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Within this blog you can find MS resources by viewing all showing below pertaining to thousands of MS articles, resources, event timing. Additionally, please visit our Social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram . Each providing important information for those affected by Multiple Sclerosis. * From the comfort of your home, you can join us for our VIRTUAL MS events. To learn more of these virtual events please subscribe here.

Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Emergency Assistance Grant application from MS Foundation


MS Focus' Emergency Assistance Grant provides full or partial financial assistance for urgent needs related to rentutilities, or medication
Disclaimer - MS Focus does not provide assistance with mortgage payments.
Funds are limited and restrictions apply. Applicants must provide documentation of the need, authorization for the program coordinator to communicate directly with the party to whom the money is owed, and a doctor's verification of their MS diagnosis. Please note: this is a one-time-use program. Individuals who have previously received help with rent, utilities, or medications through this program may not apply again. 
To learn more, call our National Toll-Free Helpline at 888-MS Focus (888-673-6287), email support@msfocus.org, or start your application now.

Before you complete the Online Application, review this checklist to make sure you have all required materials before submitting.


Society-Supported Researchers Target Bile Acid Metabolism in People with MS: Clinical Trial Underway

March 23, 2020
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University report that levels of bile acids (produced by the liver to help the absorption of fats in the gut and other processes) may be reduced in people with MS, and especially in people with progressive MS. The team provides evidence that docking sites for these bile acids in brain cells are altered in people with MS; that bile acid signaling appears to reduce inflammatory activity of specific cells in the brain; and that administering bile acid supplements to mice with MS-like disease reduces disease severity. This team is now conducting a trial, funded by the National MS Society, of bile acid supplements in 60 people with progressive MS.


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  • People with MS may have abnormalities in the way they process energy and other maintenance activities (metabolism). One metabolic pathway identified by this team is bile acid metabolism. Bile acids can influence the composition of gut bacteria. Abnormalities in gut bacteria have been identified in people with MS and may be related to the observed abnormalities in bile acid metabolism.
  • Bile acids can also interact with immune cells and brain cells and influence their function. In this study, the investigators examined tissue obtained from people with MS via autopsy, and found docking sites for bile acids on brain and immune cells, indicating that bile acids may modulate inflammation in the nervous system. The team administered a bile acid to cells isolated in lab dishes and found that it succeeded in blocking cells from promoting inflammation.
  • Authors Drs. Pavan Bhargava and Kathryn Fitzgerald are funded by Career Transition Fellowships from the National MS Society.
Bile acid metabolism is altered in multiple sclerosis and supplementation ameliorates neuroinflammation” is published by Dr. Pavan Bhargava (Johns Hopkins University) and colleagues in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Article first published here



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Community Wellness Study for people affected by MS

PLENTY of spots available in the study. This is a 5 year study and our recruitment goal is 600 participants, and we have recruited ~170 participants so far (this is the Year 1 of the study).
  

Main Eligibility Criteria:
  • Telephone-based health/wellness coaching project  (so people can participate from anywhere in the U.S.)
  • Adults ages 45-64
  • Living with a neuromuscular condition (such as MS, MD, SCI, Amputation) where symptoms started before the age of 40

For Further information on this study contact: 1.866.928.2114
 or send email to:  communityhealthstudy@uw.edu 


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On Recklessness and the Coronavirus - What it’s like to be immunocompromised during a pandemic.

By Sharma Shields ---  March 25, 2020
Ms. Shields is a fiction writer. - 


SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s likely I’ve always been this way, reckless with fear.

Even as a child I dived right into what terrified me, the dark basement, the cobwebbed underbrush. When I was told that I had multiple sclerosis almost seven years ago, I wanted to rush into the future and pull it down like rotten timber all around me. I was angry to be stuck in the present, with these common primary symptoms: numb feet, tingling legs, a fatigue I wore like a gown carved from stone.

It was infuriating not to know what could come next. Would I lose my ability to care for my children? Would I wind up bedridden, an invalid? I wanted to experience the whole course of my disease in one brutal stroke. I ached for control.As the coronavirus began to circle eastern Washington State, I was again gripped by the nail-biting unknowability of all that would come to pass. I considered writing a casual social media post, Any peeps with Covid-19 want to share a fondue? An email blast: All those with fevers, dry coughs, etc., are invited to my house for hot yoga in a windowless room. Or maybe a short drive to the hospital, where I could slip into the E.R. and rub my face against the pale blue privacy curtains.  

