I am a Client Services Consultant here at MSAA. I hold both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Counseling from schools outside the Philadelphia area. I love reading, movies, going to concerts and traveling. Favorite place I've been so far---Disney World!
Different thoughts may come to mind when you hear the word ‘advocacy.’ Some may not be familiar with the term or others may have a very vivid description of what the word means to them. Advocacy can be defined as active support, pleading or arguing in favor of something or for some type of cause. Individuals advocate for themselves in different ways, sometimes without the knowledge that they’re engaging in self-advocacy. When you visit your doctor and ask questions, this is a form of self-advocacy. You are supporting your healthcare by requesting more information to make the best informed decisions you can regarding your care. Some individuals have others assist them with this task at times; family members, friends and caregivers have been known to advocate for care when involved in the healthcare process. Sometimes it’s helpful to have another voice or set of ears advocating for your health needs when interacting with your medical team, and there can be different forms of this advocacy presented.
Here are some ways the MSAA can help you remain an advocate in your healthcare:
My MS Manager™: a mobile-phone application to track disease activity, store medical information, generate reports, and assist individuals with their treatment plan
MSAA’s S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Program: tools to help individuals with learning about the approved long-term treatments for MS, along with questions to discuss with the patient’s medical team
My MS Resource Locator: an MS-specific, online database offering targeted information and unique support services, including detailed guides
The annual holiday that celebrates the expression of love with tasty treats and heartfelt greetings actually has a bit of a mysterious origin. There are different notions and theories that describe this lover’s holiday that have been depicted throughout ancient times, though its actual history is still undefined. To learn more about some of the history associated with Valentine’s Day and its legends, see http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day.
No matter its origin or historical connotation, Valentine’s Day remains one of the most celebrated holidays in our history. It is the second largest card-sending holiday behind Christmas, with women purchasing the majority of the greetings sent. Candy hearts, chocolates and flowers are exchanged to signify the celebration and have been widely recognized as hallmarks of the holiday. But these gifts aren’t the only way to express your gratitude and love for another person. Spending quality time with people you love, whether it be family, friends, or a significant other, can show how much you appreciate someone.
Here are some tips on how to celebrate the upcoming holiday:
Invite a friend or family member to celebrate the day with you if you’re not romantically attached. The day is about spending time with those you care for; it doesn’t have to be exclusively for couples!
Why not stay in? You can make the day about spending time together just watching a movie or playing a game at home.
Think creatively and go homemade style for gifts! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank, why not make something to give the person you care for?
Use the day to express to others how much they mean to you. Tell someone you love them and that you appreciate them and what they bring to your life, not just on this holiday, but all year round!
However you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, think of its mystery and indefinite nature, as this provides opportunity for you to find your own niche in making the day special!
In a world full of chaotic days filled with busy agendas and routines, it’s difficult to maintain some relationships you hold with others. Promises of “let’s get together” are sometimes broken, not that it’s done purposefully, but at times it’s hard to manage all the expectations in a given day.
Certain tasks are given priority, while others are pushed to the side to wait for another day. This is a realistic expectation in the 21st century; people are just plain busy! So what can you do to keep the relationship connections going, even if the world is pulling you in all sorts of directions?
Here are some ideas to stay connected:
Set aside a specific time during the week that you plan to call or get together with friends/family. Work it into your schedule so that you know it is part of the agenda you plan to keep.
If you struggle with remembering plans you’ve made, set a reminder for yourself. Make a note and keep it somewhere it can be easily seen, or set an alarm on your phone for the date.
Have the other person contact you! If it’s difficult to remember to reach out, request to have that person reach out to you.
If something occurs that interferes with your plans, make an effort to reschedule it as soon as possible; that way, it’s already planned for another time.
Welcome 2014! Another year has come and gone, and for many 2014 signifies a new beginning and novel changes in the year ahead. It marks a time to make resolutions, changes, and achievements that will signify this year and make it different than ones past. New hopes, wishes and dreams are some of the things that represent this new beginning, as people try to make the best out of a fresh start. Some individuals may set goals while others strive to complete tasks day by day. No matter the method used in bringing about changes in the New Year, hopefully 2014 brings a time of hopefulness and promise.
I set a goal to exercise and eat more vegetables…what is one of your goals?
As changes occur within the MS community, the MSAA continues to play a role in providing updated information and educational resources portraying these changes. Through educational webinars, shared-management and informational programs, the MSAA was able to provide support to those in the MS environment in learning of these developments. And as changes continue to unfold in the future, MSAA will continue to increase awareness of these developments within the MS community.
Brrrrrr…..Is that winter right around the corner? It sure feels like it! In some parts of the country, people don’t have to wonder what day winter will show up, as some states have already had their first bout of snowfall this season. Because winter is highlighted as the cold and flu season, it’s important to take precautions when you can so you can stay feeling well; after all, it can be a very busy time of year!
Flu Shot: Yay or Nay?
