Author Archives: Jamie Hughes

What Will We Do?

I recently started writer David Sedaris’ MasterClass, and one piece of advice he keeps reiterating is the importance of keeping a diary, a daily record of your doings and dealings in this world. It’s a habit I’ve fallen out of, so I bought a stack of Moleskine cahier journals…

Beach, Please!

My family just returned from a lovely week-long vacation on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s always a wonderful time (and one perfectly suited to socially isolating) because we literally do nothing. We make no plans. We buy no tickets to any event or theme park. We sleep, read, and watch…

When Roses Change, Color Me Surprised

Right now, it’s tempting to feel hopeless. COVID-19 is still out there with no vaccine in sight. Millions of people are out of work. And regardless of how you feel about the protests taking place in all 50 U.S. states (and around the world), all of us can admit…

Eugene Peterson and Lessons About Intentional Living

The last few months have been interesting for obvious reasons. All of our routines have been toppled over like a stack of blocks, things that were once mundane now feel alien, and getting back to “normal” (whatever that looks like) still feels as far away as the horizon. But I…

How to Release Fear

I just turned 42, and though I am wiser and stronger and more independent than I was a few decades ago, not everything is coming up roses. Some days, I feel weak and helpless. Other days, I’m overwhelmed. And that’s just part and parcel of life for every human being…

Ralph and the Cherry on Top of Life

I have a new personal hero. His name is Ralph Wendorf. We probably don’t have much in common. He’s not even an MS patient! I’ve never met him, and I likely never will. He lives across the country from me, in New Mexico, but thanks to a local broadcast that…

How to Make Working from Home Work for You

I just finished my third week of working from home due to the coronavirus, and I’ve learned a few things about what it takes to be successful outside of the office. Here are a few helpful tips for MS patients who currently spend more than a few hours behind a…

Divide and Conquer: Bravery in the Face of the Coronavirus

I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but there’s this coronavirus thing going around. And it is disrupting everything from concerts and conferences to schools and my kids’ recreation sports leagues. Don’t get me wrong, as a person who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is therefore immunocompromised,…

I Must Confess that I Love Needles

As someone with 16 years of MS experience, I’ve grown to hate needles. I only have to give myself three shots a week now instead of seven, but I dread shot days as if they were the proverbial plague. Needles are awkward and uncomfortable. They make travel more difficult. Sometimes…

Thinking Outside the Box

There’s a story I love to tell about my dad, a retail warrior with more than 30 years of experience under his belt. And it’s one that I think is apropos for those of us dealing with multiple sclerosis. Back in the 1980s when he was a department manager…

Give It a Rest, Will Ya?

Jan. 1, 2020 was a special day in our house, and not just because a new decade came into being. (Or did it?) It marked our 20th wedding anniversary, and my husband and I chose to celebrate in style this year by taking a cruise together. (Yes, if you’re…

Keep It Real: What’s in Your Window Display?

I read a sad tweet last night (though, in a way, aren’t all of them somewhat sad?) in which a woman told a story about her friend who had just broken up with her boyfriend of one year. She asked her friend how she was holding up. The reply was…

Cold? What Cold?!

As an MS patient, I’m always on the lookout for something that will help me stay healthy. Though doctors say flu shots are OK for us, they’re not for me. I’ve had better luck with essential oils. Though they can’t replace all medicines, adding them to my…

Making (and Appreciating) Space

As an MS patient (and an insatiable polymath), I’m always on the lookout for new information. Recently, I learned about an interesting concept in Japanese culture called “Ma,” and ever since, I’ve been trying to work out how I can incorporate more of it into…

Simple Signs with Messages of Hope Resonate with Me

I’m not a superstitious person always on the lookout for signs and omens. I don’t read the wrappers on Dove chocolates or seek life advice from the paper slips inside fortune cookies. I consult my horoscope but merely for the entertainment value. However, the last few months have been rough,…

‘The Land Is Better’: Embracing Highs and Lows

I recently read “The Animal Family” by Randall Jarrell. It’s considered a children’s book, but like many stories written for kids, it has much to offer grown-up readers. The story is a simple one. A hunter is lonely. He has no one to share his life with and no…

Violence Can Ensue When We Don’t Rest

One of the best things about my job is something called fact-checking. Before publishing an article, we go through all the stats, facts, quotes, and assertions, researching their validity. That’s how I came across a humdinger of a quote by Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who lived from 1915…

I Did Not See That (Ulcer) Coming

Like most of you, I take medication for my multiple sclerosis. Copaxone is my medication of choice, though I have recently switched to the generic version, glatiramer acetate. I’ve taken shots every day for years, so I was thrilled when the dosage dropped to three days a week.

I Am Grateful for Everything — Even MS

Last week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper broadcast an interview with “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert. They had a lively discussion about comedy, politics, careers, and the like, but perhaps the most stunning eight minutes of the interview were focused on grief. Colbert, a devout Catholic, said, “It’s…

Looking Forward, Looking Back

I am now 41, at the beginning of “middle age,” and I’m tempted to give it the middle finger. It’s a halfway point, a layover, a way station — a time to contemplate the journey so far and take steps for the bit that is to come. Because I have…

Letting Go of Appearances in Life with MS

Living with MS can sometimes feel like you’re performing a one-woman (or man) show. Think about it. How many times have you pretended to be OK when you didn’t feel so hot? Have you ever shown your loved ones a brave face instead of upsetting them? Ever caught yourself acting…

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A few weeks ago, I told you that I’d made a decision: I had to slow down. I think and talk quickly. I work quickly and drive much too fast for my grandmother’s liking. Basically, everything in my life was fast, and picking up speed with each passing day.

As If You Needed Another Reason to Eat Cake

I was at a church function last Saturday, chatting with the guest speaker and her mother, and I noticed that the older woman was making several trips to the dessert table. It was laden with everything you’d expect to see at a church potluck: banana pudding, pound cake, homemade cookies,…

Don’t Be a Doozer — Slow Down!

My husband and I were driving home from church a few weeks ago, cars zipping around us every which way. He looked at me and said, “Do you ever feel like we’re on the edge of something? Like life is moving too quickly in urban America and something is about…

The Unplayable Piano

What do a broken-down, out-of-tune piano and multiple sclerosis have in common? Well, they’re both disorderly and confusing, to say the least. But there’s something else — they have the potential to bring about something positive. I learned this from a podcast called “Hidden Brain,” specifically from an…

Remember, Remember

When I first learned that I had multiple sclerosis in late January 2004, the thing I worried about most was losing my mind. No, I’m not referring to stressing out, going bananas, cracking up, going off the deep end, or coming unglued — though all of those were distinct…

Sometimes You Have to Skip the Whaling Chapters

Playing Billy Beane in “Moneyball,” Brad Pitt utters the now famous line, “Adapt or die.” (Warning: The scene linked here has a few naughty words in it.) He’s referencing the use of statistics to create a better baseball team, but I think the saying is true to most…

Dancing Doodle

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