- by Gretchen T.
- June 05, 2017
Gretchen T. has been compensated by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
Building your MS support network.
It can be hard sometimes to ask for help; however, positioning yourself for success in any endeavor involves building a team that can help you reach your goals. There truly is strength in numbers.
How can you, as a person directly or indirectly affected by relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), build a support network that will help you navigate challenges you may come across? The first step is to identify the goal you are trying to achieve. Are you looking to become more involved within the RMS community? Is developing healthy habits important to you? Whatever your goals are, write them down and then work on aligning your team of trustworthy and accountable partners. Try these simple steps:
- Start with your inner circle of family and friends. Identify those people closest to you that you can lean on when things are hard. It is equally important to have people to help celebrate your successes when things are going well. It is okay to be open and say “I count on you for…” and assign specific tasks. You can ask your spouse or significant other to be your partner and help with things like reminding you when it is time to take your medication. You may think about asking a neighbor you are close with to go with you to your doctor appointments. Your sister may be your exercise partner and help keep you motivated to get up and move. Remember to speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.
- Build a healthcare team to help reach your wellness goals. Be specific and forthcoming in identifying your goals and share them with your healthcare team. Work with your healthcare provider to design an overall health and wellness plan. Work with your neurologist to identify what your RMS therapy goals should be and ways to stay committed to your therapy. Identifying both long-term and short-term goals will allow you to have an overarching plan and to celebrate victories along the way. Be your own advocate and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you have concerns.
- Find support in the greater MS community. Identify the tools and resources available to you, and use them. Find a local MS support group to get involved with. Members of support groups can be a great resource for living with MS or caring for someone who lives with MS. Meetings can also be a time to build friendships, share experiences, and interact with others who understand the impact MS has on those affected. Stay connected at the local level (like with the support groups mentioned earlier) or at the national level with organizations like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. MS Advocacy organizations are great resources for information, education, and support. Lastly, Teva’s Shared Solutions® is available throughout your RMS journey.
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About The Author
Gretchen T., MSN, CPNP, is a Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has 14 years of nursing experience and has specialized in multiple sclerosis for nearly 2 years.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.