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Having to Prove You’re Sick … Again and Again

For many of us, the multiple sclerosis diagnosis process was (or perhaps still is) a long, drawn-out, trying time. MS is often called a “diagnosis by elimination,” meaning that many other conditions must usually be ruled out before MS is finally settled upon. This can make for numerous batteries of tests, years of misdiagnosis, and […]

Intermittent Fasting Improves MS Symptoms

The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) has been all the rage for weight loss — most notably in the form of the 5:2 diet plan — in the past few years. Now it appears that this approach of restricting calories intermittently may also improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). A new study out of the University of Southern […]

The MS Community: We’re Global Now

It’s been a couple of weeks since World MS Day 2016, and I’m just now getting around to telling you how I spent the day (and the next few after it). Czech Republic On the day itself, my wife, Caryn, and I boarded a flight from Dublin to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. […]

‘Man Flu’ Plus MS Have Me at Death’s Door

My current bout with a recurring sinus infection is making me feel like a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodyte. It’s a simple and relatively insignificant infection; a “healthy” person would just pack a few extra tissues and get on with his day. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m a walking (well, stumbling), talking poster child for […]

Single Genetic Mutation Causes Rare Type of MS

I’ve had multiple sclerosis (MS) long enough to remember a few MS-isms that are now considered defunct. Pain, for example, was not considered an MS symptom when I was diagnosed. Now there are several types of pain recognized as associated with multiple sclerosis. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society even says, “Pain syndromes are common in […]

In Memory of Those Lost to the Battle With Multiple Sclerosis

It always bothers me a bit when I am thanked for my service in the U.S. Coast Guard on the occasion of Memorial Day. While I appreciate the sentiment, it’s Veterans Day when we celebrate and appreciate all who have served their country in the military services. Memorial Day, on the other hand, is the […]

World MS Day 2016: What It Really Means to Be Stronger Than MS

Since the moment we first grabbed at the spoon in our mother’s hand to try to feed ourselves, life has been about gaining and then maintaining a level of independence. We stood, then walked, then finally lived on our own terms. Now, my multiple sclerosis (MS) sometimes makes me feel like a toddler again, with […]

MS Changes Everything, but Everything Was Going to Change Anyway

In 1970, our sleepy little town on the edge of the North Atlantic had not a single restaurant, and no tourists to feed anyway. Today, we are Ireland’s No. 1 “foodie town,” and we can feel more like a tourist town with a farming and fishing problem than the other way around. That change came about […]

How My ‘Sick’ Friends Help Me Get On With Life

I have a lot of sick friends — and I’m talking about their wonderfully off-center, mildly deranged, caustic senses of humor. Many of those “sick” friends are also ill. I’m off this afternoon to have a cuppa with an acquaintance from our town who, since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) this past winter, has […]

How Do You Describe Your MS Eye Problems?

A few years ago, I wrote a cheeky little blog listing the 12 things I’d learned from a dozen years of living with MS. In it, I quipped that “someone should write a symptom thesaurus for MS.” Well, the response was strong and we began our monthly MS Symptom Thesaurus blog three years ago this […]

How We Break Out of the Prison of Chronic Disease

Regular readers know my feeling about giving multiple sclerosis (MS) credit for anything positive in our lives: Chronic illness doesn’t give; it takes. Recently, when I asked an audience of online health advocates why they do what they do, one person pushed my “gave me” button and, though I wanted to just let it go […]

When the Kindness of Strangers Takes Us By Surprise

I’ve owed you the resolution to the story of my impending international flight, train trip without a mobile phone, and passport left on my desk for a couple of weeks now. I hope you find it worth the wait. The Problem To recap: I was on my way via train to spend the night in […]

When “Plan B” Isn’t Enough

I’ve owed you this story of an impending international flight, a train trip without a mobile phone and a passport left on my desk for a while now.  I hope you find it worth the wait. To recap; I was on my way – via train – to overnight in Dublin before a morning flight […]

Jet-lagged, Exhausted, and Stimulated All at Once

I owe all of you the resolution of the forgotten passport story from last week, and I promise you it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, however, I don’t want any more time to pass without our monthly “How’s your MS today?” check-in. Each month, we use our Life With MS Self-Evaluation Scale (LWM3S) to evaluate […]

Bags Packed, Ready to Go … Or Am I?

My checklist was ticked off like a regulator clock yesterday. That I even made a checklist is telling of the many layers of this trip: I’ve got three currencies, two European capitals, and America’s “Second City” ahead of me in the next nine days. First I’m off to Dublin to spend the night before taking a nine-hour […]

How We Talk About MS to Ourselves and to Others

I suppose I may come down — ever so slightly — on the side of political correctness now and again. I try not to do so often, but if I do, it is usually as a matter of forethought and intent, not out of habit. After a good bit of mulling, I’ve decided to call […]

How MS Has Helped Me Perfect the Irish Goodbye

“Céad míle fáilte” is Irish for “a hundred thousand welcomes,” and boy is it put to use in these parts! When you arrive at someone’s house and are greeted with a firm, two-handed handshake and a direct look in the eyes, you also get a heartfelt, “Ye are very welcomed!” The Irish rituals of offering tea […]

Was Your MS Diagnosed by Accident?

I was sifting through a few bits of paperwork the other day and came across the radiologist’s reading of my first MRI. Along with the notes I remember so well, “possible non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple sclerosis,” was a side note stating that I had an acute infection of my left maxillary sinus (the one behind […]

Is That an MS Symptom? Or Am I Just Sore and Tired?

With the sun finally making an appearance this past weekend and a full visitors’ schedule ahead, Caryn and I spent a few days in the garden and on some spring household chores, and I’m feeling the effects. Though my soreness and fatigue are not direct symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), I can feel how different […]

Survey Asks: How Do You Weigh the Risks and Benefits of MS Drugs?

Newton’s third law of motion states, in short, that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While the law can’t be applied directly to treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), it is generally true that the more effective the medication, the stronger the FDA warnings about adverse reactions. We all accept some form […]

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