Columns

Medical Marijuana Could Mean Trouble for Gun Owners

I’ve written before about medical marijuana (MMJ) and its use by those with MS. I’ve also written about how MS affects gun ownership. This column is about both MMJ and guns. Thirty-one states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use.

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…

MS Hope or MS Hype? This Writer’s Dilemma

Let’s say there’s an MS study reporting that researchers have discovered a substance that seems to prevent nerve cell damage. But they’ve only studied this on mice. Or, there’s another study that claims that something can help reduce MS pain, but the study involves only 19 patients. Or, an…

Down for the Weekend: World Cup Fatigue

Hi, everyone. I’m absolutely exhausted. And it’s all the fault of the World Cup. Not from any sort of secondary exercise while watching games, but because it’s given me the week off work. England lost their last group match to Belgium on June 29. Their last 16 game…

Big ER Bills for Little ER Visits

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column about medical bills suggesting that you trust, but verify those charges. A few days ago, I read about a type of emergency room fee that’s hard to trust. It’s being charged by many hospitals, seemingly without consistency, and it can…

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…

‘Low T’ and MS Risk in Men

Statistics show that men are three times less likely than women to develop multiple sclerosis. Research has shown that men also develop MS at a later age than women and that their disease is more progressive. Could this all be related to “low T,” or low testosterone? Researchers…

Personality Test, Smershonality Test

Recently, I was required to take a “quick” 100-question test to determine what my Enneagram number is. (I’m a 5, in case you’re curious.) These questions — answered by clicking “agree” or “disagree” — weren’t complicated in any sense of the word. I honestly think I learned more…

‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’

I started out in my professional life as a journalist. This only lasted about eight years and feels like a lifetime ago — which it was. Though I was not a news hound, I learned to smell a story. Last week’s column, “A Tale of Two Halves,” juxtaposed bad MS…

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.

MS Patients Can Dress For Success

When you have MS, finding a way to dress for success means more than just looking sharp. It means dressing to both look good and feel good about yourself while wearing clothing that’s easy to wear. Finding those clothes takes a little more effort than simply going into a…

You Can Decrease Your MS Symptoms: Just Add Water

The benefits of drinking water (H2o) are many — and not only in the summer months. If you have multiple sclerosis (MS) drinking an adequate amount of water is essential. I know what you are thinking: “More water intake, equals more trips to the bathroom.” That is what used…

A Tale of Two Halves

For those reading this in the U.S., part of what I’m going to write will likely be incomprehensible, as it involves the World Cup. That’s football, not soccer. The rest of the world is in thrall to this sporting event. Even if your country doesn’t qualify, you grumpily…

Do People Think Your MS Problems Are All in Your Head?

Have you ever had a friend, spouse, or even a doctor tell you that you’re imagining your MS pain, your fatigue, or even your sexual problems? “You’re not trying,” they might say. Or, “You just need to exercise.” It happens all the time for many of us, and it’s…

The Importance of a Positive Support Network

In July 2017, I participated in a Facebook chat for MS News Today entitled “The Importance of Support And Positive Influences.” The chat was created to prompt a discussion on the necessity of support and resources for a person living with MS or other chronic illnesses. And now…

Heat and Humidity’s Effects on My MS

When I awaken and start each day, I feel like a hygrometer (a humidity-monitoring device). My body is so in tune to any rise in humidity that I can visualize a red line slowly climbing higher and higher. With each rise of the red humidity line, I can feel…

Mind Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes my thoughts are as unruly and irrepressible as Mickey’s broomsticks in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Whether I’m worried about the tingling in my left foot or the fact it took me five minutes to remember the word “expeditor,” there’s always some…

Anyone for Golf?

A family wedding in the gardens of a grand country house some 30 minutes from Oxford sounds idyllic. And indeed it was. Not, though, for anyone in a wheelchair. A deep pebble driveway at the front was impassable. It took very strong men to drag me backward a few yards. Going…

Getting Help Paying for Your MRIs

It’s not unusual for someone with MS to have an annual MRI exam. Sometimes it’s even semiannual. And it’s not cheap. According to the website Healthcare Bluebook, an MRI of the brain, with and without contrast, can cost you anywhere from $826 to $4,780, depending on where you live…

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…

Is Your MS Ready for a Disaster?

Hurricane season began on June 1 in the Atlantic region. For people living along the coast, as I do, it’s time to plan for moving quickly. For people with mobility problems, planning is essential since, as you know, moving isn’t something that we do quickly. I wrote…

My MS Medical Bills: Trust, but Verify the Charges

“Trust, but verify” was a key concept during the U.S.-Soviet nuclear negotiations of the 1980s. “Trust,” President Ronald Reagan would say, “but verify” that what’s being said is actually being done. I apply that same concept to my bank, trusting that it has all of my checking account information…