Oh dear, my sympathies on your loss.
You must be wondering how much more crap things can get, and if there is any reason you’re having such an appallingly bad time lately.
The short answer is no - it’s not lifestyle related, and it’s certainly not payback for anything you’ve done. Not that I’m suggesting you think that, but when a horrible thing happens, or especially a string of horrible things, almost everyone wonders “Why me?”, at times, and: “Could it be anything I did?” It’s normal to think: “Why did I get all this crap, when others haven’t?”
But there’s no justice or logic in it - Fate is blind.
It’s not uncommon to experience initial symptoms, or a flare up, not long after a traumatic event (physical, emotional, or both), but there’s no proof the trauma is what actually triggers MS. It’s more likely the disease process had already begun, but at a level you had not yet noticed - but any stress can make symptoms more pronounced.
I took my diagnosis quite well, and in some respects found it almost a relief, as unlike you, I’d been feeling unwell for some years, and was at a loss to know why I couldn’t just “pull myself together” - I hadn’t suspected major illness.
Touch wood, I’ve not been severely affected, so far (just short of my five year anniversary of diagnosis, and suspect I’ve had it a lot longer). BUT, I think it took at least two years for me not to wake up in the mornings and still feel shock at my diagnosis. In my sleep, I would forget, then wake up with all the miscellaneous reminders of something not being right, and think: “Oh no! I have MS!”
It still doesn’t take long to remind me in the mornings - I always wake up with something hurting, or a problem with my waterworks, or whatever. But nowadays, it’s more like: “Yeah, yeah - it’s you, I know.”, rather than: “OMG, I’ve got MS!”
So even the very traumatic, and the abnormal, can become normal over time. I won’t say I’ve accepted it, because that almost sounds like saying I don’t mind. Of course I mind - I’m not a masochist! But the extraordinary does become ordinary, when you’ve lived with it long enough.
It’s not on a par with a bereavement, and yet it is, because whilst it never, ever goes away, you do adapt, and it becomes less strange and less shocking. I’m never going to embrace it, and I suppose I’ll always feel a bit hard-done-by, but I understand it’s the way life is now, and the way it’s going to be, and I don’t get such a fright every time I wake up. I’m also long past the: “must be a mistake” stage.
My biggest relapse to date, which was also the one that led to my diagnosis (I’d had smaller ones before, which I’d ignored), did take almost a whole year to recover properly, and I never quite returned to as good as before, but about 98% there, I’d say. The 2% wasn’t anything awful that I minded very much - mere niggles and nuisances, nothing catastrophic.
Like Paolo, there are some things I no longer worry about, because I expect them. You start to notice some things follow a pattern. If something happens every time you do something, but doesn’t get any worse, and you don’t drop dead of it, after a while, you ignore it. I know that sounds weird, but you really do just roll your eyes and say: “Oh that again!”, and get used to it.