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Readers sound off on medical marijuana, Jack Osbourne and living with MS.

Just the facts

I’d like to compliment you on your very thorough reporting regarding marijuana (“Medical marijuana: hype or hope?” Fall 2014). Everybody that I know with MS is interested in learning about the pros and cons of this drug. Of course we are all hoping it will add to our list of possible good treatments. But now we have some important facts from you, and many thanks to Momentum and all your fantastic staff at the National MS Society!

Marilee Russell, Arizona

A staunch advocate
When the Summer issue of Momentum came out, I was so glad to see in a preview that “Medical marijuana: hype or hope?” was going to be the topic of one of your Fall stories. I am a staunch advocate for the benefits of medical marijuana. Having experienced the benefits while living in Colorado, I look forward to the day when Illinois (my current home state) is up and running. It’s a natural alternative.

Karla Broyles, Illinois

A suggestion for Jack
I loved the article “Jack Osbourne: MS is the new reality” (Fall 2014). He sounds just like me. I, too, live an extremely busy, crazy life. I play ice hockey, do the Bike MS rides (122 miles this year), started my own business, mentor others with MS and keep up with my two kids.

Jack said he is looking for a workout where he doesn’t get overheated. Ice hockey is perfect! I tell my doc all the time that I’m working on strength, coordination and balance—everything you should be concerned about with MS. What better place to do it than in an ice-cold environment? I didn’t start playing until I was 40 years old. I had to learn to skate and everything! That was 7.5 years ago, and this year I am playing on a travel team. I’ve also skated in four Detroit Red Wing Alumni games (see picture below).
If I can do it, so can Jack! I never thought I’d enjoy hockey so much, especially at my age, but I’m addicted to it now. Please tell Jack to try it—it’s the secret to keeping my youth.

Emily Gauthier, Michigan

Meeting rude with new ’tude
About six months after my MS diagnosis in 1999, I started using a cane. In subsequent years, I’ve used a crutch and, when necessary, a walker. If I had a dime for every time someone has stared at my walking aid, I’d be a trillionaire! Reading “The need to be seen” (Fall 2014) made me squeal with laughter. Yes, someone “gets it”!

I’m willing to switch my usual frown and snarl at folks who stare to a smile of appreciation. After all, because I have this walking aid, I can go wherever I’d like. Thanks for the amusing attitude adjustment!

Beverley Hutchins Jordan, New York

Not what you think
I am 45 years old, living with MS.  After reading Shari Short’s article “The need to be seen” (Fall 2014), I had to chuckle. I often visit the “incontinence” aisle and always feel people assume I’m buying the product for someone else.

Recently, the lady behind me in the checkout line was well beyond her menopause years.  She pointed at my purchase and said, “Oh, I really don’t miss those days.”

My feelings of sensitivity and self-consciousness were just that. Others aren’t as perceptive as you may think.

Rita, West Virginia

Sharing space
I was diagnosed at age 24; I’m now 55. I have said for years that I share space with my MS, [just as] we share space with family, spouses and co-workers. Believe me, we are not friends, but we have learned how to coexist. I know how to read the signs—when to rest and when I can motor on. This has helped me for years not to argue with my MS.

Kim Martinez, Nevada

Love letter
A letter in the Fall 2014 issue of Momentum stated that your information may be scary for people newly diagnosed with MS. Your information is not scary; it is so important! For me, living with MS and its unpredictable control over me is what’s scary. Momentum has been an invaluable resource for me. It has informed me and comforted me in relating to others with similar issues and symptoms.

Even more, Momentum has validated my life by relaying the physical, emotional and cognitive difficulties of MS in its articles—the very things that I’ve tried to explain to loved ones, despite their lack of understanding or empathy, because I’m still breathing and “look so good.”

I no longer have the capabilities I once had, but MS doesn’t define me, nor does my work or what I am unable to do. I have the ability to love others, and I have respect for their lives and how they feel—that defines me.

God bless you and all of Momentum’s readers. Keep fighting, you are worth it and you are fierce!

Mo Dilly, South Carolina

Loved the last one
I wanted to praise the most recent issue of Momentum magazine. I lead a telephone support group and there were so many good articles that we discussed in group and we all agreed that this was a beneficial issue.

I was particularly pleased to see the article about smoking as being a contributing factor to MS, as I had long suspected that. I grew up in a household where my mother smoked during her pregnancies and throughout my time at home. I had mentioned this to my neurologist months ago, and he discounted that. However, when I got the article, I shared it with him and he was so impressed with it that he is going to do a presentation about it.

I also think the article about care partners was full of wisdom about both sides of the relationship between a spouse and the person with MS.

So I just wanted to thank you and to say keep up the good work.

Sarah Skeen, West Virginia