Category Archives: Weirdness in General

H2O a Go, Go

Multiple Sclerosis Advice

You may think today’s blog is another one that has me whining about my obnoxious bladder.

Well, it’s not.

Although, to paraphrase my sister Laurie, “my bladder issues do still piss me off!”

When you tell people you have a chronic illness you find yourself on the receiving end of a ton of unsolicited advice. Most of that advice comes from well meaning people.  Because they are well meaning, the polite you grins and bears it even when it’s useless, clueless and ridiculous.

“Just tell yourself, ‘I won’t get stressed, I won’t get stressed…’”


“You need to get more sleep.  Oh, you got nine and a half hours?  You must be sleeping too much…”

“You may not have MS, it could just be an allergy…”

The thing is, sometimes you may actually get something helpful out of the advice so it’s worth listening too.  (Yes, that advice could be construed as unsolicited advice directly from me.)


Imagine my shock when years after someone told me I should eat bee pollen, I discovered that bees are actually helpful and if we don’t take better care of them, they are going to go away and then the world could end.

As someone who has written a book about multiple sclerosis that I am desperately trying to sell to the masses, (MS Madness!  A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis in case you’ve missed it the 10, 000 times I have mentioned it before-more unsolicted advice-buy, buy, buy…) I am even more open to advice.  I travel my area talking about my book and people want to tell me things that they have heard might possibly be helpful.  And again, that is a great thing.  I appreciate it, I really do.

But every once in a while, not so much.

Please allow me to briefly digress. I swear there will be a point to this digression; I think.

I am very proud that after many people suggested that maybe I didn’t have MS but actually had aspartame poisoning, I looked into it and discovered that they were right.  Well, not really.

My excellent neurologist says I still have MS and I believe him.  But I looked up aspartame and discovered it really is bad for you and sure wasn’t helping things.  I switched from artificial sweetener to Truvia, an expensive alternate, and completely gave up my beloved fountain diet cokes in favor of water.


I drink water all the time now.  Plain water; no enhanced sugary flavors.  I tried diet coke again once and didn’t even like it anymore.  I thought I was doing great.

At one speaking event I foolishly forgot to pick up some bottled water. A friend offered to get me some and came back with SmartWater which I hadn’t seen before but thought would be great as maybe it would help me be smart.

After the presentations by many authors, a woman to approached me.  She asked if she could tell me something and of course, I agreed, hoping she was going to tell me that my book looked amazing and she couldn’t wait to buy it.  Instead she informed me that the SmartWater I was drinking really wasn’t smart at all.  I was quick to appease.

“Oh really?  I’ve never drunk it before.  My friend got it.  Is it filled with sugary additives or something?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said.


It was a chilly day in May and she was wearing socks with sandals.  I know it’s not right to stereotype but my first thought was the bottle; she must be Earthy Crunchy green and worried about the planet.


“Oh, don’t worry, I recycle- I won’t throw away the bottle.”

That wasn’t a lie.  I really do recycle but turns out that isn’t enough anymore.  Don’t even get me started about the dangers of water bottles, that’s a whole other blog post.

“That’s not it either,” she replied.

Turns out, what she was referring too was the alkaline content in bottled water and how it does something really bad that could be making my MS worse or does something really good that could make my MS go away.  I couldn’t figure out which.  The only thing I know about alkaline has to do with batteries.

Maybe I should ask the Energizer bunny what this woman was talking about.


Then she mentioned something about acid levels, which was really upsetting as I’ve never done acid in my life-not even in college.

Here I thought I was being so healthy!!!!   No diet coke for me!  No juice at this event-too much sugar.  No milk- now some say milk is bad.  No lemonade or even iced tea.  No beer or margaritas either.    No chemicals, poisons, GMO’s, alcohol or aspartame.  I was drinking what I thought I was supposed to be drinking, what everyone told me I was supposed to be drinking.

