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The Importance of Preventive Care

Blog Summary

MS had really taken a toll on my new patient. Or so I thought…

She came to see me one afternoon in my family medicine clinic. Her son pushed her into my exam room, and I moved my stool to make way for her wheelchair. One of her arms was rigid, useless. Her speech was slurred, and she reported terrible back pain. As an MS patient myself, I was disturbed to see her, knowing that my fate could be similar...

Five Ways MS Has Changed the Past Five Years

Blog Summary

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...

Supermarkets and Other Chores

Blog Summary

In my opinion, the number one most annoying thing about life? Cleaning.   I used to love cleaning. I remember when I got my first apartment at 19, I’d get up early every Saturday morning to clean and scrub every inch! I’d feel ridiculously house-proud and like a proper “adult” for the first time in my life...

Depression and MS

Blog Summary

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?Depression.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...

Finding Solace Between Two Covers

Blog Summary

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...

Mish Mosh Life

Blog Summary

I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS back in 2014 when the left side of my body lost all mobility, and I was experiencing consistent diplopia in both eyes. After a solid week of Solu Medrol steroids administered via IV, months of pushing forward, and the discovery of nutrition and exercise, I got most of my mobility back. Fast foward 4½ years later, I have been blessed to be relapse-free ever since… until now. For the last month or so, I have been experiencing new symptoms; more consistent chronic pain, numbness in my hands I didn’t notice until I realized I was using boiling water to wash the dishes, and something a bit scarier. I haven’t been able to formulate complete sentences without tripping over my words for weeks. As someone who works in corporate professionally and just barely gets by thanks to my words, this has been earth shattering...

Summer is Coming

Blog Summary

The sounds of birds singing, children playing and crickets chirping. The smell of barbeque, freshly cut grass or the beach. Sweaters have been replaced by t-shirts, pants with shorts, and shoes turn into flip-flops. It can only mean one thing...

When MS Changes the Marital Equation

Blog Summary

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...

Mood and MS

Blog Summary

Those of us who have been involved in both the research and care of people with MS walk a tightrope sometimes between pointing out the severity of a problem and solving it. We want to alert our patients without overwhelming them. On Thursday, I attended a session on depression and other mood disorders at the Consortium of MS Centers meeting in Seattle that really brought home how prevalent these symptoms are in people with MS. While the numbers are sobering, the message is clear: bringing this information to light can only bring us closer to finding solutions. Depression is two or more times more prevalent in people with MS than in the general population, says Dr. Scott Patten (from the University of Calgary) in his review of the studies (find his presentation here). When researchers try to find out what factors predict lower quality of life, depression gets high marks. Not surprising, since depression affects how you function at work, in school, in your social life and during recreational activities...

Made Strong by Dance

Blog Summary

I will never forget the day I knew something was seriously wrong. I was in a funk dance fitness class dancing. It was a fast paced, heart pumping, dance fitness class. I started out fine, following the warm up routine as usual. As I was learning the choreography, the right side of my body, specifically my legs, suddenly felt very heavy and weren’t moving. My head felt light...

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?...