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Melissa Cook
The way you live each day is how you live your life.
The way you live each day is how you live your life.


Post has attachment MS Sense of Humor
An old email I found in my research for my book: A funny for you tonight... This evening I burned myself while cooking dinner. No! That's not the funny part. I put pain numbing medicine on it and went about my business. After dinner I must have put my fingers into my mouth. My lips went totally numb. Only thing... I forgot about the burn and thought my MS was giving me more trouble! Hahaha So glad it was the burn!!! Whew!
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Post has attachment 50 First Movies & Drives
As my husband and I drove along a beautiful highway he asked, “Do you remember last time we came here?” No, I don’t remember the last time we drove down this highway. My memory plays tricks on me and one of them is leaving out the details of past trips and events. I joked with him, “One benefit of having MS is getting to see it all for the first time, again! It works especially well with movies and Sunday drives.” He replied, “Kind of like 50 First Dates.” We laughed.

Image from The Drewseum.
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Post has attachment Progressive Lens & MS Vision
One year my doctor said I should try progressive glasses. If you are young and do not know what progressives are, let me fill you in. Progressive lens have up to nine different sections for the user to see through. For this reason you need bigger glasses. When wearing them you have to get used to using each of these nine corrections. One sees far away while another sees up close and in the middle, well, those sections see everything in between. Your eyes eventually figure out how to use each of these divisions to search for the best view. Oh, and the view, is only in the middle. The sides, well those are blurry too.

Now, image having MS vision problems and then putting on progressive lens. Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Okay, it is a little funny. No way, no how could I see through progressive lens when struggling with MS visions issues too. That was in my younger years. Now that I am older, I kind of want to see. Taking the time to adjust to the progressive prescription may be in my future.

Image from JCPenney.
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Post has attachment Dilemma of New Glasses with MS
Sitting in the optometrist’s chair I wonder to myself, “Why do I even waste my time? I have a stack of glasses at home that don’t work. When I am in the doctor’s chair they can get my vision perfect. By the time the glasses arrive, my vision has changed and I never wear them.” Sound familiar?

MS plays tricks on my vision. Not only am I dealing with age-related changes in my vision but I also have MS changes based on how well I am doing at any given time. Double and blurry vision comes and goes. The correction for the vision varies too.

I stick it out, order the glasses and hope for the best. Sometimes they help, and, sometimes they don’t.

Image from #MS #MSblog #MSawareness #Multiplesclerosis
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Post has attachment Probiotics with Tecfidera
“Have you considered taking probiotics?” the doctor replied to my concern about stomach pain and upset with Tecfidera and with that my world has changed. I still get the occasional upset but not the pain I had before - though I must admit to only being back on the medication for a few weeks consistently with the probiotic supplement.

So what is a probiotic, you ask? It is a supplement of good gut bacteria that promotes a healthy intestinal track. Researchers are discovering that many diseases begin with an unbalanced digestive system that can infiltrate other areas of the body. Probiotics can lessen the effects of damaging bacteria by keeping a balance of beneficial bacteria while preventing “the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungus in the gut.” (

Take them with or at the end of a meal. Acid found in the empty stomach can counter some of the flora in probiotics which is easily avoided if the user has just eaten. WebMD does caution that more research needs to be done on the use of probiotics by people with weak immune systems while at the same time stating the benefits for inflammation (immune response).

Image from The Healthy Home Economist website. For more information on probiotics check out:
WebMD. “Probiotic - Topic Overview”. September 2016.

Pope, Sarah. “How to Take Probiotics for Maximum Benefit”. The Healthy Home Economist. September 2016.

Swanson, Lara. “When Should You Take Probiotics?”. August 2013.
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Post has attachment Tecfidera Trick
Fear of a potential looming MS attack has me back on my medication. This time however, I spoke with the company and am taking it on a full stomach. I used to take it with dinner and didn’t have the extent of stomach pain I have experienced taking it right before bed, hours after my last meal. So, let’s see if eating a good meal with the medication will do the trick. Stay tuned.

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Post has attachment Side Effects Result in Skipped Doses
We’ve all been there. A required medication causes such side effects we stare at the pill or shot and wonder if maybe skipping a day wouldn’t be so bad. Then one day turns into two and two turns into three and before you know it the last dose you took was more than a week ago. Okay so maybe 10 days ago. Who could blame us? Side effect quite frankly, suck! I understand the efficacy is best when taken as directed. At the same time the stomach pain from Tecfidera is so bothersome I simply want to enjoy a few days with visiting family without being in pain. I will go back to my regular routine... in a few more days.

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Post has attachment Fasting Repairs the Immune System
An exciting new study reported in Cell Reports finds fasting-mimicking diet reduces MS symptoms in mice and humans. Fasting kills off the bad cells and regenerators healthy ones. By fasting for three day, returning to a normal diet of seven and repeating this for three cycles, the immune system repairs itself.

Valter Longo lead the study for USC Longevity Institute. He explains, “We started thinking: If it kills a lot of immune cells and turns on the stem cells, is it possible that maybe it will kill the bad ones and then generate new good ones? That’s why we started this study.” Results of his study showed increased corticosterone levels, the steroid hormone responsible for controlling metabolism, a decrease in cytokines, which cause inflammation, “improvements in the white blood ‘T cells’ responsible for immunity,” and most importantly, myelin regeneration.

A pilot of 18 MS patients in Berlin had participants on a cycle of fasting and then moved to a Mediterranean diet for six months while the others compared controlled and ketogenic or high-fat diets. Longo emphasized, “What we don’t want is patients trying to do this at home without involvement of their specialist or without understanding the that larger trials are necessary to confirm that the diet, as a treatment, is effective again multiple sclerosis or other autoimmunities.”

In Young Choi et al. A Diet Mimicking Fasting Promotes Regeneration and Reduces Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms. Cell Reports, May 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.ceirep.2016.05.009

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Post has attachment Simvastatin Reduces Inflammation in MS
Multiple sclerosis patients all have one thing in common - inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads to the breakdown of the central nervous system, which is under attack by the immune system. In a recent study completed by Aarhus University, higher doses of Simvastatin was recognized - for unknown reasons - to have a positive affect on the inflammation suffered by MS patients. It is believed the medication, “acts as a plug in the proteins that retain the immune cells in the inflammation zones. With the plug in place, the immune cells can no longer contribute to the inflammation.” More research is needed, however, this could be a potential treatment given many people can take Simvastatin without serious side effects.

Read more about this new finding on at: Image from:
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Post has attachment Vitamin D Craze & Multiple Sclerosis
Vitamin D has been the latest craze for supplements and research in recent years. I, myself, take 10,000 IUs per day because I know I am vitamin D deficient if I do not. Low vitamin D levels have been connected to multiple sclerosis patients as well as other autoimmune diseases so it stands to reason taking a supplement to increase my vitamin D is reasonable. But wait a minute, sharing a common vitamin D deficiency with other patients doesn’t actually mean causation nor does it justify supplementation, according to Dr. Mike Allan, director of Evidence Based Medicine in Alberta. When comparing healthy individuals to those with autoimmune diseases, it is true vitamin D levels are lower in those with such illnesses. However, this may only be a symptom or indicator, not the cause which then means increasing my level of vitamin D with supplements may actually have no affect on my overall health. Still, given no harm comes from my regiment, I’ll be taking my vitamin D until further research indicates that no benefit exists.

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