For the past 6 years, as a Regional Director for MSAA, I have done many patient and professional healthcare provider education programs, on many diverse topics related to MS. But my favorite programs are those aimed specifically for women with MS. We recently had a Women’s Retreat in Sheridan Wyoming, and 30 women with MS shared a very special weekend of fun, relaxation, education and friendship.
MS specialists like Amy McKay, a nutrition and exercise guru from Texas, shared dozens of tips to help maintain a high quality of life by trying to incorporate movement, healthy eating, balance in life, and finding- and sharing – happiness. The weekend included group discussions, new friends, and a chance to discover hidden talents and create a beautiful summer wreath. Add in the chick flick movie on Saturday night and you couldn’t find a happier group of women!
Of course we also learned about the newest MS therapies, and how to use the MSAA SEARCH program to determine, with your neurologist, the best course of treatment for each individual.
It is always hard on Sunday afternoon to say goodbye to all the new friends I have made at the retreats, and I see that sentiment echoed throughout the room. Many friendships, support groups and walking buddies are started during those three days!
When we have a women’s retreat in your neck of the woods, I hope you will consider signing up. We would love to have you!
Howdy! For the past 6 years, I have been the South-Central Regional Director, and most recently I have taken on the duties of also serving our clients in the Northwest Region. During this time I organized many patient, physician and healthcare provider education programs, where we focus on providing the most informative, educational and enjoyable programs possible. I have met the most dedicated neurologists and nurses in my region, and have been privileged to become acquainted with many MS patients and family members. They have allowed me into their lives, and I am always very happy to catch up with them when I have an event close by.
Some of my favorite programs are those aimed specifically for women with MS. We have had several “Women’s Retreats” in my region, and each one has been very special. The format is simple: Provide a weekend of education, relaxation, friendship and fun. These weekends are focused on how to juggle the many hats women wear on a daily basis: mother, wife, employee, chauffeur, cook, housekeeper and MS patient. Everyone feels the stress to be superwoman, and these weekends provide a respite, as well as some tools to help keep it all manageable.
At another recent program we focused on “Movement and Music” and everyone was shown simple ways to keep moving by using music throughout the day. Instead of focusing on the “E” word (exercise), we simply learned fast, simple ways to incorporate stretching and strength training in everyday activities. We learned how to use the beat to any song we heard to help keep us limber and stronger, thus keeping drop foot or spasticity at bay.
If you are interested in upcoming programs in your area check out MSAA’s calendar of events, which lists educational programs all across the country. If there is a specific topic you would like to see added to our education programs, please let us know. We would love to include it!