Just to pick up on this thread...My situation is not really similar to your girlfriends: I have my first major relapse in 2006, MRI showed some old spots in brain and c-spine (non--enhancing - probably dating from up to 8 years ago, with hindsight), and a new one in the brain, plus a large on in the c-spine, running from c4 to c6, which was thought to be causing my problems. 9 months later, after 5 months on Avonex and 3 courses of iv steroids, plus two more relapses, the lesion in my brain is no longer enhancing, but the one in the c-spine is, but the bulging of the cord has subsided - I seem to have hit a plateau! I work full time, have two small children, and a husband who is a busy attorney - we lead a relatively normal life. Statistics are just averages, with standard deviations, worked out on a small sample population and extrpolated to the larger ms population. Whist they are interesting and occasionally relevent, the most significant thing I have learned about ms is that it is unpredictable. There is every chance that with good treatment, your girlfriend may well be ok for a long time, but no one can really say for sure! Is there no way that she can go withyou and get a job in the city where you will be doing your phd? This is a decision you should talk to her and her doc about - maybe they can give some input? Either way, I wish you both well and I am sure that you will make peace withyour choice, whatever it may be.