ActiveMSersis designed to help, motivate, and inspire those with multiple sclerosis to stay as active as possible—physically, intellectually, and socially—regardless of physical limitations. > Unbiased reviews and tests of gear ActiveMSers reviews, tests and compares MS aids including cooling vests, trekking poles, forearm crutches, medication coolers, and more. > Expert advice on multiple sclerosis exercises With input from physical therapists and MS experts, ActiveMSers will show you how to maximize mobility through exercise and stretching. > 100s of helpful tips and tricks on living with MS Find tips about living with multiple sclerosis, from how to deal with heat to coping with fatigue to traveling the world. Get motivated! > Forum, blog, and free newsletter Connect with fellow MSers for advice and tips through our web forum. Learn how to cope through our blog. Sign up for our free e-newsletter.
+ Avonex and Eight Wheels. What does one do when one gets diagnosed with MS? Likely reexamine life’s priorities and, perhaps, stretch boundaries. Certainly Elys Bank never thought she would try out for roller derby. Until she did.
+ Staying Fit on the Water: Kayaking with MS. Suzanne Powell was used to 9-hour kayaking day trips. But when she was diagnosed with MS just weeks after her 50th birthday, she didn't even know if she would still be able to kayak at all. In her original 2008 article for ActiveMSers she outlined detailed plans that would keep her kayaking, her obsession. In her 2014 update, she reports that those plans have only gathered dust. Here's her story.
+ Timing is Everything: Three Toilet Tales. My latest blog is a trio of humorous bathroom situations I stumbled into on a recent visit to Northern Europe. WARNING: Do not read with a full bladder, because you will laugh so hard, well, you can put two and two together. If you need to smile today.
+ Skiing with MS... and an Attitude. Veronica of Tarrytown, NY, thought her skiing days were over after her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2004. But boy was she wrong. Six years later, at the age of 58, Veronica was inspired to take back her winters and try adaptive skiing. She hasn’t looked back since. Get inspired.
+ Managing MS Endurance. On a recent weekend while hiking in Sedona, I walked more in a single day than I had since 2009--2.9 miles, over 6,200 gimpy steps. Of course I realize this might not sound like much, especially if you do the math. I mean, it would take me nine full record-setting days to accomplish a single marathon, which apparently any remotely athletic Kenyan can run in under three hours. But with multiple sclerosis doing a number on my legs, it’s cause for a minor celebration. How did I go so far? By learning to smartly manage my endurance. Here’s how I did it.
+ BLOG: Advantages of MS #832, Coyote Safety. As my wife and I were about to start a fall hike in the Rio Grande bosque, a beautiful forested ribbon of gold every October, we took pause at a posted sign at the trailhead. The warning was ominous. “Coyotes live here!” The exclamation points were numerous. “Be aware!” How MS could save your life on a casual fall hike.
+ Video of Hope, Part 4. Why did even The New York Times fight for me? A renewed hope for a future free of MS begins now. Watch it. Spread it. Believe it.
+ Thank You! Your Vote Counted. I entered a writing/photography contest with the state of New Mexico and judges selected my goofy entry (would you expect anything less?) as the grand prize winner. There were many great entries and I am humbled and honored to have gotten so many votes and such wonderful support. We did this together, and it couldn't have happened without you. I promised to make your vote matter in our MS fight. Now I plan to make good on that promise.
+ Best MS Toilet Tips. Why are toilet tips so important to those with multiple sclerosis? Frustratingly, bathroom issues and MS often go hand-in-hand, and if you plan to stay active with this disease, odds are you are going to have to deal at some point with potty problems, from gotta-go-NOW urgency to why-the-hell-can’t-I-go constipation. ActiveMSers has put together more than two dozen of the best tips to help cope with these annoying symptoms.
+ "At Least You Don't Have Cancer." People say lots of silly things when they hear you have multiple sclerosis. “I have a couple friends with MS, Stacey and Madison. And Madison is doing great!” I know this may come as a shock, but even with MS I still have the powers of deductive reasoning. What the hell happened to Stacey? In this blog post I discuss my favorite responses and fellow MSers chime in with their doozies.
+ Cooling Vest Buying Guide. Summer can be a brutal time for us MSers--staying cool is a big deal. So ActiveMSers has put together the most comprehensive review and comparison of multiple sclerosis cooling vests (sometimes called ice vests) on the web. Click here for our advice on the best cooling systems on the market today so you can make an educated decision.
