MS And The Fear Of The Unknown: A Conversation W/ Dr. Stephen Krieger

MyCounterpane founder Kate Milliken sat down for a one-on-one conversation with her neurologist, Dr. Stephen Krieger, to discuss MS and the fear of the unknown. If you've been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you know this is a recurring theme in your daily life. You've probably wondered, "What's going to happen to me? What's going to happen to my children and family?"

We certainly have. Which is why Kate and Dr. Krieger sat down to discuss the challenges of such an unpredictable disease, and the role that optimism and a positive outlook can play in helping to alleviate the fear that comes with an MS diagnosis.

If you've also had these thoughts, watch the video above or read the transcript below to learn what Dr. Krieger thinks about how to live with the fear of the unknown to prosper and thrive.

KATE: Hi everybody, it’s Kate Milliken founder of MyCounterpane for MyCounterpane One-on-One, and today I’m here with Dr. Steven Krieger, who is a neurologist and specialist at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS at Mount Sinai in New York City. I am thrilled to admit to the world that Dr. Krieger is also my neurologist. He was with me when I was diagnosed, he’s been with me for over a decade. And I was especially thrilled to take on this subject that we’re going to talk about today with him because I lived the experience with him, and that is new diagnoses and the fear of the unknown.

So Dr. Krieger, I’m just going to jump right in, you have now been a neurologist for over a decade and you’ve seen patient after patient be diagnosed. What is it like, from your perspective, when patients get the word that they have been diagnosed with MS?

KRIEGER: Well I think number one, people respond very differently to different news, and I think getting an MS diagnoses is never easy for anybody. Probably the only thing that everyone has in common is that its difficult news for anyone who receives it. Having worked at a Multiple Sclerosis center that says “Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis” on the door, it’s not a huge surprise to someone when we first have that conversation because they’re in that center for that reason. So, it is often not the very first time that they’ve heard of it or thought about it when they come to me. Something about coming to an MS center and sitting down with a neurologist and hearing those words makes it real and new for everybody who gets newly diagnosed.

It’s hard for people, no question. People approach it very very differently. I think for some people, they believe it immediately, it’s a validation in some ways that they don’t feel right, and they want to know what’s wrong. They’ve long believed that something’s wrong and now there’s a name for it and a diagnosis, and full speed ahead. I think for other people, particularly for those who feel well, getting a diagnosis like Multiple Sclerosis makes no sense to them at all, and they reject it out of hand, like how could it be that they have this diagnoses. So it ranges from immediate acceptance to immediate rejection and everything in between.