Learn Quickly about Multiple Sclerosis–All in One Place

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                                        Need Easy and Accurate Direction?

Confused? Afraid? Newly diagnosed? Think you or someone you know might have MS but don’t know where to start? Weird things going on with your body and you don’t know what to do? Your neurologist is not helpful or available? You are lost in cyberspace trying to get info?

Since I have lived with MS since 1980 and have been involved with the MS Community for almost thirty years, I know this disease inside and out. Seeing a great need to have a lot of credible “What-to-know—What to Do” MS information all in one place, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. It now exists, and the positive feedback I have received from people has been equally overwhelming and gratifying.

I can help in two ways:

My Book: Managing MS: Straight Talk From a Thirty-One Year Survivor

I wrote a simplified, practical, all-in-one self-help guidebook for managing and understanding MS to help others dealing with this invisible, unpredictable, disabling disease. Within hours, you will gain knowledge and support so you can take action, which will reduce your fears.

Recently I received this email, one of many:

“OMG what a fantastic book in many ways. I want to give it to everyone I know so that they can understand it from the inside. Your section on invisible symptoms is fantastic. Everyone needs to read this book. Thank you, Debbie.”

Why should someone read THIS book? (Click here)

There are many books about multiple sclerosis; but I like to point out these things about mine:

• I felt it crucial to make it an easy read using a tone, words and expressions that would enable the reader to feel comfortable. Like I am talking at the kitchen table with them. Living with MS is frightening; one of my objectives was to help reduce the fear.

• Living with MS is not easy and is very complicated in many ways: the symptoms, the treatments, the medical professionals, relationships with people, the emotions, and the advancing disabilities. Thus, another objective of mine was to offer guidance and tips for managing these things in a manner that is easy to understand—like an instruction manual. I strived to make it compact, informative, and inspiring.

• This guidebook is a collaboration of both my experiences and those with peers, professionals, and others that I interacted with about MS in for decades.

• My manuscript had been read and endorsed by health care professionals in different fields that I believe lends credibility: An MS specialist neurologist, an internist, a MS physical therapist, and nurses.

• Though I share personal experiences, it is NOT an autobiography, full of medical terminology, nor does it contain the latest breakthrough drug or study.

WHO should read this book? Anyone who might have MS, has been diagnosed with MS, family, friends, or people who deal with MS patients such as doctors/healthcare personnel.

Diane Perry, NPC, AT Consultants in Internal Medicine in Glendale stated:
“As a nurse practitioner, the book opened my eyes to the effects of the disease on my patients’ lives and their needs. This is not a textbook read.”

Carol Daily, CRNP MSN, in her review said “This book should be given to every person having MS, I encourage any MS organization, medical staff, family or friend to do so and to read it also, especially the medical staff, (so you guys can give better advice).”

I encourage you to check out reviews on Amazon.

My Website DebbieMS: A Wealth of Info in One Place

I counsel, write, educate, research, and advocate awareness/understanding of MS through my website www.DebbieMS.com and other social media. In addition to info about my book Managing MS: Straight Talk…, the website includes my background/credentials, self-help/educational videos on a wide variety of topics, links to my 80+ MS Blog articles, an extensive list of helpful resources/articles, and other activities I engage in to help persons dealing with MS.

I continue to add to it, and especially use twitter and various MS Facebook group sites to share current research and developments about MS on an ongoing basis. People can also write to me through my site and ask me anything.

Please go to my website and check it all out. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain!

www.DebbieMS.com
Author/MS Counselor/Living with MS

 

**Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do you Manage MS?

“Want some help?”

Everybody wants a cure for MS, to halt the progression of it, and restore the damage it causes to us. But what do you do in the meantime until those things happen?

You manage your MS effectively.

If you ask people with MS how they manage it, most would respond by saying what treatments/meds they are taking and then add that they may exercise, do yoga, etc.

