Monthly Archives: August 2013

Video #1- “What Multiple Sclerosis Is”


I’ve created this video to talk about what MS is, and the different courses that the disease can take.


When explaining Secondary Progressive MS , I say, “There are fewer relapses”. Correction- “There are fewer periods of remittance”.

Please leave comments and questions. I am a Vlog Virgin :)) Well, not anymore!



Filed under Diagnosing MS, MS and Disease Modifying Drugs, MS and Genetics, MS and Pregnancy

This Storm is Passing

This Storm is Passing and not a minute too soon!


My friend Brenda Huston Fortna and I, out taking pictures during the 2010 blizzard in Pennsylvania.

What I’ve been wanting to say lately is that…I’m getting better. I am here to remind you that Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) is just that, a relapse followed by remittance. When you’re dealing with a relapse, even the best of us lose sight of the remitting part, and holding on to that is what gets me through and pulls me out.

I’d gone 10 years without anything major happening. I managed to do really great things. These were physical things, constantly proving to myself that I was okay. I pushed the envelope and it felt great. Then all hell broke loose. We’re talking cane, wheelchair, and back again. The cane still provides security but, it too, will have to go. They say that recovery is never 100%. I say that’s debatable. A relapse long ago caused me to lose SOME hearing in my left ear. When I remitted 100%, my Neurologist explained that if tested, it would show that SOME lose remained. What do I care about that? I could still hear a kid in my classroom trying to whisper during a test. Double vision…gone. Vertigo…gone! Crazy gait…gone! Leg spasms…gone! Needles and pins (dysesthesias)…gone!  Speech problems…gone! Last year this time I couldn’t make it through the Farmer’s market…now I go into New York City! I’m ready (almost) to push the envelope again, and not a minute too soon.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be something to remind me that I have MS. That something changes like the weather. With RRMS it’s very important that we remember and EXPECT that, storms do pass.

COMMENTS: What’s been your experience with remitting? Have you found symptoms that have not remitted? Was the transmission to permanance as difficult as you imagined?


Filed under Riding Out a Relapse

MS and Visualization: “My Vision is my Reality”

“My vision is my reality. Make it healthy.” E.Smith


My friend Ruthie is an Equestrian. She tells me that she visualizes her competitive rides being successful and…she’s great. I’m reminded that when I would go on photoshoots, I would visualize the shots I planned to take and they’d come out beautiful. Now, I visualize a full recovery from my last relapse. It works like this:

I nag my husband to clean the garage. My vision is that I’m 100% healthy. I promise to help. I even go out and get started without him. I make lots of noise and throw things away. He rushes into the garage because he’s worried I’ll throw his things away. It gets too hot. My vision is that I’m 100% healthy. My vision is my reality, so the heat is not a problem. This box is too heavy. My vision is that I am healthy. My vision is my reality. I move the box. I see a bag of rocks that is very heavy and dirty. My vision is that I am healthy.  My vision is my reality. I sit down with a bag of chips and call my husband to please come move this bag of rocks.


Next…the basement!

Disclaimer: I realize Visualization is not the cure for MS, but it can’t hurt!

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, MS and Visualization, Riding Out a Relapse

MS, this is NOT a good time!

Photo Credit: Will Sterling

Photo Credit: Will Sterling

This is a conversation I’m having with my former high school student. She graduated in 1996…that makes her 31 years old now. Geez!!

Bambi: Mrs. Smith!!! I have a question about MS. As you have probably noticed, I’m a hypochondriac. I’ve been having some leg spasms for the last yr, twitching in my jaw and recently, vibrations in my stomach. I googled my symptoms and webMD said it’s possible signs of MS. I FREAKED OUT! Am I overreacting? ( which I tend to do) Can u give me some insight? I’ve already scheduled a full physical…

Mrs. Smith: Slo ya roll, Timon! Wait for Pumba! In other words, stay outta WebMD. Yes I want you to do research, but wait until the real MD.s suggest something. What you’ve been experiencing COULD be neurological in nature, but they could also be spasms due to magnesium and/or potassium deficiency or simply dehydration. Twitching due to stress, you DID just get married MISSY. The point is, EVERYthing that MS causes, could be caused by a million other things. I’m glad you’ve got a physical scheduled. What kind of doctor is it?Take VERY good notes on what’s been happening into your doctors visit. Ask for explanations and let me know how it goes.Meanwhile, your assignment is meditation. Start with 3 minutes a day, increase the minutes. Work your way up to 30 and get back to me.

