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2014 Blog Posts

Managing Caregiver Chaos

For some reason, I have found that when I have a period of peace, quiet, and routine that I can expect a similar period of chaos to arrive in the near future.  Usually the chaos that comes is more than a little disruptive and what makes it chaos is that it comes from multiple directions all at once. For instance, my life is pretty busy with taking care of Lynn and working full time.  However, in the past month, my parents have moved in because my 82 year old Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and needed help when she started chemotherapy;  my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital for excessive bleeding after a colonoscopy; my father-in-law fell and is in the hospital to rule out any broken bones; my

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Thankful for MS?

In as much as we have recently experienced the Thanksgiving season, I was thinking about the impact Multiple Sclerosis has had on our lives and trying to think of reasons why I could be thankful for MS.  What comes to mind first, of course, are all the challenges but if I really focus I can think of several rewards I have received related to this condition. Here are a few. Our Relationship Coping with the challenges of MS has made Lynn and me closer.  Before MS, we were two married, independent partners. We each functioned well alone so there were many aspects of our lives that were not shared.  Due to his dependence on me for just about everything, we are truly one now. We share thoughts and fears, good

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Handling Grief

I attended a webinar today called, “Grief: What Helps When It Hurts” by the Hospice Foundation of America.  I was interested in this presentation because I work with a lot of employees who have lost family members and struggle when they return to work. The focus of the presentation was about grieving the death of a loved one but many of the principles presented also apply to the grief we experience as caregivers. The effects of grief are vast.  Grief can have a physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral or spiritual impact. How someone reacts to grief is very individualized and impacted often by their own health, their relationship with the person who experienced the loss, and what they believe is the acceptable way to cope with the loss.  It’s a roller

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What Happens When It's My Turn?

Having turned fifty-seven this week; Hope of retirement in eight years seems bleak. Thinking of losing my income somehow; Is much too scary to think of just now. To think of not having two jobs but just one Is a dream a long time in my future to come. For if I step down from my duties to care Who would assume the role that I bear? Who would be there to scratch his frequent itch? Or to set up the peddler when his leg starts to twitch? continue reading at: http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/happens-turn/

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Thankful to Be a Caregiver

Being a caregiver is difficult.  It’s a lot of hard work; it’s emotionally trying; it’s downright exhausting…but it is also very rewarding.  I try each day to come up with at least one thing that I have done or used or seen or thought about that I am thankful for and I highlight that on my Facebook timeline.  I admit there are times when it is difficult to find something but when I am struggling to come up with a topic, it also makes me realize just how much I have and how truly blessed I am. Today, I want to share with you why I’m thankful that I’m a caregiver. I am able to give back Lynn has done so much for me since we have been married.  He

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Is This It? I Thought It Would Be Bigger

For the past year, I have excitedly looked forward to this year’s beach vacation.  I have dreamed about how awesome it would be, talked about it with anyone who would listen, and looked forward to it like a child looking forward to a Christmas Eve visit from Santa. I was so excited because I thought I had found the perfect place for Lynn to go that would meet all his needs and allow the rest of the family to have a great time. This place sounded perfect.  It had an elevator, roll in shower, mobility assistance devices, wider doors, and a pool that slanted so he could roll into it on a floating wheelchair.  It sounded perfect… Reality set in when we arrived. The first disappointment was that I misunderstood

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Who Can Afford Respite Care?

Before I get started on this blog, I want to write a disclaimer:  I’m very tired and having difficulty this week coping so if you are a caregiver; read on—you probably have felt the same way.  If you are someone with MS, maybe you better skip this one.  It’s not meant to cause you guilt or pain but unfortunately, it’s how I’m feeling right now. So what’s wrong with me today?  I’m tired.  My body aches.  And though it’s 8:30 at night when most people are starting to wind down, I still have many hours to go.  Nothing out of the ordinary going on today; it’s just a regular day, but that’s why I’m feeling down…Not depressed; just down. Do you ever just feel like you want to run away? 

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Would Hydrotherapy Be an Option?

