Multiple Sclerosis: What to Do With a New Diagnosis
You may have noticed some strange pain, tremors, cramping or visual changes. You knew something was wrong, but you didn’t expect a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. And yet, here you are, faced with an illness you know very little about. Receiving that kind of news can blindside a person and yet, getting informed and educated is the best thing you can do.
>>>> MS Diagnosis: Moyna's Story There are more than 2 million people worldwide who have MS -- you are not alone. But in the beginning, it can feel that way. Here are a few first steps to take if you are just starting on this journey. 1. Get a Neurologist who treats MS. Find an MS Center near you or contact the National MS Society or MS Foundation to find one near you. Speak with your neurologist about one of the Disease Modifying Therapies available and know that these therapies have greatly added to the quality of life for people living with MS, often slowing progressions and/or keeping you in remission. 2. Keep an open mind. If you don’t like a therapy, or have side effects, you can switch! Talk with your doctor and find the best therapy for you. In addition, your neurologist or a specialist at an MS Center will also have therapies for other conditions that might be exacerbated by Multiple Sclerosis. Remember, it takes a team to treat MS - because MS can affect many different things; you may benefit from the skills of different providers which may include physical therapy, psychiatry, urology and different other areas - don’t be embarrassed to ask for help to live your best life!
3. Bring a friend. When you are first diagnosed with MS, you will get a lot of information thrown at you. If you can, bring a friend or loved with you to your first few appointments to help you keep things straight.
4. Get Connected. Join a private MS Facebook support group or other support group online or in-person near you. Talking with other patients is the best way to feel supported and encouraged. The power of connectivity goes a long way when friends or family aren’t sure how to support you.
5. Get Moving. Exercise may be the last thing on your mind, but movement is power and the best way to condition and protect your body is regular exercise. It could be walking, yoga, swimming, stretching -- there is always something you can do. Exercise is important for those with MS and beyond.
6.Get Meds. Depending on the severity and condition of your MS, there are different types of pharmaceuticals you can try. Talk with your doctor about what the latest, most effective drugs for you are.
7. Set Goals. It’s easy to wallow in the self-pity of a life-changing diagnosis, but it’s not smart to do so for long. The best thing you can do for your mental health right now is set small goals. Whether it’s a physical accomplishment or another dream you’ve always had, start moving towards it.
Yes, life has changed, but it’s not over. You have the opportunity to inspire and connect with others in a new way. We want to empower you with the tools and resources you need to advocate for yourself and others in the MS community. You’ve got this.