While this is true, it’s only a small part of a big answer. Everything about MS is complicated: the diagnosis, the symptoms and relapses, treatments, health team support, relationships, the explanation…  ALL of these things have to be managed effectively in order to survive MS.

One who manages their MS effectively is also helping to control their symptoms, relapses and the course and thus progression of their case. Yes, let me repeat that– One who manages their MS effectively is also helping to control their symptoms, relapses and the course and thus progression of their case.

I know, and I know countless others who know. Beginning in 1980, I’ve lived with it for 34 years, and have been actively involved in the MS community for nearly thirty years. An ordinary person of moderate means, I went through motherhood, had a career I had to eventually give up, managed a household, and enjoyed life.

In a nutshell, these are the main objectives in managing MS:

1. Prevent sickness/infections, physical problems, and long-term chronic stress.
Why?  Because any of these will trigger a relapse. And relapses usually result in progression and nervous system damage.

2. Take care of  your body in all ways to be healthy.
This includes getting enough sleep, exercise, eating sensibly, managing stress, being mentally and emotionally happy, etc. This also includes things like weight watching, no smoking, etc.

Why?  Staying healthy keeps one’s resistance up to prevent getting sick (thus preventing relapses) as well as keeping symptoms from intensifying. In addition, maintaining wellness helps prevent your body from getting other serious problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, poor circulation…

3. Carefully choose and monitor your treatments.
While drugs are often helpful for treating symptoms, relapses and slowing progression of MS, there are downsides.  First, one must remember that all drugs have side effects that add stress and other impairments to the body. Second, MS is a life sentence; one may live decades until a cure is discovered to halt progression or restore damage. Every drug taken is passed though the liver and has other risks. There is not a treatment that exists today that totally halts progression, relapses, or improves symptoms.

4. Use a 2-prong approach when managing symptoms.
In addition to using medications, there are SO many ways that MS symptoms can be managed non-medicinally—pain, spasticity, bladder issues…  Often, using a combination of using medicinal and non-medicinal means together can be helpful as well. For example, I take baclofen and do stretching exercises daily to reduce my spasticity.

In addition, alternative non-medicinal therapies  have been successful like yoga, acupuncture, massage, pilates, etc. to help with symptoms.

Managing MS effectively requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and support. It’s hard, it takes time, requires change, but it works.  However, learning to managing MS is a daunting task because we know that no two MS cases are alike and the disease is so unpredictable. Furthermore, because there is so much information available from so many sources, one can become overwhelmed and confused.

Want some help?

My book “Managing MS: Straight Talk…” is now available on eBooks for only $2.99 . You can also check out my website below for oodles of info—articles/resources with links, videos, my MS blog of nearly seventy articles, my credentials… The information is accurate, easy to understand, and concise.

My personal mission is to help others dealing with MS, and these two tools—my book and my website—will definitely help you with something. There is nothing to lose, and I guarantee something to gain!

 

**Video:  “How to Manage MS: Two Tools”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iliPH66JCaw

www.DebbieMS.com
Author/MS Counselor/Living with MS

Where and How to get Your MS Information

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                                                  “Tips and Cautions”

The upside of the internet and social media is that mounds of information about MS are available immediately with the stroke of a few keys and searches. Folks need as much knowledge that they can get to help them understand and handle this complicated disease.

The downside of the net–besides being overwhelming–is that one has to be very careful with the validity of the source and information of what is read. I read discussions between MSers on Facebook, other social media, and MS Association sites and am concerned by how much info is misleading, incorrect, and cause for fear. Bad information causes bad decisions.

1. Understand which treatments/drugs help symptom improvement.

While it is gratifying that DMTs (Disease-Modifying Therapies) are reducing relapses for many MSers, participants in some discussions talk about how their symptoms improved when they were taking a certain DMT.

