Category Archives: Diagnosis

Jack Osbourne’s MS Diagnosis, and the Fine Line Between Hope and Reality

I’m not too happy with the recent People magazine cover featuring Sharon Osbourne and her son Jack Osbourne, who recently found out he has multiple sclerosis.

The magazine’s cover headline blares: “I Won’t Let My Son Die.” That’s followed by a promo for the exclusive interview: “Sharon and Jack Osbourne on the diagnosis that has the 27-year-old fighting to save his vision, his future and his life.”

My message to Sharon Osbourne: Multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence!

A little over-dramatic? I’d say so.

I know that the publishing industry is in a sad state today, and headlines like that help sell magazines. But I just hate the impression that such sensational cover language can leave on readers — especially people who are newly diagnosed with MS (about 200 people get the diagnosis every week) or those who know nothing about the disease.

Those people can easily think that MS is a death sentence, and that’s a perception I’m always fighting to change.

As a mom, I can understand how devastating it would be to find out that your child has MS. But come on, even if MS was imminently deadly, what is Sharon Osbourne really going to do to stop her son’s disease?

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More Than Just a Neurologist

With my neurologist of 17 years.

When you have multiple sclerosis, you need to have a great neurologist. This is not an area where you can compromise.

Whenever I’m speaking with people who are newly diagnosed, one of the first questions I ask is whether they like their neurologist…”Is this a doctor you trust? Someone you can communicate with easily and openly? Someone you like as a person?”

If they answer no to any of those things, I tell them to find a new neurologist. Immediately.

Your neurologist is your partner in fighting MS and someone with whom you must feel comfortable at the most uncomfortable of times.

I was fortunate to meet my neurologist, Dr. Thomas Chippendale of The Neurology Center in San Diego, the week after my primary care physician told me that I had multiple sclerosis.

My first visit to his office included a spinal tap, a.k.a. lumbar puncture. My dad drove me to the appointment with my then-9-month-old son Jake, and they waited for me as I went in Continue reading

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My Radio Interview: A ‘Bedeviling’ Disease

Last weekend I had the chance to share my MS story on the radio. It was a great opportunity to shed light on multiple sclerosis for listeners who aren’t familiar with the disease and the dire need for a cure.

The local San Diego radio show “Community Connection,” which airs on KOGO 95.7 FM/AM 600, invited me and my friend Richard Israel, president of the National MS Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter, to answer some questions about the “chronic, unpredictable and disabling” disease. If you’d like to listen to what I said, here’s a link: March 2012 KOGO Radio Interview.

The interviewer correctly noted that people with this disease often live for decades with symptoms before they finally get their diagnosis. For me, that was certainly true. My symptoms started 11 years before my doctor told me I had MS.  I was a freshly-minted teenager when I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus and lost the vision in my left eye, part of my ongoing journey of chronic optic neuritis. Continue reading

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An Old Video, a Little Piece of Me

As I prepare for the big Walk MS event in late April, I’ve been spending more time than usual on the MS Society website. The other day I came across this video — talk about a blast from the past!

In 2005, the San Diego chapter of the National MS Society made the video about my journey living with MS. The goal was to raise awareness by attaching a face (mine) to the disease.

Hard to believe that it was seven years ago, but not hard to believe when I see myself on video and hear my son Jake’s little boy voice. He’s now finishing up his senior year in high school, and is very much a man!

In many ways, this is difficult for me to watch. Not just because my speech was slow and Continue reading

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The Mystery of Multiple Sclerosis

No known cause, no known cure.

That’s one of the frustrating parts of living with MS.  In the United States today, there are approximately 400,000 people with multiple sclerosis, and 200 more people diagnosed every week, according to the National MS Society.

Worldwide, MS affects an estimated 2.1 million people.

Whether you’re new to the world of MS or you’ve been here for decades, like I have, it’s good to be armed with answers to people’s questions about the disease.  While there is a lot of uncertainty, there is also Continue reading

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How I Got the News

If you have MS, you probably remember very well the day you were diagnosed. This is my story.

I called my primary care physician’s office on Wednesday to find out if they’d received the results from the MRI that I had done on Monday. The receptionist told me in her cheery voice:  “No news is good news!”

By Friday, I was ready for the weekend and couldn’t wait to finish work and get home. I had plans with my husband at the time to go to a Social Distortion concert — a rare night out alone without our baby.

After I finished getting myself all ready for my evening plans, the phone rang. Standing in my kitchen with my 9-month-old son Jake on my left hip, I answered. It was my doctor. Why was he calling so late? Without hesitation he asked, “Are you sitting down?”  Continue reading

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