31 Days of MS: My Advice for Living Your Best Life With MS
Day 29 of 31
This is Jennifer Conway’s (@jenzconway) story:
I was 24 when I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 1998. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about how to manage daily life with MS and all that comes with it. While it manifests differently in everyone, we can find some common ground in our fight against MS.
My biggest learning? It’s that, even with MS, you can feel good. I currently feel better than I did when I was diagnosed. It takes hard work and many steps, but the advice is simple and can just be hard to implement. Here’s my advice for living your best life with MS.
- Find the right treatment. With about 20 approved treatments for MS, it can take a number of tries to find one that works. It took me six drugs over 17 years. You also don’t have to live with side effects, which can often be worse than the disease some days. If your doctor isn’t helping you find the right medicine, switch to a different doctor.
- Manage stress and energy. I meditate daily and do tapping, breathwork, and other forms of energy healing, which helps me manage stress and fatigue, and boosts my confidence.
- Move. The adage “move it or lose it” applies to those with MS. It can help in many aspects, especially with spasticity. Stretching, chair yoga, walking, lightweight work, or harder workouts are all good.
- Eat nutritious food. You don’t have to follow a particular diet but eat whole foods as much as possible, because processed foods contribute to inflammation. Sugar does too, so try to cut out as much added sugar as you can.
- Gain confidence by controlling some aspects of the disease. You can journal about your experience, raise money for research, participate in a self-help group, reach out to legislators about proposed laws that would help people with MS. Sometimes it is just telling your story to someone that can give you a boost.
- Practice self-care every day. Take time to rest, read, hang with a pet — something you enjoy that doesn’t require too much energy. Remember to give thanks and love to your body for getting you through another day.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.