This is not true. Here is what one MS specialist-neurologist stated:

“The disease modifying medications do not directly help with symptoms in MS. these medications are to delay disability, slow progression and some can have improvements on MRIs. I can tell you that I have seen people in my clinic that had been doing well for years and so didn’t start any medications. But, then they had an attack that hit them quite hard. Then they wanted to go on a medication, “to get better. I told them that the medications are to keep from getting worse and not to make one better.”(see Source #1 below)

Now, there ARE drugs to directly and successfully treat symptoms (e.g. depression, bladder incontinence…), and relapses (e.g. steroids). These often improve symptoms and help a patient feel better, but not alter the disease course or direction of the disease itself.

2. No treatment exists today that will stop the disease activity/progression and damage completely, or reverses it. (see Source #2 below)

Recently, I followed a discussion on FB about stem cell treatments that miraculously accomplished this for them.  Most of the participants that had the procedure were diagnosed within the past two-three years. These participates probably did not know their personal pattern of relapses; it’s not uncommon to lose one’s sight or have impaired mobility for a long stretch of time in their initial relapses. Their recovery was more likely due to the relapse being over and they’re being back into remission with little residual, which is very common in the early years of the disease.

Furthermore, it takes a while for a patient to understand their own case of MS and how their body responds to a variety of things—both medicinal and non-medicinal. Nowadays, it is even more difficult since a newly-diagnosed person during their first couple of years are receiving DMTs and drugs for relapses and symptoms all at the same time. What is doing what?

3. Be careful with reading statistics, study results, etc.

I worked a number of years in my professional jobs doing financial analyses and market research. One of the things I know from that experience is that conclusions of studies can be misleading by what numbers are used and how numbers are presented. I’ve become quite the cynic about this.

For example, one might read “according this study, 50% of patients using XYZ showed a 38% reduction in…” How many people were used in the study, what were their characteristics, how long did they take XYZ, what were their side effects, who did the study, etc. You have to dig deeper, be cautious, use common sense and talk to your professionals when you hear something of interest and want to pursue it (like trying a new medication).

How would you feel if you discovered that a study was based on eight people?

4. When gathering information, consider the following:

• Use common sense and logic.
• If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Listen to your gut, not what you want to hear.
• There is no cure, and if something says you will be cured, throw it away. You can manage MS and even control it in many ways, but there is no cure yet.

5. What are good Sources of Information?

MS associations and Pharmas are good sources of information that can be trusted for acquiring basic MS knowledge about the disease itself, the symptoms, current research/events that are happening, and treatments that are available. They also can be helpful in providing programs and forums for people dealing with MS to get together and interact.

Where to use caution?

• When listening/reading information that MS associations, Pharmas, and neurologists present statistical information about study/treatment results. They all recommend DMTs as the first line of defense, and one has to be careful of taking this information at face value. Re-read #3 above, and know that numbers/statistics can be arranged to project just about anything. Dig deeper into what you are told. You may be surprised.

For example, a current starting point to get specific data on DMT’s is Source #2 below. And read closely. On Page 13, the colleagues point out that 50% of persons diagnosed will have “benign MS”. People with benign MS will have an Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS)<3 after 10 years.  After 20 years they found while 51% remained benign, 21% had progressed to EDSS >6 and 23% had converted to SPMS.

The point? Stats like these could help a patient weigh their options more carefully.

• A standard line of advice is “consult with your doctor.” Do you trust your doctor? How experienced is your doctor with MS? Does your doctor listen to you and talk with you, respect your questions and doubts? If the answer is no to any of these, it’s a red flag. Remember that doctors get kickbacks, and truthfully are limited to prescribing drugs and giving referrals. Get second and even third opinions.

• Social media sites are wonderful for sharing information and feelings with other peers, but remember that two-thirds of effective communication is through body language. There is no eye contact, no voice to hear, etc. that can make judgment of people difficult. Learn the background of the people you engage with. If reading an MS blog, make sure it is a credible, respected and experienced person that is doing the writing.

Here is a link to my Resources/Links page on my website that is quite comprehensive, not overwhelming, and judged by many to be trusted http://debbiems.com/links-resources_271.html . (You can check out my background, experience and credentials in other sections of my site.)

