Finding Support When Living with Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a complex and often frustrating condition to live with because as the disease progresses, you may have to adapt more and more aspects of your daily life.
However, new advancements in biologic therapies, increased awareness, compassionate care, and access to online support resources provide the necessary environment for MS patients to live happier, fuller lives.
Watch the Video:Finding Support When Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Building the Support Team, You Need
Every person’s journey with MS is different. However, having a strong support team of physicians, nurses, friends, and family is critical.
Finding the Ideal Healthcare Team
Your first mission is finding the right doctor and healthcare team for you. You are likely to have a long-term relationship with your care team. Therefore, you need to find a primary care physician you can trust and that matches your personality and care needs.
Other factors to consider are proximity, as you will have to attend in-person visits regularly.
For example, if your doctor prescribes biologic infusions as part of your disease management plan, it’s better to receive treatment at the same doctor’s office rather than schedule an appointment at an outpatient infusion center.
Creating an Inner Support Group
Your family and friends want to be there for you. However, they need your help understanding your needs and how they can assist.
Taking the time to explain your feelings and physical symptoms can sometimes be exhausting, but in the long run, it will help those closest to you to anticipate your needs and become a great help in your life.
Connecting with Other Patients
Patient support groups offer an invaluable resource. Although everyone experiences the disease differently, connecting with people living through similar situations allows you to express your deepest fears and share your greatest achievements in a safe environment.
From sharing experiences and practical advice to staying up to date on the latest research on MS, patient support groups have a lot to offer.
Local and online support groups also provide an outlet for you to give back to the community. Being able to help and support others along their journey can give you a renewed sense of purpose.
Tips for Finding Support Resources
Your doctor needs to be your go-to person for education. They can answer your questions, provide guidance, and recommend literature to understand your disease better.
Remember to educate others as you learn. This will help to raise awareness and help your loved ones to become more supportive.
There Are Always Options
There are always options available to help improve a situation.
If you feel your current healthcare team cannot help you further, it’s time to find another doctor. Look for a new care team that offers a fresh perspective and works alongside you to manage your symptoms more effectively and improve your quality of life
If you need help finding a healthcare professional, the MS Society provides an online registry to find qualified doctors in your area.
Join a Local or Online Support Group
As mentioned before, speaking with other MS patients can be an empowering experience. Sharing experiences, feelings, and stories is therapeutic and enlightening in many ways and can significantly impact your emotional well-being.
You can start by asking your doctor or nurses if they can recommend any local support groups you can join. Alternatively, you can use the online resources of various MS organizations, such as:
National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Click here to find support groups in your area
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: If you wish to start a support group in your community, call them at 888-673-6287, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Living with MS is challenging, but you should not allow it to define you. There is no reason you cannot live a happy, active and emotionally fulfilling life.