The symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) vary wildly from person to person. Relapses can last for weeks, months, or longer, as do the triggers for flare-ups. For people who have MS and their loved ones, none of this is comforting. Fortunately, comfort can come in the pages of the many well-written books that focus on what it’s like to live with the condition.
According to the National MS Society, some 2.3 million people are living with MS around the world. So, despite how a diagnosis can feel, you’re not alone.
You can learn more than the medical aspects of the disease reading these books. You can learn the human aspects, too. From personal stories to physician guidance, there’s a wealth of information here.
Titled “The Inside Guide to MS” in previous editions, this book speaks to the person behind the MS diagnosis. Written by life coach Andrea Wildenthal Hanson, it’s an inspirational volume that covers everything from emotional health to diet and exercise. You’ll appreciate this positive, step-by-step guide to living.
MS doesn’t show up at a time that’s “good for you.” On the contrary, it often bumbles in at the most inopportune points in life. For author Marlo Donato Parmelee it came just a few months into her international career move. She left New York for London to pursue a music career — only to begin losing her eyesight to MS within a month. Here, she chronicles her journey through those early months and provides comfort for others facing the same diagnosis.
Journalist Suzanne Robins explores life with the disease and the symptoms the outside world doesn’t always see. Specifically, she writes about the depression, fatigue, and cognitive problems that can come with MS, aspects of the condition that are largely invisible to — and sometimes even dismissed by — others.
Writer Ann Pietrangelo was diagnosed with MS at age 44. Her perspective of the disease and the symptoms that come with it is relatable, straightforward, and even humorous at times. Anyone faced with a new chronic illness who may need to relearn how your mind and body work will enjoy this book.
“If Bridget Jones had MS, this would be her diary.” That’s how the MS Society described this book. The story that Barbara Stensland delivers is her own. In 2011, one year before she was officially diagnosed with MS, Stensland woke up unable to speak. In 2012, she received her diagnosis and began blogging about it. This book is a collection that started on her blog, where she discusses how MS intersects with her life as a working mother.
Written specifically for women, “Overcome the BS of MS” delivers an actionable plan for dealing with this disease. Writer Lisa Cohen has MS too, so she knows all of the challenges that go along with it — from the emotional and psychological to the obvious physical changes. She wants women to manage MS, not the other way around.
For people with MS, losing weight can lessen symptoms and slow the disease’s progress. Author Andrea Wildenthal Hanson walks MS survivors through a healthy approach to weight loss with MS. She casts aside the guilt and drastic measures usually employed to get folks with a chronic disease to lose weight. She instead encourages small, long-lasting lifestyle changes that will inspire and encourage.
If dating is hard, then dating with MS can seem near impossible when you’re first diagnosed. For author Cory Martin, an MS diagnosis at age 28 immediately made her wonder, “Who will marry me now?” In “Love Sick” she chronicles her life with MS at a time when all she wanted was to be on the scene, dating, and hopefully meeting Mr. Right. It’s filled with heartwarming, humorous, and heartbreaking anecdotes.
This book on the ins and outs of MS is an excellent read for friends and family members of a person living with the condition. Author Vanita Oelschlager and illustrator Joe Rossi help get you up to speed on the basics of the disease with easy-to-understand explanations. There are also discussions of the symptoms and disease progression and even how you can help your loved one in the long term.
Trevis Gleason didn’t only lose his health to MS. He lost his marriage and his career. A former chef, he used this as a new starting point and embarked on a journey to Ireland. In “Chef Interrupted,” Gleason tells the story of his new life and colorfully illustrates his new friends, surroundings, and the food he encounters along the way. Not only does he encounter the physical difficulties associated with MS, but Gleason learns a lot about himself, people, and life in general.
Harmony is a service dog, but she does more than put away groceries and pass items to her owner. She’s responsible for helping lift author Sally Hyder out of a dark depression. Hyder faced her MS diagnosis at age 28. Discouraged but not defeated, she went on to have three children and a full life until she struggled with her daughter’s autism diagnosis that plunged her into depression. It was then that she met Harmony, who helped her turn a corner. This heartwarming tale takes readers from Hyder’s diagnosis to her ascent to the top of a mountain.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-understand explainer on MS, author Angela Amos has developed a great tool to help. “Can I Tell You About Multiple Sclerosis?” is simply written and illustrated to help folks understand the disease and how it affects people living with it.
Some folks realize something is wrong when they become easily and unexplainably confused. For attorney Jeffrey Gingold, these cognitive symptoms ultimately led to his MS diagnosis. He discusses his own journey, including the therapies and approaches that have worked for him, in hopes others experiencing the cognitive difficulties of MS can find some relief.
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Fact checked on February 02, 2018
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