MS Shuffle and Shake

Music for multiple sclerosis to move to

So this spring ushered in a blizzard and some company. With gale force winds and several inches of snow predicted for 3/26, my mom came to stay. For the record, these previous two statements are not complaints; neither about the weather or about my mom visiting. All is well.

And even though the lateness in the season of this storm is odd, I, the woman who loves winter, am still good with it. By stating this fact I reserve the right to start complaining when the heat and humidity strike. And believe me, I will be complaining.


The reason I bring this up is because I learned something new during my mom’s visit and I really want to ponder it with all of you to see if it’s MS related. As I walked across the living room my mom said, “Why don’t you pick your feet up more? Do you know you are shuffling? You’re going to wear a path across the carpet.”

My mom’s statement lead to three main questions-

1. So what? This is a rental. It’s not my carpet. Wait, will my security deposit cover a path in the carpet?

2. I do? I never realized that before. Is this an MS thing?

3. I feel like listening to the Stones version of Harlem Shuffle– where’s my Dirty Work CD?


I couldn’t sort out the answer to number 1 without checking with my landlord’s which might make them super obsessive about examining the carpet when I do move out, whenever that will be.

So, I moved on to number’s 2 and 3. I started to notice and my mom was right- I do shuffle.

Since the beautiful spring weather was actually 28 degrees, I was wearing heavy cotton socks and my super warm, super comfy slippers. And I was shuffling across my apartment. When did I start doing that?


I proceeded to walk normally and I was able to, but not without consciously trying to! Do I shuffle when I’m out in public? Is this shuffling simple laziness? Does my shuffling have anything to do with wearing slippers?

Suddenly I pictured an old man shuffling around his house in his worn slippers. Actually, I noticed, my slippers kind of look like an old man’s. Was this more rapidly advanced aging courtesy of multiple sclerosis?

My sister Laurie who also has MS suffers from foot drop but this seemed different. This seemed more like too tired to bother to walk like a normal person.


Worrying about what this shuffling means to my age, the status of my MS, and my pocketbook (as in- will I have to actually replace this carpet?) started to overwhelm me. When that happens, the way I cope is by turning to one of my favorite things, the Rolling Stones.

And this link was a direct link as opposed to other indirect links my brain makes courtesy of multiple sclerosis. I went searching for the Dirty Works CD and played Harlem Shuffle, performed like only the Stones can perform it. Yes, 9 other people recorded it but of course the Stones did it best.

“Weird Al” Yankovic even did a version-weird.


As I listened I began to realize that this is another song the Stones sing about multiple sclerosis (see prior blog-Like an MS Rolling Stone.) I mean, see how MS perfect the lyrics are-

 “You move it to the left, yeah, and you go for yourself

You move it to the right, yeah, if it takes all night

Now take it kinda slow

With a whole lot of soul

Don’t move it too fast…“

The song even works if two people in the same household both have MS

“Don’t fall down on me now.”

Pondering upsetting thoughts by using the Rolling Stones as metaphors is another way that I deal with MS. There’s using God to help deal. There’s using my God given sense of humor to help deal. And then there’s using the Rolling Stones.


Technically Harlem Shuffle was a song written in the 60’s about a popular dance. That doesn’t mean the Stones weren’t thinking about multiple sclerosis when they recorded it.

So while I am shuffling along I automatically feel better humming Harlem Shuffle.

As I was humming and dancing away my hands and fingers began to shake. The shaking got me thinking. Harlem Shake is a whole different thing.

And not at all comforting as the Stones don’t cover it!


Only one weekend left before we say goodbye to National MS Awareness Month! That means, you only have one weekend left to purchase MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis through my publisher where you will get a discounted rate and 50% of the proceeds will go directly to the Race to Erase MS campaign!

Check it out here!

Race to Erase MS Online Store


12 thoughts on “MS Shuffle and Shake

  1. Who knew that besides being an awesome band that the stones can relate to MS?…..I was picturing the video as I was reading this,but of course my mind went to the “tumbling dice” song which was for Lynn and I as it says you can be my partner in crime…. I am not looking forward to July&August either as the humidity wipes me out…. Don’t feel bad about the shuffling Joel does it too.

