Thursday, November 28, 2013

Positive Focus Learned in Studying Music

During graduate school, I studied with a number of horn professors, each of whom had their own style of performing and teaching.  Some were very positive and nurturing and others were rather demanding (and loud).  Certainly the kinder, gentler teachers were less frightening, but did they actually push me hard enough to be my best.  Without the luxury of having contrasting and complementary experiences, I would not be the person/performer/teacher I am today.

In my own style of teaching, I try to blend the best of my experiences and cater to the needs of each child.  One of my goals is to provide each student with the necessary tools to measure his/her own progress and to learn how to be self-nurturing and self-demanding at home.  Each student becomes his/her own teacher.

Sometimes I think that life teaches us lessons and, although it may be uncomfortable or awkward at times, these lessons help to shape the way we function in the world.  When someone asks you how you are doing, really doing, what types of things are the first ones which come to mind?  Do you focus on the positive or the negative initially?  My gut reaction is often to focus on what is “wrong” in a situation.  It takes practice to focus on the positive first.

Read this post in its entirety:

Lessons Learned in Music Help to Improve My Health

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Also Tell Your Doctor About Minor MS Relapses

For an attack to be considered an MS relapse, it must meet the following criteria:
  • New symptoms appear or old symptoms of MS become worse
  • The episode of new or worsening symptoms lasts for more than 24 hours
  • Symptoms of the relapse do not occur within 30 days of a previous relapse
  • There is no other explanation for the symptoms
Treatment for relapses typically involves a course of high-dose intravenous steroids to reduce inflammation in the central nervous system and help speed relief of relapse-related symptoms. Some neurologists may have differing opinions as to when to treat a relapse, so patients may feel there is no reason to call the doctor’s office if the symptoms are relatively mild and do not significantly interfere with normal activities. Or, patients may feel they won’t be taken seriously by the doctor, so they don’t bother to call.

However, every relapse is an important event to acknowledge and report.  Even if a patient does not need or want steroids, it is recommended that their fluctuating symptoms be documented in their medical record.  Often, treatment decisions are made by examining your past medical history, including the number, frequency, and severity of relapses the patient has had.  Although no disease-modifying therapy (DMT) has been shown to be 100 percent effective in preventing relapses, experiencing too many relapses (even small ones) may indicate that the patient’s DMT is not working as well as it should.

Read this post in its entirety:

When to Report MS Relapses to Your Doctor

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Disease-Modifying Therapies (DMTs) Help to Slow Down MS

To alter the course of the disease, a number of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are available which are designed to help slow down the long-term progression of MS.  These treatments, or disease-modifying agents, have been shown in clinical trials to be effective in decreasing the frequency of relapses and the number of lesions in the brain or spinal cord.  Some of these medications have also been shown to slow down the rate at which a person with MS accumulates disability.  Using DMTs is one way to fight back against MS.

Read this post in its entirety:

Slowing Down the Long-Term Progression of MS by Using Disease-Modifying Therapies (DMTs)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Massage Therapy Wins Over Exercise in Reducing Pain

Exercise is important for keeping our bodies healthy no matter what disease we may have, but especially important if you have MS. Exercise can help to combat some MS symptoms by improving endurance and stamina, cognitive function, strength and flexibility, pulmonary function, fatigue, psychological health, and overall wellbeing.

But did you know that massage therapy may be as effective as exercise therapy in combating certain MS symptoms?
- See more at:
Exercise is important for keeping our bodies healthy no matter what disease we may have, but especially important if you have MS. Exercise can help to combat some MS symptoms by improving endurance and stamina, cognitive function, strength and flexibility, pulmonary function, fatigue, psychological health, and overall well-being.

But did you know that massage therapy may be as effective as exercise therapy in combating certain MS symptoms?

Read this post in its entirety:

Massage Therapy Reduces Pain More Effectively Than Exercise in Multiple Sclerosis, A New Study Shows

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kindness of a Child's Heart

A few years ago, my 19 year old cat Joshua died.  I had gotten Joshua just when he was a little kitten during my senior year in college.  He was my buddy and close friend who was by my side as I moved from state to state to attend different graduate schools and finally as I ended up in Northern Virginia.  We were very close.  We had the type of relationship where I only had to click nail clippers a few times and he would jump up on my lap to have his nails trimmed.

When Joshua approached the end of his life, his health had not been good for quite some time.  I was devastated when he finally died on a Friday morning with the help of a visiting veterinarian.  I cried and cried.  On Monday, I tried to teach my normal lesson schedule but I couldn’t stop tearing up and one of my younger students turned and saw me.  I ended up canceling lessons for the remainder of the week after that.

Later that week, there was a knock at my front door.  I was greeted by a student holding a small bouquet of flowers she had picked and a card she had drawn.  In the center of the card was a drawing of me and all around the picture were hearts of many sizes and colors.  Her message was clear: You are surrounded by love!

Read this post in its entirety:

Surrounded By Hearts and World Kindness Day

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carnival of MS Bloggers #149

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a monthly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

by Alison of One Shot Two Shot Red Shot Blue Shot

I seriously do not know how parents who both work outside the home full time do it.

I "work" at home, and we still find it incredibly challenging to ensure that our nine-year-old keeps up with all the homework she's getting. Luckily, because she and Graham come home to me after school and not to after school care, I can encourage her to do some of it right away. This has actually happened on several occasions. But even if she doesn't get to it until after supper, because I'm home we are usually done with supper by 5:30 or 6:00 and there is still an hour before bed time rituals begin.

I know that some children are not even picked up from their caregivers until 5:30. Supper in homes where both parents have outside jobs may not even get onto the table until 6:30 or 7:00.

If my daughter is too tired to finish her homework after supper or, as on Tuesday evenings, has an outside activity to attend (Hip Hop Dance), she is lucky to have me here in the morning to make sure she sits down and completes what she didn't finish the night before. Quite often she breezes through homework in the morning that she was struggling with the evening before.

We are so lucky to have the luxury of time. Although it is not an ideal situation financially (!), the fact that my illness makes working full time outside the home a virtual impossibility and definitely a bad idea, may just be a blessing for our family. True, we only have one car and will probably never be able to afford a bigger house, but we have enough to live comfortably. I am here with a listening ear when the kids come home from school, and I walk them to school in the mornings.

My husband benefits from this situation as well. We don't have any childcare expenses which, even for after-school care, can be substantial, and he doesn't have to worry about taking time off when they are sick, because I'm here to look after them.

Although I'm sure there will be things that the kids will regret about the fact that they had a mom struggling with MS, at least it has given me the opportunity to be present for them in a way that a lot of my friends can't be. No doubt they will be sick of me by high school, but I will still be here, keeping an eye on them, checking on homework, making dumb jokes and cooking chicken nuggets for supper.

~ Alison

This concludes the 149th edition of the Carnival.  The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on December 5, 2013. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.