Columns

MS Presents ‘Horror Weekends’

I have always liked the odd horror movie, the odder the better. I was a bit of a fan of the trash Troma Studio mob, where their tongue was so firmly in their cheek it usually stuck right through it. For you youngsters out there, think the “Sharknado”…

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,…

Getting Something Off My Chest

May I vent, please? In the five years that I’ve been writing this column, I don’t think I’ve ever used it to get something off my chest. But I need to today. It’s about an experience I had at a restaurant the other night. My wife and I went…

The Painful Tooth: My Weekend of Agony

I’ve written about trigeminal neuralgia (TN), which entails severe facial pain, many times. Let me count the ways. Please excuse me while I go off and search through my columns. I’ll be a while. Well, it turns out I’ve written specifically about it only three times,…

Could BTK Inhibitors Be the Next Big MS Treatment?

Is orelabrutinib one of the next big MS therapies? Biogen is betting at least $125 million that it is. Orelabrutinib is an experimental oral BTK inhibitor (BTKi). BTKi’s are designed to selectively block an enzyme that’s important for the activation of B-cells and microglia. Some of those immune cells…

Focusing on What I Can Do Rather Than What I Can’t

This year, I’ve been acutely aware that my body isn’t perfect. Sometimes it doesn’t move well. Sometimes it cuts off sensation in my limbs without notice. Sometimes it gets wiped out from fatigue. Sometimes it’s like MS shakes up my head so hard, like a can of soda, that I…

‘He’s Fallen in the Water!’

Any British comedy aficionados among you will know “He’s fallen in the water” is the most famous of all the innumerable catchphrases of “The Goon Show.” That show was the root of Monty Python and every bit of the new wave of comedy that swept through our country.

It’s Not a Crime to Ask for Help When You Need It

“Do you need help?” The question came from a 30-something woman after I’d finished loading some cartons into the back of my SUV. I automatically replied, “No thanks, all done.” But lifting and loading isn’t an easy job for me. My upper body strength is good, but my legs are…

Are You Prepared for a Fall?

I sit amid the flood of carpet stain remover. My left leg is elongated as my right leg is at a jackknife. The cool of the fluid penetrates my sweats. Shock dissipates into pain. I try to move, but pain sears down toward my tailbone. I sit in the dark…

Finding Comfort in Unlikely Places: TV Medical Dramas

I have a weird secret. I’m sure it’s not the norm for someone with a chronic illness to enjoy this as much as I do, but it always occupies my free time: I love medical dramas. They leave me enthralled with their technical and medical jargon, and their portrayal of…

Down and Out in London Town

Last month, my brother-in-law finally managed to return to Thailand and his lovely wife. He’d been trapped in the U.K. for over a year due to COVID-19. Thailand has quite rightly imposed a Kafkaesque set of rules about entering the country on an extended immigrant visa. Luckily, we had…

Using Cannabis to Treat Your MS? A Word of Caution

People with MS who are using cannabis take heed: A research letter published in May in JAMA Network Open reports that calls to poison control centers about people intentionally or inadvertently using plant-based or processed cannabis products have been increasing over the past several years. Public health officials are…

I Am Proud of the Disability I Once Feared

I feared becoming disabled more than I feared multiple sclerosis. At the time of my diagnosis, I was moving about well enough. My mobility changed as my disease progressed. My severe foot drop, unsteady gait, and change in speech were impossible to ignore. My prejudice toward the disabled was…

Lockdown Blues: Well That Was a Close Shave!

Last year, winter never quite arrived, and spring kept springing up before being crushed down again. We imperceptibly melded into summer. Then the autumn leaves hung on, and hung on some more. But these days, would Mr. Sinatra have to get his lyricist to do a rewrite? Some of…

Don’t Let MS Stop You From Grandparenting

My grandson, John, turned 5 in May, and my granddaughter, Hayden, turned 7 in June. I love being their Poppy, but I wish their Poppy didn’t have MS. I was diagnosed with MS in 1980, just over a year after our son, Geoff, was born. He and our grandkids have…

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