Keep Cool This Summer

It’s that time again, summertime that is. In just a few days, it will officially be Summer, and the heat has already been pretty brutal for many. Any amount of heat, no matter how minor, might affect neurological functions enough to exacerbate symptoms. Keeping cool can help you maintain a consistent, cool body temperature and prevent flare-ups. To help keep you cool this summer, MSAA’s Cooling Program is here to help!

MSAA offers free cooling products such as a cooling vest, wrist wraps, ankle wraps, and neck wraps! These free cooling products are great ways to keep cool this summer for free. Yes, you read that right, I said free! MSAA’s Cooling Program is an excellent resource that “offers cooling vests and accessories for adults with multiple sclerosis as well as children diagnosed with pediatric MS.” MSAA’s Cooling Program is open 365 days of the year, which means you can apply at any time throughout the year. This is a great way to beat the heat sensitivity that often comes with MS without having to break the bank. Here is a link for more information on how to apply for your free cooling products through MSAA’s Cooling Program, https://mymsaa.org/msaa-help/cooling-products/.

If you find that you do not meet the eligibility guidelines for MSAA’s Cooling Program and would like to purchase your cooling products, you can always reach out to the manufactures listed below. If you call and mention MSAA, you could be eligible to receive a discount on your purchase.

Keeping cool this summer is a must, especially when managing Multiple Sclerosis. I encourage you to take advantage of MSAA’s Cooling Program to help keep your body cool and refreshed.

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The War on Summer Heat

By Lauren Kovacs

It is a war of bugs and blankets of heat.

Limit time outdoors folks. Being unsocial is part of MS for many. I would rather not be a wet noodle. Even if you are an extrovert, say “no” to the soggy social butterfly. I would rather be perky than soggy. Butterflies can’t fly with wet wings and MS can drench them. Be social inside. Air conditioning is our friend. Stay cool and they will come, so to speak.

Drink slushees and smoothies. I find sipping semi frozen drinks help me, if I can get through the brain freeze. When available, ice cream is my BFF. Ice being the main word for me. Wear ice and consume it.

Cool feet housed in sandals, a cold drink, air conditioning and various cooling items are my shields in the war on summer heat.

I also picked up a trick from my aunt years ago for fashion purposes. Now, I use it for MS. Swim trunks make great shorts, with the mesh cut out. They can get wet, thus a glorious moment of reprieve. Bonus, they dry fast and allow for multiple cooling opportunities.

I used cooling wrist wraps, when I rode horses for therapy. I need new ones, however. Their farm smell was offensive at my last theme park visit.

While the kids rode some puke inducing roller coaster, I waited in the shade. Many folks didn’t embrace the earthy smell my wrist wraps were omitting. So yeah I need new ones.

Cool is cool. We are not going to gain brownie points. I often pay for trying to be outside. Stay where it is cool. I personally have days of paybacks just for letting my butterfly be social. If I get hot, then paybacks are longer.

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Leslie Pino Durant – June 2021 Artist of the Month

Each year, we feature the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis in our annual MSAA Art Showcase. We receive many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share the work of these artists and their inspirational stories with you, including highlighting one artist each month as our Artist of the Month. This month, we are proud to feature artist Leslie Pino Durant of Jemez Springs, NM:

Leslie Pino Durant Artist of the Month artwork entitled "Moose in Colorful Forest"
“Moose in Colorful Forest”

About the Artist – Leslie Pino Durant

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Community Views: Managing a Flare

Prepare for MS flare - an illustration of an MS flare

Part of living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is dealing with flares. A flare, also called a relapse, is when MS symptoms recur or worsen.1 The change in symptoms lasts for at least 24 hours, but often much longer.1 Flares throw a wrench into daily life and plans. They are challenging to manage. Curious about how you handle flares, we recently posed this prompt to our MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook community: “You feel a flare coming on. What is the first thing you do?”

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Don’t Wait, Act Now!

By Doug Ankerman

There are things we are reminded to do on a regular basis.

Replace batteries in smoke alarm
Floss
Rotate tires

Some are to be done seasonally, others annually.

Change furnace filter
Swap baking soda in fridge
Have eye exam

And yet, others are on an “as needed” basis.

Cut toe nails
Vacuum inside car
Shave back

But what I ask is… “Why wait to make a change or a new beginning?”

Why wait till a new season? Till the new year? The next month? Or, even Monday?

Do it now. This moment. There’s nothing stopping you. Do something right now to improve your being. It doesn’t have to be huge. Drink water instead of soda. Eat a piece of fruit. Stretch your weary legs. Take a deep breath. Dance to music. Make a silly face.

My point is, don’t wait to begin anew. Certainly, our nemesis multiple sclerosis doesn’t wait around. It doesn’t wait for the following day, week or month to wreak havoc. Heck no, that bad boy changes constantly. So we must be willing to change with it.

A fresh start, or a new beginning can happen anytime YOU want it to. There is no need to put it off till the flip of a calendar. You can make a change right now. This very instant.

Replace car’s air filter
Have an MRI
Clean dryer vent

Okay, okay, I understand the importance of replacing batteries in one’s smoke alarm—but don’t put a timeline on improving yourself.

