With an illness like multiple sclerosis, a diagnosis doesn’t come alone. Depending on the type and severity of your MS, you are immediately served by several people from different medical fields. Whether you want or need them is up to you, or in other cases, up to your neurologist.
As well as a neurologist, MS medical teams can consist of dedicated MS nurses linked to your type of disease modifying medication, physiotherapy, speech, occupational, ophthalmology, neuropsychology and urology teams.
These are just some of the few doctors you might be linked to at some stage in your illness progression. Nobody should go through their illness completely on their own, especially when you feel a bit rough around the edges.
From my own experience, my medical team has been pivotal to my care and has been outstanding so far. Since the day of diagnosis, they’ve taken away worry and instead replaced it with the knowledge that on this journey, I am surrounded by experts in their medical field.
Together with my care team, we talk about everything very openly as I don’t want to be served with half-truths and empty promises. They continue to teach me about my illness and push me forward studying it myself. It’s an ongoing relationship I’m committed to, and I know my care team wants me to have the best they can offer.
Because of harsh cutbacks in healthcare, I might not get an appointment straight away, but I know I will be seen to at some stage. With my symptoms fairly manageable at home, I now see less of my medical team than at the time of retiring when I needed more medical care. This perhaps shows that at least in my case, I am getting the care I need, and that this care, works.
To have a relationship, there need to be at least two people, so equally important to my healthcare, is a promise I made to myself. I mentally I signed a contract to take ownership of my illness by going to each appointment and having faith that whatever medication would be offered, to believe in its ability to tackle my symptoms.
To finish this, I would like to thank those who keep tackling my illness and all my questions every time we meet. Specific names elude me right now, but my GP as well as my neurologist Professor Orla Hardiman and her multidisciplinary team at Beaumont Hospital, deserve to be mentioned.
Another big part of my care team, is MS Ireland itself. They provide excellent advice on how to live well with MS, something that can only relax your mind. And that at the end of the day, is worth millions.
Please don't forget to check out Willeke's blog Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis and Me if you want to read more.