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Nurse Catherine Asks...

Finding the right relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment for you may take some time, and that’s okay! Many people have to try a few treatments before they find one that really works with their body and also fits into their lifestyle. How did you find the right relapsing treatment for you?

Pam Answers...

Finding the right relapsing MS treatment for you

September 17, 2018

It took a while for me to be diagnosed with relapsing MS. And let me tell you, living with an unnamed invasive illness made me feel helpless. It was one of the worst struggles that I have ever endured: The Unknown. Looking back at what I have experienced, I have a strong sense of compassion and empathy for people who wrestle with their emotions as they search for a diagnosis—and then for the right relapsing MS treatment.

Even though it was extremely challenging, I would not change anything about that time. I know that’s an odd thing to say, but that experience created a place in my heart that is still very tender to this day. I learned to draw and grow deeper in my faith. When I learned about perspectives, it stretched me. Growing and stretching was painful, but it was also rewarding.

Once I was diagnosed, it was time to fight my relapsing MS with everything I had. I knew how important it was to find the right relapsing MS treatment. I quickly realized there are great resources on the internet, but I also quickly realized there were some not-so-great resources that were sometimes misleading when the focus turned to bad treatment experiences or out-of-date data. It was discouraging to constantly come across gloomy testimonies and complaints about being on the wrong treatment. The confusion from absorbing so much negative information made it difficult to decipher which relapsing MS treatment was best for me. On top of that, it was difficult to sift through all of the advice from loving friends and family without going crazy. It seemed someone always knew something about someone who had MS.

Being on the right relapsing MS treatment is a powerful weapon of hope for me.

After gathering so many tips and information in the hopes of finding the right relapsing MS treatment, all I kept thinking to myself was that there had to be positive, hopeful success stories out there. Why were those not bubbling up to the top?

It took some time to digest the fact that relapsing MS was a disease without a cure. Even so, what turned up in my more recent searches was VERY encouraging. The number of breakthroughs in MS research and the announcements of new relapsing MS therapies available were astounding.

Today I have empathy for those who didn’t have the privilege to choose, and that was not so long ago. I appreciate that now we have choices. There are over a dozen relapsing MS treatments to choose from, with varying dosing schedules, clinical results, and safety considerations—so there’s a better chance of finding the right one for you.

Being on the right relapsing MS treatment is a powerful weapon of hope for me. I continue to care for my husband and my children in all aspects of out lives—our joys, our pain, our struggles—and none of it is ever in vain. So now, my new goal is to spread a little something called hope. Someday you will look back and realize that you took the right steps to get there too.

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Stewart Answers...

Finding the right relapsing MS treatment for you

September 17, 2018

As with many people in similar circumstances, receiving a definitive relapsing multiple sclerosis diagnosis was traumatic for me. All at once, I was transitioning from working with limitations to seeing the end of my career quickly approaching.  When I asked the neurologist about my next steps, she said that I needed to decide which relapsing MS treatment I wanted to start. She handed me information kits for 3 or 4 different RMS medications available in the facility’s formulary and told me go home and review them and that we would discuss them at my next appointment, a few days later.

I’ll freely admit that it was overwhelming. There were different dosing schedules, from multiple times a day to once a month. The list of potential side effects was dizzying. “OK, from this one, I can expect flu-like symptoms for 24 hours—that’s not too bad. Wait! It’s a daily dose. Am I really going to feel like I have the flu every day for the foreseeable future?!” In retrospect, it sounds silly, and I missed the part that most side effects fade early on, but the thought process was there. It was almost like trying to select a new car without the benefit of reading real consumer reviews.

If one relapsing MS medication does not work, you try something else. If that proves ineffective, you need to try another alternative until you find the right one.

There was no simple chart I could find that impartially evaluated each relapsing MS medication, its efficacy, and its risks. I ultimately made my selection in consultation with the neurologist after reviewing the fliers and doing some independent research beyond the corporate information sheets. I looked at the method of dosing, how it fit into my lifestyle, how long the relapsing MS medication had been in use, and its availability. I’ve changed relapsing MS medications twice since then, and each time it gets easier for me.

I know that there’s always a possibility I may need to change relapsing MS treatments again at some point, so I have tried to stay abreast of scientific developments and the available alternatives. I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But if it IS broken, I want to know what tools I have available. 

Relapsing MS hits each person differently. Likewise, each person responds to relapsing MS medications differently. If one relapsing MS medication does not work, you try something else. If that proves ineffective, you need to try another alternative until you find the right one. Lather, rinse, and repeat until something works. It is very, very important to keep trying. I have confidence that one day—although maybe not in my lifetime—we’ll have a cure for relapsing MS.  Until then, researchers are doing amazing work developing and testing treatments to slow the progression of MS.

See What Pam Says

Nurse Catherine Sums It Up

There are more relapsing MS treatments available than ever before, so it may take some time to find the one that works for you. Sometimes the process can be frustrating, but don’t give up! Use this doctor discussion guide to talk to your healthcare provider about what’s important to you, like spending time with your kids, or maintaining a career. Or maybe you have questions about dosing or side effects you may be worried about. Work together with your healthcare provider to find a relapsing MS treatment that you’ll be able to stick with. Finding the right treatment for you can make all the difference!

What is your motivation to find the right relapsing MS treatment for you? Share it with others in the comment section below to inspire others living with relapsing MS to do the same!  

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