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Bringing Us Closer

Blog Summary

Living with MS can sometimes feel like you’re stranded on an island by yourself. People who don’t have MS might not fully understand what you’re going through, and others living with MS may have symptoms and experiences entirely different from yours. To make the MS world smaller, this year’s World MS Day (May 30) theme is “bringing us closer.” It’s about building connections and sharing stories to unify us in our collective stand against MS. Connect with the researchers, students and nurses who are at the forefront of finding a cure to bring us closer to a world free of MS. Meet two of our researchers and learn how their work is #BringingUsCloser to a cure...

A Journey of Hope

Blog Summary

It was a beautiful summer day. I was riding my bike and my wife, Kathy, was walking. When we met back at our starting point, she said to me, “I’m walking like I had a stroke.” I put the bike aside, stood behind her and asked her to show me what she meant. For the next six and a half years, we pursued an answer for Kathy’s “drop foot” and other worsening symptoms. Countless doctor visits, tests, and poking and prodding. Sometimes we were presented with what it wasn’t, and other times with what it could be. But, nothing ever definitive...

Family Vacation

Blog Summary

Growing up, I sometimes got a little bummed that I was born five days before Christmas. It felt like my birthday, compared to my brothers, was rushed and forgotten. I was never in school around my friends because it was already winter break. Often, we’d be on the road driving to see family on my big day. Then there’s the inevitable “combo” birthday presents wrapped in Santa Claus paper while “Jingle Bells” plays in the background. Having “Happy Birthday” sung to me kind of felt like an afterthought...

Thinking About Emotional Wellness

Blog Summary

Last week, I attended the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Los Angeles. There were several studies presented on aspects of emotional health, and it got me thinking about how important it is to remember that our emotional health can affect many aspects of living with MS. Research has shown that anxiety and depression can occur as MS symptoms, not just as reactions to having the disease. One poster presentation I saw was by Canadian researchers, who generally do a pretty good job tracking people with MS because of their unified health systems and electronic records. They reported that anxiety (and diabetes) could have a negative impact on a person’s cognition. The researchers commented that it’s possible that treating diabetes or anxiety could improve cognitive problems for people with MS.

The Past and Future of MRI in MS

Blog Summary

Most people who have been diagnosed with MS have had at least one MRI scan done of their brain. Having a scan can be a strange experience, but it’s the best tool doctors have for helping to confirm or rule out an MS diagnosis, and for tracking what MS is doing silently, even if there are no physical signs.   At the 2018 American Academy of Neurology meeting in Los Angeles, I was able to attend the lecture of this year’s winner of the John Dystel Prize for MS Research, Dr. Frederik Barkhof. He pioneered the use of MRI to improve the ability to diagnose MS, and to monitor MS and detect whether a treatment is having any benefits against the lesions—those white spots or black spots that show up on the scans...

Dealing with Literal Loneliness

Blog Summary

Being diagnosed with MS at any age is never fun, but when you’re a young person diagnosed with MS, it seems to change more in your mind than just myelin!   I was diagnosed at just 22 years old. When I came out of the hospital after my diagnosis, I had to confront what seemed like a new life...

The Heart of Service

Blog Summary

I often divide my life with MS into two parts: BC (Before Chair) and AD (After Disability). I was diagnosed with MS in 1988, the beginning of BC. At the time, I think I was in denial. I dealt with problems as they came up, and I pushed it to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until 1993 when I had a particularly bad exacerbation that AD began. That’s when I went into a wheelchair...

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...

What I Wish...

Blog Summary

MS symptoms vary from person to person. Even more, symptoms are often invisible. Because of this, it can be difficult to describe your symptoms or get someone to relate to your experience. For MS Awareness Week (March 11-17), we asked you, “what do you wish people knew about MS?" Here’s what you said...

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...