I’m not at all surprised you’re overwhelmed. It’s all happened very quickly for you. I’m never sure whether it’s better to have a very fast first symptom followed by diagnosis, or a slower diagnosis, with months or longer in ‘limbo’, just waiting to see what the diagnosis will be. Ultimately though, I don’t really think there’s a good way to learn you have MS.
Don’t expect to assimilate it all at once. It’s something you never anticipated and you are bound to have wildly swinging emotions about it. From anger to depression with fear and worry just to complete the range. Personally I’m rather fond of furious anger (still, after more than 20 years)!
It’s not bloody fair that this thing has happened to you. It’s utter crap, MS. And now you’ve got to consider taking a drug that you never planned upon.
You should be assigned an MS nurse who can help with some of the decisions you have to make. S/he can help with any left over symptoms you have and any future relapses plus questions and thoughts about the disease and the drug therapies.
If you do have residual symptoms, you could get a referral to a physiotherapist to help get past the symptoms. It’s a really good idea to get and stay as fit as you possibly can regardless. No one ever gave me that advice (to be fair this forum didn’t exist, nor did any others), and if they had I don’t know if I’d have really understood why. The point of getting a strong body is to give you a really good chance of defeating relapse damage to your system. The stronger your ‘core’, the less disabled you’ll end up being in later life, just in case you have more relapses.
Meanwhile, you need to think about Disease Modifying Drugs (DMDs). Have a look at https://www.mstrust.org.uk/about-ms/ms-treatments/ms-decisions-aid The point of a DMD is to reduce the number and severity of relapses. All the possible drugs are listed on the Decision Aid, just keep in mind you won’t have a completely free choice. The neurologist will have decided how ‘active’ your MS is and that will inform the decision as to which drugs you have a choice of. Equally, you may be happier with a daily pill rather than an injectable or an infusion type drug. So your choice may be limited, but you do still have choice.
All drugs come with benefits (with DMDs it’s average relapse reduction rate) and costs (ie. side effects). The better the relapse reduction rate, the more serious the potential side effects. But that doesn’t mean you should opt for the lowest relapse reduction rate in order to avoid side effects.
Personally, I think hitting the MS with the biggest weapon you are offered the choice of is a good plan. The side effects may never happen for you. And if they do, you can always change drug.
Best of luck getting your head around the diagnosis and your drug choice. Let us know how you get on and if there’s anything we can help with.