How I …
My solutions to life with Multiple Sclerosis
The characteristics of a millennial patient
“[a] common trait of millennials is their inclination to try to solve their medical problems independently.” (from “” By Catherine M. Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM)
Since my MS diagnosis, I have become less reliant on ‘Dr Google’ when it comes to medical problems and questions. However, when it comes to problems and issues that relate to the day-to-day challenges of living with MS, I have used the millennial way of ‘solving my problems’ and discovered solutions to life with Multiple Sclerosis.
As a Peer Worker, my job was to share my experiences with others and provide guidance.
The spirit of peer work is not to instruct others on how or what they should do, but act as a role model and show ways of coping and gaining independence. In this blog, I want to share my experiences and solutions to life with MS and open up pathways to independence for others.
Although I have worked in healthcare, this has been in a supportive capacity, and I am not a qualified medical professional. Finding a good therapeutic team, made up of doctors and allied health professionals which shared my holistic view of health has helped me immensely. I will always encourage readers to form a dialogue with their treating doctors, as well as promoting self-advocacy.
Non-medical questions and queries from readers about life with MS are welcome via the contact page and social media.
For medical related questions always speak to a doctor or nurse practitioner.
abnormal hardening of body tissue.
excessive resistance to change.
The Meaning of Sclerosis in my life
Medically, it refers to the hardening of tissue which causes the lesions or the ‘many scars’ that MS leaves behind.
It also means an excessive resistance to change which is how I felt when I was first diagnosed with MS, ultimately change was what I needed to embrace the most in order to get on with living my life.
“Are you two planning on becoming pregnant?” The doctor asks
My partner and I stare at each other blankly. We had never discussed it, now I was about to make a major decision, I was given exactly 20 seconds to think about it, and I did not even know why I was being asked.
“No…” I say this without a second thought to the question.
The doctor looks happy about my answer.
“Good, you have MS, and I want to start you on medications right away”.
Doctors have such a way with words.
“Will I end up in a wheelchair?” was the only thing I could think of asking.
This was one of the first moments of many during my MS Journey where I was faced with change, and at first, I resisted. I raged against the fate I thought awaited me, and desperately tried to hold on to the past. I could not accept that my life had changed forever.
I thought I had lost my chance at happiness. Like the death of a loved one, I grieved for my loss, but have since emerged from the other side changed, but changed for the better, I had become strong, resilient, and in the end, I rediscovered happiness.
About the Author
Chiara was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2011 and has dedicated her time to helping others learn how to manage life with a chronic illness ever since.
An experienced Mental Health peer worker, she has helped others in their recovery journeys, by working one on one and in groups. She has facilitated mindfulness groups, art sessions, conversation groups and self-care workshops, sharing her knowledge and experience on navigating life’s challenges as a person with a chronic illness.
Chiara is qualified in Aged Care and Disability and studied Nursing, majoring in Mental Health, until she had to cease studies because of MS.
She now blogs about her experiences with Multiple Sclerosis. Publishing posts on her blog The Millennial Patient and guest posting on a variety of health and wellness sites including Everyday Health.
Guest blogging and collaboration queries are most welcome and can be made via the contact page.