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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 […]

‘Life With MS’ Blog Marks 10-Year Anniversary

On March 14, 2006, we posted our first Life with Multiple Sclerosis blog. At the time, I had just returned from a winter in Ireland, an experience I later wove into my memoir, Chef Interrupted. I had been hosting monthly webcasts for a Seattle-based health website, and someone thought it was a good idea to […]

How Living With MS Is a Lot Like Being Harry Potter

My wife, Caryn, was away on business last week. While I puttered about the house getting things organized for her return on Friday, I put on a bit of John Williams music … rather loudly. Strains of “Superman,” “The Imperial March,” and “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” filled the house as I picked up from a […]

How Are YOU Stronger Than MS?

Last week, I gave you all an assignment: I asked you to think about the ways you’ve worked around (or over or under or through) one of the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS has been set aside for the purpose of sharing our ideas, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society […]

Coffee: Yet Another Reason I Shouldn’t Have MS

Contrary to popular belief, U.S. Coast Guard ships do not run on diesel fuel. They run on coffee — joe, bean juice, muddy water, java, boatswain’s fuel. I know this because I spent over five of my nearly eight years of service aboard those ships. And I ate my share of coffee (sailors will understand […]

MS Awareness Week Theme: #WeAreStrongerThanMS

Last November, I stood supported by a lectern at stage left while Fox News Channel senior meteorologist Janice Dean graced the podium at stage right. We joked at the time that while the conference theme was “Together We Are Stronger,” the two of us were “safer” separated. Janice and I hit it off directly upon […]

‘Breakthrough’ Status for Progressive MS Drug

You may remember that earlier this year, I wrote a post about the things I expect to see happen in the MS world in 2016. One of the things I mentioned was that we will likely see the release of the drug ocrelizumab to treat progressive forms of MS. Well, last week the drug got […]

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