I know this sounds bonkers. These were irrational desires — the feeling that getting sick was the only way to stop worrying about getting sick.
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When the news came of school closures, my husband’s concern spilled over. He told me, bravely, “I don’t think you should go to work.”

I work in a small children’s bookstore called Wishing Tree Books: Pretty shelves, cheerful lilac walls, a sun-bright stained-glass window. Going to work calms my anxiety. The books sing quietly to me with their humming, word-stippled potential. The thought of losing this space upset me. The shop opened only in November. If everyone stayed home, how would this new small business — magical as it is — survive?

My husband stewed. Usually I’m the one stuck in an anxiety spiral and he’s the one who guides me out of it. This role reversal meant one thing: that what he asked of me was sensible, necessary, even, but I bucked against it, scowling.

“I’ll keep my distance from the customers. There are disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.” “You just had an infusion,” he reminded me.

“I’ll be careful,” I said, and the very thought of needing to be careful stoked my anger. I wanted to lick the counter-tops, nose the doorknobs.
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U.S. - FDA Approves Bristol Myers Squibb’s ZEPOSIA® (Ozanimod), a New Oral Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

In clinical trials, ZEPOSIA demonstrated efficacy on a key clinical marker of disease activity – annualized relapse rate (ARR) – as compared to AVONEX ® (interferon beta-1a)1 ,2,3
ZEPOSIA is a sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator that requires no label-based first dose observation 1
ZEPOSIA adds to Bristol Myers Squibb’s legacy immunology franchise and marks the first FDA-approved New Drug Application since the Celgene acquisition

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ZEPOSIA® (ozanimod) 0.92 mg for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.1 ZEPOSIA, an oral medication taken once daily, is the only approved sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator that offers RMS patients an initiation with no genetic test and no label-based first-dose observation required for patients.1,4,5 An up-titration scheme should be used to reach the maintenance dosage of ZEPOSIA, as a transient decrease in heart rate and atrioventricular conduction delays may occur.1

“With the FDA approval of ZEPOSIA, appropriate patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis will have another oral treatment option with meaningful efficacy to help address the disease’s hallmark relapses and brain lesions,”9 said Samit Hirawat, M.D., chief medical officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “ZEPOSIA has substantial clinical potential, and we are well positioned with our heritage in transformational science to ensure this innovative compound ultimately benefits as many patients as possible.”

The approval is based on data from the largest pivotal, head-to-head RMS studies with an active comparator to date: the randomized, active-controlled Phase 3 SUNBEAM™ (safety and efficacy of ZEPOSIA versus interferon beta-1a in relapsing multiple sclerosis) and RADIANCE™ (safety and efficacy of the selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator ZEPOSIA in relapsing multiple sclerosis) Part B clinical trials of more than 2,600 adults.1,2,3,10 In both trials – as compared to AVONEX® (interferon beta-1a), ZEPOSIA delivered powerful efficacy as measured by annualized relapse rate (ARR), as well as on the number and size of brain lesions.1,2,3

As the country’s healthcare system is dealing with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Bristol Myers Squibb has made the decision to delay commercialization of ZEPOSIA. The Company made the decision based on what’s in the best health interest of our patients, customers and employees. Bristol Myers Squibb will continue to monitor the environment and will partner with the neurology community to inform launch timing.


Many Should Appreciate Bristol Myers Squibb for their empathy toward ti current health crisis and holding off on the launch their first MS medication




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Sanofi Mobilizes to Develop a Vaccine against COVID-19

John Shiver, PhD, Senior Vice President, Vaccines Global R&D at Sanofi, discusses the mechanics of developing a vaccine in response to a pandemic and why he believes it can be done in time to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus across the globe has spurred governments and the pharmaceutical industry worldwide to pull together and attempt to stop a pandemic in its tracks. I joined one of these collaborations at the White House with President Trump; a vaccine against the virus was front and center of the discussion and it was heartening to see the show of solidarity and collaboration among the business and government leaders who were present.
I have spent more than 29 years in vaccines research and development, working to help prevent the spread of disease. I have been on the front lines against diseases including HPV, rotavirus, shingles and influenza. With the emergence of COVID-19, the public health community is doing what needs to be done in moments like these: marshaling resources, coordinating responses, recommending how to stop transmission of the disease and treat the afflicted. Those of us who work on vaccines are doing our part as well.
Fighting an emerging pandemic is an enormous undertaking requiring the entire pharmaceutical “ecosystem” to come together at pace and at a scale that are both extraordinary.
Developing and manufacturing vaccines is a complex journey. It normally takes considerable time to produce, test, package and deliver high quality, safe and effective vaccines that protect public health.  Because the industry is pursuing new methods to combat COVID-19, widespread, accelerated success will be challenging but can be accomplished when science, manufacturing and regulators work with urgency toward a common purpose.

