My MS Treatment

My MS Treatment from Tanya Asbreuk on Vimeo.
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It’s important to be able to make informed decisions on the treatments you going to undergo, especially if they’re drugs that you’re going to be on for a long time. Here I discuss the options that worked for me.

The two ladies I’m talking about or to are Lisa who runs Brass and Ivory, a site chronicling her MS journey with links to a lot of other MS blogs, and Amy who runs MS Softserve, a soon-to-be-available NPO site offering customized learning about MS. Both are amazing resources, so I encourage you to check them out!

Diet and MS – a Different Perspective

Just so you’re all aware, this video is a complete lecture so it’s just over an hour long. It’s very interesting and the speaker is quite engaging, though! He has some very different ideas, and I don’t agree with all of them, but it is entertaining to listen to him.
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Diet and Multiple Sclerosis from John McDougall on Vimeo.

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Dr. John McDougall talks about the importance of diet and the effects it has on Multiple Sclerosis.

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I’m honestly not sure what I think of his ideas, but he’s obviously done a lot more research than I have. In my video about my MS treatment I mention that eliminating complex carbs from my diet has seemed to increase my energy levels, yet here’s a doctor encouraging people to eat a starch based diet.

So what do you think? Do you have any opinions or experiments you’ve done with you own diet that has seemed to have some kind of effect on your disease, whether good or bad? Please share your experiences by commenting below!
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If you are at all interested, here is a link to “The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book” by Dr. Swank, the doctor that Dr. McDougall (the lecturer) called “his personal hero” and features as a video in his presentation.

My MS Disclosure

My MS Disclosure from Tanya Asbreuk on Vimeo.

http://unhasty.com

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In this video I talk about discussing your condition with other people, and where you might need to be mentally before you’ll feel comfortable doing it.

How To Change Your MS Story

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Have you ever noticed how the “stories” you tell yourself can impact your attitude, your energy levels, and ultimately your health and recovery? I’ve thought about this a lot, so I decided to talk about it!

What’s your favorite “story” that you keep going back to? The one that comes up every time you start feeling down or under the weather? Once you notice it, try to rewrite it to make it more positive. Just change the wording – instead of “I’m too tired to do this” change it to “I am really looking forward to going to sleep as soon as I finish this task.” Rewrite your story with yourself as the Hero! Why not!?!

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Haha! Yes, I had notes, and I’m looking down at them probably more than I should. I use notes a lot since I sometimes have a hard time keeping my train of thought going in one direction, so when I have something specific to talk about, I write parts of it down first. Hopefully I’ll get better at this as time goes on!

Woot! I’m Featured on Another Blog!

This is so cool – I’ve connected with another lady who has MS and runs a fantastic site at http://www.brassandivory.org. (Don’t worry – if you click it’ll open up in a new window and you can still look around here later.)

Anyway, she links other blogs to her site, and she linked me! How cool is that? She also runs the “Carnival of MS Bloggers – a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis” (her quote) that I’ve submitted an article for.

This is her blog past linking “new MS bloggers” to her site:

Brass and Ivory – my shout out!

This may seem narcissistic, linking from my blog to another blog about my blog, (say that five times fast) but it just made me feel really good about reaching out to people with my blog, and knowing there are people out there who appreciate it. So yay!

Do I Have MS? A Reply to A.A.’s Questions

Honestly I’m not sure if this is a good idea, but the day before yesterday someone emailed me through my “Contact Me” page and my reply email isn’t getting through to her email, so I’m posting my reply here. I want her to have this information and I don’t know how else to get it to her if I can’t email her. I would probably give similar advice to anyone who was wondering about MS or if they might have it, so maybe it’ll help someone else out there.

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Hi Axxxxx,

Thanks for reaching out. I can’t even imagine how frustrated you must be.

