Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Vitamin B-12 – It is helps people gain more energy. It really helps.
Fish Oil Capsules – Oil from cold-water fish such as Cod and Halibut is what is needed to repair brain damage. There is no assurance that what is being taken is from such fish.
Perhaps you could inquire from the manufactures of such products, where they get their oil from. Also, fish oil capsules have to be eaten it with food or you keep burping up fish oil fumes. It’s disgusting!
Meals in Minutes – Eventually people with MS come to have problems with energy drain standing to make a meal. Quick meals are the order of the day. There is a way to have a balanced diet, with great food in a short amount of time. Many foods can be cooked up in advance and frozen. Within 5 to15 minutes an entire meal can be ready with the least amount of standing and energy outlay, by using the microwave oven or other’s help and the follow ideas.
- Freeze casseroles made in a good health moment or by others into freezer zip-lock bags and label with food name and date, for later use.
- Buy ready-made dinners, pizza's, cold-cuts for sandwiches, burritos.
- For example an entire bag of chicken breasts can be cooked up all at once with a favorite coating. Let them cool to room temperature. Then put them into freezer bags and freeze.
- Throw some potatoes into a conventional oven to bake with your
chicken. They'll be done at the same time and the leftovers can be
refrigerated until needed. In less than five minutes a cold potato can
be quickly reheated in the microwave with the chicken. Add a salad,
vegetable, and/or fruit, to the potato and chicken and the meal is
- Wrangle others into making a large chef salad. The amount should be enough for you to have, at least once a day, before it goes bad. If you want a salad and can’t get anyone to do it for you. Sit down to chop the ingredients.
- When cooking pasta, cook extra. Rinse it in warm water to keep it from sticking together. Don't use oil. Cool and zip-lock the extra. When hunger strikes break off a piece frozen pasta and microwave with you favorite zesty tomato sauce. A spaghetti dinner is less than five minutes. When hunger hits the food is there so people do not eat a meal's worth of food while they wait for the original food to cook and then eat that also.
An MS friendly home – A ranch-style home where everything is on one level is perfect for people with MS. Stairs are an energy and come to be too much to manage. If you have to deal with more that one level with your home, rearrange it. Put the things you need on one level. Put the things you don’t usually need on the other levels. Keep a list of things you need from the other levels, so that when others can help, they can get what you need from those levels.
If you have stairs to get into your home, you will need to build a ramp for wheel chair access.
Trouble falling asleep – The times I couldn’t get to sleep, I asked the Lord to put me to sleep. He has been doing that job for many years now.
Help from a Higher Power – You will find you will become quite dependent on God. If I look healthy, speak and walk without my right leg dragging like "The Mummy," it is because He gives me the help I need at the time I need it. He's pretty good to me. He is a tease though... there are times that He lets me glimpse an answer that I need and then deliberately take it away. He usually gives it back though when He fails to get a rise out of me... More testing I guess.
Sometimes He gives me crazy words that aren’t right for the situation, but He has me make do with them anyway... Its better than no access to my brain, huh! I remember reaching into the brain to retrieve a though only to find it completely bare and nothing was there. That was scary. From that time on He hands me what He wants to.
Problems with Memory and Focus – Some days I can see the word and spell it, but not say it. That was great fun when I was Relief Society President in WA. My counselors knew of my problems and were good sports when I was trying to tell them things and in the middle of a sentence I would start spelling words for them while they interpreted out loud. It was like some ironic game show. It is getting a little better though...I think the fish oil is working along with the myriad of Husband and Priesthood Blessings.
Get off of Processed Sugar – This type of sugar aggravates MS. Eliminating all processed sugar. Use fruit or fructose to sweeten your foods. Use honey sparingly.
Withdrawals from Processed Sugar – When you get the sugar-monkey on your back grab a fruit and it will stop immediately!
Get off of Processed Flour – No matter how enriched your flour is, it will never compare to the nutritive value that was lost from whole wheat. Wheat contains all the minerals and vitamins the body needs except two. One of those is made in your pancreas and the other is found in brown rice. When you team wheat with brown rice in soups and casseroles you have a vitamin packed meal that will help your body. When you eat right you can’t help feel better, than if you don’t.
Spinal Taps – Back in the late 80’s when I was first under-going diagnosis for MS, I had to get a spinal tap to show the white-cell count elevated, which highly suggested MS. The doctor that did it, did it flawlessly, yet I ended up with a spinal headache and vertigo. Then the spine started leaking and he had to transfuse blood from my arm into the spine to plug the leak. That was not all, the sight of the spinal tap ached for over a year. I never want to do that again!
Emotional Highs and Lows – Not all emotional highs and lows come from having MS.
Most women go through menopause in their 50's. One first signs of starting into menopause is emotional highs and lows. Other signs are:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- urinary changes
- vaginal dryness
- And finally... the absence of menstruation for one year
Those with MS often have trouble with their thyroid not working properly, which is commonly known as hyperthyroidism. These are the symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism.