This woman then went on a 20 minute scientific diatribe while I stood there dumbly watching the custodian fold the chairs and empty the sods cups.    I couldn’t figure out science even before MS attacked my brain. I heard the word alkaline a lot and acidic.  And inflammation, that one was kind of familiar.  But I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about.

I’m all about good advice and being polite though so I stopped trying to figure her theory out and just figured when she was done, she would tell me what I should do stop the water epidemic.  She finally stopped talking and so I asked her what I should do? How do I solve this problem of bottled water that I didn’t know I had.

I was eager for a solution that would circumvent me going back to school to take a science class.  I didn’t even know what kind of science this was.   Biology?  Chemistry?  Earth Science?  Yes, water lives on the earth so it must be an Earth Sciences class I should take to sort this out.


Her response to my question of what should I do now that I know bottled water can be bad, was straightforward.

“Oh, I don’t know.”


See friends, I swear this is all true; you can’t make this stuff up with or without an MS brain.

I pressed her a little and she told me that she had just moved to the area from California which had the best water in the world and where she knew which bottled water was safe to drink.  Now that she was in MA, she had no idea.

I pressed her more and she then told me her best advice was to buy litmus strips (what?) and then take them to all of the Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and health food stores in my area where I should buy up all the bottled water they had and then bring it home to test each of them with the Litmus strips and then only drink the bottled water that tested well.

For one month.

Then, as companies can change their manufacturing processes and their water sources, I should repeat this test every month for infinity to make sure I was constantly getting the best water.

It was at this point that I began to peek around the corner of the empty room looking for the Candid Camera dude.  He never showed up.


I was more confused than ever.

About the only thing that seemed clear after the woman and I finally said goodbye was that there must have been something in her water.

There just had to be…

Totally Bugging Out

Multiple Sclerosis meets the insect world


This week’s blog is not for the squeamish. Since I, myself, am terribly squeamish, it is not even for me. But I am completely freaking out about something so I decided I would share it with all of you, so you can freak out too.

Multiple sclerosis symptom # 1789 is a creepy crawly feeling. Often you feel like there is something creepy on you when there isn’t, that you stepped on something crawly when you didn’t.

So how is an MS’er to survive the weird bug summer of 2013?


I won’t bore you by repeating the previously told June experience of coming home to find two bumble bees having a party in my kitchen.

And you may still be grossed out by the fly swarm I mentioned two weeks ago.

These anecdotes were not the end of the bug world taking place in my home.

If I didn’t have to already be careful as I step around unpacked boxes, half packed boxes and empty boxes, I also have to watch out for earwigs.

Yes, earwigs. That is the name of a bug. Who came up with that???? These creepy crawly things have visited on occasion in the past, but now they have chosen to move in and I haven’t even moved out yet!


The flies keep coming back and so I again attempted to address this problem. When the disgusting fly strip didn’t work, and the smelly flying insects spray didn’t work, and the lame fly motel didn’t work, I took to buying a super duper bug killer that you spray inside and outside of your home. I sprayed inside and then went out to spray outside. It was while I was spraying that I was attacked by mosquitoes.

You’d think the poison I was covered in would detract them but no; at least not until they used me for a snack. Apparently, mosquitoes think I am sweet. Now my sweet skin is covered in bruises from falling and tripping, ugly red splotches from injections and itchy bites.

If I dare to leave my house after dusk, I walk out my front door into a world of no-see-ums. Here is another strange bug name. Why call these obnoxious little midges’ no-see-ums? I see them. I see them all the time. When I am particularly fatigued, ms will cause my eyes to get blurry and my vision to get sparkly and then I see them everywhere! No-see-ums indeed.

Next is the spider living in my bedroom. Why is he still there, you ask? Why didn’t I obliterate him? Because he is smarter and faster than me and even though he doesn’t pay rent, he thinks he owns the place.

