My Invisible Life

Personal accounts and advice about living with chronic diseases and conditions.


Fibro-what?: Navigating Between the Lines to Understand Fibromyalgia

by on October 4, 2014 0 Comments
Fibro-what?: Navigating Between the Lines to Understand Fibromyalgia

As chronic diseases and chronic disease management become a focus for many health systems around the nation, we are finding that the educational resources available are changing and growing as well. One, out of many, of the most confusing and difficult to diagnose chronic diseases is Fibromyalgia. Not only is the disease hard to understand, it also manifests itself differently in different people and there is no blood test or scan to diagnose the disease yet. As a result, not all providers are the best advocates and supporters for Fibromyalgia patients. Simply stated: some health care professionals don’t yet recognize Fibromyalgia as a chronic disease.

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A Storm’s Coming: Weather and Arthritis Symptoms

by on July 7, 2014 1 Comment
A Storm’s Coming: Weather and Arthritis Symptoms

With our ever-changing weather, planning can be a difficult task for us Michiganders. Add arthritis to the mix and the weather can make you feel a bit crazy! It is said in light-heartedness that the senior population complains about their joints when it rains. In actuality, any individual that suffers from arthritis is bound to have a few complaints during inclement weather.

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The Dog Days of Summer: Managing MS Heat Intolerance

by on June 23, 2014 0 Comments
The Dog Days of Summer: Managing MS Heat Intolerance

For those of us with MS and other chronic conditions exacerbated by heat and humidity, late summer can bring about more than just wishing for a day off to hit the beach. How can you manage this annual occurrence?

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Work/Life Balance – Part 2

by on April 15, 2014 0 Comments
Work/Life Balance – Part 2

In my last blog, I promised I would share some of the tips I learned from my visit to the counseling service, Encompass, provided by my employer, Spectrum Health. I’ve also done quite a bit of reading on the work/life balance topic and tried some of my own strategies. Below are six of the ideas that best fit my lifestyle, and I hope they help you, too.

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Work/Life Balance

by on April 3, 2014 0 Comments
Work/Life Balance

People who know me, especially those who work with me, know that I am forever on a quest for a thing called work/life balance. Recently, I felt that my balance was so far off that I turned myself into the career counseling service at Spectrum Health to see if they could do anything for me.

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I’m So Tired I Can’t Remember If I’ve Written About Fatigue Before

by on May 15, 2013 1 Comment

Fatigue is one of the most insidious symptoms of MS. It’s not as obvious as muscle incoordination or unsteady gait; it’s not as embarrassing as slurred speech or tremor; and it’s not as problematic as vision loss. It won’t necessarily put you in a wheelchair or require you to carry “barf bags” for uncontrollable vertigo with nausea (so not my favorite!). Instead, fatigue creeps into your life like a shadow you just didn’t notice you had before. It’s suddenly always with you. A new best friend you never wanted. A heavy backpack you can’t take off. It isn’t just that…

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On Gratitude

by on November 21, 2012 0 Comments

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and as I think of all that I have to be thankful for, I ask myself if I’m one of those people that can say I’m thankful for my disease. Can I reflect on the past couple of years and say I have a newfound and deeper appreciation for life because of the lessons that living with MS has taught me? Can I say that I wouldn’t trade MS because of the wisdom it’s given me? Well, frankly, no. I like to think I’m a good person, but I’m not quite that good. If given the choice,…

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Coming Full Circle

by on June 13, 2012 0 Comments

I haven’t posted a blog update since December 1 of last year. There were a number of factors that contributed to my absence, but the main reason was that MS has really taken its toll on me this calendar year. I took my last dose of Tysabri in September 2011 and have been off MS meds since. My first relapse began on January 31, my daughter’s birthday. My symptoms included serious vertigo and painful electrical shocks throughout my body, leading to uncontrolled eye and muscle movements. The vertigo was bad enough to make me very sick and I rapidly lost…

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Being a Professional Patient

by on December 1, 2011 0 Comments

The online community of MS friends I have built has been one of the best resources I have found since being diagnosed. One of my friends, Roger, shared a medication spreadsheet with me that has been invaluable – particularly with a challenged memory and a plethora of doctor and emergency room visits. I’ve tweaked it to make it work for me, and I’d like to share it with you. At the top of my spreadsheet, I’ve listed my current diagnoses and the approximate date of diagnosis. I’ve included the physician currently treating the condition, the practice phone number and the…

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The Day I Cried

by on November 23, 2011 0 Comments

I’m not sure if this is normal, but I never really cried about my MS diagnosis until recently. I can recall a few times when I got tears in my eyes – when the primary care doctor first told me he saw white matter spots on my MRI, when the neurologist told me he believed it was MS, and when I told certain friends and family members of the diagnosis. But I never broke down and cried. I was too busy trying to absorb information, trying to deal with new medication regimens and side effects, trying to deal with bizarre…

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