Saturday, October 19, 2002

Lots to report today.

The annual meeting was wonderful! It started with a workshop for the newly diagnosed. Dr. Freedman started with a presentation on managing the doctor/patient relationship, then continued with a discussion of general information on MS. Our next speaker was Holly Woodward, an MS advocate who has been living with MS since 1996.

After a break to check out the exhibits and get a delightful chair massage, it was lunchtime. After the meeting, we had a speaker. Jackie Waldman is an author who inspires others on volunteering. She also has MS. She told us about her experiences, and how giving back to others can fuel your soul. I got her to sign a copy of her book afterwards, and she's just a lovely person.

Then we had a presentation on alternative and complementary medicine by Dr. Allen Bowling. Wow - his presentation was loaded with great information.

He talked about the 5 steps to control MS:
1) Disease medications
2) Diet
3) Wellness approach
4) Exercise
5) Symptom management

I've got the first part covered, thanks to my Avonex. On the diet, he talked about a modified version of the Swank diet. It includes some sensible ideas, such as lowering saturated fat and increasing fish consumption to add healthy fats. I'm going to give it a try, along with the suggestions I got from the dietician on Thursday about adding vegetables to my diet.

On the wellness approach, this is an area where I'm trying to get more consistent. This blog is an example of my efforts to create an optimistic, empowered attitude. I'm also trying to commit more to exercise. Dr. Bolling presented some ideas to manage fatigue that I may give a try.

Once I got home from the meeting, I took the dogs out for "training". Who am I kidding? It was a perfect day, and I just wanted an excuse to be outside, so I walked the doggies.

Then I headed to the store, and I'm so proud that I stocked up on healthy foods instead of my typical junk food. One thing about the store really bothered me, though...the rudeness of a total stranger. While I was in the checkout line, the man noticed my UVA t-shirt and told me I was obviously handicapped. I was a) stunned that a total stranger would be so rude and b) saddened at the thought that someone would use the word handicapped as an insult. I was especially sensitive since I had been to the meeting that morning and seen a number of people who had to use canes and wheelchairs to get around. It disgusts me that there are people in this world who devalue people who need assistance to walk. It saddens me to encounter people that rude...and ignorant.

And to end on a happier note...why was I wearing my UVA t-shirt today?
UVA 37, UNC 27

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