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Mood and MS

Blog Summary

Those of us who have been involved in both the research and care of people with MS walk a tightrope sometimes between pointing out the severity of a problem and solving it. We want to alert our patients without overwhelming them. On Thursday, I attended a session on depression and other mood disorders at the Consortium of MS Centers meeting in Seattle that really brought home how prevalent these symptoms are in people with MS. While the numbers are sobering, the message is clear: bringing this information to light can only bring us closer to finding solutions. Depression is two or more times more prevalent in people with MS than in the general population, says Dr. Scott Patten (from the University of Calgary) in his review of the studies (find his presentation here). When researchers try to find out what factors predict lower quality of life, depression gets high marks. Not surprising, since depression affects how you function at work, in school, in your social life and during recreational activities...

Made Strong by Dance

Blog Summary

I will never forget the day I knew something was seriously wrong. I was in a funk dance fitness class dancing. It was a fast paced, heart pumping, dance fitness class. I started out fine, following the warm up routine as usual. As I was learning the choreography, the right side of my body, specifically my legs, suddenly felt very heavy and weren’t moving. My head felt light...

MS Transparency: How Open Should I Be?

Blog Summary

Do I walk over and explain to the dude in the garage—the one who’s been giving me the stink eye ever since I pulled into a disabled parking spot—that, while I appear to be healthy, I actually have MS?   Do I tell my students what’s going on when I’m pressing my icy drink against my neck to cool me off while I’m teaching inside an overheated classroom, fretting about whether my MS heat sensitivity will flare up?...  

A Loss of Taste

Blog Summary

Somewhere along the way, my ability to savor certain foods has waned. Actually, it’s done more than waned. In some cases, it has warped into a bizarro situation where items I’ve long loved now suddenly taste of bitter disappointment.   What food now tastes terrible to me? My beloved morning coffee (with the exception of peppermint-flavored java), several red wines I used to adore, some marinara sauces, toasted everything bagels, and even the heartiest of sandwiches, unless they’re slathered with this spicy chipotle mayo I found...

Seeing the World Through Different Eyes

Blog Summary

Everything was just a tad off focus– like I couldn’t get my eyes to look forward no matter how hard I tried. I asked my mom for advice, not thinking anything of it. She figured it was allergies, gave me an Allegra and sent me on my way after I convinced her I didn’t need to see a doctor; I felt better after that. My eyes returned to normal, life went on. I left for college two days later. Turns out, I wasn’t fine and things did not go back to normal. About a week into my sophomore year, I woke up one morning and had no control over my left arm. I found this out when I went to put my contact lenses in the morning of my first day of work, at my first real job, and my hand shot right past my face. I thought it was weird, but assumed I was just tired or having a “me moment.” So, off to work I went...

When you gotta go

Blog Summary

This blog was originally published on March 21, 2016 and updated on November 9, 2018.   Where’s the restroom? There are so many symptoms with MS that a bunch of them often get glanced over. The one that has been the most active for me lately is incontinence. The opposite of constipation, incontinence is where your bladder is going to empty NOW; with as little notice as possible. I never thought that at 31, I would be like my grandmother and know where every bathroom in the county is. It can be super frustrating when out of nowhere, you have to go...

I Got 99 Problems and 87 of Them are Side Effects

Blog Summary

When I was first diagnosed about 5 years ago, I was prescribed Rebif, which is a subcutaneous injection, injected 3 times a week.   Now, as if being suddenly diagnosed out of the blue at 22 years old again, I’m losing feeling in my hands, feeling like I'd lost everything I worked for previously. I now had to comprehend injecting myself 3 times a week all over again with what felt like super strong acid...

Diet Matters… and It Matters Now

Blog Summary

Greetings from ECTRIMS, the 34th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS. This is a lion of a meeting–the world’s largest gathering of researchers dedicated to MS. One thing I have noticed is how close MS researchers are getting to the real concerns of people affected by this disease. People with MS have been asking for years about diet–is there a diet that works for MS? Does what you eat matter? The work I’ve seen thus far is beginning to answer these questions (links to the scientific summaries, or abstracts, are provided below)...

Imaginary Pain

Blog Summary

The buzzing throughout my arms, hands, legs and feet had not let up for 3 full days. My annual checkup with my neurologist was just a day away, so I figured, what better timing? I practically danced into the office and was so excited to get some answers about this newfound pain. ​ Enter the man of the hour, and come to find out, it’s… all… in my head? Excuse me?...

If That Day Comes

Blog Summary

Life is tough. You get thrown curve ball after curve ball, and when you first start to play the game, you might get a black eye, a broken bone or knocked down. You get so frustrated because you just can't play like everyone else. Then one day, you dodge the ball. You catch it and throw it right back. Even if you do it your own way, you manage to play...

Helping Others to Understand

Blog Summary

“I’m exhausted.”   “Oh, me too! I know exactly how you feel! I went to bed really late and haven’t had my coffee yet!”...