(Sources)
#1 The NPR Diane Rehm Show (9/24/2012) aired “Diagnosing, Treating and Living with MS.” A panel of experts—neurologists/MS Specialists including a doctor who has MS—answered audience questions about diagnosing, treating and living with multiple sclerosis.

#2 The Use of Disease-Modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis: Principles and Current Evidence http://bit.ly/1oEnTqY  September, 2012

www.DebbieMS.com
Author/MS Counselor/Living with MS

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Important Things Others Should Know about Chronically ill People

“An Educating Tool”

I was in the middle of writing a blog about what folks with MS really need from others when I came across this pin I found on Pinterest. What an extraordinary pin to share with my peers!

Because I still look so good after all these years and rarely complain, people around me sometimes still don’t seem to understand my difficulties since MS is invisible, unpredictable, and interfering. And it is probably because I am so good at the way I manage this disease, despite the fact that I use a wheelchair. I make it look so easy, when the truth is, it can be a real bitch.

For people who are just learning about how to live with a person with MS or who is chronically ill, a copy of this will be a good, educating tool.

“People with chronic pain and illness want everyone in their lives
to know these important things about them…”


1. Don’t be upset if I seem on edge. I do the best I can every day to be “normal”. I’m exhausted and sometimes I snap.

2. I find it very hard to concentrate at time for a lot reasons. Pain, drugs, lack of sleep… I’m sorry if I lose focus.

3. Letting my loved ones and friends down by cancelling plans is heartbreaking to me. I want more than anything to be as active as you and do the things I used to do.

4. My health can change daily. Sometimes hourly. There are a lot of reasons this happens. Weather, stress, flare-ups…I can assure you that I hate it as much as you do.

5. I don’t like to whine. I don’t like to complain. Sometimes I just need to vent. When this happens, I am not asking for pity or attention. I just need an ear to bend and a hand to hold.

6. During rough times, I find it hard to describe how bad it is. When I say “I’m fine” and you know I am not, it’s okay to ask questions. Just be prepared if the flood gates open because “I’m fine” is often code for “I’m trying to hold it together, but having a rough time. I’m on the edge.”

7. If I am hurting bad enough to tell you about it without being asked, please know that it’s REALLY bad.

8. When you reach out to me with suggestions to help me feel better, I know that you mean well. If it was as simple as popping a new pill, eating differently or trying a different doctor, I’ve most likely already tried it and was disappointed.

9. All I truly want from you is friendship, love, support and understanding. It means everything to me.

10. When someone gives me a pep talk, I understand the sentiment. Chronic illness just doesn’t go away. I wish it did, too! I appreciate your wanting the best for me, but save the pep talk for the gym or the kids’ next volleyball game.

11. It hurts worse than you can possibly imagine when I’m thought of as lazy, unreliable, or selfish. Nothing is further from the truth.

12. I do a lot of silly things to distract myself because any part of my life not consumed with pain is a good part.

13. The simplest tasks can completely drain me. Please know that I do the best I can every day with what I have.

14. Come to me with any questions you may have about my condition. I love you and would much rather tell you about this face to face without judgment.

After all these years I have lived with MS, I may put this on my refrigerator at times; or give a copy of this to the forgetful numbskull or the insensitive ostrich that has their head in the sand! (Yes, I think we all have a person or two like this in our lives.) And, the next time someone says “What’s wrong with you?!” I think I will tell them to read #___.

www.DebbieMS.com
Author/MS Counselor/Living with MS

March is MS Awareness/Education Month

“Get Involved”

March 4, 2013

YOU are needed to get involved if: you have Multiple Sclerosis, someone you know has MS, are involved with MS associations, or have MS patients in your profession.

Why? Watch this video about my orange ribbon campaign http://bit.ly/YPI1Kq

How? It’s very simple. Read my MS Blog article that includes a quick summary of “What is MS” http://blog.debbiems.com/?p=113 

Orange is the color that stands for MS. You can simply wear an orange ribbon every day on your lapel/shirt, in your hair, on your purse…….or you can tie an orange ribbon on your car or put one on your house!