I first noticed him when I walked into his web but shook it off thinking I was just having one of my crazy MS sensations. It took a few seconds and then I realized that no, it wasn’t MS but the web of a disgusting arachnid who was at that point leering down at me.

I went to go get something to kill him with and when I came back, he was gone. I tried going for the out of sight, out of mind trick which did not work when I saw him again the next day. And, again, I went to get my bug slaying supplies- tons and tons of paper towels, fly swatter (so what if this is a spider I am dealing with), a broom in case he makes it to the ceiling, and as last resort, the gross, smelly spray. I set everything up and then went after him.

It was then that he out crawled me!

He disappeared. I thought I would leave the bug killing supplies in my room to be ready when I saw him again but of course, I have not. And I am not sure that the icky feeling of walking into webs I have gotten since then is him, MS, or confirmation that I have finally lost it.


The band No Doubt has song about my experience.

And now I’m stuck in, the web you’re spinning

You’ve got me for your prey……

You’re intruding on what’s mine

And you’re taking up my time

Don’t have the courage inside me

To tell you ‘please let me be’….

I’m walking into spiderwebs

Finally, two friends came over to help me with a moving project. I needed to remove three heavy objects and have them trashed. This friend and her husband brought their truck over and gratefully took care of this for me. I was super thrilled.

But the real hero of the day was their 7 year old daughter, Madi.

While one friend was carrying something out, a cricket hopped in. Crickets are the worst of the worse for me. They are just too big to kill and if and when you do, you have to crush their hard bodies-major ick!.

Growing up, we had lots of crickets in our house and the trauma of watching them crawl out of the vacuum when my mom thought she would be smart and suck them up, still gives me nightmares.

Being the adult, I thought I should warn Madi of the cricket, less he hops on her. She didn’t see him at first. Trying not to look at him myself, I pointed.

Madi then took her pretty pink flip flop shod foot and stepped on him. Like that, he was no longer a threat. Madi rocks!

As I was saying goodbye to the bravest person in the whole world and her parents, Madi noticed something else. What I thought was a weed on my door was actually another bug. Really? The green weedy thing was yet another bug?


Her mom told her that the bug was called a walking stick. Seriously, the bug world needs to re-think its naming process. The innocent looking plant thing was a fascinatingly named insect.

Hearing its name made me wonder what happened to my own walking stick in this whole moving/getting my rental ready for sale process. It has disappeared, unfortunately.

It was just a big stick I found on one of my walks but I liked it. Is this a valid excuse to stop taking walks? Can I use the walking stick bug instead?

Luckily, summer will end soon and I will go from living in the woods to living near the woods and maybe all my bug nemeses will decide they want to stay here. One can hope.

MS gives me enough creepy crawly feelings and enough little icky things flying in front of my eyes, so I certainly don’t need any more.

Isn’t MS enough creepiness to last a lifetime??


PS There is actually a bug that I deeply love, my youngest nephew who I affectionately call my little cuddle bug (talk about strange names- where did I come up with that?) He is one bug I would love to have around me all the time but alas, he lives very far away. He is having a tough week (though you wouldn’t know it from his awesome smile!) and so please allow me to end by sending hugs and kisses to my cuddle bug!

day smile


Weirdness and Suckiness

Happy 2013 Friends!   I realize that the above title does not lend itself to a very encouraging, get motivated New Year post, and for that I apologize.   I am actually eager to jump into 2013 with a lot of plans, ideas, and amusing antidotes I am eager to share with you.

However 2012 closed and 2013 opened with some computer hardware weirdness, computer software suckiness and general MS suckiness and weirdness.   In this regard, and with appointments scheduled, I am hoping/wishing/planning that the blog will be back up by noon on 1/11/13.   If you are looking forward to reading new material but afraid you won’t remember, please feel free to sign up for my free Feedblitz subscriber service where new blogs will be sent to you directly.

I am bummed out by this brief need to leave the blog for a bit while I fix these issues.  To start your New Year off with some giggles Yvonne deSousa style, please check out last year’s January blog Me and My Wii.