+ Novel Stem Cell Transplant for MS. I'm currently enrolled in arguably the most aggressive clinical trial for multiple sclerosis to date: an autologous stem cell transplant combined with high-dose chemotherapy sponsored by the NIH. I've just returned my three-year follow-up and the results are still all aces: no disease progression, no MS drugs, and improvements in virtually every measureable area. I invite you to watch the original moving video of my experience, highlighted by images of fellow active MSers (Parts 2 and 3 are worth a view as well). Follow my SCT progress in detail on the forums.
+Your Best Weapon. When you’ve got a disease like MS, you’ve got to make some adjustments, some little and some big, there’s just no getting around it. But there is one adjustment that trumps them all. One adjustment you have to make if you are going to have any chance at getting the upper hand on your multiple sclerosis. And it’s the topic of my inspirational essay, which was recently featured on the popular websites InspireMeToday and Care2.com.
+ MS exercise studies. ActiveMSers has collected the abstracts of more than 40 exercise-related multiple sclerosis studies. Does exercise actually reduce fatigue? Can cardio work improve memory dramatically? Do video games boost balance? Can strengthening leg muscles help you walk better? Could exercise potentially have a neuroprotective effect? Researchers have found that the answers are a resounding yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Read for yourself.
+ Like Us on Facebook. I know, it's as if the world has turned upside down: ActiveMSers is officially on Facebook (and also Twitter). What's next? Dogs walking people? Parachute pants all the rage once more? Fifty one shades of gray? Who knows, maybe even Pinterest. But don't get too excited just yet, I'm still not on Skype.
+ First ActiveMSer Tweet. Believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in a future free of multiple sclerosis. Just believe. I sure as hell do. #MSAwareness (Wait, but believe that Dave, that smart-alecky ActiveMSer, is finally on Twitter? I know, unbelievable.) Follow Dave: https://twitter.com/ActiveMSer.
+ BLOG: MS's Mountains and Molehills. There will always be mountains with multiple sclerosis. And, fortunately, molehills. You might not conquer them all, but you’ll never ever reach a summit if you never ever try. For the first time in four years I went snowboarding.And it was unforgettable.
+ Best MS exercises--UPDATED. ActiveMSers has compiled a comprehensive list of the best multiple sclerosis exercises, exercise tips and workout advice based on recommendations from doctors, physical therapists, research studies, and personal experience. Read our 75 tips now!
+ BLOG: Paying Serendipity Forward. Last winter, when serendipity curled around me and my wife like the warm midday sun after a cloudy morning, it would have been easy to simply enjoy the glare of good fortune. After all, we had been through a lot recently with my multiple sclerosis; we deserved a little providence. But we couldn't have imagined what would happen next.
+ Best MS gifts. ActiveMSers has tested dozens of pieces of gear, read through a bundle of books, and combed the net for things to make life with MS a little easier. What are our favorite gifts for the person with multiple sclerosis? After personally using all of these myself, I’d say these are the best presents. Better still, I've arranged for members of ActiveMSers to get discounts on many of these items. Join today and save up to 25% on the best gear for MSers.
+ Hamstrung with Hamstrings?Gymnasts grab their toes. Yogi masters grab their toes. Chinese acrobats who specialize in contortionism grab their toes. People with MS don’t grab their toes. I have the flexibility of Melba toast. Reaching my kneecaps and maybe—maybe—touching my shins (if I cheated and bent my knees) was my elasticity Everest.Suddenly that all changed, and you can do it, too. And it might be the smartest thing you can do to fight spasticity.
+ BLOG: Be Alert to Other Monsters. It's not always your multiple sclerosis. The other day, at 4:21 a.m. (give or take), I rolled over to my wife, who was sound asleep like an angel resting on a bed of clouds, and cooed into her ear something to the effect of “Honey, there is a chance I am having a heart attack.” Thankfully the ER docs found it wasn’t a coronary but you won’t believe what I actually did to myself in an epic attempt to get nominated for dork-of-the-year honors.
+ How do you seize the day?After reading Carpe Diem!, Isabelle made plans for Singapore, Virginia was inspired to keep riding horses, Holley committed to taking her husband with MS on a dream trip, Marsha promised to keep moving, and Steve booked his vacation to Italy. Here's how Irene of India seizes the moment. How do you?
+ HOPE, Part 3. The newest video of Dave's stem cell transplant recovery, at 2.5 years, includes him riding one of the most fabled climbs in Tour de France history and a romantic experience in Provence that had been impossible for years. Watch.
+ BLOG: Hating Snakes and Bridging Fears. Indiana Jones and I have a lot in common. We hate snakes. We often travel to exotic locales. And we somehow get ourselves into sketchy situations that inevitably involve rickety wooden bridges and potentially calamitous falls. One would think I would avoid said bridges with my current walking challenges. Yes, one would think.
