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MANAGING MS by Debbie   Petrina


A Roadmap To Navigate Multiple Sclerosis

by Debbie Petrina

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1662917943
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press

A candid guide for people living with multiple sclerosis.

In 1980, at the age of 25, Petrina began showing symptoms of MS, but it wasn’t until four years later that she was officially diagnosed and decided to become an advocate for others with the disease. This second edition of her book, first published in 2011, offers fresh perspectives provided by an additional, harrowing decade of experience with MS. Petrina’s own story is a key focus, of course, but her main objective is to offer guidance and hope to others. Her background, which she discusses in Part I, tells of her experiences as a National Multiple Sclerosis Society peer counselor and MS blogger (some of her blog posts appear in the back of the book). The second part provides a helpful overview of MS symptoms and treatments as well as other basic information. In Part III, Petrina lays out unvarnished truths about the effects of the disease on the body and the brain; here, with great candor, she explores such topics as the digestive system, sexual dysfunction, spasticity, and what she calls “The Elephants in the Room”: mental and behavioral health, substance abuse, addiction, and suicide. Petrina’s description of her pregnancy and subsequent MS flare-up is particularly poignant. Part IV includes helpful guidance regarding employment, long-term disability, and relationships with other people in addition to an uplifting section titled “Positives to Having MS,” which notes, for example, that “You take nothing for granted.” Petrina writes with a relentless optimism, but she’s unafraid to reveal the toll that the disease has taken on herself and her family. The author’s truth-telling makes her advice all the more affecting. These words from the book’s opening chapter are sure to linger: “I didn’t have a choice about getting [MS], but I did have a choice about whether I was going to let it control me or manage my life.”

A bravely told and brutally honest self-help work.