Want to do more? Organize something as a team. Watch this fun video to see what we did at the Arizona Chapter of the National MS Society http://bit.ly/YJxleg  .

Please start today!

www.DebbieMS.com

Take Care of Your Bladder!

“What to know – what to do.”

February 25, 2013

We are taught to take of our teeth, skin, heart, weight and so on every day. But our bladder, too?

Yep. We don’t generally think about the bladder until something goes wrong with it, like when it starts to leak or we feel that something is not working correctly “down there.” Then we have to figure out how to fix the problem.

To start, everyone—whether they have MS or not—should know about urinary tract infections and steps to take to prevent them. That’s because they are easier to get than many people think, and they do not go away on their own.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)

The primary function of the bladder is to serve as a reservoir to store urine that is produced when the kidneys filter waste products from the blood. Most UTI’s occur when bacteria enter through the urethra and stick to the bladder wall. And most UTI’s are caused by bacteria from the colon and rectal area. Once there, the bacteria will multiply rapidly.

Women are more prone to UTI’s than men due to their short urethra, a tube from the bladder to the urinary opening of the body. Since it is only about an inch long, there is less of a barrier to the entry of bacteria—so something like sexual activity increases their risk. Menopause also is a risk factor because the reduced level of estrogen allows an overgrowth of bacteria of the urinary opening.

What to do to help prevent a UTI:

• Keep the private area clean and dry. Always wipe yourself from front to back thoroughly, not back to front. If protective pads are used for discharges or leakage, change them and clean yourself often. Moisture between the legs is a breeding ground for bacteria.

• Drink plenty of water all day long—don’t restrict fluid intake. A high daily urine volume will wash out bacteria in the bladder. A low daily urine volume encourages UTI’s by failing to wash out invading bacteria; it also can cause stone formation and dries out the feces. You know if your fluid intake is good if the color of your urine is very light in color.

• Keep a high level of acidity in your bladder reservoir—this will inhibit growth of bacteria. How? Take 500-1000 mg. of vitamin C daily. (Do NOT eat or drink oranges or other citric fruits for this purpose as these actually increase the alkalinity of the bladder!) Many resources will tell you to drink cranberry juice, but I prefer not to drink the extra calories since vitamin C accomplishes the same thing. There is also a cranberry supplement available called TheraCran, but it is pricier than Vitamin C.

• Make sure your bladder is as empty as possible when you urinate. Don’t hold your urine for an extended period of time—when you have to go, go!

So how do you know if you have a UTI? Here are signs, of which some or all can occur:

 cloudy urine
 odor to the urine
 blood in the urine
 burning sensation with or without urinating
 urgency, frequency of urination
 fever

If any of the above signs appear, call your doctor immediately to have your urine checked. An antibiotic is necessary to eliminate the infection and possible further complications. Once there is a UTI, taking vitamin C, cranberry juice or consuming a lot of water will not cure it, and it won’t go away on its own.

Since this is an MS blog article, here is a special note to those with multiple sclerosis: A UTI will definitely affect your other MS symptoms as this is an infection, and if left untreated too long, will cause a flare-up and possible further complications.

Other Bladder Problems

The nerves and muscles work together in perfect coordination to control the storage of urine, signal the brain and void urine. But there are things that affect this perfect coordination, and these symptoms may happen:

• frequent urge to urinate
• frequent urination
• hesitancy in starting urination
• difficulty in keeping the urine flowing, or finish voiding
• incontinence
• nocturia—frequent voiding at night, at times without waking.

There are numerous reasons to cause these symptoms. Women sometimes have bladder issues due to pregnancies. Men may have a prostate issue. Others tend to have problems because of their age. And still others develop problems because of an illness. People with multiple sclerosis commonly have what is called a “neurogenic bladder”, whereby that perfect coordination of nerves and muscles become impaired.

