September 25, 2003
by Dawn Mercer
WIS News 10
Every week about 200 people are told they have Multiple Sclerosis. Julie Ayers says, "I had my first attack the day we moved into the house."
Julie and Sue Doll both have MS. Symptoms can include fatigue, vision problems, dizziness, slurred speech, stiffness and/or bladder problems.
Doctor Daniel Jacobs says early diagnosis and treatment is key, "If you can stop MS very early on, you have a chance of reducing the amount of brain damage and thereby reducing the disability."
Even with disabilities of the disease, people often find a silver lining. A recent survey of 800 patients shows nearly 50 percent say it's had a positive impact on their life, and 61 percent say they have improved communication with their partner.
Sue says, "I thought it was a death sentence, but then I just researched it and realized that you can live a full and healthy life." MS is not considered a fatal disease, but it can take its toll.
Still, nearly 90 percent of patients surveyed say they've found inner strength and coping mechanisms they never knew they had. Julie and Sue say, though MS will change your life, it doesn't have to end it.
In the same survey more than four out of five people said they disclosed
their diagnosis to their co-workers, and 94 percent of those spoke highly
of the support they received from co-workers and management after they
shared about their disease.
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