woman riding bicycle with young boy following on scooter

Last week we met Jane as she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Ten years later, Jane has found that many of her choices in life now require more thought, more planning, and more research; but she still has choices.

Use of medications

Jane’s doctor recommended that she start one of the disease-modifying medications. While there is no cure for MS, these drugs help slow the progression of MS and reduce the number of flare-ups. There are currently eight medications available. Though the drug doesn’t make Jane feel better, and she had to get used to the needles, she is committed to her treatment plan.

A wife and a mother

Jane’s other concern was her family. She was worried about pregnancy and caring for a baby due to her struggles with fatigue. She contacted the National MS Society for information and through the Chapter’s Peer Support Program, she connected with a mom who has MS and learned through someone else’s experience.

Jane’s daughter, Mary, was born 5 years ago. Jane experienced a flare-up of her symptoms six months after the birth, which was successfully treated with steroids.

Like many people, Jane and her husband sometimes feel that MS is the uninvited guest in their house. Though unspoken, it is part of every conversation. Jane found support from her peer counselor, who also felt the impact of MS on her marriage. Jane’s husband finds it helpful to speak with a therapist who has experience with chronic illness.

Jane feels impact on her career

It was hard to coordinate the daycare schedule, manage her fatigue, and keep up with the fast pace of her job as an ER nurse. Jane called the Chapter about her situation. The staff person consulted with her, providing information, discussing options, and supporting Jane.

It helped to have someone guide her through terms and programs, like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), disclosure, and her rights as someone with a disability. She felt confident going to her employer to discuss possible accommodations and together they found a solution.

Dawn Russo
Dawn Russo, Senior Program Manager of the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, guest Blogger

Jane accepted a new position that involved more desk work and no night shifts. She admits it’s less exciting, but she also takes less sick time now and spends more time with her family.

Join us next week as we visit Jane one final time to see another example of life with MS and learn more about the programs and services available from the National MS Society.