There are three reasons to be confident that it can be done 

CLICK HERE to continue reading directly from Sanofi




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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Synthetic MRI Can Be Useful in Calculating Myelin Volume Fraction, MS Study Says

A new study compares synthetic magnetic resonance imaging (SyMRI) to other techniques for measuring myelin volume fraction in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The data indicate the technique is effective.

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Synthetic magnetic resonance imaging (SyMRI) appears to be a valid option for quantifying myelin fraction in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study that compared the technology with other measurement approaches.

Myelin imaging can be an important clinical tool for tracking the prognosis of patients with MS and evaluating the effectiveness of therapy. But, as a team of investigators from Japan and France note in a study in the journal Cellsaccurately assessing myelin can be an exceedingly difficult challenge.

“There is currently no recognized gold standard for myelin estimation, although myelin water fraction is one of the best validated and most commonly used quantitative measurements for noninvasive assessment of myelin content in the brain,” write the investigators, including corresponding author Shigeki Aoki, MD, Phd, of Juntendo University School of Medicine, in Tokyo.

Lately, however, a new technology has emerged that has the potential to improve the situation. SyMRI uses multislice, multiecho, and multidelay acquisition to simultaneously measure longitudinal T1 relaxation rate, transverse T2 relaxation rate, proton density, and local radiofrequency field B1. The latter measurement can help correct location variations in flip angle. The system is able to obtain full head coverage in about 6 minutes, Aoki and colleagues said.

“From these absolute parameters, it is possible to create any contrast-weighted image that is clinically useful, including T1-weighted (T1w) or T2-weighted (T2w) images, using SyMRI software,” the investigators say. “Using the same absolute parameters, SyMRI also allows myelin measurement.”

Knowing that it was feasible to measure myelin using SyMRI, Aoki and colleagues wanted to know whether such a measure was accurate compared to other existing measurement strategies.

Continue reading


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Guidance for the use of disease modifying therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic

2020 CMSC Meeting in Orlando IS CANCELLED


People with MS have asked for guidance on the use of Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are numerous recommendations circulating that attempt to provide clarity and guidance, however, differences among the recommendations have created confusion. DMT decision making varies significantly from country to country, ranging from highly provider-directed to a collaborative decision-making model.

The National MS Society’s National Medical Advisory Committee believes DMT decisions should be individualized and made collaboratively between the person with MS and his/her healthcare provider. Based on their expert advice, the Society recommends:
  • People with MS should follow CDC guidelines and these additional recommendations for people at higher risk for serious illnesses from COVID-19.
  • People with MS should continue disease modifying therapies (DMTs) and discuss specific risks with their MS healthcare provider prior to stopping a DMT.
  • Before starting a cell depleting DMT* or a DMT that carries warnings of potentially severe increase in disability after stopping**, people with MS and their MS healthcare providers should consider specific risks (e.g. age, comorbid health conditions, location) and benefits.

These recommendations have been endorsed by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and all other members of the MS Coalition***.

In addition to the above guidance, the MS International Federation (MSIF) provides global advice on DMT use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their recommendations provide more detailed guidance for the initiation and continuation of DMTs and are endorsed by the National MS Society and the MS Coalition. With both the MSIF and the Society’s recommendations, decisions regarding DMT use should be individualized and made by the person with MS and his/her healthcare provider.

We are continuing to monitor this quickly evolving situation and these recommendations may be modified as data becomes available.

* Cell depleting therapies include: Lemtrada, Mavenclad, Ocrevus and Rituxan (used off-label in MS)

** DMTs with a warning of potentially severe increase in disability after stopping include: Gilenya and Tysabri

*** Members of the MS Coalition include: Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, Can Do MS, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses, MS Views and News, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and United Spinal Association

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CONTINUE READING:
Frequently Asked Questions about DMTs and COVID-19
Should I stop my DMT due to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

No, you should not stop your DMT. Some websites and other MS organizations suggest that you postpone dosing of certain DMTs or switch DMTs. Based upon what is known right now, the National MS Society does not believe stopping your DMT is necessary. Stopping your DMT may place you at greater risk for new MS activity. We do recommend that you speak with your MS provide for advice about your specific situation and weigh the risks and benefits.

