Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dear Santa

I've been pretty quiet on this blog for quite some time, though I'm thinking about resolving to be more regular here in the new year. For now, I just wanted to share a sweet story. My amazing niece wrote a letter to Santa in school recently, and she concluded her letter by asking for some good medicine for me. Her sweet nature and caring concern truly melts my heart.

At the moment, my medicines are working well enough, so I'm imploring the jolly fellow to instead bring some good medicine to all those of you who haven't yet found a med that works well. And while I'm at it, how about a cure for us all? And some sort of treatment to repair damage and function, too? Thanks, Santa. I'll leave extra cookies and milk.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and I hope you are able to relax and enjoy some of those many little moments that make life sweet. Check back in the early new year for an interview with a friend who recently ran the Chicago marathon for MS and more of my MS-inspired musings.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: Notes From a Minor Key by Dawn Bailiff

A confession: I read this book more than a year ago, and I fully intended to review it for this blog soon thereafter. I know I had all kinds of specific thoughts I wanted to share, but my memory now offers only general impressions. The perfectionist part of my wants to reread the book just to write a better review, but I'm fighting the urge.

I was extremely interested in this memoir because it is about a professional musician with MS, and it wasn't disappointing in that it painted vivid pictures of both life as a musician and life as an MS patient that I could very much relate to. Here are some of my general impressions of Bailiff's memoir:

  1. It is very well written, with some beautiful descriptive passages.
  2. Bailiff had some incredible musical experiences with some incredible people.
  3. I would have enjoyed this book much more if she had left out the parts about her supposed psychic abilities.
  4. Bailiff discusses repression-as-cause-of-MS in a similar vein to Gabor Mate. She takes it further to equate the higher rates of MS in women to a socially inflicted female shame, calling MS a "malady of repression, of anger and frustration turned inward - maybe even of self-hatred." As I've discussed before, I find these theories quite troubling.
  5. I dog-eared a page because it is a description of my worst symptom: "There is this creepy, itching sensation all over my body, but when I scratch, I realize that the itch is inside my skin, underneath it somehow, and I can't get to it." Bingo.