You've Got Some Nerves - A Column By Judy Lynn

You've Got Some Nerves

Judy has been living with MS for 13 years. She remains amazed at the array of symptoms that this chronic degenerative disease of the nervous system may cause. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is reported to have said, “The only thing constant is change.” Judy has found this to be particularly true living with MS. She will explore the varied MS symptoms and manifestations, and most importantly, the rainbow of creative adaptations, coping mechanisms, and remedies available for MS patients to try.

2 Great Things that Go Great Together: Calcium and Magnesium

While Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the true “two great things that go great together,” calcium and magnesium take first place for those with MS. Many proponents of special diets for MS encourage the consumption of foods high in this mineral dynamic duo (along with other vitamins needed for…

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…

Carded at Costco

I was carded while at Costco with my son just before Christmas. Normally, I’m flattered when asked for ID, but this time was different. The request wasn’t from the cashier as my vodka rolled by, snug between the peppermint cocoa and persimmons. No, the request came from a police…

Hopping Down the Symptom Trail: Myofascial Release

It seemed to be such a harmless rabbit hole. After last week’s column on Rolfing — and a response divided between those who thought it sounded like terrible torture and those who agreed it was torture but they liked it — I decided to explore some other ideas…

Rolfing and MS: Bliss or Pain?

Invisible symptoms can create an isolating experience for people with MS. I recently was reminded of the power that lies in finding community and shared experience. Last month’s column discussed the chronic tightness and pain I experience. I then explored whether fascia may play a role in this…

Free Your Fascia!

One of the most frustrating aspects of my MS is a frequent feeling of tightness and pain. The sensations may be in my arms, legs, or even in the trunk of my body in the form of the “MS hug.” Gabapentin helps to keep the pain…

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…

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…

Friendships and MS

Maintaining friendships can be challenging for those with a chronic illness. It may be difficult for friends to understand the changes that take place because of MS. Some changes are quite sudden and visible, others sneak in slowly. Increased fatigue or pain, I find, are most difficult for friends…

MS and Employment: Asking for Reasonable Accommodations

For those of us in the workforce, our MS can sometimes make a workday challenging. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows for an employee to request reasonable accommodations from their employer. Included in the act are three broad accommodation categories. One focuses on the hiring process, and…

Sensory Overload Occurring: Please, Do Not Disturb!

The past two weekends found me venturing off on my own for some mini-road trips. Two weeks ago, I volunteered at Bike MS a hundred miles away from my house. I interacted with others during the day and then returned alone and happy to a quiet, peaceful hotel room.

Will You Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Your MS?

The role that diet and lifestyle have on the course of MS is a matter of debate. There is a great deal of conflicting information on the topic, and patients may need to look beyond their neurologist or primary care physician to create a dietary approach to MS.

Building Toward Optimism: The ‘Tetris’ Effect

In the video game “Tetris,” players fit falling puzzle pieces together in order to create the most complete picture. As the game continues, the pieces fall faster. Creating order and cohesion out of chaos is necessary, as it is a common human desire. I never liked “Tetris,” but…

Mitigating that Pesky Canadian Particulate Matter

Last week saw much of the Pacific Northwest blanketed by smoke from wildfires in British Colombia. As I pondered the gray haze Thursday, I recalled a piece from a fellow columnist in June about air pollution and MS. In addition to MS, I also have asthma. Therefore, the health…

Cruising to Vacation Success with Adequate Preparation

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to enjoy a beautiful cruise through the inside passage of Alaska. Having done my due diligence (see “Cruising Solutions“), I was prepared with an over-the-counter medication, as well as some extra baclofen. Both were recommended by my pharmacist to help curb…

Find Your Strength and Adjust Your Mindset

The second module in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s positive psychology program, “Everyday Matters,” is called “Adjusting Our Mindset,” or “the fulcrum and the lever.” In science, the law of the lever states that power into the lever equals the power out, and the ratio of output to…

Can You Cultivate Happiness as a Habit?

Last week, I shared details of Everyday Matters, a program by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This self-directed, multi-week program uses the principles of positive psychology. The readings, lessons, and exercises need not be completed in a particular order, but I am going to start my exploration of…

Taming Grumpy Gut

Many people with MS experience symptoms related to digestion. According to the Pittsburgh Institute for MS Care and Research, “Nearly two-thirds of MS patients have at least one GI symptom that persists for 6 months or more.” Some of the most common problems are dysphagia (trouble swallowing), heartburn,…

The Hidden Costs of Multiple Sclerosis

MS is sneaky. It is expert at evading detection and diagnosis, and often brings a host of invisible symptoms that may come and go at random. MS also brings invisible costs — expenses beyond the obvious medications, supplements, assistive devices, and healthcare. I am not talking about externalities,…

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