Which DMTs are immunomodulators and which are immunosuppressants?
DMTs that are immunomodulators generally do not suppress the immune system and do not place you at greater risk for infections – including COVID-19. These include:
  • glatiramer acetate (COPAXONE®, Glatopa®,Glatiramer Acetate Injection®)
  • interferons (Betaseron®, Rebif®, Avonex®, Extavia®, Plegridy®)
  • natalizumab (Tysabri®)

Some DMTs are immunomodulators but also restrict the ability of the immune system to respond to infection and therefore may increase your risk of infections, including COVID-19. These include:
  • dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera®)
  • diroximel fumarate (Vumerity)
  • fingolimod (Gilenya®)
  • siponimod (Mayzent®)
  • teriflunomide (Aubagio®)

Some DMTs deplete certain types of immune system cells known as lymphocytes and are considered immunosuppressants – and therefore may increase your risk of infections, including COVID-19. 

These include:
  • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada®)
  • cladribine (Mavenclad®)
  • mitoxantrone (Novantrone
  • ocrelizumab (Ocrevus®)
  • rituximab (Rituxan®)

I was recently diagnosed with MS and was prescribed a DMT. Should I start my DMT or should I postpone starting until after the COVID-19 crisis?  Yes, you should start your DMT.

Some DMTs may increase your risk of infections, including COVID-19. This must be weighed against other factors including your MS activity, your age, other medical conditions and other potential factors that could impact your DMT. This is a difficult decision and needs a thorough discussion with your MS provider.

Should I switch my DMT to one that has lower risk of my getting an infection, including COVID-19?
The guidance from the National MS Society is to discuss the risks and benefits of your DMT with your MS provider. Stopping an effective DMT may increase your risk of more MS activity – including relapses. Some DMTs may increase your risk of COVID-19 infection, but this is not a certainty. The risks and benefits need to be weighed for each individual situation.

Should I stay home and “quarantined” because I have MS and I am on a DMT?
People with underlying lung and heart conditions and those aged over 60 years are more likely to experience complications and become severely ill with the COVID-19 virus. This group will include many people living with MS, especially those with additional health complications, mobility issues and those taking some MS treatments. All people with MS are advised to pay attention to guidelines for reducing the risk of infection with COVID-19. Older people with MS, especially those who also have lung or heart diseases should take extra care to minimize their exposure to the virus. 

The World Health Organization recommendations include:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean
  • Try to keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, particularly those who are coughing and sneezing
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue
  • Practice food safety by using different chopping boards for raw meat and cooked foods and wash your hands between handling them.

In addition, people with MS should:
  • Avoid public gatherings and crowds – of greater than 10 people
  • Avoid using public transport where possible
  • Where possible, use alternatives to face-to-face routine medical appointments (for example, telephone appointments).

Is it ok for my family members or other close contacts to go to work or other types of social gatherings?   - Care partners and family members who live with, or regularly visit, a person with MS should also follow the same recommendations to reduce the chance of bringing COVID-19 infection into the home.

There is a lot still unknown about COVID-19 and risks for people living with MS. As we learn more, we will update our information and provide more detailed guidance.

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SOCIETYCOMMENTARY Distancing, Quarantine, Isolation: Tools to Combat a Pandemic

Dakota Wood /  

 Dakota L. Wood, who served America for two decades in the U.S. Marine Corps, is the senior research fellow for defense programs at The Heritage Foundation.
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Major events bring with them new words, phrases, and social responses. Some events—such as major terrorist attacks or global pandemics—call upon us to change how we deal with matters such as security or close personal interactions.

They challenge what we have known as normal and ask us to consider what new measures might be needed to deal with a profound change in our environment. Some changes are temporary; others become part of the “new normal.”

The beauty of reorienting to new challenges within a free society is that it ultimately rests with the people to accept or reject such changes.

Our history shows that people quickly recognize what is needed in times of crisis and do our part not only to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but to contribute to the broader needs of our community in ways that preserve our culture, governing structures, and the various rights and liberties that define our nation.

