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A Back to School Prayer for Families

Blog Summary

May I have enough energy this year—parents need so much energy to navigate the demands of the school year, without pesky MS fatigue slowing them down.
 
So, may my fatigue not keep me from my children’s school activities, sporting events and dance recitals. May the hot weather not keep me from game days, or track and field days. May my medical appointments not conflict with those activities or events...

Myths and Realities of the ADA

Blog Summary

The Internet is indeed a mixed blessing. The good news is that there’s an amazing amount of information out there. The bad news is that there’s an amazing amount of information out there. As an individual with multiple sclerosis, I have of course surfed the web, looking for answers. Once I learned how to separate the truthful and credible information from the wacky and even dangerous stuff, I learned a great deal...

MS Transparency: How Open Should I Be?

Blog Summary

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?...  

Not How it's Always Been

Blog Summary

At work, have you ever asked why something is the way it is, and you’re told: “I don’t know… that’s just how it’s always been done.” Even just typing that, I start to break into a cold sweat...

MS, Climate Change and Kiribati

Blog Summary

The date was October 24, 2007. It was my second year at the University of Pittsburg’s Anthropology Ph.D. program when MS hit. Within minutes of arriving at the school’s Halloween festival, I lost my vision, ability to talk and walk. Rushed to the hospital, I was diagnosed with MS and placed on a disease-modifying therapy, Avonex, within hours.​..

It's Time

Blog Summary

Have you ever had a moment where you realize, “it’s time?” Time to make a change and let go of the past? When I was 10 years old, I had my first job delivering newspapers...

Turning Adversity into Opportunity

Blog Summary

When you’re faced with an adverse situation, there are three ways to look at it: a problem, a challenge or an opportunity. A problem is something that festers—it negatively affects your life. A challenge is a struggle that you must overcome. Now, looking at those two options, it would seem there’s nothing but gloom and doom when you’re faced with a troubling news. But there is another way to look at it...

Employment and MS

Blog Summary

For many of us, our careers define a large part of our identities. Conversely, an MS diagnosis can put a wrench in how we view and think of ourselves in the workforce. As an unpredictable disease, MS can have varying effects on a person’s ability to work—whether an individual can continue to do the same kind of work, or even work at all. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50—their prime career years. At this age, many people have already completed their advanced training and education, and they’ve been working and moving up the career ladder...

Dear Scholarship Donor

Blog Summary

It is with eyes full of tears and a heart full of gratitude that I write this letter. I am a 35-year-old mom of two children, Jason and Jocelyn. When they were born, I was working while pursuing a degree in business administration. However, when my youngest was about six months old, I was taking her for a walk when my legs began to feel heavy and I fell. I began a two-year journey of testing and seeing specialists, with no answers until I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. I knew my children were growing up. They were so full of life and I felt like my life was being sucked from me one nerve cell at a time...

Chachkies in the Wind

Blog Summary

One  ruler. One hand sanitizer.One blue toothbrush.  About a dozen finance and management books. Various key chains.91 cents… It’s not often you stop to truly take stock of your current job, but that’s what happened in the Fall of 2011 when multiple sclerosis unceremoniously ended my career. There were no retirement parties, goodbye emails or farewell meetings. It’s almost as if I disappeared mysteriously into the night.  Not long after my title shifted from “Director” to “Long-Term Disabled” I received two large boxes in the mail from my former employer. In each was an assortment of odds and ends that had been in my work space. Day after day, I was surrounded by these things…

What if I can't work?

Blog Summary

From the very beginning of the Unspeakable Bits blog, I have written from the premise that information is the counter to fear. I believe that wholeheartedly, and while it is sometimes difficult to face ugly facts about living with multiple sclerosis, I’d rather look at them than hide from them. One of the most difficult aspects of living with MS comes if we can no longer work due to our disease. There are loads of resources out there to help us decide when to disclose (or not). The government especially wants to help us stay employed. But even with rehabilitation counseling, we may get to a place where we just cannot work any longer. Because society often seems to value what we do more than who we are, this point in one’s life can be particularly difficult...