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Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.
It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.
Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.
All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.
To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.
Gina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi
When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.
“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”
As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.
“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.
Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.
“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”
To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.
Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.
Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.
Nathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi
Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.
“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”
However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.
“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.
She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”
By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.
Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.
Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.
“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”
Helga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi
When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.
“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”
In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.
“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.
However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.
Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.
Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.
“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”
Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.
This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.
"I told him that we have the opportunity to make things right."
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
@thehalfdeaddad Replying to @sunshinyday1227 And then it’s my kid 🤦♂️😡 #endbullyingnow#talktoyourkidsmore#dadlifebestlife#singledadsover40#teachyourchildren#ReadySetLift♬ Get You The Moon - Kina
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
This article originally appeared on 3.24.23
The new built-in feature will send texts letting selected contacts know where you are. No outside apps needed.
Knowing where on Earth your kids are can at least take one thing off a worried parent’s mind. But every parent knows that getting kids to send a quick “Hey I’m alive and at a friend’s house” text is sometimes as easy as pulling teeth…or getting them to clean the bathroom.
And while there are plenty of downloadable apps that make tracking easier, soon there will be an option built right into your iPhone, making relief even easier to access.
This feature differs from other similar Apple add-ons like Find My Friends or Location Services, which can track your location all of the time. For iPhones with the latest iOS update, Check In can be found in iMessage’s new expandable app menu (the little plus sign to the left of the text field).
Users can open a thread with whoever they’d like to be alerted when they get to a certain location. Check In then gives an estimate of how long it will take to get there, whether you’re walking or driving. And if the estimate needs adjusting, simply hit the big “Edit” button.
For additional safety precautions, Check In will literally “check in” with you if something seems off during your travel. If you need help or don’t answer, loved ones will be pinged with helpful information like your current location, battery level and cell service status. Plus all the information shared is end-to-end encrypted.
“Whether you're walking home after dark or going for an early morning run, you can start checking with a family member or friend to let them know when you get home safely…[It’s]an easy way to feel reassured that your loved ones have your back,” an Apple representative is heard saying at the conference in a video captured by an audience member who shared it to TikTok.
@the.birds.papaya As a crime junkie listener and a mom of 4, this is amazing. Maybe just seems like another iOS update, but im thinking about the lives potentially saved. #wwdc23♬ original sound - Sarah Nicole @thebirdspapaya
That audience member, who describes herself as a “crime junkie listener and a mom of 4,” expressed gratitude for the new feature, calling it an “amazing” way to “potentially save lives.”
The use of tracking devices isn’t without its own dangers or controversy. Certainly, bad actors may use them for stalking purposes. And parents having constant surveillance over their kids has been seen by some as an invasion of privacy (which is perhaps why Check In is created a little differently). But still, as with any technology, it can be a huge asset when used wisely.
We all love a romantic love story, but it's just as fulfilling to witness these platonic love stories play out.
"Ted Lasso" has wrapped up its third and final season, leaving people analyzing and debating and feeling all kinds of feelings about the series and its characters.
Since watching the final episode, I've been thinking about what I've loved most about the show, because seriously, there's a lot to love. Ted himself, of course. The quirky cast of characters. The humor. The triumph and redemption. Roy Kent's grumbles. Sam Obisanya's everything.
Then there are the relationships, which is where the show really shines. Not so much the romantic relationships—those were somewhat meh in the end—but the way the show portrayed genuine platonic love in its various hues. Considering how many shows (over)utilize romance and sex for dramatic effect, it was refreshing to see multiple relationships develop and deepen over three seasons without any romance involved.
Here are (in my humble opinion) the six best platonic relationships on "Ted Lasso."
One of the most touching scenes of the series was when Richmond player Colin and journalist Trent Crimm (Independent) sat in front of a memorial in Amsterdam that honors the LGBTQ+ people who were persecuted, imprisoned and killed during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and talked through Colin's feelings about his double life. He was afraid to come out to his teammates, and Trent Crimm had the personal experience and wisdom Colin needed in a mentor.
