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A Moving Experience

By Kristen O'Toole
December 5, 2021

Patience is a virtue, just not my virtue. MS is a trial in patience daily. I use a wheelchair, and I am always waiting on something… a ride, a push, a chore. Recently, I made the big decision to move my life south, and moving is the ultimate test of patience.

However, that patience paid off. I am happy to report that after three months, I have a new apartment; my infusions didn’t miss a beat; and I have a neurologist appointment at an MS center scheduled. No easy feat!

While moving is an individual experience, one thing is true: moving is a huge stressor! And we all know what stress can do to our bodies. For me, there is a huge correlation between patience and stress. Just to make things harder on myself, I moved to a COVID hot zone in a ridiculously tough real estate market… I only say that because if I can do it, you can do it, too!

Moving

  • Line up your help in advance. Get your support system in place. I realized early on that I needed a team to get this done. Packers, movers, cleaners. I needed help. I wasn’t afraid to ask.
  • The real estate market is crazy everywhere. Be prepared for a wait. Luckily, I had family to live with while I searched for an apartment that was wheelchair accessible for me.
  • I opted for a POD versus a moving truck. I kept the POD at the place I was moving from for a month and slowly packed it. It was the best option for me because I didn’t have that added pressure of a certain date to have everything packed up. It has been temperature- controlled stored, while I have been searching for a new place to live.

manage stress and MS

Medical

  • Changing doctors scared me. I have been on Tysabri for many years. Biogen, the maker of Tysabri, was extremely helpful in getting me an infusion site that took orders from an out-of-state doctor and that took my insurance. I did not miss a beat on my 28-day regimen.
  • I also had a bit of a headache getting a prescription renewal for my Tysabri, but shout out to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for saving the day by prescribing for me until I have my new neurology appointment.
  • The amount of paperwork that it takes to move doctors is kind of overwhelming. Fortunately, I had mom to help me with the paperwork. Again, support system and patience.
  • I also would recommend if you know you’re moving, give your current doctor a heads up so they can start your paperwork. My comprehensive care center was terrific and very helpful in getting me switched over to a new doctor. It’s helpful to have and use those relationships
  • It was critical that I found a comprehensive care center in my new state because that’s what I’m used to. I used the Society’s find a doctor feature to determine who I wanted to go with. The MS center that I booked with is booking more than six months out. Again, patience. But I got an appointment after sending my MRI notes, my MRI films and my records to my new neurologist. Each time I did that, I had to give a new privacy form to my old physician. PATIENCE. My Medicare and Medigap insurance stay the same. I just changed my address with them. I got a broker to help me get prescription coverage.

Mindset

  • Confidence is key. You can do this! Just take the project into small bits and get it done!
  • Keep your stress level down. Do a little bit each day. Talk to people for help and support.
  • Don’t try to plan everything out. There will be lots of curveballs. Take it as it comes. Go with the flow. Don’t try to do everything all at once.
  • I also learned not to overthink or over analyze decisions. I’m sure I could’ve saved a few bucks here and there, or I could have done something more efficiently, etc. but I just went with things and didn’t fret over my decisions.

So, there is no way to get around the stress of moving. But hopefully you have the confidence and the patience that you need to tackle it!

Kristen O'Toole

Kristen O’Toole is a former public relations executive. She now volunteers for the National MS Society as a Walk MS Team Captain, District Activist Leader and serves on the Government Relations Advisory Council for her state, Pennsylvania. In 2019, she was named Southwestern PA’s MS Activist of the Year. She was diagnosed in 2014 and wants to raise awareness and understanding about MS until we find a cure.

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