This article examines the narratives of 16 individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Before diagnosis, the participants had experienced disparate and transient symptoms. Diagnosis itself involved numerous tests and health practitioners, varied responses to the diagnosis, an inability to assimilate information about the disease, and a view of MS as being the lesser of two evils. Immediately after diagnosis, participants revealed concerns about the unpredictable progression of the disease. Patient narratives reflected both negative and positive aspects of living with a chronic illness, such as shifting roles, discrimination, reevaluation of priorities, reinvestment in the family, and positive lifestyle changes. All aspects of the narratives revealed fear and anxiety in relation to the unknown.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Suzanne Barker-Collo, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Claire Cartwright, PhD, is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland.
John Read, PhD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland.
© 2006 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses