Columns

Exercise and Benefits of an Online Personal Trainer

  We all have heard that physical activity is important for maintaining health, strength and well-being. It may be even more important for people with MS. Exercise has been shown to improve balance, strengthen brain connections, improve sleep, reduce pain, help…

She Has MS and She Just Hiked 500 Miles

Well, 460.75 miles (741.5 km), to be exact. When I wrote about April Hester in late September, the headline on my column was “She Has MS and She’s Planning to Hike 500 Miles.” Well, she did it, hiking the Palmetto Trail from Walhalla, in the South…

Still, I Am Grateful and Giving Thanks

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is only a few days away. Time truly passes quickly. The holidays are bittersweet for me; I experience both joy and unrest. I believe there are others who can relate. The holiday season can be stressful and I always try to pace myself. In…

Flu Shot or No Flu Shot for MS Patients?

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I keep seeing posts on MS social media posts asking, “should I get a flu shot?” In my honest opinion, yes, definitely! There are certainly different opinions about this, but I think that my opinion is the…

Living a Grateful Life

The road to living a grateful life is not always a smooth and paved one. There are curves and roadblocks that can send any thoughts of gratitude far off into the distance. Life is constantly changing…

Don’t Be a Turkey

Because I come from a retail family — one that, for decades, put in long hours behind cash registers and in stock rooms — Christmas is not a holiday we particularly look forward to arriving. We enjoyed it, when the day came. But often in my youth, we were…

The Case of the Worried Patient

Hypochondria grabs, and it’s very difficult to shake. I spent the past three days eliminating potential reasons for struggling more than usual. Hopefully, it was a urinary tract infection (UTI) that was causing severe lethargy. It might have been at the start; I immediately jumped on a high ph…

Airport Tips for Holiday Flyers

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so I thought it would be a good time to repeat a few of my airline travel tips and add a few new ones. Get the wait-time app Needless to say, you need to get to the airport early on busy travel…

A JC Virus Primer

There is often alarm and confusion about the JC virus, how we get it, and what it means to people with multiple sclerosis. This is my quick primer to help address these questions in a very basic way. What is the JC virus? The first person identified with this…

3 Tips for Explaining MS to Others

Face it: Understanding MS isn’t easy — even if you have it. There’s no known cause, no cure, no predictability in progression, and while there are common symptoms and manifestations, they affect everyone differently. Some symptoms come and go with no rhyme or reason and…

The Awe of Autumn: Welcoming Change

, Spring has always been my favorite season. There is something about flowers blooming, grass growing and the germination process that invigorates me. Spring reminds me that a new season is coming and it ignites hope. I am discovering that autumn deeply resonates with me as well. When I…

Thanks to Caregivers Who Share Our MS Load

The MS load we carry is heavy. Some of us, unfortunately, must carry it alone. But many of us are fortunate to have someone with whom we can share the weight. It’s National Family Caregivers Month and a new survey shows just how heavy that load can…

A Beacon of Hope Amid MS-Related Pain

Do you have pain? Although prone to subjectivity, I am certain the majority of you silently said yes. I did. I hesitated to write this, as pain, from the definition of it to the management of it, is idiosyncratic. Rather than draw hard and fast lines, I prefer to…

Ocrevus Q&A, Part 2

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on readers’ comments about Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). Read part one here. Last week, I responded to a few comments on columns regarding my personal experience with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). Here are more reader comments and my answers.

Show Your Immune System Some Love

This weekend, as I turned back the clocks, searched for my Happy Light, and stared in dismay at the first snowfall of the season, I was reminded that it is the time to give my immune system some extra love. Autumn and winter ― with their requisite cold and…

Thinking About Stopping Your MS Treatments?

Have you ever thought about stopping whatever MS treatment you’re using? I have. So has John Corboy. Corboy’s not an MS patient. Rather, he’s a researcher at the University of Colorado’s medical school. And he’s studying whether older patients, if they haven’t had a relapse for several…

The Weekend

The weekend should have started on Friday. My sister-in-law is over from France and there was the first gathering of the clan in a local hostelry. I took the sensible option of staying in as there was an even bigger do at our place on Saturday night. My…

Dealing with Disaster While Dealing with MS

Are you ready for a disaster? Wildfires in the wine country of Northern California exploded so quickly that survivors say they didn’t know they were threatened until flames were nearly at their doors. Hurricane Harvey forced more than 9,000 people into Houston’s main evacuation shelter. It…

Don’t Miss Out on Life

I love photographs and have them strewn about and framed throughout the house. From grandchildren and goldens, holidays and travels, each holds a cherished memory. I am happiest taking photos and have cultivated somewhat of a hobby doing so. As I have gotten older, I have (gratefully) discarded the…

Ocrevus Q&A, Part 1

Editor’s Note: First in a two-part series on readers’ comments about Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). I switched disease-modifying therapies and began treatment with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) in June. I previously wrote about my reasons for switching, my experiences with the first two doses, and more recently, about any…

On the Other Hand: Leaning Left With MS

Some months ago my wife and I went out for dinner at our favorite sushi place. As is frequently the custom at sushi restaurants, the table setting included chopsticks. No forks. I’ll be painfully honest here: We are both woefully unskilled at using…

Invisible Illness Awareness: The Struggle Continues

Last week was Invisible Illness Awareness Week, which ran from Oct 14-20. Awareness weeks are designed to bring attention to certain conditions, issues and situations. They are directed at creating consciousness and disseminating information. Sadly, invisible illness is a subject that needs much more attention. Those of…

MS Relapses May Be Significantly Under-Reported. Duh.

This comes as no surprise to me and probably not to you. MS patients may not always contact their healthcare providers when they’re having a relapse. This information comes via a pair of surveys that were released at the recent ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS conference in Paris. In the first,…

Life’s Curveballs

Life is full of curveballs, with a mix of sliders, split-fingered fastballs, and sinkers thrown in. And, it is the curveballs that can be the hardest to take. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the major “curveballs” thrown into my life; I didn’t see it coming and it…