Get started right now. That other stuff can wait.

*When not shaving his back, Doug writes goofy stuff about MS and other topics on his humor blog at myoddsock.com

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheddar

I am excited to spend Spring preparing delicious salads for my family. I serve salads as a side dish most of the time but have been known to eat this salad as my main meal. It can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator but never lasts that long in my house. 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup bacon cooked and crumbled.
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped.

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise.
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of choice.
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the broccoli, bacon, almonds, cheddar, and onion to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sweetener, white vinegar, salt and pepper together.
  3. Add the mayonnaise salad dressing mixture to the broccoli salad and toss to combine. Coat evenly.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and then serve.

Enjoy.

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New Beginnings

By Stacie Prada

Spring holds top honors
as the season of new beginnings
for new growth, budding blooms and wildlife births.
Spring marks the end of winter,
although they often overlap
in their weather shift competition.

January 1st rivals spring for a new beginning point
as the first day of the first month,
and it too may garner significance
for its relationship to
the last day of the prior year.

Waking marks the beginning of the day
and end of overnight slumber.
A new friendship,
a health diagnosis,
a life without someone
exist in cognition as before and after
a moment.

All are endings and beginnings.

Moments in time often pass
without anticipation or awareness
until later upon reflection and applied significance.
Detecting these turning points in real time
is infrequent
not for lack of effort
but for the constant stream of beginnings and endings.

Noticing and assigning purpose
elevates common moments.

Foreseen, by happenstance, or noticed in hindsight,
each ending lays foundation for a new beginning.

*Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 just shy of 38 years old.  Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/

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For a New Beginning

The world is once again changing, but this time it is changing for the better. This time, the world is offering new opportunities for a new beginning. Instead of writing my usual blog this month, I wanted to share an inspiring poem that really resonated with me. My heart’s desire is that you will also find it inspiring and encouraging as well.

For A New Beginning | John O’Donohue

“In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you”

For a New Beginning

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Hop to it, but a nap might be better

By Lauren Kovacs

Hop away from the old and hop to the new. It is always a good time to star anew, fresh air and new life. Leave to cold dead winter behind. Shed it like an old snake skin.

I know easier said than done. I face the “why bother” monster too. Spring feels magical. Embrace that magic. Before the suffocating, still summer heat, and bugs, enjoy the clean breeze and light air.

New beginnings don’t care where you plop them, but springtime seems to be good. Try a bit of exercise. Maybe some easy, gentle yoga? Maybe a few sit-ups. Maybe a pet is your new or perhaps something else. Organizing something to better suit your needs. Be open to anything being a new beginning.

A new hair cut is a refreshing way to mark a new beginning, even if it is crushed by fatigue. I think making plans is just as good as doing them. Trying is worthy for us. Daily unplanned obstacles are thrown at us, like an over filled water balloon.

I plan on getting some pink streaks in my hair this summer. If I can get it done, great. If not, no loss. I avoid appointments because I never know what MS will do. I am far from spontaneous and I hyper-plan. With MS, appointments often are commitments I avoid. MS requires flexibility. I am more set in stone, a “yes sir” kind of girl. MS is at odds with being raised a Navy brat.

So, plan your new beginning, but be flexible enough to change plans. MS is like chocolate in summer. Some days it melts on your hand and other days you have bad tremors and it melts in your hair. True story. Plan, but be flexible.

I like to see flexibility as plan B. Flexibility and spontaneity cause me anxiety. New beginnings are more like goals. I think any new good habit is a new beginning really. Self improvement is great. Self care is a great new beginning too. 

Fresh flowers, for example, on my kitchen counter, all the time, was a new beginning for me. My allergies don’t really like it, but too bad. I enjoy fresh flowers, as my morning greeting. I just have tissues handy. New beginnings should be good. They may require a contingency or a strategy.

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Mother’s Day-Celebrating all the Women in Your Life

She is your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, godmother, cousin, or friend. She is a woman you have been able to rely on throughout your entire life. No matter the type of relationship, there are women we have been fortunate enough to have in our lives that care about us unconditionally. They support and motivate us to be better people and are our angels here on earth that we’re blessed to know. The women who influence our day to day should be celebrated, and Mother’s Day is a great outlet to do so.

The day doesn’t have to look a certain way either. If you’re celebrating someone who is not ‘technically’ a mother in the traditional sense, that’s perfectly fine and good! Mother’s Day is about acknowledging those who are significant to you. The women who’ve surrounded you with motherly qualities, kindness, compassion, and strength. Celebrate her. Talk to one another, visit if you’re able to, send a card or note, flowers or gift. Just saying thank you to her is a wonderful gesture.

I want to recognize that it may also be a day that is difficult for some. For those who have lost and mourned important women in their lives. Those struggling to become mothers or who have lost a child. The day may be one of remembrance and somberness at times. But it can also be a beautiful day where you can honor someone and recall fond memories. A day where you can hold onto hope that things may look brighter for future Mother’s Days to come. And to celebrate those in your life who have made a difference.

Wishing everyone a beautiful day filled with light and joy.

National Flowers - List Of National Flowers by Country
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