If you have MS, it’s important to take control of your health and have a backup plan for when you’re unable to advocate for yourself. Here’s how to do that.
Your healthcare team may include a neurologist, a physical therapist, an MS nurse, and others, but there’s one important player you might be overlooking: yourself.
That’s what Nancy Davis, founder and chairwoman of Race to Erase MS, tries to stress. “Think of yourself as the chief wellness officer of Your Health Inc. If you can’t be your own CEO, find a family member or friend who can be your health advocate,” she wrote on Tippi MS, a growing community of people sharing tips for living well with MS.
Davis’s tip is the most popular one on Tippi MS, garnering more than 135 upvotes, which is why Everyday Health wanted to talk to her about how this approach has helped her along the way, as well as ask for more advice to help you better advocate for your own MS care.
What It Means to Advocate for Your MS Care
Why should you advocate for yourself? The answer is simple: You know yourself best. You know your experiences and symptoms, how MS impacts your lifestyle and emotional well-being, and what steps you’ve already taken to manage the condition. You also know what’s important to you and what gives your life meaning.
“No one knows your body better than you,” says Davis. “You have to be honest with yourself and really ask, ‘Are you being the best CEO of your body? Are you doing everything you can to be as healthy as you can be?’”
Julie Fiol, RN, associate vice president for healthcare access at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), agrees with this approach. “You know your body best, and you are in charge,” she says. “Remember that quality of life is important, and having MS should not stop you from living.”
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