For a person who likes to play poker, I think you're gambling with your future by refusing to take one of the drugs. Avonex, Betaseron, and Rebif are indeed interferons, but Copaxone isn't, so that might be a choice. It appears that you're talking about
Tysabri when you talk about
the "cocktail..that killed some people...". Further investigation into what went wrong there suggests that at least one of the persons killed didn't have MS to begin with.
Nevertheless, the drugs DO what they're intended to do -- slow the progression of the disease, and reduce the severity or intensity of exacerbations. Since each exacerbation leads to greater disability, I believe I need to do whatever it takes to do just that..so I've been on Betaseron for nearly 15 years now, without any particular long-term negative side effects.
MS in itself will NOT kill you, unless you happen to have a very serious, very rare, virulent form of progressive MS. It doesn't sound like that's what you have, as that form doesn't take long to render a person unable to communicate. When you see MS as a "cause of death" in an obituary, it's usually there out of laziness - -the person did have MS...but the cause of death is more likely something like pneumonia, or a kidney disorder, or some other problem -- these are all related to the person having had MS, but not specifically the cause of death. These days, assuming a person is taking care of himself and monitoring his health situation carefully, and has a doctor willing to work with him, people live a LONG time with MS (mine was diagnosed 25 years ago, but probably really was lurking as much as 40 years ago), and do well.
MS can play with your emotions. People commit suicide for all sorts of reasons, one of which is not understanding what their life situation is -- like, not fully understanding the ramifications of their chronic illness -- and so take their own life. I'd hardly blame MS for that, as it happens with every chronic illness "out there", that people are diagnosed with. MS can also cause depression, and a fatalist attitude: "since I have this chronic illness I may as well not do anything to alleviate it, and spend time looking for worse-case scenarios rather than what I can do to make my life better." There are meds and sometimes simple counseling that can help with this, as well as doing internet searches to legitimate sites, like the National MS Society web pages, where information is presented in clear, logical, easy to understand ways, that might alleviate some of your fears.
Can MS lead to severe disability? Yes. But the reason for the drugs is to try to postpone, or prolong that possibility, or if indeed it happens, to manage it better. And severe disability is still LIFE. I have bladder and bowel problems, use a wheelchair for mobility -- yet live in my own home, manage my own affairs, travel, do some consulting work, cook, clean, tend my cats, work on my hobbies, keep my husband happy, do all those common things, just not in common ways.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....