Good to hear from you. It may make you feel better to know that people from as far away as Africa share your experiences. This disease makes us all related!
Even having different opinions and arguing about it is a positive thing - who else has the credibility to do this with you, other than a fellow ms'r or someone close to one?
I am so glad that you decided to take the positive step of engaging with others on this site - the folks are great, and are very willing to share their vast knowledge and experience - or even just reassure you when you most need it. They understand you.
I have had it since 1999, but managed to successfully ignore it and the kinda mild relapses I had (denial, big time - I had no need for information because this was not going to seriously affect my life), right up until 2006...Then it slapped me in the face so badly, I could pretend I was 'normal' no longer. In my defence, I was diagnosed with cancer in late 1997, and I just could not face another serious illness so soon, so young! I wanted a life again, not to think about dying or becoming handicapped in someway...
I have been on Avonex for just over a year - I won't pretend that it is a wlk in the park, but it is not so bad either. I am 43 and have 2 young children, so feel I must do something to at least preserve the funtionality I still have....I have motor weakness, muscle spasms, and loss of sensation in my entire rt arm/hand and leg/foot, so mobility and fine motor skills are an issue, also lots of neuropathic pain, and severe L'Hermittes - big lesion at c3-c4 has been causing major problems for over a year now - I don't think it will get any better now, so I am at my current peak.
I wrote the above so you would know that you are not alone - I really truly know what it is to feel scared. That fear drove me to start Avonex and to begin a basic supplementation regimen. I also have a good relationship with my neuropsychologist and my oncologist, who are always there for me.
My neuro is the type who thinks that you should snap out of it and just get on with things - stiff upper lip and no sympathy! He makes me drive into his office, gives me a gram of steroids IV in his exam room, then sends me off to drive back to work - I did this daily while I was working (I no longer work now) for the 5 doses required for a relapse - no being off on sick leave, no addmitting to hospital, no ackowledgment of the side effects of this treatment and how it affected my body and my personality, no personal time to come to terms with new disabilities - they happened in front of the world! He's not really that bad I suppose, he probably deals with people much worse off than me, so he gets irritated if I don't tell him that I am FINE.
So the choice of a medical team is very important, and you are fortunate to be in a country that offers choice. Once ms starts to cause problems, I think it is really best to surround your self with a great medical team, and get as much information as possible - challenge your doc if you don't understand anything.
Ms at this time can be managed to an etent - depending on how you respond to treatment - luckily there are a few you can try - the big step is to do something. There are also great meds out there for some other symptoms, so please discuss these with your doc too
I will be very happy to help in any way I can & I hope that you upcoming appointments go really well. Please report back if you can & let us know how you are doing.