+ 5-Ingredient, 15-Minute Chicken Recipes. I love to cook. I mean really cook, all Iron-Chef like. But now that multiple sclerosis has gotten in the way of buzz sawing through preparation of a multi-course dinner, I’ve needed to rely more on chef short cuts, especially because a hot kitchen is my kryptonite. Fortunately, with over 20 years of practice at the stove, I’ve gotten decent at repurposing meals, and my all-time favorite dish redone is rotisserie chicken. Here are my tricks and over a dozen quick recipes.
+ YOUR STORIES: CrossFit Fortitude. The Discovery Health Channel calls CrossFit “… a well-rounded and very efficient way to achieve a higher level of fitness … that does not need a whole lot of fancy equipment, but does offer a nice variety to keep the interest level up and provide the challenge needed to keep the exercise fun.” Others call the intense program Jehovah's Fitness, Torture Chamber, or a cult. Erin Mulvany, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004,has heard it all.
+ Bending the Spoon Theory. There’s a popular description of having a disability that makes its way eventually onto every multiple sclerosis discussion board on the internet: the Spoon Theory, Christine Miserandino’s personal story and analogy of what it is like to live with a disease (lupus in her case). Indeed, it is an eloquently simple description of what life often is like with multiple sclerosis and its ubiquitous fatigue. In my newest blog I discuss how we can all bend her theory.
+ Updated Travel Tips. Each time I jet off—last month it was to France—I gather a few extra nuggets of travel advice, either from personal experience or from chatting with fellow multiple sclerosis travelers. Click here to read my newest additions so you can ensure your next holiday is a "towering" success, pardon the pun.
+ BLOG: Les Toilettes, the French Folly. Traveling and multiple sclerosis go together like chocolate syrup and sardines. So those of us with this disease appreciate the little things that make globetrotting a little easier, like easy-to-access public toilets. Which, I discovered on a recent escape to France, virtually do not exist in a country that mandates diuretics—coffee, wine, champagne—at most meals. So I’ve come up with a handy set of rules to make it easier to navigate the bladder wars and dampen (no pun intended) your panic quotient when you’ve gotta go.
+ REVIEW: SideStix Forearm Crutches. After using beaters for two years and then testing a pair of SideStix for the past few months, I’ve learned that there is a vast gulf between hand-me-downs and high-end when it comes to Canadian crutches. Does SideStix make the best forearm crutches on the market? For the outdoor enthusiast, there’s no question. They are my top recommendation for the disabled athlete, adventurer or explorer. Read why in our detailed forearm crutch review and buyer's guide.
+ Yoga for MS deconstructed. Yoga has long been touted for both its physical and mental benefits for those with multiple sclerosis. But yoga also conjures fear in us MSers who’ve never done the ancient Indian discipline. ActiveMSers breaks down the mystery of yoga and explains why it is so helpful in MS.
+ Don't Set the Puppy on Fire. We’ve all been there—getting off the couch to wander into the kitchen to grab that thing. Or do that thing. Or find that thing. Or put away that thing. Wait, now why the hell did I go into the kitchen again? Cognitive issues with MS are maddening. Dave discusses the challenges in his blog.
+ Destination: Everest Base Camp. When Gary Pinder lost almost all function on his left side in 2007 to an aggressive relapse that put him into the hospital, he vowed to press forward. In 2010 he hiked the fabled Inca Trail. In 2011 he went bigger: Everest Base Camp.
+ Order Your "MS is BS" T-shirt today! Yes, MS is BS--Multiple Sclerosis is Beatable Someday. And that's why we stay active. Our first ActiveMSers T-shirt was designed by the acclaimed graphic design studio Ripe Inc. (www.ripeinc.com) out of Albuquerque, NM. We have women- and men-specific T-shirts with a full range of sizing. Produced by MS T-shirts. Click here to get your T-shirt now.
+ New Contributor. Pro triathlete Kelly H. Williamson is fast. Hella fast. Gobs of sponsors fast. One of the fastest extreme athletes in the world fast. No, Kelly doesn’t have multiple sclerosis, but she is channeling some of her fierce competitive spirit into raising awareness for MS and is the newest ActiveMSers’ contributor.
+ The Art of Cooking with MS. I’ve long preached the importance of pursuing your active passions with multiple sclerosis, but “active” can mean different things to different people. To some it might mean swimming up the Nile dodging crocodiles and hippos; to others it means just doing what you love to do. I love to cook, so I threw down a dinner party for the ages.
+ Video Games for Balance. Tricia Pell, who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, took part in a study examining the effectiveness of Nintendo's Wii Fit video game on balance. And surprise, it's made a difference in her quality of life. She's getting fit a Wii bit at a time.
