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.

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Art perception

What is it about artwork that catches our attention? Is it the colors? Or maybe the artist’s story. As an art newbie, I don’t have knowledge of the proper technical skills or techniques. I don’t know what makes a piece of art great. I have minimal understanding of the intricacies of painting, but what I do know is how it makes me feel.

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10 Ways To Stay Busy In The Winter

Between the cold weather and COVID, it might be a challenge finding fun ways to stay busy in the winter. There’s no need to stare at your ceiling out of boredom. Staying home can be just as fun and productive as putting real clothes on and going out! These 10 ways to stay busy in the winter will have you saying “paaaar-tay!”

Party GIFs | Tenor

·      Call up your friend or a close relative

·      Clean out your closet

·      Give yourself a manicure

·      Read a good book

·      TV time!

·      Start scrapbooking

·      Bake a delicious cake

·      Take up knitting

·      Have a dance party in your pajamas!

·      Virtual Zumba classes

For many people, the mere concept of sitting at home is enough to make you feel like you are swimming in a sea of boredom. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Try out these different ways to stay busy in the winter and see how it works for you!

You might find that you keep the sea of boredom at bay!

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ABCs of the MS Diagnostic Process

ABCs of the MS diagnostic process

A – Ask a Neurologist

Is it MS, or is it something else? If you are experiencing numbness and tingling in your body, these symptoms could be caused by MS. On the other hand, there are many illnesses that easily mimic MS symptoms. To help figure out what is going on, the next step is to make an appointment with your primary care physician. If your doctor suspects MS, you’ll probably be referred to a neurologist for a definitive MS diagnosis.

B – Brain MRI

The MRI scans the brain using a computer, radiofrequency stimulator, and a huge magnet. Good news, MRIs do not expose patients to radiation, and helps doctors get a clear picture of what’s happening in the Brain. The MRI is used to assess the size and location of lesions in persons with multiple sclerosis. Contrast enhancement is often used to help to better assess inflammation and determine if MS is present in the Brain.

C – Consider Your Treatment Options

MS can be treated with a variety of effective FDA-Approved drugs. These medications can be recommended for all three types of MS. There are three main goals of MS treatment. Firstly, is to limit MS activity and development. Secondly, is to lessen the severity and duration of a relapse. And lastly, is to treat MS symptoms. All of these medications are typically administered by a doctor who specializes in MS or a neurologist. To download a list of FDA-Approved MS medications, please click here.

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Happy New Year

As this year comes to a rapid end, I’d like to leave you with something positive to help you get your 2022 off to a great start. As I thought about what I might share with you, I came across this acrostic that truly inspired me. My hope is that it will inspire you as well, and that you will have a Happy New Year.

Happy New Year by Catherine Pulsifer

H appiness depends upon your outlook on life – Find the good in all situations
A ttitude is just as important as ability – Keep your attitude positive
P assion, find yours this year! – Do what you love and you will never work
P ositive thoughts make everything easier – Stay focused and stay positive
Y ou are unique with special gifts, use them – Never forget you have talent

ew beginnings with a new year.
Enthusiasm, a true secret of success.
ishes, may they turn into goals.

ears go by too quickly, enjoy them – Wisdom from your elders, listen
nergy, may you have lots of it – Take care of yourself
A ppreciation of life, don’t take it for granted – Live each day
R elax, take the time to relax in this coming year – Keep a balance in your life

May your holidays be filled with joy and may you have a “Happy New Year.”

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A Letter from a Friend

Dear friend,

I am sorry to learn of your recent MS diagnosis. My heart cannot truly grasp the emotions you must be experiencing. I imagine this new chapter of your life has been quite scary and frustrating for you. Please know that you have a community of advocates behind you cheering you on.

I have seen firsthand how an MS diagnosis can take you on a wild emotional roller coaster ride that you never asked to be on. My mother was diagnosed with MS back in 1996. Advances in research and educational information about MS were much different back then. She wasn’t told that every person’s MS journey is unique and can look totally different than someone else’s. As a family we had no idea that MS didn’t look the same for everyone who was diagnosed with it.

As you deal with being newly diagnosed, I’d like to share with you a few words of encouragement that I wish someone had given my mom.

Your story as an MS fighter is completely unique to you. Try to stay away from searching online and get your information from reliable sources such as your doctor’s office and MS organizations like this one I’m writing to you from. Also, staying positive is extremely important as you navigate through this uncharted territory. Remember, toxic emotions release neurotoxins into the body. Additionally, being mindful of the type of food you put in your body goes a long way. And Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help, and never be ashamed to advocate for yourself.

Friend, I want you to know that I think of you often and wish you all the best as you learn to live life as someone who has been newly diagnosed with MS. MSAA is rooting for you, cheering you on, and doing everything we can to make a positive impact in your life and on the entire MS community.

