About Teena Palathanam

My name is Teena Palathanam and I am a Client Services Specialist for the Mission Delivery team. I graduated with an MPH degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. My favorite one liner is " When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

A Wish List

Getting diagnosed with MS can be scary and overwhelming. Not knowing what lies on the road ahead of you can be very frustrating. MS being an unpredictable disease comes with its own set of twists and turns as symptoms can highly vary from individual to individual. Here are some things I wish people knew about MS:

  • An individual with MS goes through a lot of challenges daily. Simple activities like showering, meal prep, washing dishes, etc. can seem like daunting tasks.
  • MS can make one feel isolated and lonely especially if one doesn’t have a strong support system. There might be some days when fatigue is ruthless, those are the times when individuals going through MS might need someone to just listen and maybe extend a helping hand.
  • The price of medications is skyrocketing every year. Many are not able to continue their treatment regimens as they find it difficult to afford them.
  • Medications cannot cure the disease, just slow the progression.
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Value yourself

A new year means new beginnings and promises new hope.  We all get 365 opportunities to improve our lives this year, so set out with renewed spirits and minds and see how the journey unfolds for you. Try not to get overwhelmed trying to plan everything for the year. Set achievable goals and take small steps at a time. I am sharing some pointers that I remind myself often so that I stay grounded in the present and hopeful for the future:

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ABC’s Of Holidays

Holidays are so important because they are times when we can take a break from life’s regular hustle and bustle. During these times, we must abandon our usual routines and do something out of the ordinary. It is the best time of the year to indulge in laughter, fun, and delicious treats. Amid all the good things that come with holidays, here are the ABCs of holidays that are reminders for me to value life and not take things for granted.

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 Self-Care: The Best Care      

With the holidays just around the corner, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed. We tend to prioritize everyone else’s needs and neglect our own. For those battling MS, the daily challenges can wear you down and take a toll on you. You might feel fatigued and have no energy to indulge in any activity. That’s why self-care is so important. Without ample rest and relaxation, you will feel burnt out. There is no perfect formula for self-care, but doing things that help you rejuvenate and heal is the key. Here are some activities you can do to indulge in self-care and make your holiday season more fun and livelier:

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Dear Caregiving Warrior

While we honor the important role of care partners throughout the year, November is an extraordinary month as we recognize National Family Caregiver’s Month. MS is unpredictable, and having a loved one diagnosed with it can be scary and overwhelming. MS symptoms may greatly vary from individual to individual. An individual with MS may need help with daily activities and these challenges might get more complex over time. Being a care partner requires a lot of patience, understanding, empathy, and flexibility. Here are some things to keep in mind as you provide care to an individual with MS:

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Thriving with MS

Living with MS can be an ordeal of its own considering the unpredictability and uncertainty that comes with having it. MS can affect mobility, independence as well as quality of life. Symptoms may greatly vary from individual to individual. Over time, it might get harder to perform regular activities. By getting diagnosed during the earlier stages of the disease and with the appropriate treatments, an individual can live a healthy and fulfilling life.

For some individuals, the symptoms may be profound while for others it might be manifest as an invisible illness as result of which people close to you may fail to understand and acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. MS can make one feel isolated and alone. Individuals with MS want to be heard and would benefit from having a close-knit support system to vent out frustrations and anxieties whether it be friends or family.

For those who have MS, ask for help when you need it. Embrace your body’s limitations. Share your experiences and stories. Empower yourself and others by being an advocate for MS. Raise awareness of the disease and make use of the multitude of resources out there to improve the lives of those with MS. Set aside time to do things that you love and make the best out of your MS.

