Nancy Garcia – June 2024 Artist of the Month

MSAA 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 Nancy Garcia as June’s Artist of the Month. Nancy is from Chicago Heights, IL.

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Reflections on Motherhood & MS 

By Kate

My journey to motherhood was pushed into warp speed when I was diagnosed 8 years ago. In 2014, I had just gotten married and started having vision and grip issues which led to my eventual diagnosis of MS. Before any treatment was considered, my initial doctor (a lovely human) asked what it was I wanted for my life. I told him I wanted to be a mom. His response: “GREAT! You have 8 months to get pregnant, and if you don’t, I suggest we start treatment and reassess how and when to stop treatment in order to try again in the future.” This was good news, but like, no pressure, right?  

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Advice for Friends and Family Supporting Someone Receiving an MS Diagnosis

When a loved one receives a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), learning how to support them is vital. To learn what type of support people living with MS most value, we asked the MultipleSclerosis.net community:

“What advice would you give to friends and family who want to support someone receiving an MS diagnosis?”

The community shared lots of helpful insights!

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Ask the Expert – Fatigue

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 symptom affects up to 80% of people with MS and can worsen as the day goes on?

Answer: Fatigue.

Question: What are your recommendations for people with MS who are experiencing fatigue?

Answer: Fatigue is the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Although fatigue occurs in the general population, it’s more common and often more problematic in people with multiple sclerosis. The first approach should be to investigate the cause of fatigue with your clinician or neurologist. When MS is the only cause for the fatigue, it is labeled primary fatigue.

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Connecting with Nature for Mental Well-being

Nature is such an important part of our world. While I am not fond of the bugs that call it home, I appreciate the beauty and all the resources nature provides. Did you know that nature can help us with stress management? This is known by a variety of names, including nature therapy, ecotherapy, and green therapy. Regardless of the name, it refers to the therapeutic benefits of spending time in nature.

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Conectando con la naturaleza para el bienestar mental

La naturaleza es una parte muy importante de nuestro mundo. Aunque no me agradan los insectos que la habitan, aprecio su belleza y todos los recursos que nos proporciona. ¿Sabía que la naturaleza puede ayudarnos a controlar el estrés? Esto se conoce con diversos nombres, como terapia de la naturaleza, ecoterapia, o terapia verde. Independientemente del nombre, se refiere a los beneficios terapéuticos de pasar tiempo en la naturaleza.

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Exercising and Moving With MS

So much can change in the body following a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. The toll MS takes on moving the body is significant. A forum on MultipleSclerois.net asked members for their insights to several questions:

  • How has MS impacted exercise or bodily movement for you?
  • Are there exercises or movements that seem to work really well for you and, alternatively, some movements that are difficult to do now?
  • Have you had to modify any movements? If so, how?
  • How do you set yourself up for success when moving your body?

There were many valuable responses!

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Beat The Stress

We are living in a fast-paced world and to fit ourselves in society, we dive right into the whole rigamarole often forgetting that stressing over something that we cannot control is not going to improve the situation. Everyone has their threshold of handling stress. When you start noticing subtle signs like changes in appetite, breathing, energy levels, sleep, etc., that is your body’s signal to slow down.  Don’t let stress take control over your life, rather figure out ways to combat it. It is rather easy to get overwhelmed, so the next time you feel bogged down by stress, keep these tips handy:

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Understanding and Managing Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about stress, its impact on mental and physical health, and strategies to cope effectively. Stress is a universal experience that touches everyone at some point in life. Whether it stems from work deadlines, personal relationships, financial strains, or unexpected challenges, stress is a natural response that can often feel overwhelming. However, understanding stress and learning effective management techniques can empower us to navigate life’s ups and downs with resilience and grace.

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Stress and Mindfulness

Stress is unfortunately inevitable. We all can experience stress in some form, and it can manifest itself into physical and further emotional distress as well. Multiple sclerosis patients especially can experience stress or anxiety when it comes to managing their diagnosis. Managing stress is important for MS patients to help prevent relapses and to strengthen their immune response.

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Khalil Gibran

To better manage anxiety and stress, a great place to start is with our thoughts. Often, our thoughts and worries lead down a deeper hole of anxiety. Take a minute to think about the top stressors in your life right now. If your mind goes to the “what-if,” then begin to shift it to the “what can.” The “what-if” is what easily spirals our thoughts. Focusing on what can be done about it in the here and now is a more productive way of thinking. We also forget to think about what is the best thing that can happen!

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