Crimm offered that mentorship humbly, without being pushy or preachy. The love he showed Colin was a love born of understanding and empathy, which was exactly what Colin needed. And the love Colin had for Crimm was born of gratitude and appreciation. Some of our most valuable relationships in life are the ones we have with a mentor who helps us find the courage to bloom into our truest and best selves.
This relationship began with Ted's disdain for psychologists and Dr. Fieldstone's expert response to his ire. As she patiently let him process his anger, the two developed a healthy therapist-client relationship.
But what was lovely about this storyline was how, despite her attempts to keep a professional distance, Sharon also let Ted into her world, which turned out to be beneficial to both of them. They formed a genuine human relationship in which they each become vulnerable in order to break through their own barriers. The love they shared was based on a reciprocal sharing of pain and fear and a mutual honoring of those feelings, which allowed them both to find healing.
At first blush, Rebecca and Keely don't seem like likely friends. Rebecca is a refined, polished, high-powered businesswoman going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, and Keely is a young start-up who wears pigtails and miniskirts and appears flighty despite actually being quite whipsmart. It's a Jaguar-meets-Volkswagon bug friendship, but somehow it works.
The love they share is based on their shared identity as women in the sports business as well as the qualities they bring out in each other. Rebecca helps give Keely the confidence she needs to find success in her PR business, and Keely gives Rebecca the dose of fun and girlish silliness she needs to stay sane in a male-dominated world. Every woman needs a "girl talk" confidant, and these two provide that for each other.
Ted and Coach Beard have been through a lot together, and the final season gave us a little insight into how their relationship came about. It should come as no surprise that Ted's unconditional love and acceptance won Beard's undying loyalty, but the love these two share is recognizable to anyone with a bestie. They read each other's thoughts. They aren't afraid to be real with each other. They know when to give each other space. The fact that the other is always beside them and behind them is just a given.
Even though Beard stays in England in the end, we know that their love for one another will remain forever strong. If either one needs something, the other will be there in a blink, no questions asked. This is rock-solid, reliable, forever friendship.
Bitter-rivals-to-best-friends is always a winning storyline, but the relationship between these two is particularly enjoyable to witness. In reality, they share a lot in common—a good heart buried beneath a big ego, an intense work ethic and similar taste in women—which is why they butt heads so much. The love they end up sharing has been hard-won through uncomfortable moments of reaching out and letting their compassion and vulnerability trump their pride.
They understand each other more than most. They've both been living on emotional islands, largely of their own making, and they're probably the only ones who could truly reach one another. And ultimately, they both become better people because of their friendship, which is exactly what friendship should do.
Over the three years that they built the Richmond team together, Ted and Rebecca became good friends. That's it. Good, close friends who love one another very much. They're both attractive and were both available much of the time, but they remained just friends. Yes, she was technically his boss, but that didn't stop her from getting involved with Sam, so it's not like it would have been completely out of bounds for the show makers to put Ted and Rebecca together. They teased us with it a few times, but I'm so glad they didn't do it.
We've really shot ourselves in the foot as a society by making it seem like women and men can never truly be friends. (Thanks a bunch, "When Harry Met Sally!") Rebecca was the last one to say goodbye to Ted at the airport, and it was an emotionally intimate moment that portrayed how pure the love between them was without romance or sex getting in the way. And it was absolutely beautiful.
One of the words people use to describe "Ted Lasso" is "wholesome," which is a bit ironic considering how many f-bombs got dropped in each episode. But much of the show's wholesomeness hinged on these platonic relationships that grew deeper and stronger without crossing the line into romantic involvement. Advertisers and executives think people want sex, when what we really want to see is genuine human connection and a full spectrum of relationships that evolve without always ending up in bed.
We all love a romantic love story, but it's just as fulfilling to witness platonic love stories play out. Thank you, "Ted Lasso," for showing us how it's done.
Watch the cast talk about the real friendships they developed on set while filming the show:
She didn't even lose composure.
