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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...

On Friendship

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece here called “Old Friend,” examining the longest relationship of my adult life—with multiple sclerosis. Having just passed our 28th anniversary together, I’m beginning to understand the ways in which MS has gradually, silently eroded my friendships with people I hold dear. I am no longer a good friend; no longer do I have what it takes. If you lean on me, I just might fall. Literally and figuratively...

MS Fatigue – or a Sleep Disorder?

I am very tired as I write this blog entry. I would love to take a nap, but I’ve got lots of work to do. This is not unusual for me; why do you think I drink so much coffee? I have written before about the difference between garden-variety tiredness caused by lack of sleep and the intense fatigue many people with multiple sclerosis suffer. Of course, a person with chronic fatigue can also experience regular tiredness, especially when we’ve been burning the candle at both ends...

Control Freak

It has taken me a decade to admit that yes, I am a control freak. From wanting the bed made every morning, to checking in three times to see if my husband followed my to-do list when dropping off the baby at daycare:  I have accepted the truth that I am not as laid back as I pretend to be.  I realize it can be a funny or endearing term, but I also know from experience there is a deep-seeded anxiety that lives in all of us control freaks. “If I don’t have the control then I am in danger.” ...

Marijuana & MS: An interview with Dr. Robert Fox

This month, we sat down with Dr. John DeLuca and Dr. Robert Fox to discuss your questions about marijuana and MS, as part of our new Discussion of the Month feature. Read our interview with Dr. Fox of the Cleveland Clinic below. Our interview on marijuana and cognition with Dr. DeLuca can be found here...
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