- Heat intolerance
- Increased bowel movements
- Light or absent menstrual periods
- Fast heart rate
- Trembling hands
- Weight loss or gain
- Muscle weakness
- Warm moist skin
- Hair loss
- Staring gaze
Depression-Like Feelings – It is normal to feel depression-like feelings. You have had a great loss. The loss of your health is very much like a death. It is the death of your abilities to function. You will grieve over each loss. Just don’t get bitter! Use your list of coping skills and enjoy what you can do not dwell on what you cannot! Use the Lord to help you get through the rough spots. Despair is paralyzing and will kill your spirit and you! You cannot afford the luxury of dwelling on loss!
Explaining to Significant Others Your Handicap – Some people with MS have a hard time telling their families that they can't be the same mother/father that they have always been. My family accused me of trying to get out of what I said I would do. You need to be up front with them.
- Tell them that your health can change in a twinkling of an eye.
- You have no sway over what is happening to you.
- You love them and will do the best you can to do the things that you
said you would do, but you not always able to do so.
- Give yourself some time to get the things done. Tell them that you will try to get it done as soon as possible.
- When you feel well enough to do what you promised, do it now. Never procrastinate, as you may never have the chance to get it done later!
- MS can make you ill or give you migraines. You will not be able to deal with it and children’s whiney or selfish problems. I warn my children ahead of time, to leave me alone or not to pick on me as I will take their heads off and I don’t want to do so, because I love them so much.
You Can’t Do What You Used To Do – Cut back or you will suffer a lot. Be good to yourself by taking care of yourself.
Your Choice of Drugs Should be Your Decision – My neurologist was quite forceful that I use her choice of MS drug. I stated that I had looked at all the information and would use what I thought was best for me. She asked me why? I had an explanation, because I had studied the information on all the drugs. To make a long story short, we argued for five minutes. In the end she had to give me what I wanted, as it was MY CHOICE, not hers. Remember that!
Choosing MS Meds – May I give you some advice from the extensive study and prayer I made of such meds? As I see it, there are three types of meds on the market now:
- Those that cripple the immune system to keep if from doing what it should (keeping the white cells from chewing up the myelin)...leaving you almost like a AIDS victim.
- Those that have a high potential of ruining your liver. Wit these you have to keep going in and getting a blood check to see if this is happening.
- Only one that I know of that does neither. It's only side affect that I have realized is prolonged injection site pain, which is managed by taking ibuprophen a half hour before injection.
This last type I speak of is Copaxone. It has the least side-effects because you are daily injecting a material that mimics myelin, the material around the nerves which the white-blood cells are attacking and destroying, which destroys your health. Each day the drug gives the white blood cells lots of fake myelin to attack which means that less of the real myelin is being attacked which keeps the nervous system intact.
You are no doubt as afraid of needles as I was. Unlike the other drugs, this injection take a very small needle and is injected just under the skin, unlike the others which have a giant needle and must be injected in the subcutaneous layers.
Believe it or not, if I use an ice cube to ice down the injection site for a few moments before injecting.
Did you know that many people are violently ill for about 24 hours after an injection of types 1 & 2 drugs. Type 3 is not a drug at all!
Well, now you know why I chose Copaxone. I prayed for help to understand what I was reading when I studied the materials on all the drugs. I made a choice based on that material and asked the Lord if that was the thing to use. He said yes.
Whatever you do in your MS care, I highly suggest that you be informed, and then ask the Lord what you should do for you. ALWAYS REMEMBER... Doctors are not God! They do not know what is going on with you...they are making somewhat educated guesses. The only person who does know what is best for you is God!
Depression Drugs – I fired my neurologist because she wanted to put me on depression drugs and I wasn't depressed. Thank heavens I knew the difference, between depression and MS symptoms. She wasn't even going to tell me what the drug was for. I had to pin her down and ask her point blank what each drug was for. I highly suggest that you do the same. You (and God) have to manage your care. Doctors never like that, but it is imperative that you do so!! If they get too testy or sneaky, fire them. Remember that they work for you!
The following article developed from a letter written to that neurologist to show her that I was actively working on staying on top of my disease, instead of letting it get me down. At the next appointment I realized that she hadn't even read it. She knew nothing about me! I highly suggest that you use all or some of the healthy coping skills listed below, or develop you own healthy personal skills.
A New Cure for MS – In about May of 2003, a news release stated that scientists have cured lab rats of MS. This cure has not yet undergone the strenuous testing the FDA demands. It could be five or six years before it is available to us. I hope they do it faster, since we all need it so badly.
Keeping a Detailed Medical History – I highly suggest that you keep track of dates, appointments, things that were discussed at those appointments, MS related problems as they occur, by writing them down. Often, you will not remember what to ask the doctor, if you do not come with a written agenda. Make a copy for the doctor and one for you.
