Author Archives: Jennifer (Jenn) Powell

Living with Intention This Christmas

Ever since I can remember, my family has had a real Christmas tree. Finding the perfect tree became a magical adventure. We often cut our own, but as I grew older, we would choose one from a local lot. My mom would play traditional Christmas songs while…

SPMS and the Continuum of Acceptance

Some days are hard, while others are still harder. Then there are days that bring you to your knees. I am kneeling. Pain ricochets through my body like a pinball machine on tilt. Flashing lights dance as if to announce the imminent. “Danger, Will Robinson!” I hit…

MS-related Insomnia is Exhausting

I do not sleep well. Ever. I have tried a myriad of meditations and medications, yet sleep evades me. It is 2:30 a.m. and infomercials are taking over the airwaves. My knowledge of everything Ginsu knives is overrated. (Pro tip: If you wait until the end they always offer…

Navigating Roadblocks with SPMS

I saw my neurologist earlier this week. After my work-up, we sat and discussed how well I manage my multiple sclerosis. How well? No comment. Suffice it to say this disease is a worthy adversary. I have been feeling a little funky since that appointment. I have been looking to…

I Have MS and I Am Beautiful

Having just written about uninvited commentary, I found this gem too awesome not to share. I went to the grocery store in my requisite San Francisco Giants cap and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Upon leaving, I chatted with the checker about the usual inane topics. Knowing my health status, she asked…

Relationships Can Thrive with MS

Relationships are a quagmire in and of themselves. Throw in a chronic, progressive disease, and you have yourself quite the ride. This ride has excitability, steady inclines, crescendos, fun and free times, steep ravines, and shake-ups. Inevitably, balance is restored. That pretty much sums up my marriage. Let me…

Reality Is My Favorite Season

Today, I tried to run. In my mind, I saw myself running with fluidity. I felt a weightless ability to lift, then cycle each knee and foot in perfect rotation. I felt my foot lift up and off the ground. My drop foot prevailed, and I fell. Other than injured pride…

Feeling Adventurous with MS

I can describe myself with a myriad of words: kind, funny, smart, quirky, and stubborn, to name a few. So many words are descriptive of my persona; I almost felt safety among them. Almost. I have always preferred paved road to dirt; my place was to shine the already…

Tune into the World and See

As I pulled into the overcrowded Trader Joe’s parking lot, I was grateful to see an open handicapped space. Once parked, I turned off the car engine and paused; the heat was oppressive. Ten days post-chemo/Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone) and my fatigue was as thick as the stagnant humidity. I…

Getting to ‘Yes’ with MS: Fear Beware!

I am a self-described homebody. I enjoy social gatherings and getting out, but I always look forward to coming home. Within five minutes of pulling into the garage, I am in sweats and a T-shirt. My demeanor immediately softens. Home is familiar, and in familiarity I find safety. Sometimes, safety…

A Hot Mess: Heat Sensitivity and MS

I am a hot mess. No, really, I am a hot, sweaty, gel-pack-laden mess. My AC kicked it three hours ago; three hours before Orange County hit a record 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Mother Nature is drunk. And I am getting warmer. Heat is kryptonite to anyone with multiple sclerosis. Sensitivity…

Stress and MS: Time to Chill

How do you manage stress when you are stressed? How do you avoid letting stress dominate not only your mind but also your physical being? I wish I knew. At my first clinic following my MS diagnosis, the doctor warned me about stress and its effect on MS. I…

Life After Whole30: Nutrition and MS

Last month, I challenged myself to conquer Whole30: 30 days of no gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, or sulfites. Forty days later, I am proud to say I not only survived, I thrived. I am still thriving. Friends have long been touting the merits of adopting a synonymous eating plan.

How I Deal with the Reality of Depression

With the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I feel called upon to write about something many of us are all too familiar with: depression. While these high-profile deaths made the headlines, thousands of others took their own lives during that same seven-day period. Depression is…

Dog Hair? Who Cares. How MS Freed Me

I just saw a couple of “golden tumbleweeds” swirl past my feet. My attempts at keeping a clean house are no match for Abby’s ever-falling golden locks, and I am OK with that. There was a time when those two balls of hair would have elicited profound anxiety. The anxiety…

MS and Healing Through Healthy Eating

Awareness is, at times, barely imperceptible, a quiet conviction that lies within. As with most truths, they are self-evident long before we decide to own them. And when we do, it is as if we have opened our eyes for the first time. My eyes are open. Living with progressive…

My Scars Are Beautiful

Our life experiences shape and define who we are. While some wash over us and dissipate, others leave indelible impressions. Both emotional and physical, our scars hold our past and influence our future. We are the totality of these scars and their narrative is powerful. Each is a chapter in…

Let Go and Live

Six weeks ago, Abby, my golden retriever, had a seizure. I was sitting behind her when she began to rock; I have never moved so fast. I could only see the bloodshot whites of her eyes as she whimpered lightly and I began to wail. I intuitively hugged her,…

Pain Meds Help Me Live

There is no guidebook to living with a chronic, progressive, and incurable disease. Even if such a book existed, it would only be somewhat applicable, as things change on a daily basis. We are all as unique as this disease, yet have one commonality: pain. Before my multiple sclerosis…

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These flash briefings give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

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