MS Connection Blog

Weight a Minute!

As I was closing up the studio after teaching a yoga class yesterday, the man whose accounting office is across the hall and with whom I am friendly popped in to chat a minute. He commented that it looked as though I had lost some weight.

I hadn’t been making any special effort to slim down. I explained that I always seem to drop a few pounds in the summertime because I’m so active when the weather is warm. I swim and bike and walk the dog a lot, soaking up the sunshine (wearing sunscreen, of course!). I also substitute for other yoga teachers while they’re on vacation, so I even do more yoga than usual...

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Depression and MS

We’re always saddened when a favorite celebrity dies. But somehow the death by suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams has felt like a sucker-punch to the gut. How could someone so seemingly full of life, someone who lit up so many other lives, have arrived at such a dark place that he’d take his own life?


In the aftermath of Williams’ death we’ve been reminded that he long struggled with depression. We’ve been bombarded with messages urging us to be more aware of mental illness in general and depression in particular, and social media have been replete with videos of people telling us how we might help those in our lives who suffer from this insidious disease...

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Letting the Light In – A Note on Travel

"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." – Alan Alda

I love this quote. So simple, yet powerful. And, for me, it touches poignantly on a rather irksome tendency of the human mind: to take most anything for granted. To suppose that our circumstances and the world at large simply are a certain way, thereby dirtying our windows and blocking the light of possibility, so to speak...

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Household Chores: Pick Your Poison

In the hierarchy of household tasks, we all have those we don’t mind and those we actually kind of enjoy – or at least get satisfaction from having done. I don’t mind scrubbing the toilets (mostly because I hate a not-quite-clean one) or doing laundry, and I even love doing the white towels in bleach because it’s so lovely to fold them, warm and fragrant from the dryer. I find doing dishes a nearly Zen-like experience, perhaps in part because while I stand at my spacious kitchen sink I can look out the window at the yard, meadow, and woods beyond.

On the other hand, I hate to vacuum. I mean, I hate it. Maybe it’s because our old Victorian farmhouse has mostly hardwood floors with area rugs strewn throughout, so you have to keep switching the vacuum from carpet to wood-floor mode. And because both of our dogs are heavy shedders, you have to make extra effort to suck up all those tumbling tumbleweeds – and empty the canister a zillion times...

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Staggering the Line

The line I stagger, the line many people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) stagger, walk, or straddle, wavers over time, from time to time. It jumps, rolls. It scribbles.

Line 1

In the exam room, we walk the line, heel-toe, if we can. When we can. The line does not reveal itself, nor does it reveal the effort exerted to trace its trajectory. We imagine the line there before us, a tightrope. Someone is usually there to catch us, white sleeved safety net, in case we stumble...

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Don’t Jinx It!

Me: “Sometimes when my horoscope is really good I don’t allow myself to believe it.”

My 20-year-old daughter: “Mom, you are the most neurotic person I know.”

That’s an actual conversation that took place in my kitchen this morning.

And it wasn’t an unusual one...

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Eating and Your Emotions

Even the most subtle changes in mood can impact other aspects of daily living. Decreased motivation and energy, as well as changes in sleeping patterns and eating habits are common consequences. But each of these changes can, in turn, affect your nutritional well-being.

Some people turn to food for solace when they are depressed. Certain foods create a sense of comfort. If it sometimes seems like food is the only thing that will make you feel better, pay special attention to the choices you make. The “comfort foods” you turn to may be high in fat and can add unnecessary calories to your diet...

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The Unspeakable Bits from a Life with MS: Conspiracy Theories

In the profit-driven, 24/7 news cycle of a world in which we live, it’s amazing the number of outrageous theories about multiple sclerosis one hears.

I believe that the internet has become the most powerful tool people living with MS have at our disposal. The access it allows us to previously hard to find research, historical data and others living with the disease around the globe is an informed patient’s dream. To paraphrase Newton’s Third Law of Motion, however: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...

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Diet & Nutrition with Dr. Ellen Mowry & Denise Nowack, RD

This month, we’re launching an exciting new and interactive feature on the community. We know many of you are interested in how to live your best lives right now. That’s why we’re bringing together people with MS, those who care about them and experts on a variety of important topics to talk about issues that matter most to you. Each month, you will have an opportunity to submit your thoughts, tips and questions related to that month’s theme.

We’re kicking things off with a conversation about diet and nutrition. Maintaining good health is very important for people with MS. A well-balanced and planned diet can help achieve this goal, but with so many to choose from, and differing opinions on which are most effective, it can be a challenge to know where to start, let alone how to stick with one long enough to know if it’s helping...

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Hellos and Goodbyes

I’m sentimental about endings. When I know I’ve reached one, I pause and hold on as tightly as I can. The last time I sat on the floor with my friends and sang at summer camp. The last time I had dinner with my roommates before we graduated from college. The last night I slept in my own bed at my parents’ old house. These are moments to be marked and savored. They give you a chance to say goodbye.

The endings that you don’t recognize are even more poignant. The last time I said goodbye to my grandmother, not knowing that I wouldn’t see her again. The last time I kissed a boy, before an argument that ended everything. I think about these lost endings, which skated by so casually in the flow of an ordinary life. I want to go back and put a mark on those days. Plant a flag. Recognize them for what they were: not always sad, but always important. Moments that defined and framed chapters in my life, even as it changed to become something new...

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