The good news is that most of these types of problems are treatable under the supervision of a good urologist, by medications or other procedures depending upon the issue.
And fortunately we now live in an age when we can talk about bladder problems openly without embarrassment.

Doing nothing and just wearing Depends all the time is not a good strategy. Untreated bladder dysfunction can cause damage to the urinary tract, urinary tract infections, or damage to the kidneys. If you have multiple sclerosis, you need to see a urologist who knows about MS and neurogenic bladders, and begin to learn about bladder management as soon as possible.

Due to my MS, I had all six symptoms listed above with my bladder that started over twenty-five years ago. I found an excellent urologist who put me through several tests to examine and evaluate my bladder (dys)function. This is common practice. Then he taught me what to do using medications and self-catherization, and it changed my social and physical life immensely.

It is a process that takes time and practice but is worth it in the long run. I am really proficient at bladder management and though the damage to my bladder function is severe, I have been able to be like a normal person, and nobody would ever guess that I had problems in this area unless I told them.

I control my bladder now; my bladder doesn’t control my life!

www.DebbieMS.com

Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis

“What’s going on?—I’m so scared!”

February 5, 2013

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis is difficult. Being tested and waiting for a diagnosis is grueling for both the patient and their families. Even in this day and age, the process can take months, or even years in some cases. The stress of the testing, office visits and waiting can send someone over the edge.

I often see online posts about this subject, with an added comment like “I’m scared to death…” This always upsets me because someone or some article is not doing the job of explaining an MS diagnosis in an easy-to-understand manner.

Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis

It takes a long time to get a diagnosis because it is a process of elimination, to rule out other neurological disorders that could be causing the same type of symptoms.

The process begins with a clinical office evaluation, whereby many things can be initially noted, like your history. There are indicators that a good neurologist will check out—such as the Babinski sign (if the bottom of the foot is scraped and the big toe goes up, not down, it is an indication of a neurological disorder.) Other examples? Hyper reflexes, discoloration of the optic nerve in the eye indicating inflammation/optic neuritis, signs of imbalance or incoordination when walking…

Next come the numerous tests—MRI’s, spinal taps, EVR’s, etc to look for things such as tumors; many neurological disorders have symptoms that mimic multiple sclerosis like Lyme disease or fibromyalgia. Note: The MRI is a powerful tool, but a neurologist will not only use that particular test for an MS diagnosis as many people like to assume. Why? Because lesions may not show if an MRI is done only on the brain; an MRI should be done on the spinal cord as well to check if lesions are there. Also, sometimes spots on the MRI may look like lesions, but they may be due to another reason.

The term “multiple” in multiple sclerosis is important. Why? Multiple symptoms in multiple parts of the nervous system have to occur over multiple periods of time. My first relapse lasted ten months—I had both sensory and motor disturbances in my left arm and left leg. Mysteriously, all symptoms went away except for a slight residual in my left arm. I didn’t have my second relapse until over two years later. That time I went partially blind and I was wetting the bed. When I went back to the neurologist, I was diagnosed immediately! Bingo!—a multiple occurrence in addition to the multiple symptoms in multiple parts of my body.

Finally, a neurologist will most often not give a definite diagnosis until they are definite that it is MS.

In the meantime, what should you do while going through this evaluation and waiting game? Try to stay as healthy as possible. Take all measures you can to sleep, eat, reduce stress and keep your resistance up so that you don’t get a cold or virus. And know that having multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence or that you will end up in a wheelchair. Read on…

A Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Getting an MS diagnosis is extremely frightening. I went through it thirty-two years ago myself, and over the years I have talked to so many people about this as a trained, MS-peer counselor. The fear of the unknown is overwhelming.

Sadly, there are many misconceptions about MS that create a lot of fear. So for starters, here are some facts to clear up some common ones:

• No, MS is not fatal (though in past decades people died from complications of it such as urinary tract problems that led to kidney failure…)

• Although there is no cure, there are treatments available to help symptoms and to slow the relapses/progression of MS.