We had the great fortune this year to rent a beach house for our summer vacation that included a handicap accessible pool. The pool was large enough for our entire family to be in it (seven of us) but small enough that by afternoon the water temperature was around bath-water range. While some people might consider that a disadvantage, for Lynn it was just what he needed. Cold water tends to make his spasticity worse. Plus, Lynn is like a cold-blooded animal—he takes on the temperature of his surroundings; therefore, naturally occurring warm water was perfect for him. Each day, we took Lynn to the pool where he hung out with us for at least an hour. I would put his arms across a buggy-board or water noodle and use

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The Importance of Skin Care

Of all the caregiving responsibilities I do on a daily basis, the one I think that is most important is inspecting and caring for Lynn’s skin.  For most people, if they get a cut or a scratch or other skin irritation, it’s no big deal.  They get a little Neosporin ointment, slap a Band-Aid on it and go about their usual routine.  For someone who spends 20 out of 24 hours sitting in a chair, when I examine his buttock and find a skin tear, it’s definitely an “oh, no!” moment in my life. Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body?  It has many purposes; protects us from nasties crawling into our body, warns of danger, regulates temperature, manages waste, and other things.  For

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Preparing for the Week Ahead

Always be Prepared.  That was the Scout motto when I was a kid and one I’ve taken to heart for survival purposes now that I’m a caregiver. The need to always have a “plan B” keeps me on my toes and planning ahead for the “just in case” life I now live. Today is Saturday.  So far this morning, I’ve spent the majority of my time cooking large pots of vegetables.  I try to keep several containers of all the essential foods Lynn has to eat each week in the freezer.  By cooking in large quantities, I can work up to the last minute and pull a meal together out of the refrigerator or freezer without needing too much lead time. In fact, I have a freezer in the garage

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Just Because It Can Be Done Doesn't Mean It Should Be

With much excitement but a little trepidation, Lynn and I returned to church last Sunday.  We had not been able to attend there since he started requiring the use of a wheelchair to get around.  When he first came home from the hospital in 2010, he was too weak for almost a year; then as his strength improved he started using Rebif and just felt too bad.  Finally, he switched to Tecfidera and was strong enough and felt well enough to return to church but then we measured the old elevator and realized he couldn’t get his wheelchair in it and then be able to make the 90o turn to get back out again. So we resigned ourselves to listening to the previous week’s sermon each Sunday morning as our

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Life Lessons from Caregiving

Occasionally I get an email from someone who is a new caregiver asking for advice on how to adjust to this new role they have acquired.  Here are some of the life lessons I’ve learned from caregiving. I can’t be perfect. Not that I ever was but I’ve always had the personal philosophy that if I was going to do anything, I wanted to do my best if not be the best.  I didn’t just want to do a good job; I wanted to do a great job.  I did not like failing and so to avoid that negative feeling, anything that I wasn’t naturally good at doing, I would tend not to do. I would engage in only those things where I could be a success. I took that

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Sometimes, Ya Just Have Ta Laugh….

People have different ways of relieving stress and frustration and as Lynn’s condition progressed from independence to total dependency, I think we have used them all.  Most provide some relief but some work better than others.  For us, the method that works the best is laughter. Now when I was a kid, I was told that it was not nice to laugh at someone else’s misfortune so when someone would fall or something embarrassing would happen to them, I would feel sympathetic rather than laugh.  For myself, I hated to have any attention called to me so if I had a publicly embarrassing moment I would withdraw and hide hoping no one would notice.  However, Lynn has never taken himself too seriously.  He could make a public faux pas and

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Lessons Learned From a Short Trip

I previously published an article (June 26, 2014) entitled, “A Short Trip Back Home.”  In that post I talked about the fact that going away for a weekend took just about the same amount of preparation and packing of equipment as going away for a week. Now, I want to talk about “lessons learned” from that short trip. I have to say that this trip back home was one of the most miserable we have taken in quite a long time.  Maybe that’s due to the fact that we have not tried a short trip since Lynn became restricted to the use of a wheelchair but I think it just speaks to the complications of taking trips. Why was it so much worse?  There are two possible reasons I think

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Can You Scratch My Leg?

After years of caregiving, I believe I know Lynn’s body and his emotional and physical needs as well or better than my own. Actually, I probably know it better because I don’t pay attention to my own.  By becoming that familiar with him, I’ve been able to take quick action to prevent minor problems from becoming major ones most of the time. However, by being so vigilante and adapt at making these assessments, it has resulted in a different problem—Lynn expects me to intuitively know what he needs! For example, Lynn uses an air cushion seat.  The cushion is made up of multiple rows of air bladders that disperse air away from the weighted area (where he sits) to the outward bladders.  He then sits on a small layer of

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Marriage?

