Tildy

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So, I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My treating neurologist told me that he doesn't know what fuctions will go for first, and in what time frame. Could be in the short- or long-run. My question is: should I even "bother" going to med school? Medicine is my dream, but if I can't do any specialty e.g. because my dexterity or my eye sight will be gone before I know it, is there even any sense in me attending med school?

Thanks so much in advance for answering my question, I really appreciate it.
I can't comment on the health issues as that is between you and your physicians. I would talk with your dean however and discuss your concerns. Good luck. If there are those who have read this who have dealt with having MS in med school, please post, or, if you wish to send something directly to the OP, send it to me (Tildy) by PM.
 
Nov 4, 2009
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I am a counselor therapist and working on my Ph.D. One of our peers got diagnosed with MS five years ago. So far she is working full time and driving to autistic children homes to work with them. So hopefully MS will give her another 5 or 10 more yeas before it progresses.
If medicine is your dream, then you need to fulfill your dream and nothing should stop you. You love medicine and you might have time to practice it too. When you get to a very bad situation when your MS worsens, you might be able to teach medicine somewhere! The field of medicine has so many avenues that you can chose from, however do NOT get your eyes off the target lest you lose your focus and concentration on the things you love. Sometimes, we feel we want to mourn for our bad luck or situation, but let me suggest this idea to do: Every time you get a negative thought (like why even bother to study) just tell your brain " Stop, I am busy now and I am still functioning, I will mourn your ideas later when I am in bed and cannot move". It might be silly to say that at the beginning, but play the "stop" game with negative thoughts for now and keep focused. Practice "stop" and "focus".
Good Luck
 

peppy

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Sorry to hear that you received this diagnosis. With the uncertainty that you have, I think it might make sense to consider paths with shorter training (like being a PA). Then, whatever the future holds, you could be done sooner and have more time to actually enjoy the clinical aspect of medicine instead of stressing out over tests and rotations that you have no interest in.
If you do decide to pursue med school, I would also look into what sort of criteria would need to be satisfied in order to have your loan debt discharged in the event that you do wind up unable to work. I'm not sure what sort of process that is, so it's definitely something to investigate before making the jump. Best wishes to you.
 

FutureCTDoc

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Have you considered psychiatry? A family friend with a condition causing blindness went into and practices despite being completely blind, bilaterally. There is no need for eyesight or dexterity. MS doesn't have to be quick btw. I know many of individuals who are 10+ years out from a diagnosis and have very few issues, I've seen some individuals become debilitated in a few years. The disease has a highly variable course.
 

FutureInternist

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I have two relatives with it and, in the past, watched them struggle to cope with it.
My take would be to NOT do medicine for a variety of reasons...
1. You never know when it will get bad enough for you to not be able to function...then you'd be hundreds of thousands of $$ in debt w/o any way to pay it back. (Not even bankruptcy gets rid of it)
2. Dreams and hopes are good but not everyone gets to be an astronaut, or a fighter pilot etc. You can't throw good money/time after bad...You can try & find something that fulfills you w/o putting yourself in jeopardy
3. You have to think of the guy who's not going to get a spot because you took it....sure he could end up a really bad doc that intentionally kills people but chances of that are probably slim
 
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I have two relatives with it and, in the past, watched them struggle to cope with it.
My take would be to NOT do medicine for a variety of reasons...
1. You never know when it will get bad enough for you to not be able to function...then you'd be hundreds of thousands of $$ in debt w/o any way to pay it back. (Not even bankruptcy gets rid of it)
2. Dreams and hopes are good but not everyone gets to be an astronaut, or a fighter pilot etc. You can't throw good money/time after bad...You can try & find something that fulfills you w/o putting yourself in jeopardy
3. You have to think of the guy who's not going to get a spot because you took it....sure he could end up a really bad doc that intentionally kills people but chances of that are probably slim
Ok...I agree with a lot A LOT of things that you mentioned here.
However, men think of money and numbers and maybe I am more on fulfilling dreams and wishes..You have to be a dreamer to get to what you want!
I wish I have the wisdom of a person who lived a long long life so I can give it to you. But, based on my life experience, I want to let you know what I learned so far:
1) Regret is a very very bad feeling. I regret every single day the fact that I did not study what I want. And there comes a time when you cannot go back and undo this mistake. But, I saw my Quadriplegic friend get her BA and MA in Psychology and work as a director with criminal girls and now she is working on her Ph.D. (broke her neck falling of a tree at age 18).
2) Money comes and money goes. If you are spending it for education, you cannot waste most of it. You can use whatever classes you took and continue any degree when you feel that your MS is making you uncapable of practicing as a physician.
3) OK, you have MS. now you cannot work much and you have debt...what are they going to do? Pretend you are a medical student or and intern and you got into a car accident and you are paralyzed what will happen?
Take your happy time to pay off the debt as much as you can but don't sit and wait for the disaster to hit. ( I am originally not from this country but my experience so far is that they won't through people with disabilities to the streets if they cannot pay...or do they?!!)
4) AS for the spot of the other student whom you might be taking their place.....in my opinion that is not anyone's business to worry about. Maybe you were struck with MS because whatever higher power you believe in (mine I call God) wanted you to go to MD school with this disease for a reason. How many great people were struck with worse physical problems and were more motivated than any others to walk the hard path and excel. It could be you that finds a cure for MS or you who will do nothing except be you...that is good enough and you deserve it if you got accepted in school.
Please, if you can keep us posted.
 