• It is not congenital (people do not directly inherit MS, though they now know that there is a genetic factor involved.)

• It is not contagious.

• Not everyone ends up in a wheelchair—in the 1980’s the estimate was 1 in 4 (25%). Today, statistics are on your side for a better future prognosis, especially with the new treatments available now and the tremendous research that is happening.

So what should a person do initially when he/she receives a MS diagnosis? These are my recommendations:

Gain as much knowledge and support from the right places. I suggest starting with the National MS Society and other National MS Associations in the beginning. But, there is so much information and so many other resources available it can become overwhelming, confusing and perhaps create more fear. Take baby steps when gathering information.

Your best source of comfort and information will be from another person who has MS, a peer. However, be selective with whom you talk to and use good judgment. Some unknown people online can cause confusion, be uninformed, misleading, and negative.

Make sure you have a good neurologist who treats many others with MS or is a MS specialist. You need to trust your doctor and feel comfortable with him/her. Also, make sure that any other specialists that you may need to see (e.g. physical therapist, urologist, etc.) understand MS and have dealt with MS patients.

Don’t freak out if you don’t get on a treatment right away–it takes time to figure out the right thing to take/do, and waiting won’t severely impact your course, for better or for worse. Keep a journal. You will start to see patterns and learn how your body acts and reacts. An easy way to do this is to use a 12-month calendar, with large blocks to jot brief notes in. It is helpful to see patterns when you are looking at a whole month at one time and easier to reference.

Remember that staying healthy is essential–getting illness/infections could trigger a relapse. MS is an autoimmune disorder; therefore the immune system is not working properly. When you get sick, you may be twice as sick and it may take twice as long to recover as compared to a “normal” person. Relapses usually result in some residual (damage). It’s a must to keep your resistance up—food, sleep, stress management…

Finally, there ARE many things a person can do to manage their MS! The biggest mistake someone with MS can do is nothing, or expecting a shot or a pill to fix everything. There is no magic pill or shot yet that you can take to make it all go away. It takes work, discipline, dedication, attitude, and the common sense to take care of yourself. MS is still a lifetime illness. Until there is a cure for multiple sclerosis, the goal is to stay healthy, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability.

I am a MS survivor as are so many others! Check out my website for more information.

www.DebbieMS.com

Office Visits with your Neurologist

“Good Advice for Being Prepared”

December 10, 2012

Not having enough time with your neurologist or feeling that you didn’t get your questions answered is a common complaint by patients today. Often we blame the doctor and his/her office but there is the other side of the story—the doctor’s!

Be Prepared!: How to make the most of office time with your neurologist… is an article worth reading. Written by Avitzur, Orly M.D., M.B.A., it was printed in the current issue of Neurology Now—the American Academy of Neurologists Magazine for Patients and Caregivers.   http://bit.ly/QSp1uH  I’m taking the liberty of sharing this via by blog, since you are my friends I am given the option by them to share this with my friends :).

Finding a neurologist that you are comfortable with, one having high credentials/reviews, and one that has a specialty in your particular chronic condition is essential. After you read this article, ask yourself: do you do this before your visit, and does the doctor respond in the way this doctor suggests?

For those of you not familiar with the magazine Neurology Now, you take a look at it online and subscribe to it for free. While it addresses many neurological disorders, I have found useful information relating to multiple sclerosis for myself. And other things like Parkinson’s disease that my friends have…

www.DebbieMS.com

Managing MS: Straight Talk…

“Why Read This Book?”

There are many books about multiple sclerosis. If you want or need to read something about this neurological disorder, I’m going to explain why Managing MS: Straight Talk From a 31-Year Survivor is THE book you should read.

I will give you my pitch that my book is unique because of its presentation, content, creditability and tone:

• MS is complicated to understand. I make it easy to understand using a “what to know—what to do” format for a wide array of subjects like symptoms, treatments, interpersonal relationships…

• It’s short, inspiring, and interesting. People who have read it so far are amazed at what they learned in the short span of only several hours it takes it read. Wonderful reviews have been received from a wide range of readers.

