Step one: Breathe.

You probably know very little about multiple sclerosis and your recent diagnosis came out of nowhere, if you are anything like me. You will learn more about the chronic disease with time, I promise.  Now is the time to focus on you, because MS affects each person differently.

The day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Step two: Try not to stress.

Multiple sclerosis and stress are connected.  New symptoms develop or healing of current symptoms will not happen if you are stressed out.  Give your body time to rest and heal.  Eat clean and healthy foods.  Go on a walk if possible.  Try gentle yoga.  Get a massage.

Step three: Find a neurologist.

Investigate neurologists and MS specialists in your area.  Look at our Recommended Neurologists page and contact one for an appointment.  Some doctors won’t be able to take you for months, make the appointment anyway.  If you are anxious, make another appointment with a different doctor that might be able to see you sooner.  It is helpful to get second opinions.

IV steroids worked to eliminate my numbness and drop foot.

IV steroids worked to eliminate my numbness and drop foot.

Step four: Decide on a treatment.

Whether you go with an alternative therapy or are choosing a disease-modifying drug, do your research and make a decision.  It is important to get your body healing as soon as possible.  Be aware of side effects and write down questions that pop up so you remember to ask your doctor at your next appointment or call for more information.

Step five: Don’t isolate yourself.

It is easy to be alone, but the love of friends and family can be very healing.  It may be overwhelming or intimidating to leave the house, but be gentle to yourself and enjoy the company of others. If your friends, sisters, bosses daughter knows somebody with MS, ask for their number or email and reach out to them.  It is nice to connect with others living with MS.

I'm still Mom to them.

I’m still Mom to them.

Step six: Go and live your life.

You will learn over time when and how your body feels best.  Maybe you need to nap everyday, avoid very hot or cold climates or sit instead of stand while you are chopping vegetables or at work. Give yourself permission to grieve yourself pre diagnosis, and then stand up, smile and keep moving forward.

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