The First Year: Multiple
Marlowe & Company, March 2003,
Free Preview: (Sample Chapter)
Medical writer Margaret Blackstone began her
personal research of Multiple Sclerosis when she was diagnosed with the disease in
2000. Now, acting as a "patient-expert," she shares what she has learned in her new
book, THE FIRST YEART-MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (Marlowe & Company, March 2003,
$15.95, trade paperback).
Blackstone walks patients through the first
year of their diagnosis, first on a day-to-day basis, then week-to-week, and
finally month-to-month. At first, she sticks to advice that will help patients
cope emotionally with the diagnosis, gradually adding the information that will
help them understand and participate in their treatment program.
"The most important thing to remember is
that you have a say in the choice of treatment," she writes.
"It"s your case, your illness, and your body."
Each chapter is divided into two parts, Living and
Learning. The Living section helps patients understand
how MS may influence their daily routines, stress levels, relationships, families, and workplaces. The Learning
section presents hard facts about the disease, such as the different kinds of
medications and treatments available. Drawing from her own experience, interviews
with other MS patients, and months of research, Blackstone offers
straightforward advice on:
Whom to tell, and what to say. It is up
to the individual patient to decide who he or she wants to tell about the
disease and when. Blackstone discusses different approaches that MS patients
have used to tell spouses and partners, children, parents, friends, and
Organizing a medical support team. The
sooner a person assembles this group of doctors-which may include a
neurologist, primary care physician, gynecologist, and psychologist or
psychiatrist-the easier it will be to cope with further tests, check-ups,
medication worries, insurance headaches, and mood swings.
Coping with fear, added stress, and learning how
to relax. It is crucial to make time for relaxing and unwinding to help
deal with the added stress of adapting to life with MS. This will also help
manage fatigue, a major symptom of the disease.
Modifications in diet and exercise. Choosing a healthy
diet can be confusing in the midst of current nutritional debates about what
Americans should and should not be eating. Blackstone covers the
essentials for a balanced diet, emphasizing the necessity of protein in the
maintenance of healthy tissues and cell production. She also suggests safe
exercise choices, since it is crucial for MS patients to remain active to
improve stamina, flexibility, strength, and balance.
Making daily life easier to manage. Blackstone
shows how the tiniest changes can add up-ridding the closet of clothing
that is difficult to get into and out of, having the dry cleaning
delivered, shopping online-as well as the effects of larger changes,
such as moving or cooling off a difficult relationship.
The book concludes with a thorough index of MS
organizations, information on medication, resources for travel, insurance, alternative
and complimentary therapies, and employment laws, as well as a glossary of medical
Half the proceeds from THE FIRST YEART-MULTIPLE
SCLEROSIS will go toward MS research that is being conducted by Saud
A. Sadiq, M.D. at The Multiple Sclerosis Research and TreatmentCenter, St. Luke"s RooseveltHospital. Dr. Sadiq, who contributed the book"s foreword, is
the center"s director, as well as the hospital"s Director of
About the Author:
Margaret Blackstone is a graduate of YaleUniversity. She was awarded the Murray Fellowship and wrote and translated poetry in
Mexico for a year. She is the author of several books on a variety of
medical topics, including Beat Diabetes and Recovering from a C-Section, and a poet
and an award-winning author of children"s books. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.