Social distancing, quarantine, shelter in place, panic buying, “You’re worth your weight in toilet paper,” … these are the 2020 equivalents of “Where’s the beef?” and “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Cancellation of sporting events, school commencement exercises, birthday parties, weddings, and public funerals reshape our calendars in unsettling ways. And to top the list of changes that seem to cascade with each passing day, governments from local to federal are calling upon us to change how we travel, how we exercise our right to assemble, and even whether we are free to roam about our communities.

How do we determine what is overreach and what is necessary? How do we think about our ability to retain control of our circumstances and balance the broader needs of our friends, neighbors, and larger communities?

History provides many lessons in how societies have dealt with existential threats, especially those posed by communicable disease, with lethal consequences. CLICK HERE to continue



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Astronaut who spent 665 days in space has advice on isolation

Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent 665 days on the International Space Station, advised people feeling isolated while staying home during the coronavirus pandemic to remember the "bigger purpose" everyone shares. By social distancing and quarantining, people are "saving lives," she said.
Whitson said NASA trains astronauts on the skills needed to interact with the same people 24/7, which could be helpful for people staying in now.
"We call them expeditionary crew skills, but they include things like teamwork in group living, and so recognizing that the team purpose is the most important, and COVID-19 gives us a very higher purpose, much like being in space does, because we are saving lives by quarantining," she said. 
"So it is important to understand that bigger purpose and to embrace that purpose to give you reason and rationale for continuing to put up with the situation."
Whitson also advised working on communicating with the people you're living with. 
"That is the most important thing you have to be able to do," she said. "We always have these ideas that we think we're communicating and we have to make sure that that's actually our intent that's hidden in our head is actually being communicated."

Click here to read more of Peggy's story and to watch her video



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The role of a mental health counselor in your healthcare team

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Some people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may choose to see a counselor during the course of their disease. Seeing a counselor may be an option for you when living with MS. 
Finding A Counselor for People Living With MS

Counselors and their role in MS

Counselors are licensed professionals. Some have clinical counseling backgrounds while others have clinical social worker backgrounds.
Counselors may work with you in the following ways:

  • Figure out how to move forward after diagnosis of MS
  • Find positive coping mechanisms for you to use
  • Navigate the different emotions that you may be experiencing
  • Identify things that can help improve your quality of life
  • Identify causes of stress in your life
  • Improve communication with others
  • Process losses that you may have experienced due to your MS
Some people with MS may seek counseling on a short-term basis. In this case, specific identified goals are typically created between the client and counselor. The sessions are highly structured around the goals. Usually a set number of sessions are agreed upon when therapy first starts.
Since MS is a chronic disease, some people may decide to see a counselor on a more long-term basis. There are still goals that are typically created, but there is room for unstructured time to talk about a broad range of things. Since MS can be unpredictable, long-term counseling may be an additional option.

Help with managing emotions

People living with MS may be struggling with mood disorders. A counselor may help if your mood is affecting your current quality of life.  The counselor may explore many things, including your:

CLICK here to continue reading



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People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

This message includes weekly updates on the COVID-19 response from CDC. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated on the COVID-19 Situation Summary as it becomes available.

March 23, 2020
This message includes weekly updates on the COVID-19 response from #CDC. 

The COVID-19 Outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated on the COVID-19 Situation Summary as it becomes available.


Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2020 (UPDATED)



Retirement Communities and Independent Living
FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 (NEW)


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Monday, March 23, 2020

Using positivity to overcome stigmas

Learn how an #AboveMS expert contributor works hard to stay focused on the positive

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By Robyn F. Teacher



As someone living with multiple sclerosis (MS), I have dealt with stigma, and other people’s judgments and opinions. What I have found most effective in dealing with this aspect of life with MS is to focus on the things I can control—and not worry about the things that I can’t.
Through the years, I have taught myself that what others think of me is none of my business! I realize that as a person living with MS my energy is limited, both physically and spiritually, so I choose to ignore the judgments and perceptions of other people. Their opinions are just not worth my time and energy.
I understand that it does not always appear like I have MS. I am well aware of the looks and stares that I get when I choose to park in a handicapped parking space. I am fully prepared to explain my condition to anyone that might want to approach and say something negative.
I have found that sometimes the best way to handle negativity is with positivity. I have found that if I remain hopeful and think positive thoughts throughout the day, people tend to respond with the same positive energy.

Through it all, I have chosen to focus on living MY best life, regardless of what others say, do, or think. I choose to focus on my inner strength, and I try hard to remember that I can only control my own actions and my own words. If I am able to educate or share my disease with someone to increase understanding and compassion on their part, then that’s what I do!
Article source - click here


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