Bambi: Mediate??? For 3 mins??? Ok, so how do I do that? I can never seem to stop my brain from racing…unless I have a shot… #djm. I’m speaking against it today!! But I always worry about my health. My family has horrible medical history and I’m always freaking out. Theresa and Q. can attest to that.

Mrs. Smith: Hey Honey,  my doctor has me taking vitamin D3. Many ppl are Vit. D. deficient. It’s been discovered that higher levels of D3, lesson attacks in ppl with MS, and has SOME protection for those thought to be at risk for the disease. Lil.E. scared us with a neurological episode (false alarm) but her neurologist still wants her to take a Vit. D supplement daily of 1000 i.u. I take 2000 I.U. daily. Here’s where you come in. Vit. D. is naturally healthy for the nervous system, so why not? 1000 i.u. a day. It’s also good for strong bones, so there’s a double benefit. BUT, don’t over do it. Too much of anything is not good. As far as the meditation goes, I KNOW you Timon, and “wired for sound” is an understatement (LOL) YES Missy, meditate. You’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend, and SELF. I mean it! It’s not hard and it’ll help stop your brain from racing. Although your racing brain was an asset in class. Check out my post on meditation to get started.

“How to Meditate in a Moment”

Learn more about : Vitamin D and MS

ps. Remember the day you and Pumba hid under my desk only to jump out, scare the crap out of me, and break into this routine. I couldn’t teach, for laughing 🙂 Great diversion!


Have you experienced any MS-like symptoms that were actually caused by something else?

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Filed under MS and Marriage, MS and Vitamin D deficiency, Uncategorized



Let’s face it, we all have problems going (or not) from time to time, and it’s not especially sexy to talk about, but WTH. In normal people constipation is when, occasionally, the stool does not move through the intestine as it should and/ or, there is not enough water in the colon.   MS patients deal with constipation more than most. If you’re slow like me, you don’t even realize it’s the MS.

As I said, stool must keep moving. In people with MS, like me, lesions may prevent the brain from accurately receiving or transmitting signals that control peristalsis. I remember learning about that (peristalsis) when I taught Anatomy and Physiology. In other words, my colon may not be receiving the signal for involuntary movement that would keep the stool moving through the digestive tract.

Lack of physical activity is also a downer. It’s critical in moving digested food through the digestive system. Things like walking, which seem so simple, actually do more than just get you from one place to another. Many of us are unable to move around and walk much, due to weakness or spasticity.

Other causes could be a diet that does not promote good digestive health. Not enough FIBER! But hell…I’m a Vegan! Maybe there’s not enough water to help all that fiber through. I drink so much water I might as well be a fish. Let’s not forget that the side effect of some medications is constipation! That’s it! That’s it! My anti-depressant, Wellbutrin is the cause! (happy dance here) But wait…the side effect of NOT TAKING my Wellbutrin, is…depression! Ugh, I don’t THINK SO!

Pause here! Insert huge red flag. Remember I’m slow. I used to pee like a lion.  My coworker would come into the 3 stall ladies room, LOL and say,”Estizer, is that YOU?” It was identifiable. Now, I pee like a kitty, you don’t even know I’m there. L I’ve seen a Urologist/Gynecologist and she says, “Your bladder is fine and you have no urinary tract infection” (she also looks 12). How is this? I KNOW my body and something is drastically different. Because of my MS, I’ve discovered that there are time’s I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong, and they can’t SEE it. If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it. I know now to “let it go “and just let my body handle it.

I begin to see a connection here. Things down there are sluggish. It could be that my urinary system is not receiving the signals properly for involuntary movement (I pee like a kitty). If my MS is causing THAT problem, it might also be affecting my digestive system causing chronic constipation. BOY, do I like connecting the dots!

We can’t control which nerve signals in our body will be disrupted, or for how long. We can, however, give our body a head start by maintaining healthy habits all of the time.

Eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables (fiber), drink LOTS of water, and exercise daily.



Filed under MS and Exercise, MS and Nutrition, MS Symptoms, Uncategorized