MS symptoms: Caregiver Awakening

Elgin2013I’m ashamed to admit when diagnosed with MS my first thoughts were about me, my future and total fear of the unknown. I knew my illness would affect my family and considered that aspect though I never fully contemplated my husband’s reaction to himself, his future and the fear of the uncertainty for the spouse he loved. We held one another the first night, each lost in our own imaginations.

Many years later I read a mystery book with a character depicting the view point of the spouse. A new dawn had arrived in my world. A one-eighty transpired in me. I was smacked in the face with the reality of my husband and family’s MS world.  This illness happened to them as well.

“Do I really need to say it out loud?” I asked myself in those first years of adjusting my behavior in dealing with MS. My goal: avoid wearing out my family and caregivers. Do they really need to know? Most of the time, they don’t. I support myself from within as much as possible, even giving myself pep talks. I make it a point to share under these circumstances: needing help, being clear on my behavior or actions, truly need the emotional support, and of course the inevitable slip. Even when I share I try not to complain, dwell, moan, or groan. These behaviors resolve nothing eventually wearing on those hearing and saying it.

I am my own frontline support. My caregivers are my second line of defense. It is my husband’s birthday today and I want him and my family to know how much I appreciate the support I receive daily, for I know they have their own MS symptoms. A positive attitude goes a long way in prevention, recovery and happiness in our world. 

Caregivers support groups can be found on-line at:
1 – Tysabri “Multiple Sclerosis Caregiver Advice” –
2 – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “Caregivers/Care Partners – Taking Care of Yourselves!” –
3 – Not active but full of information, MS Caregiving –

About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.