You were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Great, but now what? That is the exact question I Googled shortly after my diagnosis in 2012. I was scared, confused and looking for answers. While there were a ton of excellent resources available, it wasn’t until I actually lived life with MS that I realized exactly how I would and could go on. Read on to see the top five things I’ve discovered during my learning curve.
5. A Neurologist
And not just any nuerologist but one that you trust. Whether you’ve opted to take disease-modifying drugs or opt to heal yourself naturally (nor not at all), a nuerologist should be on your speeed dial. Why? Because your accupuncturist can’t order an MRI to see your progress or prescribe you meds if you do have a relapse. If you’re looking for a neurologist, check out the American Academy of Nuerology. You can filter by subspecialty so you’ll have an easier time locating a multiple sclerosis specialist in your area.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is formed in the body when sun hits the skin and according to a 2012 Swedish study, people with higher levels of Vitamin D in their blood showed a lower risk of developing MS. This isn’t the first such study since the Vitamin D and MS connection theory was proposed in 1974. Chances are your neurologist (the one you need) will order a blood test to see your Vitamin D levels. If you are low, they may prescribe vitamins and supplements. I currently take 4000UI as per my doctor.
3. Supportive Friends
Unfortunately I read too often how MS paients lose their friends. I am always sorry to hear that but there is hope out there. The internet makes it easy to engage and make friends with new folks within minutes. Whether you sign up for an online MS Support Group or find one in your hood, it’s important to be around people who understand. I particularly enjoy MSWorld Forums as an online forum, as well as Twitter. Search “multiple sclerosis” and you’ll find a community of people just like you. And if you want to talk to real humans, check out the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation to find a meeting near you.
This is a tricky one because while there is a lot of information out there, you can’t always trust what you read. My doctors love to tell me that but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read at all. It’s your body/life so do yourself a favor and be well-versed in your illness and also, your opportunities. Read everything you can and write down your questions so you’re prepared when you meet with your doctor. Your neurologist, the one you trust, should be able to answer all of your questions in a respectful and informative way. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a wonderful resource because they not only provide you with conventional treatment information but alternative medicine options as well.
1. A Good Attitude
Being happy is good for your health and this, my dear, is a fact. Sure, it may be hard since you have MS and that’s no picnic in the park during nice weather but there is no benefit in dwelling. Instead, put effort into finding happiness and meaning in your life. This isn’t something that happens overnight and you may have bouts of depression. That’s okay but really the main goal is to work towards a less stressful, happier life. Being Happy with Multiple Sclerosis by Vicki of Health Central provides good tips, as does happiness guru Gretchen Rubin. You must check out her site, The Happiness Project and specifically, her post about tips from memoirs about illness.
I’ve learned more but I won’t give away all of my secrets in one post. I want you to come back! Please subscribe to posts via email. Click here to get started and don’t forget to verify your subscription. Thank you!
Now let’s talk – what do you think is necessary for MS patients? Share your tips and stories in the comment section below.