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The First Year: Multiple Sclerosis
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  The First Year: Multiple Sclerosis
Margaret Blackstone
  Marlowe & Company, March 2003, $15.95  

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Editorial Review
  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 colleagues.
          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 terms.

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 Neurology.


Margaret BlackstoneAbout   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.

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