The Key that will enable you to take control is "information".
- First we have to learn as much as we can about Multiple Sclerosis on the scientific and
practical aspects of it. Learning about MS is the only option you have if you want to take
control of your life.
- Many neurological diseases have similar symptoms.(See links) The more you learn about
your condition, the more you will know if it was diagnosed correctly and if they have done
or not, all the tests required for a correct diagnosis.
- If you are informed of the many options available you will be able to discuss the alternatives
with your doctor and choose the treatment that is more appropriate for you. There are
many organizations that will send you literature for free and electronic mail with links to the
latest information published. (See links)
- It is important to talk to your doctor. You can keep notes of your questions or doubts and
bring them to your appointments. The faster you tell your doctor about your symptoms,
the faster you can get it under control.
- Your doctor can also give you ideas about exercises, or refer you to a Physical Therapist so
you can keep being flexible. He/She can put you in contact with supports groups or
organizations that are in your area and can help you at a given time. You can also discuss
alternative therapies with your doctor. It was very useful for me to learn different relaxation
techniques and meditation.
- Make sure that you tell your doctor if you are depress. They say that some of the
medications that are use to treat MS can cause depression but the disease itself is very
depressing. Always remember that you are not alone.
- Always keep copy of your test results- labs, X rays, MRI,CAT. Keep an actualize list of your
medication. All this will help you coordinate your treatment when you go to see other
- Explain to your family and friends what is going on and how you feel. That will help them
understand the situation and will make it easier to ask for help when you need it. I have
divided my days in three categories: Good, irritable and difficult(slow). During the very,
very bad days, ask a family to convey to others how you are. That way you will avoid
getting more depress about it by having to tell the same thing over and over.
- Make sure you establish a S.O.S. System. You may be able to get a "life line" system or any
other emergency system in your area. That way in case of emergency you just press a
bottom and an operator will talk to you and send the appropriate help. If that kind of
system is not available in your area, you can always have with you a cell or a wireless when
you are at home with preprogrammed numbers that way you can ask for help faster, Don't
feel ashame to ask for help, it is wise and a real necessity.
- If you have mobility problems please notify the fire department in your area, that way in
case of evacuation they will know that you need help .
- Plan ahead. If you learn to hear your body when it needs to stop and rest, and take
periodic breaks you will be able to continue to be productive.
- Keep a positive frame of mind. MS has nothing to laugh about but a good laugh can help
you through the day. There will always be something that will make you laugh specially on
those days that our body decides to go on opposite direction of where you want to go.
- To keep the spirits high, surround yourself with the things that you like most-music,
memories, photographies, hobbies or a pet. You can create your special place where you
can relax after a days work. You have to consider that you may spend many days inside
- It is important to learn to recognize your blessing. A dear friend of mine taught me to give
thanks every night before going to sleep. To give thanks for the small things like the breeze
that cross our way when it is hot, a beautiful flower that crosses our way or the day that
your kids offer to help without you asking for. Even on your bad days you can give thanks
surviving it without much problems. If you do this every night you will learn a different way
to see life and it will help you to deal with everyday situations.