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Here We Go

Summer is over and the kids are all back at school. It is easy to get overwhelmed and anxious while trying to manage the school routines and dealing with the daily challenges of MS. It is best to be organized so that you have time to recover when symptoms worsen and take a toll on you during school days. Here are some ideas to make your life easier if you have school-going children:

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Being Prepared

Individuals living with MS face a lot of uncertainty. Coping with the unpredictability of MS can affect one’s quality of life.  There may be times when you might be going through a relapse or flare up and you may experience MS-related symptoms. It is good to equip yourself to handle such emergencies. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you to have control over such situations and put your mind at ease:

Emergency information: Have contact information of family, friends, and health care providers whom you can call in the event of an emergency. Keep a list of all medications with their dosages and a copy of your medical history in an accessible area in your home.

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Time To Go

It is that time of the year when people are enjoying the summer by traveling and exploring different destinations. Fatigue, bathroom issues, and walking difficulties are a few of the many challenges individuals with MS tend to encounter while traveling. Having MS should not deter you from traveling, it just means that your travel might need a little more detailed preparation and planning.  It is important to note that individuals with disabilities have rights that are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination and makes sure that accommodations are provided to such individuals whenever needed. Here are some tips to keep in mind that will make your travel experience relaxing and hassle-free:

Carry necessary medical paperwork: It is important to have a doctor’s note that details your MS diagnosis. Get all your prescriptions filled in by the neurologist. Carry medicines in daily pillboxes. Also, keep the contact information for your doctors saved on your phone in case you need to reach them in an event of an emergency.

Cooling products: Cooling vests, hats, pillows, and scarves are great to carry especially while traveling to places where the weather can fail to cooperate.

Rent mobility equipment: Mobility equipment like rollators, scooters, wheelchairs, walking aids, etc. can easily be rented. Renting equipment will avoid the hassle of carrying heavy gear.  In many states, you can also have mobility equipment delivered right to your doorstep.

Air travel: While traveling by air, ask for wheelchair assistance while boarding and deplaning. Take advantage of early boarding procedures and seating accommodations. Use elevators and travelators (moving walkways) in the airports whenever possible.

Go with a travel buddy: Having a reliable travel partner can make your travel stress free. It will give you peace of mind just to know there is someone to give you a helping hand whenever you need one.

Seize every opportunity that comes your way and do not let MS stop you from experiencing the joy of travelling. There will always be some unexpected hiccups along the way but planning your travel ahead and knowing your rights will ensure that you have an unforgettable and memorable time.

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Beat The Heat

Summer is back with a bang and who does not want to have a little fun when the sun is all out and magnificent. Whether you are mowing the lawn, hiking a trail or bird watching, the heat can be harsh at times and it is good to figure out the best approach to tackle the heat. Especially for individuals with heat sensitive MS, the higher temperatures can trigger flare ups and exacerbations. Besides cranking up the AC, here are some cool and practical ways to beat the summer heat:

Cooling Accessories: Cooling accessories like vests, hats, scarves can be very useful for outdoor as well as indoor activities. Using neck, wrist and ankle coolers act quicker as the blood vessels in this area are in closer proximity to the skin thereby cooling the body at a much faster rate.

Cool drinks: The most important way to prevent dehydration is to hydrate. It is recommended to drink around eight cups of water every day. Always keep a bottle of water or any other preferred drink near you. If you want it to be cooler, add crushed ice to your drink or beverage.

Fans: Usage of ceiling fans, pedestal or tower fans can blow the hot air out and let the cool air in. Another easier and cost-effective alternative would be to open the windows on both sides of the house that will allow cross ventilation thereby bringing in the fresh breeze and cooling the house faster.

Swim: If you have access to a community pool near you, that’s the place to be. Besides, being a great physical activity, it can help to build muscle endurance and strength. You can even visit the local YMCA near you that will give you access to the pool.

Take a shower: A cold shower can be refreshing and can immediately lower the body temperature.

Wear the right colors: Stay away from darker colored clothing as they tend to retain more heat. Instead, opt for lighter summery shades like pink, blue, peach, pastels etc. Loose fitting cotton clothes can help you cool better.

Most importantly, do not forget to wear sunscreen while going outside. This summer whatever you plan on doing, I hope that you have one filled with sunshine and good times.

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