Advice for Anyone Diagnosed With MS: Be Your Own Advocate

When it comes to multiple sclerosis, procrastinating can only hurt you

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Channing Barker, a millennial living with multiple sclerosis, says even she can admit it: millennial just like to do things a bit differently.

"You are possibly finding a spouse or partner, you may be having children or be traveling a lot, so we tend to put that at the forefront rather than taking care of ourselves and our health, so that's why I think it's really important that you have a working relationship with your doctor," said Barker.

She is proof when it comes to multiple sclerosis, being proactive can help you.

"It was January 24th of 2006," she said. "I was at a basketball game and I very vividly remember feeling the right side of my body and then suddenly I was unable to walk the next day and was in and out of the hospital for a number of months."

Barker says because she immediately advocated for herself and her health, she found a disease modifying therapy that worked.

"Upon diagnosis starting that therapy immediately is so important because it can delay disability progression," said Barker. "I've been able to lead this life that I imagined before ms entered my life, before it entered my vocabulary."

She wants the same for others with the disease, as does Anne Gilbert of Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a national MS advocacy group.

"When you receive that diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in your 20s and 30s what comes with that is fear, shock and denial. And you may not think to proactively take those steps you need to manage your disease," said Gilbert.

Gilbert says the only one who can fight for your health is you. "It helps you for your current life that you're living but also for your future," she said.

Visit to learn more about MS, types of treatment, and how to talk to your doctor about finding a treatment plan that's right for you.

Contact Us