    • Thank you friend! Of course my blogs are tongue in cheek and who knows what the guys were thinking when they recorded this. HOWEVER, Keith who is as you know my favorite, lost a beloved aunt to multiple sclerosis and so he is familiar with it. That’s why I am think he recorded this just for me!!!

  2. Yvonne, I’m going for the slipper effect. I shuffle when I wear them because my slippers are too big and I like them that way… they’re comfortable. Also who is really awake when you’re wearing them. It’s usually in the morning or in the evening. Go figure. Of course humming the Rollings Stones song makes everything okay.

    • Thank you Barbara- that does make me feel a little better. I was kind of wearing the slippers all day that stormy day but I’ll take your explanation anyway-it totally works for me!!!

  3. This really made me laugh! I’m sure it can be alarming or frustrating when someone points out a new possible symptom to you- as if you don’t have enough on your plate! Although, you find a way to make a positive, humorous spin on things. It seems like at the time you were just as much concerned with listening to some Stones than your mom’s finding! And I can even relate to being too tired to walk like a normal person sometimes. I was wondering- does your sister’s foot drop significantly impact her ability to get from point A to point B? I’m assuming medication/physical therapy can help with this?
    PS… thanks so much for joining our HP 320 class a couple of weeks ago; you were awesome!

    • Hi Stephanie- thank you so much for checking out my blog- I really appreciate it! Thank you for you kind words too! And it was an honor to speak to your class. You guys asked some great questions and I thank you for your interest in going into the healthcare field. The field needs more intelligent, eager folks like you and your classmates. As for your questions, my sister had a brace for a while but she really hated it. Mostly now she uses a Canadian crutch to get around and does well with it. She is also on a new drug called Ampyra that is supposed to help with her walking. It is new for her so I’m not sure how much it is helping but she feels a little more steady. PT didn’t really help that much. And of course, like most of us with MS, the hardest thing she has to overcome when getting around is the fatigue… Hope that answers your questions-if not, please let me know!

  4. The way that you look at life and handle potentially stressful situations is very positive and up-lifting. Shuffling your feet doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, but I know that if I had MS, I would definitely be worried. I think it’s very inspiring how you don’t let little things like that get to you. Instead of worrying and obsessing over the shuffling and what it could mean with your MS, your way of coping is much more positive and less stressful. These days, everybody stresses out so much over everything and jumping to the worst conclusion is one of the first things that they do. At least that’s how my brain works. I’ve been inspired to take your approach instead, especially when I turn to music for when I’m stressed, mad, sad, happy, basically any mood anyways. Music is one of the best ways that I de-stress so I thank you for opening the doors to appreciating the minute to the most extreme stressors in life.

    • Thank you so much for your comment and for checking out my blog Julie- I really appreciate it! My go to music tends to be Pink and the Rolling Stones. Pink helps me get jazzed when my energy is particularly slumped and the Rolling Stones for everything else. I am convinced that there is a Rolling Stones song for whatever ails you!! The shuffling is one of the least of my MS issues. But as each new symptom shows up I like to beat it up in a blog when I can. And if I can throw Keith Richards in there too, all the better!

  5. Your positive outlook is so inspiring! I use music to cope with nearly everything I go through in life and am convinced that every song is written about what I happen to be going through at the time. I’m curious as to if you ever did find out if the shuffling is another symptom of MS or is it because you are fatigued? Either way, I think it’s great that it doesn’t get you down. Your lecture in our class at BU really got me interested in MS and I’m considering it as a topic for a term paper. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

    • Thank you so much Amanda!! Each song that I hear is specifically written for me so how can it be written for you? Hahaha… It does feel like that sometimes and it helps! I’m glad my talk at BU went well because to get jazzed and find energy for a talk I usually blast Pink and dance around my apartment like a damn fool. And then I couldn’t on the BU day because I was in a car with my dad. He usually has good taste in music but that day his radio was on a weird station. I haven’t seen my neurologist since I noticed the shuffling but at the last appointment I was definitely having trouble walking a straight line. I tend to blame everything on MS so I just assume that the shuffling is because of MS too! Good luck with your paper whatever topic you decide. If you want to interview someone with MS I am pretty much an open book! And thank you again for your kind words and for checking out my blog..

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