About MSAA

As a national nonprofit organization, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a toll-free Helpline; award-winning publications including a magazine, The Motivator; website featuring educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.™ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; a resource database, My MS Resource Locator; equipment distribution ranging from grab bars to wheelchairs; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; educational events and activities; MRI funding and insurance advocacy; and more. For additional information, please visit http://www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.

Learning About Hope

By Stacie Prada

Learning about hope gives me hope. Hope, faith, endurance, resilience, conviction and belief, they all contribute to my level of hopefulness.  They help me feel like I can make it through hard times.  The conditions I’m enduring will subside, or I’ll figure out a way for it not to hurt as much.

Hope

I’m learning that people with hope do better physically.  I’m realizing that it’s not a feel-good thing or coincidence that at my neurologist appointment, the questionnaire asks me how many times in the last month I’ve felt hopeless. You may be familiar with this question. It reads: “During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel hopeless?  Choose among the answers: All of the time, Most of the time, Some of the time, A little of the time or None of the time.”

Some internet research has shown me that this question is from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale.  It is a measure of exactly that, distress.  People who are hopeful live with less distress.  It doesn’t mean their lives are less challenging or easier.  Actually, they’ve learned that life conditions don’t have a correlation to how hopeful a person is.  People with similar challenges can have vastly different levels of hope, and even the same person can have different levels of hope at different times in their life.  I’ve learned it takes effort to be hopeful, but our circumstances don’t dictate our well-being.

There are things we can do if we’re feeling hopeless.  Hope and motivation do well with ongoing support and inspiration, and often they involve other people. Tell someone you trust, talk to a counselor, reach out, and lose any guilt or shame for needing help.  Answer the question honestly when the doctor’s questionnaire asks you.

We’re all going to have different things touch our souls and give us hope. Just looking for things that make me hopeful leads me to find reasons to be hopeful.  Being clear about what is possible and what is probable narrows my focus for where to direct my attention productively.

I’m excessively aware that I can’t control most of things in life.  I can‘t control what others do, I can’t control the pace of scientific advancements, and I can’t control my body’s multiple sclerosis advancement.

I can’t unilaterally fix the world’s injustices, but I can contribute a little in every interaction I have.

I can’t prevent MS progression and disability in my body, but I can live in a way that gives me the best odds of doing as well as possible.

I can’t speed up medical advancements, but I can stay informed, participate in studies and contribute to causes that are doing that work.

Acknowledging the many areas where I lack control and the few where I can contribute eases my stress level.  It lessens the degree of responsibility to a manageable level where I feel like I can do something that matters. That gives me hope.

*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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Things that Give Me Hope

By Lauren Kovacs

After 2020, my hope bucket has changed. Simple is the way to go. Smaller goals and a smaller court or field.

Waking up to sunshine is a cause for hope. Sunshine gives me hope of the smile of a new day. No matter how cold it might be, sunshine gives me hope to move and helps me begin my day. Even if my to do list is crushed by MS fatigue, I had hope.

I am not blind to the struggles of MS. I have times when Continue reading

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Joy: It’s the Little Things

By Stacie Prada

It’s a season of wishing glad tidings of comfort and joy. I’ve never really thought about what that means, so I looked it up. Tidings means delivering news or making an announcement. I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase, but I probably used it wrong if I did. I thought it was wishing someone else comfort and joy, but technically it means to deliver good news. It’s sharing our own good news, because we think they’ll be glad to hear it.

I think celebrating and sharing our joyful moments brightens the day for many. I experience joy when I Continue reading

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Perfectly Pleasant Personality Please

By Scott Cremeans

You better change your attitude, mister, or I will change it for you. I remember occasionally hearing that as a kid, and I wondered how anyone could change someone else’s disposition. I thought it, but I was smart enough never to ask the question, which would have been bad for my health. I always tried to have a great attitude no matter the situation as a young guy, and meditating in Mother Nature helped tremendously. I now try to stay positive and hope that a smile or kind word I give is just what someone needs to change their day.

There are a lot of negative aspects that come with a medical diagnosis like multiple sclerosis. At any step of the way, any disease can weigh heavily on your body Continue reading

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Despite it All

By Chernise Joseph

This month’s topic really got me to thinking.

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic (as I’m sure you all are more than exhausted with hearing about and being afraid of), Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and unfortunately so many of us have lost loved ones that won’t be at the dinner table this year.

For my family, the holidays have always been hard. A couple of years ago, Continue reading

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Feeling Connected

By Stacie Prada

Feeling connected is different than connecting. I can go long periods of time without seeing or talking to some people, and when we see each other we continue as if there’s been no gap in time. Others I worry when it’s been a while. Usually it’s not because of how we are interacting, but because I feel guilty for not reaching out more or doing more.

ConnectionWhen MS is giving me a hard time, I’m often drawn to Continue reading

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Staying Connected This Holiday Season

By Alene Brennan

The holiday season is often filled with traditions that we look forward to all year long.

There are two moments that I look forward to most each year. Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family where we gather to enjoy good food and laughter together. It’s all about the relationships.

I also love the candlelit Christmas Eve church service that provides such a special feeling inside. Being surrounded with everyone in their holiday attire, the lit Christmas tree and hearing the Christmas hymns, is powerful.

Knowing the holidays have a much different feel this year due to the pandemic, Continue reading

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Jump?

By Lauren Kovacs

I know this is tough. We don’t want to be a burden by trying to connect. I have to remind   myself to let my MS do the talking. We might be having a bad day and we might sound drunk. We might be beyond exhausted or having pain. Connecting with non-MSers can be hard.

You have to take care of you. I often “hit the wall” so to speak and just Continue reading

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Health Insurance Marketplace – 2021 Coverage

Yes, You Can Enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace (ObamaCare) for 2021

“People with multiple sclerosis who do not have health insurance should absolutely consider enrolling or renewing their coverage in the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act,” states Chris Sloan, Associate Principal from Avalere Health. Avalere is a widely respected healthcare consulting firm that has assisted MSAA in developing resources around the issue of copay accumulators and other important healthcare topics.

According to Mr. Sloan, the pending Supreme Court hearings Continue reading

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Meet the Board – Andrew Woo

MSAA strives to be a leading resource for the MS community by improving lives today through vital services and support – and we could not accomplish this without the help of our volunteer board members. MSAA’s Board of Directors is comprised of accomplished professionals from across the country who volunteer their time to further MSAA’s mission. With our ongoing series, Meet the Board, we hope to introduce you to our wonderful volunteer board members!

This month, MSAA is proud to highlight our newest board member Andrew Woo, MD, PhD. Continue reading

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