Thursday, March 14, 2013

Carnival of MS Bloggers #135

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

from A Little of Everything

I constantly see a lot of posts about lack of support for some people with MS. I guess I've been very lucky, my family and friends have been nothing but supportive. I think it's very important for people in our lives to be educated about MS and the effects can have on someone.

Someone can look perfectly fine, but could be having muscle spasms and pain, that they just aren't calling attention to.

The most important part, in my opinion, is trying to keep the persons stress level as low as possible. Also family and friends understanding that. It's not always possible,
but I have found cutting out negative people or situations have helped a lot.

I don't think I would have been able to get through this far without the support system I have. And also knowing the people I don't talk to everyday, or for a while, sometimes give me the space I need. And still love and support me regardless!

I'm a very lucky girl.

from Needle Fatigue

This week was a slow week for news on the MS front.  Only one article in my Medical News Today-Multiple Sclerosis news feed: Salt May Play Role In Autoimmune Diseases

Anyone in my family would know why that headline got my attention.  It’s because — with maybe two anomalous exceptions — my people are… salt monsters.

When my clansmen go to the Chinese restaurant with the saltiest hot and sour soup in the world, they add soy sauce.  The only thing I think I have ever seen spared from the salt shaker is ice cream, and I’m not actually sure of that.  So one might think I’d be a pretty damn good candidate for a study of salt consumption and MS.

But the thing is, if you ask my family, as an adult, my devotion to sodium chloride has been pretty weak.   (It may be worth noting here too that I’m the only person with MS anywhere in my family, that we know of.)   I’d say that for the last ten years — and well before I had my first attack — my salt intake has been half of what I consumed as a wee salt monsterette.  All of my snacks are indecently raw and healthy.  I use low-sodium soy sauce.  But not all the time.

Recently I’ve read some interesting books on “intuitive eating” (if you’re interested, try this one) and found that that’s pretty much how I already go through life.  I figure if I crave a nice bloody steak (which isn’t often), there’s probably a good reason for it. And sometimes I shove aside the low-sodium Kikkoman and reach for my jug of tamari.  I’m less happy about the sneaky items in my kitchen that seem healthy but probably aren’t — that innocent box of rosemary-olive oil quinoa, with the sinister “spice sack” inside…

If you have MS, you probably get asked this question a lot: “So are you on a special diet to treat that?” This is something I’m still investigating, but I’m pretty sure the scientific consensus is that there is no diet that will prevent the progression of MS.  There are diets that might make you feel better — generally speaking — and I plan to write about some of that stuff here — but if there was an actual diet that could stop MS, or even better reverse the damage, I think we’d have bloody well heard about it.

So, the salt issue is something I’m just going to look at as one more of those nutritional areas I can improve on.  And after all, if it’s just being considered as a cause of MS, the horse is kind of out of the barn there.  And as the studies in Nature  point out, it’s only one of many.  It reminds me, on the day I was diagnosed officially, I asked my neurologist: “So you said there are all these  ‘environmental triggers’ that cause MS — what are they?”  His answer was “If I knew that, I’d have a Nobel Prize.”

And on that note, hot and sour soup sounds really good right now.


by Katie Brind'Amour of Healthline.com

Although progress in the treatment of MS has been slow, individuals with this condition can at least be grateful for one of the best free resources now available: the Internet. This venue for at-home treatment clearly should not replace treatment advice from your own physicians, but things as simple as YouTube videos can offer a new world of simple symptom improvement advice that can improve your daily life.

According to Healthline.com, the type of MS you have or the degree to which your MS has progressed will impact the type and severity of symptoms you experience. Always remember that your own at-home treatments should be tailored to the severity of your condition—start small, and work your way up!

Use YouTube advice to get a handle on bladder control problems. These Pelvic Control Tips offer viewers five strategies for keeping it in. By doing exercises daily, you can both prevent some bladder problems and improve symptoms you may already have.

Get your balance with simple home-based exercises. For those in early stages of MS or with periods of total remission, more advanced balance exercises may be appropriate. For those with more difficulty balancing or a more advanced stage of the condition, balance techniques designed for seniors may be more comfortable. Regardless of your ability level, start all exercises close to a bed, countertop, or wall that you can use for support and stability in case of a totter or fall. Check out the video instructions for guidance!

If you want to avoid losing your hand-eye coordination as long as possible, YouTube has an answer for that, too! Try early preventative exercises (that require agility) to hone your hand-eye skills. Start with a basketball (sitting, if needed), and work your way up to the tennis ball as shown. For those with more difficulty, try one of the numerous videos for children to rebuild your hand-eye coordination. Stringing beads or foam onto a pipe cleaner can be tough at more advanced MS stages!

Another problem that commonly accompanies MS is depression. Use YouTube videos for a little meditation-like pep-talk or learn tried-and-true strategies for fighting depressive symptoms naturally. If fatigue is a problem for you, consider searching out freebie videos like this little clip of using yoga to fight fatigue.

Finally, we all know that MS can negatively impact both concentration and memory. Although options abound, try this video to learn a single exercise that may improve your ability to concentrate during a task. Memory techniques may be good to mix up from time to time, but advice on starting to improve your memory can be key to getting your at-home training off the ground.

No matter what you choose to focus on—just one symptom or a bit of everything—it seems like a bit of a blessing to be living in such an electronic age. Take advantage of everything YouTube has to offer for making your at-home preventive efforts as effective as possible!


This concludes the 135th edition of the Carnival.  The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on March 28, 2013. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.