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Readers sound off on diet, winter sports and travel.

More diet research, please

Scientist working in a lab.

MS and diet: finding the links” (Winter 2014-15) really interested me. Since February 2014, I have been following a diet based on the one mentioned by Dr. Terry Wahls, who has multiple sclerosis and has written about using a paleo approach toward MS. Not too long after I started this way of eating, the pains I had in my mouth went away and I was very encouraged. But since my initial improvements, I have plateaued—no more improvements. More research definitely needs to be done with diet, as there are promising aspects.

Shannon Pulliam, Oregon

Doctor’s diet
I wanted to send a note thanking you for your wonderful article on diet in Momentum. I am a physician who has been living with MS for nearly 20 years and I credit my amendment to lifestyle behaviors—which include an optimal diet and exercise—for my improved health outcomes. It is an important article and I hope many patients and their families gain insight and adopt measures to improve overall quality of life.

Dr. Saray Stancic, New Jersey

Winter wonders
Once again an article in Momentum has inspired and motivated me, this time when I was sad about not being able to continue to participate in winter activities. You showed me a way (“Ready, set, snow!” Winter 2014-15)! A few years ago it was your article about how to continue bike riding. I need to remember that it’s not “I can’t,” but “How can I?” Thank you for always being there for me during my 25 years with MS.

Janice Chussil, Oregon

Get even more organized
Sarah Markel’s article, “Organize your medical records,” (Winter 2014-15) was excellent. As a now-retired occupational therapist who has lived with MS for 50-plus years, I would like to offer another tip. We all know that getting organized to see a new doctor can be daunting. I always write a letter to the doctor and bring it with me.

I bring either a paper or a digital copy for myself, too. (If it’s digital, I can enlarge the type to my liking.) In my letter, I share my hopes for this visit. Then I ask any questions I’m hoping to have answered, and leave room after each one, so I can write or enter the answers as we go. I take notes on anything else from the visit separately.

For subsequent visits, I write letters based on the previous visit’s letter. Since they are on my computer, I just make a copy of the last one and modify it, saving it with the date of my new visit. I remind the doctor (and myself) how things were the last time, which gives me a basis for describing how things are now. There may be categories such as my physical health, my mental health, lab and other test results, the results of any referrals s/he made, equipment or supplies which had been prescribed, including how any new medication is working, or pertinent changes in my life situation. Then I add any new questions, numbered and in bold or underlined type.

Every physician has loved these letters; some have passed the idea on to their other patients.
I love them, too. With very little effort on my part, nothing gets missed. I don’t ramble, stumble or get confused, forgetful or stressed about getting everything covered in very little time. And my letters become part of my medical record.

Jane E. Harmon, OTR, ret., Texas
lettingthecracs

Illustration by Dave Cutler

Recruiting help
I wanted to thank Robin Rubenstein for writing “Letting the cracks show” (Winter 2014-15).

I am a list person; being a spouse to a military man, it’s a must. I wake up at 5:30 every morning, take my medicine, do my devotional and pray.

Next, I make breakfast for my husband and two boys, send them off to their day, then get myself ready for work. Once home again, I make dinner, clean the house, do laundry, take care of dinner dishes. Some days I have felt like a failure because I couldn’t do everything on my list.

I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in March 2005. I felt the same way as Ms. Rubenstein—that if I asked for help I would look weak. My husband, my pastor and my church family now know that when I say I am “OK,” they should ask me, “Now, what can we do to help?”

Kimberly Reformat, Georgia


No-fly zone
I read with interest your article on flying (“
’Tis the season for holiday travel,” Winter 2014-15). I have flown several times but now hesitate doing so because of the conditions on planes.

I need a wheelchair now, and the airlines have only a very small wheeled seat to use aboard the plane. Once, when I could still walk a little, I called my airline prior to the flight. I said that with help, I could walk about three steps at a time, and that I needed to be near a bathroom; still, they put me 12 rows back. “Near” may be a relative term. I learned I need to be very specific. The attendant, once she realized how much assistance I needed, said, “You mean you can’t walk at all.”

We cannot afford first class, but I think disabled people and their caregivers should be seated there for convenience. That, along with proper staff training, would avert so many problems. I also suggest people with MS call the airlines about a week in advance to make sure that arrangements are completed.

Chris Whiting, Pennsylvania

Illustration of a jet in the sky.
Travel, made easy
As I read “ ’Tis the season for holiday travel,” I had some thoughts to share. Last summer when I traveled to Seattle for my niece’s college graduation, I put everything I might need for a week in a box and shipped it considerably ahead of time. In my large purse, I took several days’ medication and a few more changes for my urostomy appliance (a urine collection device), along with a letter my doctor wrote explaining my need for my meds. What a relief it was not to have a suitcase or even a carry-on to deal with!

Jesse Van Volkenburgh, Tennessee
Spring 2015
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