I’m not a medical professional, but yeah, your symptoms sound familiar. What tends to really define MS, though, is the presence of sclerosis (white plaques or scarring) in your brain, so if nothing is showing up on your MRIs I’d probably assume it’s something else. Only 5% of the population generally ends up with a false negative or a false positive. When was the last time you had an MRI of your brain? You said the neurologist sent you for one of your back? Were you experiencing weird things going on at the time of your MRI, or had the symptoms subsided already? Continue reading

MS Society of Canada Scholarship Program

Well, darn! The video is no longer available. Sigh. Well, donate to the MS Society anyway, and I’ll try to find more (current) info on this program. Grrr.

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This is amazing! I had no idea that the MS Society of Canada has a scholarship program for people or families with MS. Since the condition can be debilitating on so many levels, it’s excellent to see the Society working with Billy Talent and Friends to help people who may not otherwise be able to afford post-secondary classes. I’m so proud of the MS Society! And of Aaron Solowoniuk, the drummer for Billy Talent, who worked with the MS Society to set up the scholarship program. Take THAT, MS!

Headaches, Optic Neuritis, and Muscle Spasms


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I recently had a chat with my massage therapist about these headaches I get behind my eyes. Before this conversation, I would freak out every time I got one of these headaches (which was a lot) because every time I’ve had optic neuritis it started with one of these headaches. Luckily, my massage therapist had another option for me, so now I don’t need to freak out every time one of these headaches pops up! They can be muscle related, and in this video I explain all about it.

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New Breakthrough In MS Medication!

Woot! I thought this was pretty cool. I found this article on “Medical News Today” and I wanted everyone to see it even if I can only show the first two paragraphs here:

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First Oral Treatment For People With Multiple Sclerosis Approved In Canada

Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis
Also Included In: Regulatory Affairs / Drug Approvals
Article Date: 11 Mar 2011 – 2:00 PST

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. announced that its new MS treatment, Gilenya™ (fingolimod), has received Notice of Compliance in Canada. Gilenya™ (fingolimod) is the first disease modifying oral therapy developed for the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS) which is the most common type of the disease in adults. Unlike current therapies which all require daily or regular injections or infusions, Gilenya offers simple once daily oral dosing (0.5 mg) in a capsule, providing an efficacious and convenient treatment method for a complex and lifelong illness. Gilenya is approved for use in patients who have tried one or more MS therapies, but are unresponsive or intolerant to them.

“The approval of Gilenya is a significant milestone for the Canadian MS community,” says Dr. Daniel Selchen, a neurologist from Toronto, Ontario. “Oral therapies have been greatly anticipated by both patients and physicians who are eager for alternatives to injection and infusion therapies. With its excellent clinical trial efficacy data, along with convenience, Gilenya is welcome news for those seeking a new option to manage their disease.”

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Please read the whole article by clicking HERE – it’ll open in a new window for you.

I’ve never had a problem with needles (thank goodness) but I have friends who pass out if they catch a glimpse of a puncture on TV. An oral medication would bypass the whole group of self-injection issues pretty handily, I think. There are (as usual) side effects, and the drug isn’t appropriate for everyone, but wouldn’t it be amazing to just be able to take a pill instead of dealing with injections or infusions?

It’s not a cure for MS, but it apparently does slow progression. It lowers the white blood cells, so does that make it an “immuno-modifier” or an “immuno-supressant?” In either case, you’d have to be careful when around other infectious people (like we’re not already!) and you’d have to decide with your doctors if this is the right treatment for you. I wonder why would it only be approved “for use in patients who have tried one or more MS therapies, but are unresponsive or intolerant to them?” It seems like a simpler treatment than most of the others I’ve heard about.

What do you think? Does this seem like a good idea to you? Is it something you’ll ask your doctor about? Is anyone involved in the Clinical Trial for this medication, or has anyone been put on it through their doctor? I’d love to hear what your experiences are.

MS and Cognitive Impairment

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In this video I talk about the cognitive impairment associated with my MS, and how it’s helped me take myself less seriously while (weirdly) improving my methods of goal setting. Watch it and let me know what you think by clicking the “comments” link below.