Handling the Stress of Having a Chronic or Terminal Illness – You will learn early-on that you will needed superior coping skills. The following are the things that can help you to cope:
- Figure why you are stressed and reduce the stress.
- Use Lamaze Breathing techniques to cope with both mental and physical stressors.
- Ask God to help get you through the immediate situation.
- Talk over your feelings over with God and others.
- Do something to occupy your mind when unproductive or negative thoughts enter.
- Realize that you cannot change the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others, but you can change yourself.
- Do not wait for things to change to make your life better, instead actively do something to make it better. Take control, even if it is only over your own thoughts.
- If you can, exercise. It will cause the production of natural endorphins to lift your mood.
- Play music. Singing or humming with the music causes a natural lift in mood.
- Listen to, read, or watch something humorous. Laughter causes a lift mood.
- Mentally relax each part of your body, one part at a time. Then use deep breathing to totally relax.
- Write your feelings or thoughts in a journal.
· Take a shower to relax tense muscles.
- Take a walk or sit and enjoy nature.
- Take a drive.
- Use scream therapy (scream into a pillow) to relieve tension.
- Use a heating pad, electric blanket, or hot water bottle to reduce aches and pain. For swelling like migraines, use ice packs.
- When the occasion warrants it - cry! It reduces stress, while releasing toxins, which causes you to feel better.
- Stay in the moment or look to the future. Do not dwell in the past.
- Don’t obsess on your pain or disabilities, instead capitalize on what you do have and ignore pain and disabilities as much as possible.
- If you can’t handle physical pain any other way, use ibuprofen or a prescribed pain killer as needed.
- Surround yourself with things that make you happy. For two weeks make a list a list of your favorite colors, smells, sounds, things, and people. When you feel down, gather these things around you to make you feel better.
- There is almost nothing that can't wait for a few minutes for an answer. Buy yourself some time and reduce stress by just breathing and thinking things through.
- Refuse to dwell on things that makes you sad or bitter. This is not to say that you should refuse to deal with it. Just get in and do what you must immediately, and get out. Then put it out of your mind. One of the best ways to get rid of thoughts and worries is to compartmentalize them. To do this visualize yourself putting a particular problem in a hat box up in the top of your closet. When you need to deal with it, bring it down, deal with it, and put it back up and out of your conscious thoughts so you don’t obsess on it.
- Make peace with God, others, and yourself! Repent from wrongdoings. To do this, use the 5 R’s of repentance:
- Recognize that you have done something wrong.
- Remorse feel sorry that this has occurred.
- Renunciation – Stop doing the thing that you are doing wrong.
- Resolve never do it again.
- Restitution & Reconciliation – Make restitution for what you have done as far as possible. Clear the air with those you have offended, especially God. Ask them and God to forgive you! Forgive yourself!
- Never procrastinate! It is poison to your well being! Just get things done as soon as possible. Tasks that used to be easily often seem monstrous. When things seem too big, divide the project is to smaller doable parts and do them over time. By small things, great things can be accomplished!
- Finally, and most importantly, trust in the Lord. Whether things are at their worst or just normally lousy, remember to discuss these things with the Lord in your daily morning prayers. Discuss strategies to handle them for the day. Then, invite the Lord to go with you throughout your day to help you handle the day’s problems as they arise or multiply. Then, at night, examine the problems of the day and on-going problems with the Lord in your nightly prayers. Look to see how well you did in handling them and how you could have done better. Strategize ways to deal with them better, tomorrow.
- Remember that when you do your best, whatever that is for today, no one not even you, others, or God can expect more of you! Your best may not be as good as it was yesterday, but it is still your best!
When Legs Quit Working – When my legs quit working I went to a wheel chair. It wasn’t long before I realized that I didn’t have the energy to push it. I had to find another way to get around! I now have an electric four-wheeled scooter, which I really love. It takes me all over town. I’m not afraid to go anywhere. I am self-sufficient again.
You may not think you can afford one, because they are expensive, but most health insurances will help but most if not all of it. All you need is a written prescription from your doctor stating that you need one. Just ask you doctor for the prescription.
Prepare to Be Strong through Trials (Ensign, August 2003)
Helaman 5:12: "It is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, . . . it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe."
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Our Father in Heaven does not wish us to cower. He does not want us to wallow in our misery. He expects us to square our shoulders, roll up our sleeves, and overcome our challenges. Use your ingenuity, your strength, your might to resolve your challenges. Do all you can do and then leave the rest to the Lord" ("Finding a Safe Harbor," Ensign, May 2000, 60–61).
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience. To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow" ("Trust in the Lord," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "Consistently attending sacrament meetings, fasting, praying individually and as a family, visiting teaching, controlling our bodily appetites, teaching gospel principles, nurturing others, studying the scriptures, keeping the commandments, and following the words of the prophet may be the greatest preparation we can make for any eventuality to come" ("Becoming a Prepared People," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 88).
More Resources – The following are articles that I have at my counseling site. If you click on the title, it should take you to that article. They could be a great help to you.