• People are afraid of MS. Even the sound of “multiple sclerosis” is chilling. A main objective when I wrote the book was to help reduce the fear of living with MS, no matter if you have it or not. I felt it crucial to use a tone, words and expressions that would enable the reader to feel comfortable. I clear up misconceptions about this disorder.

Managing MS is accurate. Information and resources contained within have been endorsed by a variety of health care professionals, including one of the best neurologists (MS Specialist) in Phoenix, AZ.

• I am a peer. I lived the major part of my adult life with MS and survived it. This book is not a story about me, although I do share personal experiences to explain things. It is a guidebook incorporating my experiences with thousands of people I interacted with over 25 years. I have been and continue to be a volunteer, educator, counselor, and researcher in the MS community.

• It’s affordable/ available in all formats. Even if you pick up a few tips, it’s worth it.

• There is information that is useful to those living with other chronic diseases, such as how to handle fatigue, doctors, or interpersonal relationships.

I invite you to visit my website www.DebbieMS.com  that gives much information about me, my credentials and Managing MS: Straight Talk From a 31-Year Survivor. It also includes self-help videos, weekly articles I write, other activities I engage in to help persons dealing with MS, and an email address where questions can be submitted to me. Here are some quick links within my site:

• A profile The National Multiple Sclerosis Society posted on their website this summer. http://nationalmssociety.org/online-community/personal-stories/debbie-petrina/index.aspx

• A book trailer I recently created myself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X0YErTxXbM&feature=youtu.be

• Orange Awareness Campaign for MS I created and launched (this is fun!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtMjKXP4dQU&feature=plcp

• A “Meet-the-Author” video at the bottom of the Home page on my website that discusses many aspects of MS, not just the book.  Great for “newbies.” www.DebbieMS.com

I want to emphasize that this book is about managing MS. There are many things a MSer can do to manage and control (yes, control!) both the symptoms and the course of their disease, both with and without medications. But this all takes knowledge, support, work, dedication and discipline. There is no magic pill or injection that will manage, fix or control MS. Not yet.

So if you are looking for a book about multiple sclerosis that is an autobiography, full of specific medical terminology, or containing the latest breakthrough drug or study, this is not that type of book.

www.DebbieMS.com
Author/MS Counselor/Living with MS

Give a Gift of Knowledge & Support

“A Holiday Stocking Stuffer”

November 26, 2012

Every week I write an article with substance for persons dealing with multiple sclerosis. As the holiday season is upon us, this week’s article is about giving a gift of substance to someone or even to yourself. Like a good book about a serious illness.

I wrote my book, Managing MS: Straight Talk From a Thirty-One Year Survivor, to help others dealing with MS. But Managing MS also has many chapters suitable for persons dealing with other chronic illnesses/autoimmune diseases, or for people in general who want to learn about something new.

This upbeat self-help guide is a knowledge and support tool. Acquiring more knowledge and support about something that is unknown will result in less fear, mystery and misconceptions about it. Packed with information and inspiration, Managing MS will leave the reader feeling both good and grateful in addition to the knowledge acquired– whether one does, or does not, have a serious illness or disease.

Many have told me it is a book of substance. Recently, a man approached me when I was volunteering at an MS Walk, and said he came for the purpose of meeting me. He read my book and wanted to thank me in person and sign it for him. Diagnosed just a year ago, he said it changed both his and his family’s lives. The entire staff of my PCP’s office read the book, and my PCP bought copies to give to a MS patient that would come in for an office visit.

It is a short, easy read of less than 150 pages (with resources) that would make a great stocking stuffer.

BUT…If my book is not of interest, get a book—any meaningful, inspiring book—that will give knowledge and support of a subject. It will be a worthwhile gift and a great stocking stuffer.

After all, ‘tis the season of sharing, giving, helping and hope. 🙂

www.DebbieMS.com
Book trailer    http://debbiems.com/book_278.html