Up until the age of 30, I never really had any major health concerns. I didn’t need to take medication regularly and didn’t have more than the basic collection of physicians (primary care provider, dentist, and optometrist). You know, the basic team that makes sure your body is functioning normally and corrects you if you’re living life on the edge.
Because I never had any substantial setbacks with my health, I didn’t have the delightful opportunity of duking it out with my insurance company over coverage. I didn’t need to schedule monthly routine testing or adjust medications to avoid a domino effect of other health problems. Managing multiple autoimmune conditions can make it feel like I’m trapped in an extended, vexatious game of chess that I never really wanted to play in the first place. Yet here I am.
How do I tackle this productively, efficiently, and gracefully, so I don’t feel like I want to run into the nearest wall? I choose to look at my health management like a business.
At the age of 33, I’ve come to find that managing a chronic illness can be a lot like running a business. It’s pertinent to stay on top of your team, making sure the workflow is solid and everyone’s performance is up to company standards. Maintaining weekly meetings and overseeing your company expense reports keep the machine running efficiently so there are no surprises that will leave you on the brink of utter disaster.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced things falling through the cracks with our medical team. Necessary appointments get overlooked. Blood labs are not ordered. You have a feeling you’re due for that MRI scan but still haven’t heard from anyone about scheduling it.
I quickly learned that I am the only one who will fully advocate for my body. It’s my job to make sure my medical team is working for me, and if they are not up to “company standards,” I reserve the right to let them go and seek recruits elsewhere.
I have picked up a few valuable tools while living with MS that allow me to handle my body like I would a business:
With multiple sclerosis, there are no corners you can cut. Consistency is important, and updated visits, screenings, and tests are vital to track disease progression. Living with MS can be overwhelming, but it’s less of a burden when I’m in control of managing my own health.
MyMSTeam columnists discuss multiple sclerosis from a specific point of view. Columnists’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyMSTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyMSTeam content isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.