How I decided on my MS treatment

This week Katie St Lawrence looks at how she decided on her MS treatment.

Choosing any treatment for a disease or illness is always a hard decision. Especially when that diagnosis of that disease has come out of the blue. I was only 22 when I got the news that it was MS and to be honest, I always let my Mam deal with the doctors. But now it was my turn to be the adult.

After the neurologist in the hospital gave me the diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting MS she told me to go and see the MS nurse in the hospital who was just down the hall. The MS nurse was so lovely and had the box of tissues on hand as my tears started to flow. She sat me down and we chatted for a few minutes. She asked how I was feeling about the whole thing (shock, it was shock). She asked me about myself, my lifestyle and my hobbies and took the time to get to know me and calm me down. She didn’t make me feel rushed at all.

MS Treatments

After a while we started to talk about MS treatments. The doctor said as I was young it was best to treat the MS early on and I agreed was for the best. The nurse produced different booklets and information on seven different treatment options available for me. She explained every one of the treatments one by one. We talked through each of them, and the MS nurse wrote down on a page the pros and cons of each treatment option and stuck it inside of the booklets. I took all of the information home and an appointment was arranged in the hospital for me for six  weeks’ later. I would then let my new MS team know which treatment I had chosen.

Research

I have always been a believer in doing research into medication so during the six weeks I researched all  seven treatments. At the end of my research, I decided to choose between the two that the MS nurse suggested. And even though I had a fear of needles and much to my mother’s surprise, I choose the injection that was every second week. How did I decide on this treatment? This treatment had good reviews, it was every two weeks and the side effects didn’t sound as bad as the other treatment options.

Decision

In between my diagnosis and my appointment with the team, my MS nurse rang me a few times to see how I was getting on and coping. During these phone calls we talked about the treatments and I explained to her how I felt myself siding more with the injections. This was the case six weeks later when I was sitting in front of the team in the hospital. I choose the injection and I was given the prescription for it and appointment was made for the nurse to come out to my house to show me how to self-inject myself. Eeeeeek!

I am not going to lie- I have a major fear of needles and having to inject yourself was not the easiest job for me but the nurses were so kind and didn’t hurry me at all and made sure I could do it properly before they left. And let me tell you, it’s one of the best ways to get over your fear of needles!

I have been very lucky as this will be my 5th year on the treatment and so far (touch wood!), my MS has been stable. I have not had a relapse nor any change in my MRI since starting my treatment which makes me feel I made the right choice for me.

What I would say to anyone who is choosing a treatment is talk to your healthcare team. Explain your lifestyle to them and go through the treatments they give you and research them. Take your time and think about how this treatment will affect your lifestyle and how to take it and how often.

Trust me. Making a decision about which treatment for your MS isn’t the easiest one to make but having a strong team around you and doing your research will really help.

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