A neurologist immediately ordered a magnetic resonance imaging MRI scan, which revealed a spinal cord lesion in her neck. You need to be in the hospital right now. From her hospital bed, where she was receiving high doses of intravenous steroids to calm the inflammation in her spinal cord, Milliken wrote an email to the guy she'd been dating.
I told him, 'Hey, I'm in the hospital and you'll never believe this, but I just got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis [MS]. It'll take me a little bit to recover, but I'm looking forward to going out again. The guy quickly emailed back—"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that! Dating is a minefield for everyone and horror stories abound, from tales of meeting wackos and weirdos to never hearing back from someone you really liked. But when you have a neurologic condition—especially one that could be progressive—it gets even more "complicated," to borrow a term from Facebook status-speak.
Where do you find good dating prospects? When do you reveal your condition—and how much do you reveal—if it's not evident? How do you handle rejection if it's based on your condition, and even if it's not? How do you handle the simple logistics of a date if you aren't able to drive or even take public transportation?
We talked to people who've been there and other experts to find some answers. We can't guarantee that you'll meet your soul mate, but we think these tips will make your dating life easier and more fun. Lexi Franklin had been with her boyfriend for about two years when she was diagnosed with MS, right around her 21st birthday.
After they broke up, Franklin didn't date for the next three years. It was partly because of what happened with him, and also I was trying to figure out, if I do meet somebody, how am I going to tell him I have MS, especially when I don't really know what is to come?
Franklin's situation is not atypical, says Rosalind Kalb, vice president of the professional resource center at the National MS Society. You have a lot of questions about what this means for you in your life, who you are and how you will be perceived by others. It takes some longer than others to put their toes in the water. And that's okay. For people with less "visible" neurologic conditions like epilepsy or relapsing-remitting MS, one of the biggest questions is, "When do I tell him or her what I have?
Is the third date too late? At first, Milliken thought her dating life was over. She's single, she's 35, and she has MS. She's done,'" she says. Instead of making this my deepest, darkest secret, I was going to put it out there. When she'd go out with a new guy, Milliken would usually tell him about her MS on the second date.
It's a crap shoot. Are you willing to take a gamble? Kalb agrees with Milliken's approach. If you have no visible disability and you're meeting someone for first time, you don't have to say anything at all," she says. At the very beginning, you have no obligation to be totally up front. Give what you feel comfortable with. Jackie Johnson, 36, a blogger for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Transitions Center who has spinal muscular atrophy SMA , a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and wasting, and uses a wheelchair, had one serious relationship in her teens.
After that ended—her boyfriend asked her to marry him, but Johnson, who was 18 at the time, thought she was too young—she didn't date for a while. Once she started again, she was apprehensive about letting prospective suitors know she was in a wheelchair. I kept trying to jump-start dating and wait to discuss my disability, because I really wasn't comfortable talking about it until I was in my early 30s. It's tempting to put off revealing a neurologic condition until you've gotten to know someone better.
Secrets and half-truths are not a solid foundation for a good relationship. Ask yourself, when would you like to know important information about this person you're seeing? Everybody's got something to share. Emily Munson, 30, an attorney in Indianapolis who has SMA, isn't shy about sharing the fact that she's in a wheelchair. On the online dating sites she's tried—Match. Although Munson's had several dates, nothing looks promising for a relationship—but she's done just as much rejecting as being rejected.
I've fought so hard for my independence, I thought that just wasn't going to work," she recalls. Once you've gone out with someone once or twice and you've decided you like him or her enough to be open about your condition, it's time to "put on your teaching hat," says Kalb. At first, they may be shocked and not want to say the wrong thing, so it's easy to take their silence as rejection and assume they don't want to be with you," she says. You have to be prepared to provide information, whether that's answering their questions directly or giving them something to read from the National MS Society or another organization.
Prepare for their questions by thinking about what you might ask if you were in a similar position. Is the condition progressive, for example? How will your life change in the future? Or, as Johnson heard over and over again from potential matches, "Can you have sex?
Don't you have other things you want to ask me about? Because that's not what we're going to do all day long. After her three-year dating hiatus, Franklin met a guy at the community college where she worked. They hit it off immediately and were soon "hanging out" with obvious romantic intent. One night we were hanging out at my apartment, and I was getting really bad fatigue. Franklin's now-boyfriend was mostly unfazed by her revelation.
Do you have seizures? He made me feel like it wasn't a big deal. Not everyone is as open as Franklin's boyfriend, and many people may run in the other direction when hearing about a neurologic condition. If the former was chosen, the Facebook profile image registered with the account is automatically uploaded and the remainder of the information is added manually. Like most social platforms, there is a section for a brief about me, as well as other pertinent information: Gender, Age, Current Work, Connect an Instagram Account.
The app is catered towards chronic illness, yet Lemonayde does not encourage sharing any details that make the user uncomfortable. If you do not wish to disclose your illness in your profile, that is okay! It is up to you to decide what to share and who to share it with. The anxiety stemming from informing a potential partner is drastically reduced because the majority of people on Lemonayde have health struggles too. And wah-la! The profile is made. An example is depicted below. Beneath the name and age is where the short bio would go, but I did not add an about me because I obviously have no intention in dating.
The purpose of my profile was only for the review. Clicking the lemon in the right corner of the profile will bring you to your matches. The matching screen appears like the following image and is where you will swipe left or right. I have edited the screenshot for privacy reasons. A messaging feature is incorporated into the app. I have not trialed that particular feature, so no screenshot there, but it is pretty self-explanatory and easy to navigate much like all of the Lemonayde app.
Overall, the goal of Lemonayde is to break down the barriers that often accompany dating with a chronic illness. A diagnosis does not render any human being unworthy. Thus, Lemonayde seeks to be integral to loving yourself with confidence before entering into a relationship. Dating With Health Challenges? August 21, in product review , tutorial. Read The Blessing of Chronic Illness In A Relationship Chronic illness makes new beginnings like dating more difficult, but one should never allow the experience to be less special.
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