February Artist of the Month

MSAA’s Artist of the Month features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Carmella Certion as February’s Artist of the Month. Carmella is from Philadelphia, PA.

Reine du Carnaval by Carmella Certion
“Reine du Carnaval”

About the Artist – Carmella Certion

I am an artist, gerontologist, and marriage and family therapist currently living with MS. It all began with a simple painting of a cat for my granddaughter’s room, after I gave it a mini-makeover last summer during the pandemic. I mostly paint abstracts, land, and cityscapes and I’ve only taken one class. My studio is located in my Philadelphia, PA bedroom where I mostly paint in bed due to a plethora of health challenges. I find painting relaxing and it also helps ward off depression and anxiety, which I suffer from periodically. I love to use bright colors, geometric shapes and texture in my work and my philosophy is simple: Art should be fun!”

To see more about Carmella and the rest of our artists, please visit our Art Showcase. 

Share Button

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.

Every January, most of us ask ourselves and those around us, “What is your new year’s resolution?” But why is this a thing? Is this simply a tradition, or is January truly the ideal time to establish goals for the rest of the year?

New Year’s Day serves as a clean slate. It is such a popular time of year to evaluate our goals because it represents a reset button, a fresh start that has the potential for greatness. My personal new year’s anthem is the song Feeling Good by Nina Simone. Regardless of the intended meaning of this song, the lyrics speak to me around this time of year.

Continue reading
Share Button

Tracking Symptoms and Treatments with Compassion and Encouragement

By Stacie Prada 

With each new year, I think about what’s ahead, what I can control, and what will make the next 12 months fulfilling for me.  Instead of pushing myself to do more or be better, my approach this year for health management is to track what helps me manage my health with methods that are easy to use and visually informative.  

Knowing what my body needs is an ever-changing puzzle, and tracking provides clues for what could be the cause or remedy for things contributing to health challenges. Add aging and menopause to living with Multiple Sclerosis, and knowing how to best manage my changing body is not easy.  

Continue reading
Share Button

New Year, Same MS

For most, the new year comes with excitement of what’s to come. For those of us who battle MS, the new year comes with its fair share of worries, challenges and anxious thoughts of what the new year may bring. We reflect on our past year, perhaps your MS got worse, and you’re worried it won’t get any better, or maybe you are finally considered “stable”, and you’re concerned it is too good to be true and you will get worse. However you choose to look at the new year, we all worry one way or another. I am here to tell you that you are not alone.  

Continue reading
Share Button

Roll in Fall

Fall is a wonder of its own. One gets to enjoy the significant drop in the temperatures which is a wonderful respite from the sweltering heat in the past months. The kids are settled in their schools by now after the long summer break. It is also the season when daylight savings ends, and we fall in the cycle of shorter days and longer nights. College football is officially on and in full swing.

Continue reading
Share Button

Change is Beautiful

Fall is undoubtedly my all-time favorite season. There is something so tranquil about feeling my favorite flannel brush against the cool breeze. The sight of beautiful vibrant leaves falling upon the jack-o-lantern on my doorstep brings color to my world. The scent of freshly baked cookies being carried throughout the house warms me as I watch classic horror movie reruns on the TV. But for a multitude of reasons, autumn this year resonates with me on a deeper, more existential level. It is the season of change, both externally and internally. As we come to adjust our surroundings and habits to correlate with our altering environment, we may begin to reflect inward.

"Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go." text graphic
Continue reading
Share Button

Ask the Expert – Cognitive Issues

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD
MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: What strategies can you recommend to help with cognitive issues? 

Answer: First, let’s define cognition. Simply, it is all of the processes involved in learning, remembering, and expressing knowledge. It involves how we perceive, how we think, and how we convey knowledge verbally and nonverbally. 

Although many people with MS, and at all stages of MS, express cognitive symptoms or problems, they are generally mild in nature. The most common complaints that I hear involve difficulties in memory, multitasking, learning new information, and processing speed.

Some cognitive changes may be due to MS itself. Often, however, the problems are due to, or are compounded by, other factors such as poor sleep, medication effect, pain, or depression. The first strategy, therefore, is to assess the contribution of mood, pain, medications, and sleep – and then treat them appropriately. 

Continue reading
Share Button

You Know You Have MS When . . .

The day you receive a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis can feel surreal. It is common to be in denial and want to ignore it. But over time, you start to see that your symptoms match what the doctor explained would happen.

For most people, there is a moment when they cannot deny their symptoms or their diagnosis anymore. And life goes on.

To find out more about what that moment looks like, we turned to the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page. We asked the community to fill in the blank: “You know you have MS when _____________.”

More than 250 people in the community responded. Here is what they said.

Continue reading
Share Button

I Wish My Body Had a Dimmer Switch to Relax…

By Stacie Prada

It’s too bad our neurological wiring doesn’t include on/off dimmer switches like some of the electrical lights in my home. The central nervous system and myelin degradation caused by multiple sclerosis are often compared to electrical wires with the outer coating frayed or damaged. It seems only fitting that we should be able to extend the metaphor and enjoy the ability to increase or decrease the current through our nerves. The fantasy of being able to turn off or dim misfiring electrical signals to my arms and legs when spasticity is acting up is enticing.

Dimmer Switch written on a blue post-it talking about how to relax
Continue reading
Share Button

How Visual Patterns Affect People With Multiple Sclerosis

It may come as a surprise to many people that multiple sclerosis (MS) affects eyesight. But those living with MS know it can compromise parts of their vision, including depth perception.

MS affects the muscles in the body, sometimes including the muscles around the eyes. Having eye muscles that are weak or damaged can lead to complications like dizziness or vertigo. Like MS itself, these visual problems get worse with fatigue and stress.1

Illustration of woman with MS dizziness and vertigo covering face with hands and illustrative circles around her head

To find out more about the issues the MS community faces, we reached out on the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page. We asked, “Does patterned flooring or wallpaper ever make you feel unstable or put you into a feeling of vertigo?”

More than 200 people responded. Here is what they shared.

Continue reading
Share Button