The flu vaccine is one precaution individuals take in preventing the spread of the flu virus. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine if getting a flu shot is appropriate for you. For more information regarding the flu vaccine, see the MSAA article Vaccine Safety and MS at http://mymsaa.org/news-msaa/924-vaccine-safety-ms
Cold and flu season is an important time to be cautious in preventing the spread of bacteria. It’s helpful to keep things sanitary. Use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces in your home and car. Wash your hands regularly to avoid the spread of germs to your mouth/face, and avoid putting your hands to your face in public spaces, especially in doctors’ offices or health facilities.
Close for Comfort
With winter bringing holiday celebrations and gatherings in its midst, it can be tricky to stay in a germ-free zone. Be aware of those loved ones who may be sniffling and sneezing, because as much as it’s nice to receive their embrace, it’s not as lovely to receive the germs. Stay alert in public spaces like stores during the holiday rush, as bacteria likes to travel in crowds. Disinfect with antibacterial soaps and sanitizers and leave those germs out in the cold!
The holiday season is upon us! As Halloween has come and gone, we find ourselves faced with the upcoming months of holiday preparations. Cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, and family visits are just some of the tasks individuals embark upon during this busy time. Because the holidays can be a bit hectic, it’s helpful to make preparations and plans to combat the chaos that can ensue during this festive time. To make time for activities you enjoy and to reduce the stress and anxiety we all know can occur during the holidays, here are some ways to make the holiday celebrations more manageable:
Prioritize your tasks. Make a list of things you would like to accomplish, and order them in a way so that important things get done first.
Take breaks. The holidays can be both mentally and physically stressful on the body. Be sure to sit and relax in between tasks, even if just for a few moments.
Think “Potluck!” If you’re hosting the holidays at your residence, have guests bring something. They can bring their favorite dish or dessert to help contribute.
Ask for help. You can ask family members/friends to go shopping, clean, or help with food preparations for the holiday meal to lessen your work load.
Prepare in advance. Some meal preparations can be done ahead of time for a holiday gathering. The week of the holiday, spread out tasks that can be completed beforehand so that on the day of there’s less to do.
Relax and Enjoy! Even though the holidays can be stressful, be sure to take time out to enjoy the festivities and spend quality time with those you care for!
Many of us have taken different modes of transportation throughout our lives. Some of these modes have included various types of trains, trolleys, and subway cars,
all of which have one common purpose: to remain on the tracks provided to get to the desired destination safely. This may be an easier task for these transportation vehicles than trying to stay on track during everyday life. Keeping things organized and staying on course can be difficult with life’s unpredictable moments and events. This can be especially true when dealing with an illness like MS, a disease that proves unpredictable itself. So how does one try to stick to the tracks when life comes by and occasionally swipes you off course?
Here are some ideas on how to stay on track while dealing with life’s roadblocks:
Make lists! Prioritize your responsibilities and tasks so that you can make adjustments if something throws off the day’s expected course.
Write notes or use a tape recorder for the day. This can help you organize and remember things to be done. This can be especially helpful if something else comes up unexpectedly, you have the notes to remind you what needed to be done!
Reach out for resources and support. There may be ways to receive help to keep things in order for your routine. Asking others for help or making sure someone else is aware of your anticipated tasks/goals can aid in keeping things on track.
What are some things you do to try and stay on track?
Let’s face it, life is hectic. It can be messy and chaotic, and that could be just your morning. We live in a world that thrives on fast-paced routines and schedules, so people rarely have time to manage their day to day, let alone trying to manage a chronic illness like MS. Medication and symptom management play a significant role in the course of this disease, so it can be challenging to find time in the day to fit these tasks in along with life’s expectations in general. How does one try to find time to rest, or jot down questions to ask the doctor at the next visit, or to document a new symptom that has come on? There seems to be a limited amount of hours in the day to complete all of these demanding limitless activities.
Here are some tips on how to manage these tasks along with the day to day:
Make time to take breaks. When you have a chance to rest, do so, even if for just a few moments in the day. It may be what you need to give yourself a boost or to take the time to write down a question for the doctor.
Have someone else help you! It’s challenging for some people to ask for help, but if it allows time for you to take care of yourself, ask!
Use the MSAA’s mobile phone application My MS Manager to help keep track of your symptoms and medical records, as well as current MS related news.
Prioritize! Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete all tasks, but your health should be a top priority. Make yourself a list of attainable tasks to perform in a day, and make sure health related tasks come first.
As the calendar reminds us to say goodbye to the summer season and hello to the beginning of fall, it’s a good time to start thinking about what the change of season means to you. Some people see the season change as something to embrace; to take advantage of being outdoors to enjoy the cooler temperatures, or to prepare for upcoming fall festivities and holidays that approach just as quickly as the seasons change. Do you enjoy the cool, leaf laden fall atmosphere? What about the shift from longer days to longer nights?
Children heading back to school and stores stocking up on holiday decorations are just some of the hallmarks that depict the fall season. The sound of leaves crunching under feet; the orange, red and yellow colors that paint the streets and the sight of birds making their way south for the upcoming winter months are some of the scenes that represent this fall solstice. What do you like most about the fall?