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.
“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...
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...
This past week’s ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS Joint Meeting brought together nearly 9,000 people — most of them researchers — from across the globe to share results and make connections with others who want to find solutions for multiple sclerosis. In addition to presentations and training courses, the gathering featured an incredible number of posters — more than 1,000 — each one representing research that has the potential to change the lives of people with MS.
Poster sessions give a group of researchers the opportunity to present their work in a condensed format, literally on a 5-foot by 3-foot sheet of poster paper tacked to a board. Each poster outlines the scientists’ methods and outcomes with text and graphics.
Many of us with multiple sclerosis follow specific diets in hopes that eating in a specific way will slow disease progression or at least keep our symptoms at bay. I’ll fess up about what I do, which is basically follow a regimen that is dairy-free, legume-free and gluten-free, with almost no sugar or processed foods. However, I will admit that I eat plenty of fat, including massive amounts of olive oil, coconut oil and some red meat. I am caffeine-free, but drink some alcohol. I guess it’s pretty similar to the Paleo Diet (if cavemen drank wine). It seems to be working for me and I keep honing it as I notice things that make me feel worse (or better) when I eat them.
Of course, there are several different diets that people with MS follow, including the Swank Diet, the Best Bet Diet and the Wahls Protocol. Many neurologists will point out that no diet has been proven through rigorous scientific study to make any difference in disease progression or disability. But what about diet impacting your risk for developing MS? ...
I’m pleased to be reporting from the 2014 Joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS Meeting in Boston. This is the largest gathering of MS professionals – more than 7,000 attendees from 90 countries. What a fantastic place to learn about how researchers around the globe are finding solutions to help everyone with MS live their best lives.
Take Dr. Laura De Giglio and her team from Rome, Italy, who are studying how “brain training” may help people with MS to restore cognitive function. At last year’s meeting, this team showed that Nintendo’s Dr. Kawashima Brain Training™ improved attention, processing speed and working memory in people with MS. What they report this year is even better news. The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which allows researchers to take active images of the brain while a person is performing certain tasks. The idea is that it helps researchers to see how a particular treatment is affecting the way specific parts of the brain are functioning...
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...
"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...
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...
This month, we’re launching an exciting new and interactive feature on the MSconnection.org 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...
As I have repeatedly noted, yoga has helped me enormously in managing my multiple sclerosis and staying in tune with my body’s abilities.
But sometimes it helps me recognize and come to terms with my body’s occasional LACK of ability...