Being a Nurse with MS

I'm a Nurse and yes I have MS.

People would assume that being a nurse I know everything there is to know about MS,   truth be told I know just about as much as any other person who was just diagnosed with MS.  The only difference in the beginning was that I had a basic knowledge of MS and it wasn't the warm and fuzzy type of knowledge.  Before I even went to my appointment with my GP I knew what the results said.  I was a typical nosey nurse and got a copy of my MRI results and had a read and I came across the words 'lesion' and 'demyelination' so i knew it was MS.  There is some irony I have found with being diagnosed with MS and that is in my final year at University I did a presentation about Multiple Sclerosis, little did I know is that I was researching what my life would one day be.   

The pro's of being a Nurse with MS:

Are there any?  You bet there is!   

  • Working with other wonderful nurses. It is in their nature it is to care for people and also fellow co-workers.  I have found them to be a great support and the majority to be very understanding of my good and not so good days. 
  • Working with fantastic surgeons.   I feel really blessed to work with these people because without them I may not have been diagnosed as soon as I was.  They are very supportive and treat me no different as to before I was diagnosed.
  • I get my treatment at the same hospital I work at so on the day I have my infusion - once a month - I go to work as usual and when it gets closer to infusion time, I get my cannula put in by an Anaesthetist and head on down to admissions.  I think this may just be a big positive on being a Theatre Nurse.  
  • I was even able to get a Neurosurgeon I work with to look at my MRI, he was more then happy to do so, to tell me a bit more about where the lesions were - the more I know the better.
  • Knowledge is a big Pro - being surrounded by those who can answer your questions and be so caring on a daily basis is amazing.   Having access to these great minds and feeling confident in approaching them with questions and concerns and knowing that they genuinely care is a great feeling.
  • When I was diagnosed with MS I was met with such warmth from those I work frequently with it was such an emotional time and I was given the time to process it all and go through the grieving process.  As I remember the kindness of those people my eyes are starting to well up with happy grateful tears.  These are people I will never forget.

There are many Pro's of being a nurse and I have found even more now that I have been diagnosed with MS.  Having the knowledge of what I'm dealing with and knowing that I will have support not only at home but also from my work colleagues.  To sum up the Pro's I think would be that being surrounded by caring people and access to knowledge on a daily basis has really helped me through my diagnosis.  I have found that just because I was diagnosed with MS, it doesn't mean I cannot continue doing the job I love and it doesn't stop me from doing it well.

The con's of being a Nurse with MS:

With the good there is also the bad.

  • Reading my MRI results before seeing the GP was something I should not have done.  When I read it I knew what it was and all the bad images of MS flashed through my mind.  Knowing what it is, what it does and the unpredictability of it was very unnerving.  Like others who are diagnosed the same emotions are felt: fear, denial and anger just to name a few.  I may be a nurse but I am also just a regular person who has just received devastating news. 
  • After I was diagnosed I found myself in the habit of 'nursing' my family though my diagnosis and not letting them help me though it.  I wanted to protect them from what was happening and just kept telling them that I was 'ok'.  In actual fact I was not ok, I was far from ok and the only person who knew that was my husband and he has been my rock throughout everything.  
  • People assuming you have all the answers.  I am a nurse, not a Neurologist so I do not have all of the answers, all I can tell you is what I am experiencing and the way that my immune system is attacking my nerves.  Beyond that I to have to ask questions to get the answers.
  • Shift work.  It wreaks havoc with my fatigue - I am fortunate to be able to no longer have to do the dreaded 'late/early' shift, which would mean finishing at 9pm and starting at 6.30am and I have noticed I haven't been 'on call' since I was diagnosed either.  The fatigue still does kick in though towards the end of the week I find myself going to bed at 8pm so I can be alert for work the next day.
  • Colleagues thinking they are saying nice things like 'You should cut back on your hours and only do 4 days a week, it will really help break up the week.'  ummm I think I will be able to know when it's time to cut back on work but at the moment I'm fine doing what i'm doing now but thanks for your input.  I have found that people do say things they think will help when they aren't sure what to say and that's ok because I know it comes with good intentions.  I guess you don't have to be just a nurse to get those kind of comments.  I think sometimes people automatically think that because you have MS suddenly you can work or do what you were before you were diagnosed, that is just not the case.  I work full time and love my job and its only after my Tysabri infusion that I may need a day off or an 'MS day' every now and then.

I found it hard to find the con's because when it comes down to it, it's the positives you want to focus on.  There will always be positives and negatives with things you have to deal with after diagnosis.  

If you have been diagnosed with MS or have a family member or friend who has here is my question to you:

"What is your profession and how does it impact you from a positive and negative aspect?"

Thank you for following my journey and for your support and comments xx