Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


MS can be a pain in the neck ... but this helps

Chronic pain, spasticity, and tension seem to go with the territory for many individuals who live with multiple sclerosis. Toss in some daily stress, and the MSer can already feel those neck muscles cramping.

Aside from taking additional medication, what can the MSer do to ease neck pain?

Here’s something that often brings comfort. Soft and cozy neck wraps can be used for cooling or heat therapy – whichever is needed at a given moment. 

(Ask any MSer about those wild body barometer swings, when chills and hot flashes wreak havoc on the system almost randomly.)

Tailored to look like wrap-around travel pillows, most of these soothing neck wraps are made in washable velvety or fleecy fabrics. The best ones feature detachable covers for washing.
Personally, I love my lavender-scented neck wrap, which can go into the freezer or microwave, depending on whether I need it to be chilled or warmed. It’s filled with beanbag-like stuffing, so it shapes itself comfortably around the neck and shoulder area.

Similar products are scented with bergamot, cinnamon/orange, eucalyptus, frankincense, jasmine, lemon, peppermint, sage, sandalwood, vanilla/rose, or other essential oils or herbal fragrances. A few are filled with cherry or flax seeds, rather than synthetic materials.

Most hot-and-cold neck wraps are retail-priced between $15 and $20.

Several therapeutic neck wraps come in money-saving gift sets, accompanied by cozy shoulder wraps, sinus pillows, or sleep masks.

Hey, it’s not advanced pharmaceutical magic, but it surely does help with the pain in the neck of MS, as well as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraine, muscle injuries, and other causes of tension or pain.

Product promotional photo/s
fair use

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You can support the MS cause for free on

Amazon Smile, a free program, offers to donate to customers’ chosen  charities.

How does Amazon Smile work?

Each customer (or Amazon Prime customer) simply signs up online, designating the philanthropic organization he or she picks to receive the benefits. Then Amazon automatically gives 0.5 percent of that customer’s purchase to the chosen organization.


Options feature nearly a million different charities. Multiple sclerosis and related organizations include:

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Brain Tumor Association
  • Brain Injury Association of America
  • National Alzheimer's Association
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Race to Erase MS
  • Special Olympics, Inc.
  • and many more.

Users may suggest charities that do not appear on the list as well.

Is Amazon Smile really free?

Apparently, the Amazon Smile program is completely free to join and passes no costs or price increases to participating customers.

Can an customer change the charity he or she has selected for the Amazon Smile program?

Yes, this is simple to do. Under the YOUR ACCOUNT drop-down menu on the Amazon website, the user can click CHANGE YOUR CHARITY.

Created by this user,
 Including Amazon Smile promo logo/fair use
and  public domain artwork

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Who wants to buy a new brain? Maybe you can.

Pssst! Hey! You there: You wanna buy a brain?

Yes, it’s true. You can actually buy a brain. Just ask the folks at The American Brain Foundation (formerly known as The American Academy of Neurology Foundation).

Remember the Scarecrow (played by actor Ray Bolger) in The Wizard of Oz film (1939), based on the 1900 Wonderful Wizard of Oz children’s novel by L. Frank Baum?

Perhaps we can all quote the Scarecrow’s musical and mindful miseries, as he crooned and crusaded for a brain. (Of course, genuine Wizard of Oz book and movie fans, who use their heads, know that the Scarecrow was probably the smartest character in the whole story.) Still, the Scarecrow’s catchy lyrics did set viewers to thinking:

“And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.”

Perhaps the great and mighty and mysterious Wizard of Oz could not grant the Scarecrow’s wish and give him a brand-new brain. But today, it seems anyone can buy a brain.

The American Brain Foundation offers brains for sale.

You can buy a brain for just $5.00. Nope, this is not the stuff of late-night scary movies. And no one gets hurt. It’s even legal.

For a sawbuck, anyone can purchase a virtual brain to support neurological research. Colorful virtual brains may be purchased online, using major credit cards.

Brains may be named to honor family members or friends. Once brains are bought and labeled, they appear on The Virtual Brain Wall. The Brain Wall is an interactive screen, where website viewers may scroll and see the floated donated brains. Hovering type boxes reveal donor messages, such as honorees’ names. A search bar enables viewers to locate particular personalized brains as well.

Of course, anonymous brains may be purchased as well, and donors can purchase multiple brains.

Proceeds from these cerebral sales may be expected to fund the scientific search for prevention, treatment and cures of such neurological conditions as Alzheimer's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADhD), Autism, Back Pain, Brain and Spinal Tumors, Cerebral Palsy, Dementia, Dystonias, Epilepsy, Headaches, Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Parkinson's Disease, Restless Legs Syndrome, Shingles, Sleep Apnea, Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Hey, that’s using their heads.

Think it over. A brain for five bucks – and a bouncing on-screen brain to honor someone special? A sawbuck for some grey matter to help medical research? Why not?

The Wizard of Oz
promo photo - fair use
Who wants to buy a new brain? Maybe you can.
Created by this user,
 including public domain artwork

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Ever feel disconnected, disenchanted, disassembled, or disorderly?

Yep, me too. It sort of goes with the MS territory. There’s no disgrace or dishonor in that.

Hey, we’re not trying to disturb anyone. It’s this *$#% disease.

Sure, maybe we MSers occasionally disappoint others when we become a little distracted for a time. But we’re not seeking discord, and we’re not necessarily disgusted or disgruntled at the time. We mean no disrespect, either.

Sometimes it’s just easier to disappear for a bit, rather than hanging around to discuss and dissect  the intricacies of our crazy multiple sclerosis symptoms, which usually confuse even us. Such a discourse can dissolve us at times.

On the other hand, such moments of distancing ourselves can lead to gems of discovery. I love this quotation from A.A. Milne (1882 – 1956).

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

What have you discovered, in such moments of MS mayhem?

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 including public domain artwork

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