When Lynn and I were dating, I knew that his father had only lived to be in his forties and that he died from complications of MS. Having a medical background, I had a vague, general knowledge of the condition but primarily just enough knowledge to know that it affected mobility and the eyes and I had had a few employees make accommodate requests related to memory.  I knew that genetics was a factor, but not an absolute, in determining if he would also suffer from MS.  I also knew that while Lynn had his vises, he was good about what he ate and he exercised regularly; so, in my opinion, he was more likely to have complications from his smoking than he was from having MS.  I seriously considered

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I've Felt Worse

One of Lynn’s regular responses when someone asks how he is doing is, “I’ve been worse.”  It conveys to the person asking that he’s not feeling great but that he’s grateful he’s not feeling worse.  It also allows him to avoid discussing how he really is and it shows a positive attitude, which is something that he tries to always maintain.  However, it also denies the fact that he actually doesn’t feel well at all. Several months back I challenged him on that statement. “So, if you have felt worse, does that mean you feel good now? Are you not allowed to admit that you feel horrible because you have made such progress toward feeling better?” He thought about it for a minute and admitted that he just didn’t want

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When Reality and Dreams Don't Mix, No One Wins

The light was flashing on my answering machine when I came home from going into work to meet my “one day a week onsite” obligation.  Lynn has difficulty answering the phone before it automatically rolls to voicemail so we don’t even try to have him do it when I’m away.  I checked the message and excitement spread throughout my body—someone was calling to see if we might be interested in selling the land we had.  She explained they had lived in the area for a while and needed to build a house to accommodate her husband’s wheelchair.  She shared in her message that she had seen that we had a foundation started on the land but that it appeared to have been sitting there a while and wanted to know

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How Others See Me

Whether it’s right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy, most of us tend to “take in” the view others have of us.  I think that’s especially true of caregivers.  Once you become a full-time, all consumed caregiver you tend to lose part of yourself through absorbing the emotions and needs of the person for whom you are caring.  I think in some ways that’s what also sets apart the “born” caregivers from those who just provide care. The healthy balance is in knowing how much to absorb so that you can instinctively know what the other person needs and being able to filter out the rest. When you are very in-tune to the emotions of another, it’s very easy to take on those same emotions.  If that person is happy, you

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So, How Are You….Really?

When you run into someone when you’re out in public, what seems to be the first thing out of their mouth after saying your name?  For me, it’s, “How’s Lynn?” and then it’s, “and how are you doing?”  It’s never easy to know how to answer that question. I believe that most people don’t really want to know details; they’re just asking to be polite and to communicate that your well-being is something that they care about.  Therefore, my typical response is, “we’re doing fine.” Then, there are those who know a little more about some of our challenges and want a little more information, so that group gets, “Doing well.  No new issues right now.”  That’s all they really want to know—is he worse or about the same? They

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How FMLA Supports Caregiving

My paid job, that supports Lynn and me, is as a Human Resources Director of Employee Relations.  As part of that role, I am responsible for keeping up with employment law.  One of the laws often misunderstood by employees is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  While from the employer perspective this law is a thorn in their sides, from an employee perspective this law can provide you with the ability to care for your loved one without being punished for taking time off. When many people hear about FMLA it is in relation to having time off when a new child arrives in the family either to recover from childbirth or to adjust to being a parent.  However, it’s more than just a law for new parents. Where it

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Caregiving and Work

The type of employment you have when you become an adult makes all the difference in how you live your life.  It dictates when you’re asleep or awake, what you wear, what you’ll be exposed to, the type of people you will encounter, and your standard of living (unless you are independently wealthy or someone else contributes to your income).  Though it’s possible to change some of these by changing where you work, the bottom line is that work plays a significant role in our lives. Besides the income we derive from being employed, many jobs also provide benefits, social interaction, a sense of accomplishment, ways to enhance our self worth through positive contributions, and an identity (while especially true for men, for many (but not all) women, it’s equally

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A Short Trip Back Home

For the most part, Lynn and I are home bodies.  He just doesn’t handle traveling very well so we rarely leave home.  His already ever-present exhaustion is made significantly greater when he travels and it usually takes a full day to recover afterwards; therefore, we rarely do any short trips since he spends the time at our destination recovering.  Because of this fact and the fact that their home is not wheelchair accessible, I have not made the five-hour trip “home” to my parent’s house since around 2008. I grew up in one of those rural areas where everyone knew everyone else and more than half of the neighbors were related in some way.  My cousins and I used to all get together annually for a family reunion; however, since

