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MS, Relationships and Intimacy: An interview with Dr. Peggy Crawford (Part 1)

We recently sat down with Dr. Peggy Crawford to discuss relationships and intimacy. As a health psychologist, Dr. Crawford has worked with individuals and families with multiple sclerosis for the past 25 years. She was a member of the staff at the Mellen Center for Research and Treatment of MS at the Cleveland Clinic and then a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati. Over the years, Dr. Crawford has been actively involved with the National MS Society as a presenter, consultant and committee member and with CAN DO MS as a member of the program staff.

In your experience working with people with MS, what do you see as the greatest challenges that couples face when it comes to MS and intimacy?...

Paving the way for MS research

It all started 30 years ago when I noticed that my vision deteriorated suddenly. I had always had 20/20 vision, so I became acutely aware that something was wrong when my TV started looking blurry, I mixed up my colors and my depth perception was off. Unnerved, I sought out a doctor’s opinion. I was relieved when he ruled out a brain tumor, but I was left with no definitive answers. As time passed, my vision gradually improved, but I started noticing other seemingly unrelated issues. Occasional muscle spasms would come and go when I wrote. I was getting much more tired during my weekly golf outings. Again, I set off to see my doctor but he dismissed both of these symptoms as dehydration...

With feet firmly planted

Everyone said it’d be easy. Cruising, that is. Ships are handicapped accessible, right? So in the fog following my primary progressive multiple sclerosis diagnosis, last winter, I called the travel agents at Expedia, eager to escape our snowy winter and icy sidewalks. I’d cruised-toured just seven months earlier, a 40th birthday trip-of-a-lifetime to Alaska, and though I was undiagnosed, my PPMS had already taken most of the feeling from my legs. I clung to my friend Lindsay as we hiked, visited a sled-dog camp and went whitewater rafting on the Mendenhall River. Now, six months later, my disease had progressed even more, and I was using a walker and scooter to get around. Would cruising really be as easy as I thought? ...

Helping Others can be Healing

For the last few years, I have been making Rice Krispies treats and giving them to others. Although I am a pretty good cook, I have been drawn to make these easy cereal and marshmallow treats with rice cereal or corn flakes, and molding them into seasonal shapes. (They are, after all, gluten free!) For the Super Bowl, I make footballs. There will be flowers for Spring, Autumn pumpkins, candy corn shapes for Halloween, wreaths for Christmas, and right now, I am trying to design something that looks like a ground hog for our annual Ground Hog Day celebration. I have posted pictures of my creations on social media. My sister teases that my fixation with these sweet creations is an “addiction” and suggests I need an intervention because I “can’t stop anytime I want to.”...

Build with what you have

Building with LEGOs often results in an interesting quandary: the more one builds, the fewer pieces you have left in the collection, no matter how carefully they might be organized for easy retrieval. Living with a chronic, progressive, debilitating disease like multiple sclerosis is a lot like that. It can be described as “the gift that keeps on taking.” Ones strength, cognitive resources, coordination and stamina are all taken away slowly but surely…sometimes even quite abruptly...

A journey by plates

My husband tightens his back the moment we step inside Pig in a Fur Coat. The name of this Madison, Wisconsin, restaurant had raised some worry for him before we arrived. Who names a restaurant Pig in a Fur Coat? And what exactly does that mean? Now, seeing a long, high-top communal table in the middle of the dining room, his uneasiness turns to worry for two reasons...

The Wahls Protocol: An Interview with Dr. Terry Wahls

We recently sat down with Dr. Terry Wahls to discuss diet and MS. Dr. Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa and a staff physician at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Hospital, where she teaches medical students and resident physicians, sees patients in traumatic brain injury and therapeutic lifestyle clinics with complex chronic health problems that often include multiple autoimmune disorders, and conducts clinical trials. She also lives with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and has personally found great benefit in treating her MS through a specific program she calls the Wahls Protocol™...

Anyone Got the Holiday Blues?

So, the holidays are approaching fast. There are presents to buy, friends and relatives to see, get-togethers to plan or attend, and meals to prepare or share. No wonder many of us greet this season with a mixture of excitement and panic – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And for anyone living with the overpowering fatigue of MS, just the thought of all this activity can be exhausting. For some people the pressure to feel jolly, festive, social and grateful can have the opposite effect – leading to a whopping case of the holiday blues. We’ve all had them at one time or another, but MS can sometimes bring on those blues with a vengeance, particularly when MS symptoms make everything a little less fun and a little more challenging.

Soul Sister: Something’s Missing

“Hi Karen. This is Carol. Dr. G said I should talk with you about my MS.”   I was surprised by the call.  When the nurse asked me if I would speak with Carol, I willingly gave her my phone number – two years ago!  Two years later, Carol was ready to talk. I thought that she might ask about topics like how to handle fatigue, best ways to prepare for travel, how to manage symptoms, challenges of medications, injections, and physical therapy...

Hands at Heart Center

When I teach yoga, a few minutes into class I invite students to join me in bringing hands together at heart center in the universal gesture of gratitude and to pause for a moment to take note of something for which they are indeed grateful. “It can be anything,” I tell them. “A person, a pet, this warm sunny morning, the fact that you get to do yoga.” Once they’ve identified that which they are grateful for, I encourage them to allow that spirit of gratitude to inform their practice that morning. To me, that’s one of the most important moments in the whole class. Because while all the downward-facing dogs and triangle poses are fun and make the body and mind feel good, the opportunity to connect with our sense of gratitude offers rewards beyond simply thinking a happy thought...

The October Surprise

It had been snowing steadily all afternoon – an unusual event even by Buffalo standards as it was only the second week of October. Big fat flakes that were at first melting but then, began to stick to my very green grass, baskets full of blooming geraniums and the leaves on all the huge trees in my back yard that had not even changed color.   My children, then eight and thirteen, returned from school filled with the excitement that the first snow of the season always brings. As for me, my excitement turned quickly to anxiety when the first of many enormous limbs came crashing down on the deck. This was the start of what now is referred to as “The October Surprise,” one of the most devastating and costly snow storms to ever hit the area...
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