This book is a first-hand account of my journey with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As I went through the stages of diagnosis to disease management, it became apparent that while there were numerous books written on the subject of MS, most focused on the medical or clinical aspects of the disease. While these sources were certainly empirically informative, they were coldly lacking in the emotional preparation and guidance that I needed. There is a profoundly personal side to any life changing diagnosis, and this is where the true struggle resided for me. I couldn't turn to anything of a nonclinical substance that would help guide me through the emotional and mental turmoil I was experiencing. There was so much I wanted to know not only from my doctors, but also from other people with MS. As I started navigating my way through things in a bit of a clumsy fashion, I was inspired to write down my thoughts and insight as that new person with MS and what they would likely want to know not only about the disease but also about themselves. This book covers the time I reflected over the year leading up to my diagnosis and the first year after receiving my diagnosis with MS. The book is divided into three distinct parts. Part One looks at a wide variety of personal topics and experiences and the impact Multiple Sclerosis has played on each. There are times of frustration, denial and sorrow. There are topics of extreme support and heroes that have stepped up in my journey. There are character traits that can be of benefit and others that can be detrimental. The intent has been to capture these aspects, feelings and thought provoking situations and how MS has touched it all. In a way, this section is a reflection of my own personal struggle through the initial blow of learning about my MS and coming to accept it as a part of who I now am. Part Two focuses on moving from a position of understanding to truly accepting what MS means in my life. Acceptance doesn't just mean sitting still, but gaining a clear mind on how you are going to choose to live with MS. Acceptance is not just formed from the perspective of being that someone with MS, but it is formed by the people around me as well. Friends, coworkers, and family all will be affected by this disease in some way, and it is vitally important that we prepare to help everyone touched by MS come to a pure sense of acceptance. Part Three is all about capitalizing on the sense of acceptance and beginning to focus on those specific efforts and the needed energy to beat it. Knowing there is no cure today does not mean that I just give up. There are so many things that can be done to maintain a normal life, but it takes work and a proactive frame of mind. Like many struggles we can all face in our lives, MS is really no different. There is almost always a way to make a situation like this better, but it does take time, effort, and determination. From a personal perspective, this book intends to do two things...to help others better understand the everyday experiences of a person with MS, to know what the disease takes away, and also what the disease gives. The second, to help me as a person with MS move beyond merely accepting this disease and knowing that regardless of what limitations I may end up with, that I can contribute to a better result, a brighter future for someone, be a better father and husband to my family, and look back and feel good about my life...every minute of it. Life can be so much more if I can find the way to live with MS in my life rather than find a way to fit my life into MS. My wish to the second point is that it will do the same for you.
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