners were ignoring me for so long. So finally knowing that I had PPMS, which came along with lesions on my brain and spine, actually allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief that this finally had a name, that I wasn’t going to have to deal with the diagnosis process anymore — and that I was going to start fighting it right away.

One of the biggest challenges of MS is that it’s an invisible disease — people can’t tell that I have it just from looking at me. I’ve gotten so much flack in the past for using wheelchairs and parking in handicapped spaces, and I know other people face even worse issues than I do because we look “healthy.”

Although living with PPMS has caused me to face innumerable challenges — including losing my career and having to move from a home I loved — it has also given me a new outlook and perspective on everything. I hope anyone facing a new diagnosis of MS gets the answers they need as they deal with this disease and that they have a close network of friends and family to help them through it.

My Perspective articles discuss multiple sclerosis from a specific point of view. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyMSTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyMSTeam content isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Rachael Tomlinson was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) at age 51, which prompted her to fulfill her ambition of becoming a writer. Learn more about her here.

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