Samantha Rivera of CBS Miami stiff-armed an obnoxious fan on live TV during the Stanley Cup Finals in Las Vegas on Monday, June 5. The clip caught the attention of millions on social media because she perfectly blocks the Golden Knights fan from interrupting her live shot while maintaining her composure.
Unfortunately, she had to be prepared to fend off the fan because unruly behavior amongst sports fans has become far too common these days. Rivera used the moment to remind fans back at home about how to behave at a hockey game. “That’s the kind of fan you don’t want to be, right?” she said while fending off the intruder.
The clip of Rivera received over 3 million views when it was shared by Awful Announcing, with many fans praising her stiff arm.
\u201cTalking about Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, stiff-arming a fan trying to get on camera and getting into the highlights. \n\nQuite the display of multitasking by Samantha Rivera of CBS Miami\u201d— Awful Announcing (@Awful Announcing) 1686025022
June 7, 2023
Dude got stiff armed by a five foot tall 95 lb woman. He looked like a punter trying to tackle Derrick Henry. pic.twitter.com/OSf4D6Sroy— Lankychris (@Lankychris) June 6, 2023
Impressive pic.twitter.com/FHFg00gzSA— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) June 6, 2023
June 6, 2023
June 6, 2023
Riviera later told Sports Illustrated that she had an eye on the fan and his buddy because she could see them watching her before they went live. That’s why she was prepared to react if the man interfered with the live shot. “Thankfully, it was him just trying to be annoying and get in the shot and make his way on, but it could’ve been worse. You don’t really know in those situations,” Rivera told Sports Illustrated.
When asked if she has any other advice for sports reporters who need to deal with a drunk fan, she said, “Eat your veggies. Go to the gym. Do what you can.”
The big takeaway from Rivera’s viral moment is that Rivera reminded everyone out there that they don’t want to be the drunk and unruly fan at the game. But these days, it feels like there is an epidemic of people who forget that it’s just a game. And that problem extends all the way to youth sports, where parents' inappropriate behavior has become a real problem.
It’s such an issue that in some schools they don’t even allow spectators to attend games.
Why is it that spectator sports routinely make people lose control? Psychologists say that it relates to social identity theory. “The theory goes that people have a need to belong to groups and that membership in these groups provides a basis for their social identification and self-esteem,” Sports Management Hub reports. This is why people so passionately identify with a particular team.
When two groups of people are pitted against one another with their collective identities on the line, there is likely to be friction.
In addition, psychologists believe that sporting events are a way for people to act out their frustrations in life in socially acceptable ways. “Many people don’t have many options to let out their stress and frustration at home or at work. An energetic atmosphere like that of a sports match gives them a reason to let loose,” Sports Management Hub reports.
Then, people are even more likely to act out when things get exciting in the game.
But for the people out there who don’t get the message and are going to act the fool at the next Stanley Cup playoff game, be sure you don’t do it around Samantha Rivera.
"They came out in full force, with signs and treats and many pets for this very good boy."
Humans and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly and any other pair cliché you can think of. We see those cute furry faces and fall in love, excusing their mischievous behaviors because they used their most powerful weapon—puppy eyes. Humans are acutely aware that the time they have with their dogs is short since a dog's lifespan is usually 15 years or less depending on breed and size.
As they get older, we do what we can to make them more comfortable and start giving them extra treats here and there as a way to make sure they feel special while they're here. But it's not just the owners that get attached to family pets. If your dog is friendly, they may be well acquainted with the mailman, the coffee shop baristas or the entire neighborhood, which may make saying goodbye a little more complicated.
A dog named Mellow has been making friends around his neighborhood for several years with his human companion, and recently a note appeared in everyone's mailboxes with a very important announcement.
Mellow was diagnosed with terminal cancer and would be put down soon. The letter was written from the perspective of the dog and included a map of his walking route.
"I have definitely slowed down throughout the years and unfortunately that is why you are receiving this letter. I was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and will be leaving for doggie heaven in June," the note reads. "I'm not sure exactly when I will go, but each day over the past few weeks has been a struggle for me to get around the neighborhood like I am used to."
