A Time for Decision-making

One of my favorite moments in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” involves a stolen fountain pen. If you’ve not read — or better yet, seen — the play, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a story about making it big in business and losing yourself in the process.

Introducing My ‘MS Popeye-Spinach Hypothesis’

For any younger readers, and by that I’m guessing 45 and under, may I present the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man. He got himself out of scrapes by downing a can of spinach, which supercharged his muscles. There was none of that nonsense of de-stalking raw young leaves…

When an Unexpected Driving Test Causes a Pseudo-flare

My tough day started when Brenda asked, “Why do you use that scooter?” Brenda was sitting behind a desk at the Charlotte County Tax Collector’s Office in Florida, where my wife, Laura, and I hoped that transferring our driver’s licenses from Maryland to Florida would be an easy chore.

MS and Boxing: Being Clever With My Pants

After last week’s column about my neurologist declaring that I now have secondary progressive MS, a certain ennui has seeped into me. While this isn’t surprising, it’s also surprising, because I’m on the mood-altering drug fluoxetine. OK, fluoxetine is a regular antidepressant, but “mood-altering” sounds so much cooler.

When in Doubt, Make a Mixtape

Spring is here, a time we’d normally be out and about getting some sun and recharging our souls after a long winter. I certainly look forward to working in the yard, hiking, having outdoor picnics, and taking the occasional road trip. But this isn’t a typical year, is…

Slipping Over the Event Horizon Into SPMS

Isn’t it just like me to start my column with a physics analogy that is already confusing? Please stick with me, as all will be revealed. My point is that if a black hole is big enough, you might slip through its event horizon without even noticing. There would…

This New Tool Can Help You Choose Which DMT to Use

Sometimes it seems as if people with MS are asked to flip a coin to make what’s arguably the most important decision about their treatment: which disease-modifying therapy (DMT) to use. More than 20 DMTs are approved in the U.S., similar to what’s available in the rest of the…

Addressing Some Misconceptions About Hypnotherapy

After speaking about hypnotherapy recently with a few people I know, I realized that many of them didn’t know that hypnosis can be used to manage stress and anxiety. One person remarked, “What do I need to say to get you to quack like a duck?” Well, it’s not like…

You’ve Got to Hide Your MS Away

In honor of MS Awareness Week, observed in the U.K. April 19–25, the MS Society released results of a survey about the barriers that keep multiple sclerosis patients from sharing their health status. Multiple Sclerosis News Today‘s Mary Chapman reported that a whacking one-third have stayed silent about their diagnosis.

What Do the Oscars and Our COVID-19 Response Have in Common?

What could the Academy Awards and COVID-19 possibly have in common for people with disabilities? Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you. First, the Academy Awards. The documentary “Crip Camp,” about a summer camp for young adults with disabilities, was up for an Oscar. Its co-director and co-star, Jim LeBrecht,…

To Love Living Things, and to Let Them Go

In her poem “In Blackwater Woods,” Mary Oliver concludes with 10 breathtaking lines: “To live in this world/ you must be able/ to do three things:/ to love what is mortal;/ to hold it/ against your bones knowing/ your own life depends on it;/ and, when the time comes…

My Own ‘Left Hand of Darkness’

I was listening to a BBC podcast recently titled “The Sinister Hand,” about the history of left-handers. It seems that in medieval times, left-handedness was associated with sorcery. (What wasn’t?) It was only relatively recently that left-handed children were no longer forced to write right-handed — sometimes even…

Let’s Treat Older MS Patients With More Respect

As comic Rodney Dangerfield might have said, older people with MS “just don’t get no respect.” By older, I mean those of us who are 55 and up. By respect, I mean from researchers and some neurologists. So, as I approach my 73rd birthday, I have to tip my cap…

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