Have you ever seen social media accounts of people who are super-busy, who seem to be moving, networking and taking pics of every glorious moment of every day? As I scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I often wonder when our culture decided that being perpetually on-the-go and always clutching a long to-do list are quintessentially American values.
It doesn’t seem to matter what form this flurry of activity takes. It can be anything from a gym workout, a 20-mile bike ride on a lovely trail, a hiking or kayaking excursion amid vivid scenery, images taken from the stands at a children’s event or game, attending a Pinterest-perfect party, or visiting the new, artisanal, farm-to-table restaurant during its opening week. The pressure is on to keep yourself busy, busy, busy...
There was no celebrating on the fifth anniversary of my diagnosis of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Instead, I did some reflecting. After the reflecting was over, I made a list of the five ways—one for each year of the disease—MS changed the ways in which I move through and deal with the world...
Sometimes I just need to relate.
I need to see my experiences, my struggles confirmed instead of negated and misunderstood. I need to remind myself that I am not alone in my fatigue, in bouts of cognitive fuzziness, in my hair-pulling frustration...
I’m in fifth grade.
I have a Dorothy Hamill haircut. I’m wearing a brown corduroy skirt and a white turtleneck sweater with red and blue stripes. My left arm is resting across my stomach while my right hand holds the index card from which I’m reading...
For decades, we have considered ourselves partners.
We divvied up decision making and household chores the best we could. After our three children were born—including a set of twins—we took pride in our co-parenting efforts. Although the 50-50 quality of our 26-year-old marriage was tested when the kids were young and I opted to teach college part-time and work as a writer from a home office, we continued to earnestly pursue the goal of domestic equity...
It looked like a glow-in-the-dark doughnut.
When the first image of a black hole 55 light-years away from Earth was made public by astronomers this spring, it was heralded across the globe. Astronomers, the New York Times reported, had “captured an image of the unobservable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.” The writer described the image as “a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity..."
Do I walk over and explain to the dude in the garage—the one who’s been giving me the stink eye ever since I pulled into a disabled parking spot—that, while I appear to be healthy, I actually have MS?
Do I tell my students what’s going on when I’m pressing my icy drink against my neck to cool me off while I’m teaching inside an overheated classroom, fretting about whether my MS heat sensitivity will flare up?...
Somewhere along the way, my ability to savor certain foods has waned. Actually, it’s done more than waned. In some cases, it has warped into a bizarro situation where items I’ve long loved now suddenly taste of bitter disappointment.
What food now tastes terrible to me? My beloved morning coffee (with the exception of peppermint-flavored java), several red wines I used to adore, some marinara sauces, toasted everything bagels, and even the heartiest of sandwiches, unless they’re slathered with this spicy chipotle mayo I found...
“A fever could be life threatening.”
That single line from an old episode of “The West Wing” prompted me to immediately Google whether, in fact, a fever is fatal to someone with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, something with which I was diagnosed in the summer of 2014. Fresh from learning I had MS, this mere suggestion plunged me into a panic. A search of “fever and multiple sclerosis” yielded over 590,000 results...
My appointment is at 3:30 p.m.
Some 25 miles away from my home.
The clock says it’s only 12:53 p.m..
Although it won’t be rush hour when I drive to the hospital, you never know what will happen when it comes to Boston traffic, so I want to provide myself a cushion of extra time, so I won’t be late for my annual MRI...