My Top 10 Ways to Live with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis By Rachel, Wife, Mother, Domestic Engineer • October 17, 2018
Life with relapsing MS certainly has its challenges, but I have found that it is possible to live well. Here are 10 things that I do to help me make the most of every day.
- Take care of yourself always. It’s easy to get caught up in all parts of life—work, home, family. What I’ve learned is that if I want to live a balanced life, it is especially important for me to respect and treat myself with the care that I need. Doing this allows me to also care for others who need and count on me.
- Make friends with flexibility. Just as the hours and days change, so does the way that you feel. Some days my body cooperates and some days not so much. I’ve learned that staying flexible and adapting to my circumstances is vital. Sometimes I run out of energy and my plans don’t go the way I’d like them to. Guess what? That’s OK! Some things can wait and it’s important to not beat yourself up over changed plans. This flexibility allows for less frustration and stress.
- Be honest about how you are feeling. Living with RMS can feel isolating and lonely. Remember that you aren’t alone! But people aren’t mind readers. Open communication with your healthcare providers, family, and friends is important. Being honest and straightforward has been key for me.
- Take steps to fight fatigue. Pacing myself, creating lists and prioritizing, and feeding my body proper nutrition help me to manage my fatigue. Pacing myself means taking frequent breaks. Creating lists helps me to accomplish what I need to, as well as simplify my life. Eating well gives my body much-needed energy and helps me feel better overall. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes I need a boost from a shot of espresso too! And other days all I need is a nap to recharge. Find what works for you.
- Find ways to relax. Meditation, prayer, reading a favorite magazine or book, listening to music, and spending time with animals or nature are some of my favorite ways to relax.
- Look for the positive. I like to avoid negativity whenever possible. I find that focusing on the positive in any situation is so powerful. There’s a reason for the saying “Count your blessings.” Thinking about all of the good things in my life is so helpful for me mentally and emotionally.
- Counseling. Some people don’t like to talk about it, but I’ll openly admit that talking to a therapist about how RMS has impacted my life and relationships has helped me to process some of my feelings. I’ve gone by myself, and had sessions with my husband. Having a safe space to talk about my emotions really helps me handle some of the stress that comes with having a chronic illness. To sum it up: talking to a counselor or therapist is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Take control. No, you can’t control the fact that you are living with relapsing MS. Frustration isn’t even a good enough word to describe what I feel about this disease and its unpredictability. There are things that you can control, though. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about RMS and all of the treatment options. Find the right healthcare provider for you. If you are going to someone who isn’t a good fit, don’t be afraid to find a new provider. Being under the proper care is so important. My positive relationship with my healthcare team has been a huge part of my experience overall.
- Find the right treatment. This is one of the most important tips! By working with my healthcare provider, I was able to find a treatment that was appropriate for me. Sometimes living with relapsing MS can feel like a constant battle, but finding the right treatment for you can make a big difference. So if something isn’t working for you, talk to your healthcare provider about trying something else.
- Never give up. In my experience, what has helped me is my determination and maintaining hope as it relates to my disease. Hope and determination give me the strength that I need and allows me to face the challenges. You are worth the fight—don’t ever give up!
These are my top 10 tips; do you have any you’d like to add to the list?
- LIVING WITH RELAPSING MS
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