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Guest Blog – Seeing Through the Woulds by Dan Digmann

Seeing through the woulds By Dan Digmann Birds are chirping. Breeze is blowing. Mourning doves are, uh, mourning. And I’m that man sitting on the deck typing. I’m writing what seemingly are assorted random thoughts, but that’s not fair to say. They’ve been brewing in my mind for months, I’ve just never had the time to spew them in silence. I suppose I now have this once-elusive silence, sans chirping birds, blowing breeze and doves mourning. I really don’t have the time. I’m instead making the time while turning my blind eye on the two graduate courses I HAVE to complete this summer so I can graduate this December. But it’s barely the middle of June and they’re both independent study courses. So I’m sitting here on the deck typing

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What's a Ratchet?

When I took on being a full time caregiver, I knew I was taking on full responsibility for skin care, elimination, nutrition, hygiene, assistance with activities of daily living and even physical therapy.  What I hadn’t counted on was taking on my husband’s role of maintenance mechanic for our home. Having a medical background, I’m comfortable with the caregiver duties; not so much with the mechanic ones.  In fact, they intimidate me to the point of panic when Lynn says something like he did last night, “Go get a ratchet.” His electronic peddler (that he had been using almost non-stop for spasticity release for the past three years) recently bit the dust.  We had taped it up with duct tape, oiled all visible parts, and my solution, jiggled it unmercifully, with no success.  Resuscitation

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Sometimes I Get Jealous

Sometimes I am jealous of Lynn.  Isn’t that sick? How could any able-bodied individual who is healthy, independent, productive, able to work and function normally be jealous of someone who is totally dependent on someone else for EVERYTHING in his life other than his own thoughts.  I must be mentally ill – but there it is, sometimes I get jealous. Just how sick is that?  It’s certainly not something I’m proud of but I decided to share this secret, unattractive side of caregiving with you because I expect other caregivers have had that same emotion. Let me be absolutely clear before I go any further….I do not envy him. I do not think he has the good life and would want to trade places with him for anything.  I know

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Moment by Moment

I was reading a blog about advice caregivers give to other caregivers and as I read through the suggestions (all of which rang true,) one connected with me more than all the others—“live in the moment.” “Live in the moment,” is a phase I’ve heard much of my life in the context of learning to appreciate life.  The comment parallels the phases, “stop and smell the roses,” and “this, too, shall pass.”  While I rarely “stop to smell the roses” (all the flowers in my yard are artificial, even the roses), I do try my best to “live in the moment” and keep in mind that “this, too, shall pass” but from my perspective, they take on a little different meaning. When I’m asked what advice I would give to

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One Minute He's Hot; the Next He's Cold

The thermostat in my house is currently registering at 77o ferneiheit.  With all the activity I’ve been involved in today, I’m now sitting here melting at my computer. Meanwhile Lynn alternates between being hot and cold but mainly stays cold. Before the days of MS, Lynn’s body temperature ran hot. It could be the middle of winter and he would be outside in shorts and a T-shirt cooking on the grill.  We used to joke that one day he would spontaneously combust into flames because he just radiated heat.   That changed shortly after his diagnosis.  He gradually became less tolerant of heat.  Instead of setting the temperature indoors to a chilly 70, he would be satisfied to allow me to set it at a more comfortable level where it was no

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Put Guilt Back in the Box

There are a multitude of emotions that play into being a caregiver or being the one with the chronic disease that needs the care. Which emotion takes front stage on any given day is affected by how you feel, how the other person feels, how much sleep you got the night before and what else happened that day.  One of the emotions that I have to battle more often than most is guilt. I think I struggle with it the most because I can’t seem to be what I think I should be and I can’t always do what I think I should be able to do. In my own mind, I know that when I say I will do something, I absolutely know that I can do it—I am quite capable;

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The Challenges of Separation Anxiety

I experienced separation anxiety as a child.  I didn’t like to leave home; rarely went to sleep-overs; and seriously considered my college choices based on how close they were to home so I “get” that feeling of longing to be close to someone you love and the slight edge of fear that comes when you are separated from them.  I learned more about the “other side” of separation anxiety when my children were little and I had to peel them off my body to leave them at day care so I could make it to work on time (which I rarely did because I had an aversion of losing skin during the peeling process). Now that my children are grown, I’ve learned to adapt to it again with my husband.

