Kathy Costello , Nurse Practitioner
Sponsored by CenterWell
31 Jan 2023 | ~6:10 Engagement Time
When you talk to your doctor, your friends, or your family about MS, the first thing you probably mention is your physical symptoms. The fatigue, spasticity, brain fog … these are some of the expected challenges living with multiple sclerosis.
However, life with this chronic illness also comes with some hidden challenges—things you may not expect or feel ready to handle. Here are four of these unexpected challenges and a few tips to help you work through them.
1. Taking a disease modifying therapy
Disease modifying therapies (DMTs) are medications to help put the brakes on your MS. They can limit new symptoms and new disease activity. It is up to you and your healthcare team, together, to decide which DMT works for your lifestyle.
If you’re someone who, at a time in your life, would take no more than the occasional over-the-counter medicine, then the thought of a medication that you need indefinitely might be overwhelming. The best place to start is learning about different DMTs.
2. Understanding costs of MS medications
MS DMTs are often expensive. Once you and your healthcare provider decide on the DMT for you, your insurance company will need to approve it. Insurance companies have lists of medications (formularies) for which they will pay. Your DMT may be provided to you by a specialty pharmacy that deals with medications that your local pharmacy may not carry or require special handling. Specialty pharmacies have many services to help you with your health, medication, and associated costs.
3. Navigating health insurance
Deductibles, copays, co-insurance, formularies, tiers for drug costs, prior authorization … health insurance involves a new language and complex systems. Learning how to navigate it all will help you be an empowered decision-maker in your healthcare.
4. Working through your emotions
MS already requires so much resilience to handle the symptoms and changes they cause in your life. Sometimes, the stresses of DMT decisions, insurance conversations, or financial management can feel like the last straw.
It’s OK to seek out support to help you handle the stress, grief, or anxiety and its impact on your life. Nothing about MS is easy, and it’s important that you know your feelings are valid and there are plenty of resources to help you get through them.
MS is a lifelong journey, but it doesn’t need to define your life. Being prepared, proactive, and seeking support from partners like CenterWell will help you overcome many of the unexpected challenges of MS
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. Links to various other websites from this site are provided for your convenience only. Can Do MS disclaim responsibility for their content and accuracy.