What's the number one priority in managing multiple sclerosis (MS)? A positive attitude. Seeing the ability in the disability allows you to control how you react to MS. Only you can choose to be positive as you live with MS. It's really important to understand that adapting isn't giving in to MS but an intelligent way of managing a demanding disease. When you're living with MS, your day-to-day achievements can be milestones and you really need to give yourself credit and recognize them as accomplishments.
Your second priority is discussing changes in your condition with your neurologist at your next appointment. Keep in mind that there are many patients like yourself that your neurologist sees on a daily basis. Being prepared will help both you and your neurologist focus on your needs. If you are not prepared, your neurologist may not be able to fully address your concerns or understand your priorities.
Your neurologist wants to take the time to help you during your visit, but is often limited on time. The reality of the appointment is you have to use your time efficiently.
Do your homework and come prepared. Be an advocate for yourself and help make your neurologist's job easier by having the facts on hand and any questions you have ready for discussion. Having everything written down will help avoid that memory blackout we all seem to have when the doctor asks, "How are you?" If you get easily stressed over anticipated visits with your doctor, being prepared can help you better manage the situation.
Maintaining ability is usually a patient's top priority when they see a neurologist. You want to ensure that MS is not progressing to the point of disability. Before your visit, write down any changes you've noticed. Things to note include vision problems, balance disturbances, weakness, bladder or bowel concerns, fatigue, depression, or pain.
Be very proactive in researching your treatment options and asking your doctor about any concerns you have with your MS medication. If your visit includes getting an MRI (magnetic resonance image) scan, be prepared to discuss any questions you have about the procedure. Keep a diary between doctor visits to help you make the most of the appointment.
To help prepare for your doctor's visit, complete the Doctor Discussion Guide and bring it with you to your next appointment.
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