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The Impact of Caregiving on the Caregiver

s I was taking my morning dose of Advil (4 tablets rather than 2), I was curious about my future as a caregiver and what being a caregiver was doing to me personally.  So I thought I would look up to see if any research had been done on that topic. The Family Caregiver Alliance had a nice comprehensive summary of what research says on their website.  I caution you though, that if you are the receiver of care, this might make you feel guilty and if you are the caregiver, it might make you feel depressed. That is not my intent.  I think these facts are important to realize; however, so that appropriate decisions can be made for everyone’s future.  Mental and Emotional Health Impact of Caregiving Caregivers have higher

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Finding Time for Normal

I usually write my blogs on Saturdays because it’s the only time I don’t immediately have another obligation once I’m freed up from routine caregiving.  Today is beautiful outside-the sun is shining, the air is warm, no clouds on the horizon.  I see a few bees buzzing around and there are daffodils peeking out of the stems that survived the late season snows we had this year. As I look around, I yearn to go outside and create hanging baskets of bright colored flowers and set out other flowers bordering my house but as I think of indulging myself in those activities, I look at the clock on my computer…it’s already 1:11 p.m. Lynn will be up from his nap soon and need to eat.  I have clothes washing that

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Second-Hand MS

Before Lynn was diagnosed with MS, my experience with the condition was from a distance.  I knew of a third cousin with it that family members talked about in sympathetic tones of doom.  I had a few encounters with colleagues who had MS and who shared some of their struggles with me when they asked for my assistance in obtaining a reasonable accommodation (I work in Human Resources) so they could perform their jobs successfully.  I remembered some information from my nursing training twenty-five years previously but it was mixed in there with the rest of the chapter on neurological conditions so I wasn’t sure if I was remembering symptoms of MS, Muscular Dystrophy,  Myasthenia Gravis, or something else. I knew enough to know that I needed to learn more.

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I Like Ours Better

There’s always a lot of hype that surrounds holidays, and Valentine’s Day is certainly right there keeping pace with all the rest. It’s supposed to be a day to celebrate your love for one another in some special way with gifts, dinner out, and other more intimate ways of expression. I’ve never been overly romantic; though Lynn was.  He used to always send me flowers where I worked or made me some type of special decorative object.  He always did something special because he enjoyed showing his expressions of love in his own way. Now that he is unable to get out on his own, he isn’t able to do those things anymore. He can’t make anything since his hands don’t work and he can’t order anything to surprise me since I

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Buying Health

There’s a lot of talk these days about health care reform and making sure the uninsured have coverage.  I don’t want to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the law but I do want to comment about the struggles associated with having a chronic health condition and how much is not considered when adding up the cost. Fortunately, most of Lynn’s prescription costs are covered.  If we didn’t have insurance, our cost would be over $5,000 per month for just his MS drug.  In addition to his MS medication, he takes meds for other conditions like high blood pressure, mitral value prolapse, neurogenic bladder, MS depression, hypothyroidism, and others.  Just the cost of meds alone would send us into bankruptcy or more likely, we just couldn’t afford for him to take anything

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My Role as a Physical Therapist

Personally, I have never been good at exercising.  I hate it.  I might feel much better if I stayed with it a while but I’m so out of shape that I feel awful doing it.  Not so, for Lynn.  He has always been good about doing some type of exercise almost every day. The major difference now is that I have to help him with it. Therefore, one of my many roles in caring for Lynn is to be his personal physical therapist. For anyone, but especially people who have conditions that produce fatigue, keeping conditioned is essential to conserving energy.  If the muscles don’t work efficiently, it takes a lot more energy to do the simple tasks of everyday life.   Lack of stimulation to the muscle groups causes them to become de-conditioned

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The Need to Feel Productive

One of the struggles we have had to address with Lynn’s MS progressing so rapidly at one point was the loss of his feeling useful. Lynn was very strong, flexible, and talented all of his young adult life.  Then over the course of three years it seems he went from having the ability to build his own home (drafting the plans, laying the foundation for a full basement, toting, lifting, hammering, shifting, etc.) to not being able to have the strength to push a button on a keypad. He was the supervisor of a fabrication shop that designed and built displays that were the size of small houses.  He was a very talented carpenter but he could do just about anything related to construction and was even good at auto

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"You've Got This" Campaign

Healthline just launched a video campaign for MS called “You’ve Got This” where individuals living with MS can record a short video to give hope and inspiration to those recently diagnosed with MS. You can visit the homepage and check out videos from the campaign here:http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/youve-got-this Healthline will be donating $10 for every submitted campaign to the National MS Society, so the more exposure the campaign gets the more the videos they’ll receive and the more Healthline can donate to MS research, support groups, treatment programs, and more. If you know anyone that would be interested in submitting a video, please encourage them to do so.

