Tips for Improving Quality of Life for MS Patients

MS Lisa Says - Tips for Improving Quality of Life

Multiple Sclerosis affects us all differently depending on where lesions are located, how many we have, and what size they are. Many of us suffer from a lot of the same symptoms while other’s experience things we have not. Whether you are newly diagnosed or are an old timer with this chronic disease, the first step in accepting the diagnosis and dealing with it head on. I have read stories from so many individuals who said that they were, or still are in a state of denial. If this is you, I urge you to change that position. It is not going away and if you have chosen not to take any medications or treatments, you are only hurting yourself in the long run.

Even if you are on a treatment that is working for you, I’m sure that flare-ups, increased symptoms, still come and go. Doing all we can do to help improve our quality of life is essential not just for ourselves but also for our loved ones. Yes, we are the ones suffering from this disabling disease but it also affects all those who are around and depend on us. MS affects us not only physically but also our relationships and financially. Some marriages have fallen apart and jobs have been lost which throws us another punch in the stomach, and NO, it isn’t fair. We didn’t ask for this, we don’t want it, but we have it so learning to live with what life has dealt us is important. Denial, anger, and grief are normal emotions with reaching the acceptance process; so don’t beat yourself up while experiencing any of these. If you get stuck for an abnormal length of time in any or all of these emotions, maybe it is time to seek help.

Another important task in learning all you can about Multiple Sclerosis by asking questions and doing research. We are fortunate in this day and age that everything is right at our fingertips. Be sure the answers that you get are educated, correct answers so that it doesn’t confuse you. Share all the information that you receive with family and friends. I will be the first one to admit that I am guilty of not researching and learning about diseases that my friends have been diagnosed with unless it directly affected me. So, it is hard to get angry with those close to me who are not educated with MS and doesn’t understand what I am experiencing. Encourage others to learn about Multiple Sclerosis, make them ask you questions but be sure you know the answers as well. It didn’t take long after my diagnosis, when asked a question about my condition, to reply back with, “Do you know what MS is and how it effects the body?” This provides the opportunity to know where the conversation needs to begin, hoping that any further explanations will be understood. It is funny to learn that a few people didn’t ask questions too intense fearing they were being “nosey”.

MS Lisa Says - Tips for Improving Quality of Life

Many Neurologist’s offices carry pamphlets on MS explaining on what it is, how the diagnosis occurs, and symptoms associated with it. They are free, so pick some up to have on hand and share with those who need the information. There are probably only a hand full of my family members who have actually brought me clippings from a newspaper or magazine, heard something on the news about my disease, then shared them with me. Then, there are others who have commented how they know someone with MS which followed by derogatory comments about how much they can do compared to me; making me feel like they saw me as lazy or a complainer. Initially when this would happen, my feelings would be hurt and would stay quiet. Now my response when this happens is, “I need to educate you on Multiple Sclerosis and how each person is affected differently.”

The quality of your with MS begins with listening to your body. It will tell you when you need to rest, change your daily routine, quit a job, eat healthier, start an exercise program, or even if you need to try a different treatment. Not listening though will hamper your progress and getting better should be your ultimate goal. Be willing to try new things, new treatments, and think outside the box for ideas that will help you accomplish your goal. Don’t let fear hold you back! You may never feel like you did before getting MS, but feeling close to it is magical.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.