How I found the right doctor for me

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When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), I was fortunate enough to live in a city where there were a lot of options for finding a healthcare team. I decided to choose my healthcare group mainly because the location was convenient.

A year later, I realized that there’s more than convenience of location when it comes to finding the right healthcare team. My healthcare group reminded me of being in a college lecture hall. The practice was too big for me, and I wasn’t getting the attention that I needed. I felt like I was getting lost in the shuffle. I knew that this group wasn’t right for my needs.

I had a better idea of what I was looking for in my next healthcare team, so I started to do some research. I ended up finding another doctor through the National MS Society. With my new neurologist, I feel that we have a better connection. I appreciate not feeling rushed, and she takes the time to talk to me about my needs—from how I’m feeling to working on my treatment plan.

Now that I’ve found a neurologist who’s right for me, I’m ready to start building the rest of my healthcare team. Based on my past experience, I now know what to look for. Here are my tips:

  1. Don’t settle. When I felt like my needs weren’t being addressed with my previous healthcare team, I realized that I had a choice—I could find another doctor. My life and how I took care of my MS mattered.
  2. Let your voice be heard. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If something isn’t working for you, let your healthcare team know so they can help you address your concerns.
  3. Talk to your family and friends. When I was having problems with my previous healthcare team, I talked to my mom and grandmother. They stepped in and helped me research other doctors in my area. Having their support made the process less lonely.
  4. Be honest. Although not always easy, it is so important to share exactly how you are feeling with your loved ones and healthcare team. If you aren’t honest with yourself, you can’t be honest with everyone else.
  5. Keep asking questions. No matter how small an issue was, I always asked questions about my treatment or symptoms. When looking for a new doctor or specialist, try asking them questions that are specific about what you need. If you don’t ask, they can’t help.

I understand that this is only my experience and, depending on your personal situation, there may be other challenges.

When living with MS, everybody’s needs are different. That’s why it’s so important to create a healthcare team that can help you address those needs.

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