We are here for you, and we care about you.

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Signs of an MS Relapse

When you have a relapse of multiple sclerosis (known as an exacerbation or flare-up), nerve signals are disrupted due to damage in the brain or spinal cord. As a result, you may experience new or returning symptoms. An MS relapse is defined as one lasting longer than 24 hours and occurring at least 30 days after any previous relapse. The duration, severity, and symptoms of relapses are all different. Here are a few common signs of an MS relapse.

Weakness

Normal messages from the brain to the body are disrupted when the protective covering of nerve fibers is damaged. When such signals are disturbed, the body stops working properly. Things you used to do easily, like opening a jar or turning a doorknob, can seem challenging during a relapse. You may be experiencing a relapse if you have sudden or worsening weakness that does not go away.

Vision Impairment

It’s possible that you’re starting to relapse if your eyesight is blurry or you’re seeing double. As the optic nerve becomes inflamed, some people lose their depth or color vision. Vision issues can be caused by taking a hot shower or bath, or by a viral infection like the flu, but they are just momentary and should go gone within a day.

Numbness

One of the most typical indicators of a recurrence in multiple sclerosis is numbness. It’s possible to lose so much feeling in your hands or other affected body parts that it’s difficult to use them. You might be unable to write or hold a cup of coffee. Please pay a visit to your doctor if your numbness is new or getting worse.

Cognitive Challenges

It’s aggravating to lose track of where you put your vehicle keys or to have to reread the same phrase several times simply to grasp the meaning. MS can impair your mind in a variety of ways, especially as the disease develops, affecting with memory, focus, language, and information processing. Any new difficulty thinking clearly or recalling past events could be a  sign that you may be experiencing a relapse.

Feeling Dizzy

It’s uncomfortable to feel lightheaded or unstable on your feet, but it’s a frequent symptom of MS relapses. Damage to the areas of your brain that control balance causes dizziness. In the short term, there are medications that can help relieve the ‘room is spinning’ sensation, but if it lasts longer than a day, you may be experiencing an MS relapse.

If you suspect that you are experiencing an MS relapse, please reach out to your doctor to share your concerns. What you are experiencing could possibly be signs of an MS relapse.

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Finding Joy in Life

Do you ever find it difficult to find happiness in the midst of hard times? Even in the face of adversity, having a mental list of simple behaviors to try out every day may help you feel happier. You might find that doing something as easy as listening to music improves your mood and helps you on your journey to finding joy in life.

Whatever joy means to you, you may tap into it in surprisingly easy ways, even when it’s tough to remember what it’s like to be joyful.

So, here are 3 easy-to-implement suggestions for finding joy in life during challenging circumstances.

1. Find the things in life that make you happy, and then do them.

2. Always take a moment to express gratitude.

3. Stay connected to the good relationships you’ve established in life.

Remember friends, do what brings you joy. Demonstrate thankfulness. And stay connected to your relationships. You are amazing, and you can do this!

Finding Joy in Life
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MSAA’s MRI Access Program

Did you know that MSAA’s MRI Access Program provides financial assistance for Cranial and C-Spine MRIs?

MSAA’s MRI Access Program assists with the payment of Cranial (brain) and C-spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for qualified individuals who have no medical insurance or cannot afford their insurance costs and require an MRI to help determine a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis or evaluate current MS disease progression.

What does the program offer?

The MRI Access Program helps financially with New MRIs and Past MRIs up to a maximum of $750 per MRI. So, whether you need help paying for future MRIs or if you are staring at an MRI bill you recently received in the mail. MSAA’s MRI Access Program is here to help!

How do I apply?

It’s simple! You can either apply online directly through our website or you can fill out a paper application and send it back via email, mail, or fax.

•      To apply online, click on this link https://mymsaa.org/msaa-help/mri/

•      To print out a paper application, click on this link https://mymsaa.org/PDFs/app_mri.pdf

Are you mailing your application?

No problem! You can mail it to the following address:

Attn: MRI Access Program

375 Kings Highway North

Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

You can also fax your application to MSAA at 856-488-8257 or you can email it to MRI@mymsaa.org.

Want to learn more?

Feel free to give me a call at 800-532-7667 ext. 142, and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Selena Fisher, Manager of Mission Delivery-MRI

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For a New Beginning

The world is once again changing, but this time it is changing for the better. This time, the world is offering new opportunities for a new beginning. Instead of writing my usual blog this month, I wanted to share an inspiring poem that really resonated with me. My heart’s desire is that you will also find it inspiring and encouraging as well.

For A New Beginning | John O’Donohue

“In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you”

For a New Beginning

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