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Friend just diagnosed with MS. How can I best help her?

(7 Posts)
GumtreeGirl Sat 17-Nov-12 10:55:25

I've just heard from a friend who's said that she's been diagnosed with MS.
I want to support her, but don't want to wade in with unhelpful or intrusive 'help'.

What is practically and emotionally most useful (including not rushing in)?

She is working and has two young children.

Can anyone give any advice?


Wishfulmakeupping Sat 17-Nov-12 11:10:35

I was diagnosed with a similar condition a couple of years back so hopefully I can give you ideas of what would have been helpful to me
1. Let her talk about it, don't try and cheer her up or look for the positives, sometimes you just need to talk through things as they are
2. Try and remember important appointments she has coming up and offer to support her
3. Practical help if she's feeling snowed under
4. Ask her how she's coping if there's anything you can do to help

The main thing with me was people were so worried about upsetting me that they avoided my condition altogether which upset me even more in turn as I felt people didn't care
Hope your friend is ok OP- sounds like she has a good friend in you

GumtreeGirl Sat 17-Nov-12 13:16:31

Thanks Wish, those are good suggestions. It's so hard as I don't want to give the usual platitudes of 'just ask if you need help' and then flounder about being totally unhelpful!

I hope you're doing ok with your condition too, and have people round you who can help thanks

ClareMarriott Sat 17-Nov-12 20:38:27

Dear Gumtree.

Receiving a diagnosis like this, although your friend will be glad to have been given an explanation for all the symptoms she will have been suffering from, will really take some time in getting used to because, essentially, her life as she saw it planned out in front of her, will have changed forever. I can speak as someone who's sister was diagnosed 26 years ago. Of course , there will be all sorts of practical things you can help her with - if she asks for help - but don't be surprised at the mood swings she will have as depression will most certainly be one of them. Also, try and remember her family as their lives have changed too.

weegiemum Fri 23-Nov-12 06:59:39

Be there! Dont forget.
I'm almost a year on from diagnosis with CIDP, a related condition.
I feel like I'm old news now, no one much asks any more how I'm doing.

I'm doing well, have learned to walk again, write, type, etc but every day is a massive challenge and I often wish that someone other than my dh and my dad would ask.

Some people with ms get a regular IV treatment, I get something similar and someone popping in to the hospital makes a massive difference, especially if they bring good coffee!

You don't say if she's got relapsing-remitting or primary-progressive ms, I'm assuming RR as she's working. I would try to be aware if she's having a relapse, and help out very practically then - I love it when people offer childcare, or make a meal.

Be are that neuro illnesses make you incredibly tired at times, so there may be times she's just to exhausted to be in touch, or meet up.

Tea and a listening ear (that doesn't get fed up listening to the same thing over and over) goes the furthest, in my opinion!

Elpis Mon 26-Nov-12 21:15:47

Tell her that you will be there for her, if and when she needs help with childcare. Listen to her bang on about it if she wants to.

(diagnosed 2008, 2DCs since)

atrcts Mon 13-May-13 07:31:14

Seriously - the best thing you can do is be a true friend and stick close and be normal! I lost so many friends who simply didn't know how to cope with my diagnosis of MS, I was horrified by that. And deeply thankful for the friends who stayed by me. TRUE friends - you really do find out who they are in a crisis!

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