Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Some of the Highlights of My MS Library

The library and book store helped me immensely in my journey to adjust to living well with Multiple Sclerosis. Prior to purging my library, I took stock and reminisced how each book provided a portal to another way of seeing things.

I've read a lot of books about Multiple Sclerosis. I literally read every book I could find at the local library – no exaggeration - and then every book I could find and afford at the bookstore.  There were memoirs by people with MS, how to books written by people living well with MS, and other how to books by doctors suggesting they have the answer to MS. I've soaked up novels with fictional characters with MS, and I've devoured books about people with other health issues to see how they deal with issues often found in MS.  

Take this unpredictable disease that is completely different for each person, and find a book that will describe to me what I should expect. Explain why I feel the way I do, and tell me what my future holds. Tell me what I need to do live my best.  Easy.

I gleaned something from everything I read even if it showed me things that wouldn’t work for me. There were single phrases, lessons, and relatable events in books that made the time spent reading them worthwhile. Other books provided perspective and suggestions throughout that helped me find strength and motivation to take on my own challenges. 

Just a few of the books that touched me follow:

29 Gifts by Cami Walker – I LOVED this book and gave it to everyone in my family for Christmas one year.  It was after reading this book that my perspective really shifted about my value in the world. Through practicing daily giving, I learned the wide range of gifts I’m able to provide that don’t depend on money, my job, or my mobility. It convinced me that even if MS takes all it can from me; I’ll still have value and an ability to contribute to society. See the rest of my post, Fear, Gratitude & Hope Through Giving.

Michael J. Fox’s books, “Lucky Man,” “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future…” inspired me greatly.  I felt a kinship to Michael’s attitude and approach to life living with Parkinson's Disease.  They were easy reading, relatable and not intimidating, and they lightened the mood on really hard life situations.

“Crazy Sexy Cancer”documentary by Kris Carr was one of my early favorites and led me to read three of the books she wrote soon after the documentary came out.  It was early after my diagnosis I saw an interview with her while I was home recovering from an exacerbation and steroid treatment. I tried her dietary suggestions, and I incorporated juicing and drinking smoothies into my diet.  While eating vegan didn’t make me feel better, it was a good experience and worth trying. I still follow some of her recommendations, I admire her positive attitude and drive, and I respect her immensely.

“MS and Your Feelings: Handling the Ups and Downs of Multiple Sclerosis,” by Allison Shadday was given to me by my diagnosing neurologist. She said that a grant had been provided to gift the book to all newly diagnosed MS patients.  I poured through that book and the National MS Society website in my first month.  While the website was informative, it was overwhelming.  The book was terrific at keeping things at a level I could follow. 

Dr Terry Wahls' TedTalk turned me into a full-on Wahl’s Protocol following advocate. I don’t like that people suggest she reversed her MS, but I’ve heard she didn’t make that claim. Her health suggestions have improved her health tremendously – from declining health and in a wheelchair to being fairly active again – but my opinion is such is the nature of MS. That said, I think she has a lot to offer.  I follow a lot of her dietary advice, but I’m still not including organ meat into my diet.  I tried for a while, but it didn’t stick as a habit.  I toy with the idea of adding it again, but it’s on my list and will be a priority when I’m able to take it on again.  Check out her books, “Minding My Mitochondria 2nd Edition: How I overcame secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and got out of my wheelchair. 2nd Edition,” and “The Wahl’s Protocol.”

I could go on and on, but this post would never end and likely get overwhelming.  These and many other books were a lifeline for me when the internet wasn’t the abundant resource for these issues like it is today.  I found over time that I was searching for people who knew what I was going through and could give advice.  While following their suggestions strictly hasn’t been the permanent path for me, I tried them and determined for myself if they worked for me.  Certain suggestions and moments they described thrilled me with their insight and compassion. These books kept me more evenly keeled than I would have been otherwise.  They gave me hope and motivation to keep going when things were rough.

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