May 14, 2010
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Hey,

I am in a similar position. I was a college athlete and am in year 2 of a 3 year med program. In the past year I have gone from being on top of the world and now my hands are going numb, sometimes I can only take a few stairs at a time. Other times my eyes are blurry and I feel more exhausted than you can imagine. I am one MRI short of a diagnosis of MS.

I was really frustrated that finally everything was coming together in my life and now this....

I've had to move on, in the end I am still living my dream. I will be doing some surgery electives this summer while I still can, ortho is my passion. In the end though I will do radiology or medical genetics for the more relaxed pace, very limited physical demand and better hours.

Insurance is your friend, you should be able to get some good coverage and take care of things on the financial end. If I am unable to finish school my loan is insured and I have long term disability.

The way I see it you could spend 4 years in school doing what you love and an indeterminate time as a doc living your dream or you could work some crappy job pissed at life.

Good luck!
 

aProgDirector

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I am surprised that your insurance covers loan repayment. Was this something specific that you obtained?

Also, I'm surprised that you can get disability insurance as a student. Usually you can only get disability insurance for a job that you are currently doing, not something that you will/might be doing in the future.
 
May 14, 2010
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The bank I used for my student line of credit will fully insure your loan. Since I obtained the loan and insured it before I started to get the most concerning of my symptoms it shouldn't be a problem using the insurance if I should need it.

The disability insurance is offered through our provincial medical authority (Canada). It will pay $2500 a month if I am forced to quit med school due to disability and offers great coverage through residency and in practice.

I am so happy to be where I am today. If it does turn out that I have MS I don't regret a single choice I've made. I think everybody deserves to live a whole life and follow their dreams. The key is to build a safety net along the way because you may need it one day.
 

mesophile

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I am so happy to be where I am today. If it does turn out that I have MS I don't regret a single choice I've made. I think everybody deserves to live a whole life and follow their dreams. The key is to build a safety net along the way because you may need it one day.
Very good words, imho. I second medgirlie's words.
 

mcfadyen100

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I was diagnosed with MS over 20 years ago and decided to live my life fully and not let MS rule. Although I've been very lucky, I believe you should live your dreams.

You will have a special gift to give your patients - personal understanding and empathy for the situations they face.

Also, MS treatments will be coming down the road that will make ms a much more manageable disease.

Last, five years of your work as a doctor could be as valuable as 20 years of others.

Live now.
 

FruitFly

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There have been surgeons with MS. Don't let it deter you. Medical Schools- or any other schools, and even places of work- must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities.
 
Jul 8, 2011
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Hey,

I've recently had a diagnosis with MS, I've just finished my second year at medical school and was just wondering what you decided to do/ how you're getting on?

Thanks
Posted for a user



I can't comment on the health issues as that is between you and your physicians. I would talk with your dean however and discuss your concerns. Good luck. If there are those who have read this who have dealt with having MS in med school, please post, or, if you wish to send something directly to the OP, send it to me (Tildy) by PM.
 

flash116

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(aPD: Note, this is an old post, but clearly seemed worth posting now)

I hope my post helps someone. I was diagnosed with MS at the end 3rd year of medical school which was 6 years ago. . I survived medical school, intern year, residency, and fellowship. I got married, had a child, and only had one relapse along the way. I am in my dream practice and hope to continuing practice for as long as I can. The journey had its struggles but I am without regrets. If medicine is your dream, please do not let a diagnosis stop you from pursuing this career. Many new therapies are emerging and this disease is on the cutting edge of science, the future is uncertain but looks bright for new treatment.
 
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(aPD: Note, this is an old post, but clearly seemed worth posting now)

I hope my post helps someone. I was diagnosed with MS at the end 3rd year of medical school which was 6 years ago. . I survived medical school, intern year, residency, and fellowship. I got married, had a child, and only had one relapse along the way. I am in my dream practice and hope to continuing practice for as long as I can. The journey had its struggles but I am without regrets. If medicine is your dream, please do not let a diagnosis stop you from pursuing this career. Many new therapies are emerging and this disease is on the cutting edge of science, the future is uncertain but looks bright for new treatment.
Thanks for this post! I stumbled upon it from a Google search. I was diagnosed with MS in 2006 at the age of 19. It was my freshman year as a pre-pharmacy major at a top university. As a result of the initial diagnosis, my grades in the prereq science courses were extremely low and I decided to give up on pharmacy. Currently, I am completing my dissertation in another field, however, the dream of becoming a pharmacist still lingers and it is now stronger than ever. Although I was initially pessimistic about my health years ago, I am healthier than ever and contemplating returning to pharmacy.