Moving Madness Means MS Stress

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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We’re moving and I’m stressed. That’s redundant, I know, as moving is simply stress on wheels — which isn’t good for someone with MS.

Studies have shown a link between stressful life events and MS exacerbations, known as flares. Researchers, if you’re reading this, please keep a watch on me now, as I’m currently a symphony of stress!

My wife, Laura, and I are in the process of moving from a two-bedroom-plus-den condo to a two-bedroom apartment just three hours away. We’re also moving to a two-bedroom-plus-den condo 1,200 miles away. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

My MS limits my ability to help very much, and Laura has her own health problems. But we thought that if we progressed slowly, we’d be OK. We gave ourselves over two months to find a mover, pack many of our things ourselves, and move in stages.

Who were we kidding?

The 3 movers

I’m a retired journalist, so I know a thing or two about researching. I dove into local community Facebook pages and asked several friends for recommendations. I narrowed it down to three candidates, each with excellent reviews, and I checked their Better Business Bureau reports. I believed any of the three could do the job.

Mover #1: This mover was recommended by a friend who knows everything there is to know about the area where we live. She’d used this mover more than once and gave him high marks. We met with him and also were impressed. He said he’d “get right back” to us with an estimate. You know where this is going. A month and three phone calls later, and still no estimate. So, we called Mover #2.

Mover #2: Asking for recommendations on Facebook and the social networking service Nextdoor turned up Mover #2. He met with us and said he could do the job. His wife and partner came by the next day to look at what needed to be packaged, and whoops, they wouldn’t be able to move a large antique model boat that we have. But we liked them, so we waited for an estimate without the boat, and then set out to find an antiques mover. I’d also set up an appointment with a third mover, but I left him a voicemail canceling the appointment when we decided to go with Mover #2.

Mover #3: Guess who didn’t get the voicemail? Mover #3 promptly arrived at our door right at the canceled time. I told him that we’d chosen someone else and apologized for the miscommunication, but then my wife asked, “Can you move that boat?” He said he could, so we asked for an estimate. He also cautioned us about Mover #2, and checking further, we found enough questionable information to decide to give the job to Mover #3. A day after that, Mover #1 finally called with an estimate. Sorry, Charlie.

It would be nice if I could have been swimming or exercising to de-stress a little during this exercise in frustration. But virus restrictions have limited what I can do, and I’ve been too busy anyway. Maybe now, with the mover issue settled, I can relax a little. Or, maybe not.

Can my stress get any worse?

Just when I thought my stress was easing, I was hit with a triple whammy: I had overlooked an insurance payment and received a notice that the policy was in danger of cancellation. Next, a man who was supposed to have fixed the air conditioning in our Florida condo reported that had he completed the job, but hadn’t. Then I got a notice in the mail that my driver’s license would be suspended in 10 days because I hadn’t returned some medical forms to the Department of Motor Vehicles — forms I never received.

So what happened, Ed?

While juggling the move, I managed to have a medical statement completed by my neurologist — I have a great neurologist with a fabulous staff — as well as getting a full eye exam, and having all of the forms sent to the DMV a week before the deadline. Naturally, the DMV people made me wait until the morning of my suspension date to acknowledge that they had received the forms. Thankfully, my license wasn’t suspended.

It took an extra day, but the air conditioning works again. Keep your fingers crossed.

The insurance was quickly paid online without penalty.

Now, the biggie: The move between Maryland locations was completed on Tuesday. And it went off almost without a hitch — just a small knob was broken off a dresser, which the movers repaired. And the cost came in under the estimate!

I’m tired, but I’m finally relaxed. Best of all, although studies say that all of this stress should have affected my MS, I’m feeling well. Maybe after 40 years of MS, my body has learned to chill, even if my mind hasn’t.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at    


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Kathleen Fulghum avatar

Kathleen Fulghum

Wishing you and your wife comfort and joy in your new homes, Ed. Thank you always for your wonderful columns!

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Thanks, Kathleen.

We're moving quickly to get unpacked and are at the "where did I pack the ...." stage.


Andrew Bailey avatar

Andrew Bailey

I know exactly what you mean! I was helped a lot by getting a packing and moving company to pack up everything in the flat and move into my new bungalow so I didn't have to touch anything

It was still pretty stressful though and not completely finished with me needing to update the utility companies but I just had a beer in a swing seat in my back garden and it was wonderful!


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