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Is There Really Anything to Being On An MS Diet? We Think so

Early in discovering how to cope with MS symptoms, the nurse who works in Lynn’s neurologist’s office suggested that he might want to see a registered dietician.  Lynn was feeling pretty rough all the time.  He had no energy and more than that, he just felt bad.  She shared that her husband had been seeing someone who had really made a difference in how he was now feeling.  Though her husband did not have MS, she strongly suggested we give it a try; so we did! Two years later, I must say, it’s the best decision we ever made.  In fact, Lynn was just saying today that if he had to give up all his doctors/therapist but one, the one he would keep is his nutritionist! The first step we took when

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Arsenic, Mercury, and Lead – What do They Have to Do with MS?

If it’s one thing I have learned in caring for my spouse, it’s that in order to keep him healthy and functioning at his optimum level, I have to take a holistic approach to his care.  Taking MS drugs to prevent exacerbations helps prevent significant loss of function; however, if his body is not in the best shape possible to fight attacks from viruses or bacteria or if he’s injured or allows his body to become de-conditioned, those issues are just as significant to his well-being as the medication he takes. Therefore, Lynn’s wellness regime includes a diet that targets mitochondrion function (repair of nerve cells); he exercises every day focusing on different muscle groups; and he rests when he gets tired.  At his last neurologist visit, his functioning was better than the visit

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Batten Down the Hatches! Snow is Coming

For you folks who have lived in the northern states, the reaction of us mid-Atlantic residents to the threat of snow must look like a bunch of panicked rats in a maze.  The reason for this panic is that most people are spoiled to the ability to run to their neighborhood [insert store here] to pick up whatever they want whenever they want it. The knowledge that they might not be able to buy bread (or beer) for a couple of days seems to strike fear in the heart of grown men. When I hear we might have snow or ice, my first thought is to get the generator ready.  I live in a rural area that is not in the “priority” grid even though Lynn at one time had

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Living the Loss

I attended a memorial service recently at my church.  It was the first time I had attended a church “service” there in three years.  The last time I was there, I was rehearsing for our Christmas drama and had one of the lead roles.  We were in the final weeks before the production and I had to drop out because Lynn was admitted to the hospital.  He was in ICU for a month and then readmitted two more times during the next six months.  Once he entered the hospital, his strength and functionality were significantly compromised due to inactivity and the complications of his condition so initially we could not return to church due to his health.  About a year later, he was strong enough to return but we discovered

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I'm the Primary Healthcare Provider

Lynn has never been good at sharing information. He’s one of those men who can go to the doctor about a problem, find out he has a new medical condition, start a new treatment program, and when he comes home will say, “The doctor says I’m fine,” or say nothing at all. He did that for years before he was diagnosed with MS. Used to drive me nuts! I have a nursing background and when he came back from the doctor, I wanted to know everything—his blood pressure, what lab work was done, what was the differential diagnosis, what is the treatment plan, what options was he given before he made a choice, etc. Needless to say, I never got that level of detail from him because not only did

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We Love To See You But….

Lynn loves to socialize.  He’s much more outgoing than I am and often wants to invite people over; especially family members.  However, what I hear when he says so and so is coming over is this:  I’ve invited people over who may or may not have been exposed to a cold, flu, norovirus, or any other germs that could make me extremely ill and bring on an exacerbation or deterioration in my condition that could have long term effects.  Plus, I will likely spend a lot of energy talking and entertaining which means that what little energy I have will be totally used up and it will take me 2-3 days to recover so be prepared to provide even more care for me than you normally would.  In the mean while, I need you to

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Is That Your Final Answer?

Once you become a full-time caregiver to your spouse, the relationship takes on many new dimensions.  While in the traditional marriage roles, the husband takes care of the wife and makes many of the final decisions regarding big issues, if the one being cared for is the husband, and the one doing the caring is the wife, those roles often reverse.  That reversal has happened to me and my spouse, Lynn.  Though I try to maintain our husband/wife roles in our marriage, I have to admit that now that I do almost everything for him and our home, it’s really difficult not to just make all the decisions without including him. Continue to read the rest of this post at http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/is-that-your-final-answer/

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