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Tackle MS With Positive Thought

Health activist Nancy Davis takes on multiple sclerosis.

Make Your Health Your Job continued...

Education can be tricky, she says. "You need to stay up in the latest, but there is some strange information out there so you have to go to respectable sources." In her book, she highlights reliable web sites for health information.

"Listen, learn, and don't give into the negativity," she says. "Look for the light at end of the tunnel and know you know their body better than anyone else and you have a right to a great life."

While admitting this can be easier said than done, Davis says it's important to be honest with yourself. "It's about admitting you have a disease and not putting off going to a doctor," she says.

"One doctor may not be as thoroughly educated on your disease as you think he is," she says. "Medicine is so finite and specialized in different areas. It's your job when you get diagnosed to become the expert on your disease."

Always get a second opinion, she stresses. Also, she says, always bring someone to the doctor's visits and the hospital with you. "It's really important to have someone there for you because when you are sick you don't hear things correctly. Sometimes, you always hear the best and sometimes you always hear the worst."

For Davis, her support team comprises a variety of people. "Sometimes it's my husband and sometimes it's my few best friends who are always there for me," she says.

Another helpful strategy about living with chronic illness is to always carry a medical identification card. "Every time I would go out at night, I would take my credit card, driver's license, AAA card, and my insurance card, but I never had a card that said 'I am allergic to this,' 'I have this,' and/or 'If I die I want to be an organ donor,'" she says.

"You can't speak for yourself in a medical crisis," she says. "I think everyone should have one so that the emergency medical services know who to contact in case of an emergency." Options include bracelets, pendants, and ID cards that can be customized with your specific health information.

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