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Refilling Your MS Tool Kit

I had the distinct honor to emcee several events for MS Ireland’s annual conference this past week. My role included introducing a healthcare providers’ information day on Friday, the general meeting (the business stuff) on Saturday evening, and a full day of really powerful information at the Living Well with MS summit. Over 200 people attended, and we [...]

The Perfect Meal, the Perfect Moment

One could say that my life before MS was pretty full. I have enjoyed my careers and the experiences they’ve afforded me. Most of all — as is the case with the community here on our blog — it’s the people I’ve met that have made the most difference. Everybody’s got a story to tell … even a [...]

I Can Do That — With MS

The Can Do Multiple Sclerosis organization’s motto is, “You are more than your MS.” Their programs have helped thousands of people living with our disease find the strength within to live their lives to the fullest — with MS. In honor of their founder, Olympic ski medalist Jimmy Heuga’s, birthday, Can Do MS celebrates their annual MS Can Do [...]

Stress, Multiple Sclerosis, and My Moment of Zen

On a crisp, autumnal morning such as this, I look out and ponder things like where to go and collect bulbs of wild garlic from along the little road, with an eye to setting and tending to them in pots or in my garden beds. I ask myself, would they still be “wild” garlic, or [...]

If You Have MS and You Smoke, Stop…NOW!

I grew up with grown-ups smoking on television, in films, and in my home. Mine was the first generation to be warned by the U.S. Surgeon General of the ill effects of smoking. Though I have been known to enjoy the occasional cigar or briar bowl of tobacco, I’ve never smoked cigarettes. It is cigarette smoking which [...]

Have MRIs Left Gadolinium Deposits in My Brain?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your earworm for the day, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM. Many of you will recognize the backing track of this tune as the “music” of the MRI machine. An earworm is a catchy bit of song that gets stuck in your brain and doesn’t seem to leave. The FDA is now [...]

Poking Fun at My Multiple Sclerosis

There can be no doubt that multiple sclerosis (MS), like other chronic conditions, is a very serious disease. MS hits young people, often in the prime of their lives. It takes away mobility and control, and it sometimes even breaks up families. None of this is funny. That said, sometimes I not only laugh at what is happening to me, [...]

Avoiding Danger vs. Avoiding Risk When You Have MS

There is a difference between falling over and falling off a cliff. So too is there a difference between avoiding danger and avoiding risk. Danger is something to stay away from. But never putting ourselves in situations where risk is involved can significantly reduce some of life’s benefits. What Is Risk? The Oxford English Dictionary defines the [...]

Taking MS One Day at a Time

It’s now the beginning of September, and I realize that we didn’t have our monthly check-in in August. Between my wife, Caryn’s, injury at the beginning of the month, and my cognitive adventures brought on by an infection, the month simply got past me. As for trying to rate my own multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms on our Life With Multiple [...]

Oh, to Sand and Refinish My Myelin Sheaths

The house in which we live is about 10 years old. It’s not particularly “Irish” in its design, nor is it “American.” The floor plan is open and easy to maneuver, so even on my more difficult days I can make it from point A to point B without too much trouble. Though there are [...]

Minor Injury Leads to Major MS Relapse

“If you prick us, do we not bleed?” asks Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. To which I reply, “Yes… and then get an infection, and then all hell breaks loose!” On Saturday, August 15, I was readying a bag of rubbish for the bin man and in doing so cut my finger on a [...]

Got a Minute? Take a 60-Second Break From MS

When someone from the press asks you if you’ve got 60 seconds, you either run away from, or run toward, the questioner. I actually thought that the editor of Corca Dhuibhne Beo (West & Mid Kerry Live) wanted to chat with me about something related to our town’s upcoming food festival or something when he [...]

When ‘Invisible’ MS Symptoms Become Visible

While I’m officially diagnosed with the secondary-progressive form of multiple sclerosis, I still have times that feel a lot like relapses: when new symptoms creep in or old ones suddenly make themselves more pronounced. Pins-and-needles can go from annoying prickle to painful bee stings, fatigue can progress from mind-numbing to soul-crushing, or my speech pattern [...]

Aging Gracefully With MS: It Starts With New Glasses

I’m off on Friday to collect new spectacles. Two pairs of new spectacles! My first pair of corrective lenses came in junior high school; I was farsighted. After a number of years I no longer needed glasses, but by the time my twenties were ending, I was wearing glasses to correct both nearsightedness and a slight [...]

MS on the Web: How to Find the People and Information You Really Need

This past weekend, we had the great pleasure of hosting an old friend and his wife. They were in for a bit of hiking and seeing the sights. We enjoyed some good food, and it was a great chance to catch up. I’m paying for the energy expended, but it was worth the effort. This old friend [...]

Can’t vs. Cannot: Defining Your Limits With MS

I sit here after the coldest July in over two decades in my little town and look out my window at a damned wet start to August. It wouldn’t be so bad — I have the dogs, a fireplace, and the makings for endless pots of tea, after all — if it weren’t for the [...]

Taking Care of My Caregiver Reminds Me of MS Lessons Learned

There are lessons about living with MS that we’re all aware we’ve learned. This past week, I realized there were a few I’d learned and then forgotten. My wife, Caryn, has taken up the sport of surfing. She’s a beginner but is fearless and driven to get better with every lesson and every wave. She gets out [...]

Taking Advantage of the Good Days (or Good Moments) With MS

We haven’t had much of a summer in my little corner of the North Atlantic. Though many parts of America are scorching this year, and many areas of Europe are sweltering, I think we’ve only broken the 60 degrees F mark once… and I was on a train to Dublin that day. The past couple of weeks have [...]

Why the Americans With Disabilities Act Wouldn’t Pass Today

By now, most of us will have heard one news piece or another about the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Twenty-five years doesn’t seem that long ago, really. In fact, I remember writing a blog on the 20th anniversary of the bill’s signing into law. I guess we’ve been at this a [...]

What’s Popping Our of Your Multiple Sclerosis Clown Car?

Coulrophobia is the term for an abnormal or morbid fear of clowns. Though some of my dear friends have been clowns, I also know people who are completely creeped out by them. As the ringmaster of our individual three-ring circus of life, we all know what it’s like to try to keep the show running [...]

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