Happy New Year and I look forward to being back soon!

Too Lazy Even For Me

An MS’er looks at the new and improved

So I know that I mention (complain, whine, lament) here a lot about the extreme fatigue that comes with MS. But it is a fact and with this fact, comes the fact that many an MS’er has learned to take shortcuts to save energy. Most of these shortcuts involve skipping unnecessary tasks. Some MS’ers are pretty good at this. Me, I’m still learning.

Even though I skip watching TV commercials as much as possible (especially in an election year- so glad THAT’S over), I was drawn to a particular commercial recently. I think what caught my attention was that the commercial started by asking the question “how many buttons does your car have?”

I had never really thought about it. My car is a paint chipped 2005 Toyota Corolla that has served me well since I bought it pre-owned in 2004 (don’t ask.) With the exception of the incident where a tree fell on it during a freak winter storm (another don’t ask but now you have the root of the paint chip problem,) I have been very happy with it.

It has buttons but I have never counted how many. I just push them and go. The commercial was for a 2013 Cadillac XTS and the reason why the commercial was asking about buttons was because this new model of Cadillac has far less buttons than your average vehicle.

The car has sensors that tell the car’s control panel (essentially its dashboard) everything that is happening on the road around you. It has a Cue which means it can give you infinite listening features as well as unlimited access to all your contacts.

It can connect up to ten different Bluetooth devices and it has Natural Voice Recognition so that you don’t even have to lightly touch the control panel, you can just tell the car what you want it to do. You can buy this car and go from a few buttons that you have to manually push in your current car to this car where you don’t have to move at all!

Maybe it’s me, and keeping in mind that I am all about conserving my energy, but I can’t help thinking that if I am too tired to push a button, then I am probably too tired to be behind the wheel. Arms too achy to maneuver the steering wheel? Perhaps I don’t belong behind the steering wheel at that particular time!


Only a day after seeing that particular commercial, a friend sent me an email warning me about a problem with newly issued credit cards. All you shoppers out there, take note. It seems without you even requesting it, credit card companies are issuing new cards that have a teeny tiny wireless symbol on the back of them.

What this means for you is that you no longer have to stress yourself out with the tedious task of swiping your card thru the credit card machine when you purchase something. You can just pull your card out of your wallet and the WIFI signal will tell the credit card machine all your card info.

Thank goodness! After a long day of hitting the stores, that little swipe at the register completely does me in.

Again, maybe it’s me, but I am thinking that if I am too tired to be swiping my card for a whole two seconds when I buy something, maybe I shouldn’t be shopping. Let’s see- I’d really love the new Cadillac XTS but I am just too exhausted to swipe my card. Oh, I can just hold my card while I walk by the machine. Great- let’s do it, the Cadillac is all mine!

I received the email warning because, (surprise surprise,) thieves have learned how to use these new cards to steal from you. They just hold up a flat screen as you happen by a credit card machine and they are good to go.

On the days when my fatigue really sets in, if you don’t know me or my MS you could try to call me lazy. Try it all you want but I bet I will suddenly find some energy to belt you. But in my super long list of things that are exhausting, pushing a button and swiping a card don’t come up.

If they could make a gadget that automatically gives you a shower, puts on your clothes and make up, and styles your hair, I might be interested. How about a gadget that cooks dinner AND washes the dishes? Now you’re talking.

If I could recline on my sofa resting my very achy body and just tell a gadget to do the laundry, I might get excited. I am not too particular, I would even understand if I had to push a button to activate the thing. As long as I didn’t have to push the button more than once or push it too hard, I’m all for it.

Hey Salt-N-Pepa, the eighties are over, we don’t have to push it anymore. Unless we want too of course.

Friends if you enjoy my blogs and feel that they are helpful, please consider nominating me for a WEGO health activist award!   It is easy to do by following this link below and I would greatly, deeply, thrillingly appreciate it!



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