Columns

Shining Through Boundaries

I spent the majority of my life as a people pleaser. From the time I was young, I equivocated “yes” with likability; please and be pleased. As the years passed, compromising my own needs became second to meeting those of others. While I genuinely enjoy…

Here’s How to Honor the First #ProgressiveMSDay

We’re all familiar with the yearly observance of MS Awareness Week and MS Awareness Month to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis. Considering that so many rare diseases, such as Graves’ disease or Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, go largely unnoticed, the MS community is blessed with its fair…

Moving Forward After MS Awareness Month

We are approaching the conclusion of National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, but those of us with MS know that the responsibility to educate is unending. I was pondering what my topic would be this week. As awareness month exits, I want to proffer an encouraging message. This…

Is MS Keeping Me from Smelling the Roses?

For years, my wife and I have disagreed about smells. She smells something and I don’t. I tell her that her nose is too sensitive. She tells me to get out the air freshener. Over the 37 years since my MS diagnosis, this conversation has happened thousands of times.

My Unique Primary Progressive MS Diagnosis

I have lived with the diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) for almost eight years. For many years prior to that diagnosis, I was confused by what could be causing my abnormal gait, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, and trouble concentrating. During that time, I completed many diagnostic tests, dealt…

Keep Taking the Steroids!

Six months ago, I was a reasonably svelte 14 and a half stone. I’m not sure how I managed it, but it was certainly before pitting edema wrapped itself around my shins and calves like bulbous sacks of wineskins. I managed to get on the scales a while…

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Get Our MS Medications

I got a phone call from my MS One to One nurse, Lynn, today. One to One is the patient support service provided by Sanofi Genzyme for patients on the biotech company’s MS disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and Aubagio (teriflunomide). Lynn called to ensure that all…

Navigating Ups and Downs with MS

Today, I ate a dog treat. I was eating cookies from a nearby bowl when I broke a dog treat in half for Abby. Instead of putting the other half in my pocket, I put it in my mouth and chewed. Wondering how the brand could screw up so…

Modafinil or Amantadine: Who Decides?

Fatigue. That No. 1 symptom that a large majority of people with multiple sclerosis are affected by. MS fatigue. It can be crushing, numbing, and stop the hardiest person in their tracks. I know MS fatigue all too well because it affects me all the time. Combating MS…

Teach Your Children Well

As an advocate for the multiple sclerosis community, people often ask me what it’s like being a mother while living with MS. My quick response is, “Joyous!” But I understand the questioner is looking for something more. They want to know how to…

‘I’m Tired’ Does Not Mean ‘I Quit’

I made an unexpected appearance at the emergency room this week, which culminated in a short hospital stay. I have been ailing for weeks, making the conscious choice to live each day as best I can. Managing pain and combating emotions and illness in everyday life is difficult, as…

Just Do It

Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a 1997 essay aimed at graduates. In it, she shared many practical nuggets of wisdom such as “Floss,” and thoughts like, “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the…

Into the Woods

Well, I’m usually fairly upbeat, but this time, it’s going to be beyond me. We’ve all had relapses — I think I’m in the fitting cliché of being on my last legs. I can, on a good day, transfer on my own from the bed to my trusty…

Earworms and Multiple Sclerosis

Sometimes they are called “sticky songs,” better known by their common name “earworms.” Earworms are those musical phrases that get stuck in our head that we hear over and over. It’s much like those worms underground that burrow and twist and turn, constantly finding new territory to inhabit.

Why I Climb Trees

In March 2003, I found myself suddenly unable to drive or even walk a straight line through the house. MS had arrived with several active lesions in my brain, including one in the brainstem, which affected my balance and speech and created significant limitations in my usual activities. One…

Living Just for Today

Last week, I wrote about the incessant emotions of MS and chronic illness. This week, I will focus on living in the present moment. Remaining on a quest to continue the depiction of real life with MS for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month 2018, this week’s column will…

MS Can Be a Kids’ Disease, Too (Part 2)

After I wrote about pediatric MS earlier this month, a reader commented: “I think it would behoove your editorship to follow up to address to audiences…symptoms that typify the early-age demographic.” That’s a good point. So, I drilled deeper into how MS is handled in people younger than…