A Life in Letters – a Column by Jamie Hughes

looking ahead, wonder

Jamie A. Hughes is a writer-editor living in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two sons, and a pair of very needy cats. She was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2004 when she was just 25 years old. A lover of words since birth, she wasn’t about to let two little letters get her down. They don’t get the last word. And that’s why she writes her column — to help those dealing with MS to live more thoughtful, hopeful, and inspired lives.

We Have to Make the Effort to Care

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is hard. I know this is hardly a revelation, especially to those of us who struggle with it on the daily, but I felt like it needed to be said. I was scanning through articles on this site recently, seeing what my fellow…

An Interview With Writer Edith Forbes: Living With MS

Last year, I got the chance to read and review Edith Forbes’ medical memoir, “Tracking a Shadow.” I thought it was an encouraging and thoughtful work, so I contacted her by email for an interview to share her thoughts with readers of this column. Forbes graduated from Stanford…

‘Nothing Gold Can Stay,’ and That’s OK

In the South, we have a tendency to cram words together to create a single gigantic one, a kind of linguistic Pangea, if you will. The one I’ve been using a lot lately is “usetacould,” a condensed form of the phrases “I used to be able to” and “I once…

There’s No Such Thing as Perfect

We are a three-cat household because, well, felines are awesome. They’re entertaining and sweet. They love to give cuddles. And they’re fairly self-sufficient — no baths or walks necessary. Just keep food and water in ample supply, and they’re good to go. The only problem? Litter boxes. We have this…

More Than 50 Shades of Gray

Spring is rapidly approaching. It’s warming up outside. The trees are starting to bloom. And inside our home, I am once again plotting to refresh the place. Out with old decorations, and in with the new! Declutter that closet! Donate the table and chairs that still look great because you…

Making Good Choices When COVID-19 Strikes

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. Our younger son caught the COVID-19 virus at school, and once we got a positive home test, we went into containment mode. While I took him to get an official test at a local clinic, my husband got everything…

Don’t Worry and Take Your Time

My husband and I have been on a bit of a quest as of late. For several reasons that I won’t bore you with here, we are in search of a new church to join. A few weekends ago, we made our first visit to an Orthodox church here…

Art for Our Sake

One of the great things about living in Atlanta is that there is always something new and exciting going on in town. Sure, we have our fair share of sporting events, but on any given night, you can attend a live concert, or see a show or stand-up performance. There…

It’s No Puzzle: Play Is Good for Your Brain

I don’t know why, but for some reason, two people in my family decided to get me puzzles for Christmas this year. Granted, one is a rad picture of 30 or so classic book covers, and the other is covered in cats. But still, it’s weird. When I returned home…

Feeling Overwhelmed? Wander Under the Stars

If you read my last column, you know that my Thanksgiving was eventful, to say the least. Well, it looks like Christmas is shaping up to be another banger. My father-in-law is back in the hospital, still trying to kick the infections that have knocked him flat recently. We…

Do What You Can Do (And No More)

I don’t know about you, but last week passed in a blur. I typically enjoy Thanksgiving, but this year, things were a little wonky. My husband’s grandfather passed away a month or so ago, so we weren’t about to ask his grandmother to prepare anything. My mother-in-law and I decided…

No Wasted Moments

A friend of mine recently recommended a book to me by the multitalented Brian Doyle called “One Long River of Song.” Doyle, a devout Catholic (though I don’t think you need to be a Christian to appreciate his writing), was an award-winning essayist, poet, and novelist with more than…

When Is a Wall Not Just a Wall?

As is usually the way with books I put on hold at the library, three of the novels I’ve been looking forward to reading all came in at the same time. (Why does it always happen that way?) I shot through Colson Whitehead’s newest book, “Harlem Shuffle,” in two…

MS and the Beauty of Changing Seasons

I walked outside a couple days ago and something amazing happened. The heat didn’t slap me in the face. The humidity didn’t sit on my chest like some sort of weird, invisible lead weight. (And let me tell you, in Georgia, the heat and humidity are beyond oppressive. The second…

Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other

I’ve been working on my health this last year or so, trying everything from a vegetarian diet to visiting an acupuncturist to help with muscle tension and headaches. All of it has been just wonderful. But the elephant in the room — the thing I still needed to…

Celebrity or Not, You Matter to the MS Community

Christina Applegate, star of classic ’90s films like “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” and TV shows like “Married with Children,” announced last week that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 49. She didn’t share much beyond that, only that it’s been “a tough road” since…

Being Prepared Can Help Us Succeed

This week, my sons returned to school. Both are now in middle school, and let me tell you, this freaks me out deeply as a mother. When we adopted them, the younger boy was only beginning kindergarten, and today, I sent him into the unknown hallways of sixth grade. (Granted,…

You Don’t Always Need to Fix It

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most people don’t like a problem without a solution. If something isn’t working correctly, they’d rather fix, alter, or throw it out and start all over than live with “wrongness.” Now, that’s great when it involves garage door openers, burnt-out lightbulbs, or shoddy…

Making the Most of Both Good Days and Bad

If you have multiple sclerosis, no matter how long you’ve lived with it, you likely know it can be unpredictable. It can hit in weird ways you’re not expecting, even after years of learning how to deal with it. For instance, last Saturday, my family of four and some friends…

Questions to Ask Your Doctor If You’re Newly Diagnosed

Illustration of doctor an patient talked
We consulted some of our community contributors at MS News Today and came up with 12 questions people should consider asking their doctors after an MS diagnosis.

Check it out by clicking here.

Expert Voices

menopause | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | illustration of woman talking with doctor

Expert Voices is a monthly series where we ask experts the questions our MS community is most interested in. Check out the entire collection below: 

Financial Planning

Diet and Nutrition

Managing Fatigue

Sex and Intimacy Issues

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Treatments and Cure Research

Vitamin D

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 audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here