Mellow goes on to say, "Therefore, while I still can, I will be marching around the neighborhood on Saturday June 3rd from 7-8PM and would love to say goodbye to you face-to-face if you are available."
The neighborhood gave Mellow a final walk full of joy after his cancer diagnosis.
Kevin, Mellow's human, put a special treat in the letters and provided an estimate of when the pair would arrive at certain houses. The neighborhood didn't disappoint. They all came out to give him treats and head pats and to say their goodbyes to the neighborhood's goodest boy. Kids made signs and drawings for Mellow, and others stopped for pictures with the sweet dog.
In the letter, Mellow mentioned that he would also miss seeing the other dogs in the neighborhood that like to come out and play with him. On his last walk, the old boy looked full of excitement as all the attention was focused on him before he headed home for a more restful few weeks.
"What a beautiful love story. May every dog know that kind of love. As for his owner...my heart breaks with you, but with joy for the great love you shared. May that joy be a comfort to you always" one commenter wrote.
"Oh boy my heart is breaking and I’ve never met you but you sure are lucky to find an amazing dad that loves you this much, I can tell you to say goodbye will be hard enough but your dad is willing to hear so many friends say goodbye as well, not an easy day my friend ," another person said.
Mellow has now not only touched hearts around his neighborhood, but also across the internet. Take your rest, sweet Mellow. You've been a good boy.
They're just sitting there while my kids sleep.
When it comes to babysitting, you can hit the jackpot with someone who not only enjoys hanging out with your kiddos but also cleans out of boredom. The only babysitter I've had that experience with is my mom, but I do hear they do exist. While walking into a spotless house after a much-needed night out would be amazing, it's not really part of a standard babysitting package.
Typically, whoever babysits for you is solely there to focus on the well-being of your children. They feed them snacks, play games with them, and follow their bedtime routine to the letter. Then they hang out on your couch reminding Netflix that they're still watching and wait for you to return. Sure, they clean up dishes from dinner and whatever toys were pulled out during their time with your kids, but they don't typically clean your house.
But in a private parenting group I belong to, a long debate was started when a mom asked a group of 260k of her closest friends if it would be appropriate for a parent to ask a babysitter to clean their home.
The anonymous mom explained that her college-aged daughter had recently started babysitting for a family, but on the second day, her duties suddenly changed. There was a list of chores waiting for the babysitter that included cleaning the family's dishes and cleaning up messes that were there before the sitter arrived.
This revelation set off a firestorm of comments with many agreeing that anything outside of cleaning up after the children while they're in your care is a separate job. But not everyone was on the same page and it was clear that this was a topic that was going to cause some intense debate. Since summer months are here, there's no wonder this topic is coming up and views are split.
Should babysitters be expected to clean, one mom asks.Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
Scary Mommy recently published an article posing a similar question, only this was coming from a parent who wanted her babysitter to clean while her children slept. Elizabeth Narins explains that she and her husband are stretched thin and have an active toddler she jokingly calls a "toy tornado."
"Given the amount of housework that clearly needs to be done, paying someone to sit on our toy-covered couch during naps or after bedtime just seems... inefficient," Narins wrote before posing the question. "Is it completely out of line for me to ask her to declutter when my kids are in bed?"
Whether it's the expert interviewed for the Scary Mommy article or the parents in the private group, there does seem to be one common theme among the discourse: Any additional chores should be clarified in the original job description, and if it wasn't, then it should be directly brought up in a conversation with the babysitter.
Many parents in the comments believed that a housekeeper should be hired in addition to the babysitter, while others thought the babysitter should be offered more money for the additional work. But there were several people who thought it was just common courtesy for a babysitter to clean the house while the kids were asleep.
It may seem that you're paying a babysitter to do nothing while your children sleep, but you're paying them to be there in the event of an emergency. No matter which side of the debate you're on, it seems proper communication about expectations will save everyone a headache in the future.
Do you think cleaning should be expected from a babysitter?