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Letters to the editor: Readers sound off on foot drop and self-care

Issue spoke to me
As a Black woman over 60 diagnosed with primary-progressive MS (PPMS) in 2010, I was thrilled with the Spring 2021 edition of Momentum. It really spoke to me. The article on foot drop gave me more ideas for stretches. I use a cane and have serious spasticity in my right leg and arm. I also am glad to know that the inequities in healthcare have finally been acknowledged. My first neurologist dismissed my concerns, but the second doctor happened to be an MS specialist and took time to explain things with my diagnosis. Living with PPMS, though, I had research to find helpful information and other ‘MSers’ with our progressive form. Very few therapies are available; most articles focus on relapsing-remitting MS forms. Because I can’t easily rebound from a fall, exercises on the floor (I try to stay away from) obviously can’t work for me. Disease-modifying therapies aren’t made for older PPMS patients. I look forward to new drug therapies being tested now. The need for diverse patients (race, age, MS type) in clinical trials is essential. This magazine made this very clear. Thank you.

Constance Chevalier, California

Cruise control
After reading the article “5 tips for managing foot drop” (Spring 2021), I thought back to my experience when, after receiving two speeding tickets, I faithfully began using the car’s cruise control. Never associated my foot drop to my later diagnosed MS!

John McMullen, Massachusetts

Good health helps everybody
Thank you for the article, “Exercise minimizes MS symptoms, preserves brainpower” (Spring 2021). It really helped me with something I’ve been struggling with. As a woman and activist with MS, I feel an overwhelming pressure to have a positive impact on our world, and fatigue means I can’t do it all. (Really, who can?) Using my limited energy for exercise can feel selfish. However, the article helped shift my perspective. The researchers shared how exercise increases brain and body function, and this got me thinking — it’s not just about me. By making time and energy for exercise, I can serve my community, remain a productive employee, be a true partner to my spouse and enhance my quality of life in the long term. Making health a priority serves us all.

Mia Ocean, Pennsylvania

Favorite issue
The Winter 2020–2021 edition of Momentum was my favorite, and I’ve been getting the magazine since being diagnosed almost 10 years ago. This issue was especially informative and inspiring. “Free to be fit” was fantastic, and Robert Paskus is my new inspiration. I’m a swimmer, too. The article on mindfulness and meditation was wonderful. I have been doing it for over five years, and it has changed my life. My favorite article was “In the beginning.” The first month, quarter, year is definitely the hardest. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society was a lifeline for me during that time. The organization was a key part of navigating the first two years, really. The myriad forms of help turned terrible to bearable.

Lisa Donnelly, California

Tags: Summer 2021