+ Video of Hope, Part 2. I went cycling for the first time in two years and captured some of it on video, which was shown at New Mexico's BikeMS 2011. Watch.
+ Going Drug Free: The Flawed Arguments. There are a number of reasons not to take disease modifying drugs for your multiple sclerosis. And by many, I mean three. And one relates to a kitchen sink (with garbage disposal, not shown). Before you go drug free, read my blog.
+ Cooling Vest Shootout!Which Vest is Best for MSers? After years of planning, finally everything came together last month thanks to donated vests in a variety of styles from Steele, ArcticHeat, Glacier Tek, and Polar Products, all major manufacturers of cooling vests for multiple sclerosis. And we put them through the ringer, from controlled indoor tests to scorching outdoor challenges. Two vests stumbled, another held its own, but one rose surprisingly to the top. Read who won!
+ New Blog Has Launched! Stage one of the improvements to ActiveMSers has just launched, Dave's ActiveMSers Blog: An uncommonly clever, insightful, and funny voice of reason* in all this multiple sclerosis silliness. (To see why there is an asterisk, you’ll need to visit the blog.) Now you’ll finally be able to subscribe, get notifications via e-mail, easily search, and comment on the blog. As for the old blog, I’ll gradually be reposting all of my previous entries, which can still be read here: MS Musings.
+ Quest for a Black Belt. Sara Gadson was diagnosed six months after she started training in the martial arts style of Shorin Ryu Shorinkan Okinawan Karatedo, a form of karate. She has a kimochi all her own.
+ Switching Meds? Beware the Piranha. As I sat in a tippy wooden dory deep in the Amazon rainforest—dripping wet with sweat, DEET, and the remnants of a sudden afternoon shower—I couldn’t help but wonder about the wisdom of my decision to spend an afternoon fishing. Specifically, fishing for piranha.
+ Hiking the 25-Mile Inca Trail. Gary Pinder, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the mid 1990s, lost almost all function on his left side in 2007 to an aggressive relapse that put him into the hospital. Just a few years later he was hiking the fabled Inca Trail high in the Peruvian mountains. Read how he managed to accomplish such a feat.
+ Your Stories: Cycling Adventures & the SAG Wagon.Intrepid cyclist and active MSer AMF Adventures has put together an engaging tale of his BikeMS ride from 2008. It’s a story that includes raw heinies, a screaming knee, and unbelievable willpower. Way to go, AMF! We invite you to submit your own story: email@example.com. It’s one of the most popular features on our website and we are always seeking inspiring articles.
+ BLOG: Always Being, Gulp, Prepared. What, wear diapers because of my multiple sclerosis? Well, if I was going to commit, it was going to be whole hog—I’m talkin’ the huge 72-pack of Depends from COSTCO. Hell, I alone could soak up a quarter of that oil in the Gulf. And you know what? It wasn't the nightmare I feared—it was liberating.
+ ActiveMSers Plugged in Motor Trend. I rarely let an opportunity to promote ActiveMSers slip by. I was pictured in the May 2010 issue of Motor Trend getting, of all things, a Tysabri infusion. Check it out.
+ From Barely Walking to Ironman! When Mark Van Meter was diagnosed at age 20 with multiple sclerosis, he thought he wouldn't make it to age 40. He could barely walk, much less write his own name. Today, at age 47, he is working at qualifying for the most grueling Ironman in the world. Read his courageous story.
+ New Study: Being Highly Fit Protects the MS Brain. Ohio State researchers just completed a study that found, to their surprise, that highly fit MSers (aerobically) had significantly better cognitive function than the typical multiple sclerosis patient. If you have the ability to raise that heart rate—swim, jog, row, bike, UBE, hike, climb, square dancing, anything—you could be doing your gray matter a huge favor. Click here for the full story.
+ Stay Cool Tips while Biking. It can be tricky to manage the heat while exercising outdoors. Active MSer AMFAdventures of Colorado has put together an indispensible guide for cyclists and casual bike riders that will help you ride harder and longer on the trail or road. Look for more great advice (and share your own experiences) on our friendly forum.
+ Your WORST travel pet peeves! Having just returned from a European vacation, I acquired a whole new level of appreciation for the American's with Disabilities Act... and a growing list of travel pet peeves. Here are my newest travel horror tales, starting with the toilet you see here. What are yours?
+ Updated Travel Tips. Each time I jet off I gather a few extra nuggets of travel advice, either from personal experience or from chatting with fellow multiple sclerosis travelers. Click here to read my newest additions so you can prevent your next holiday from being "ruined," pardon the pun.
+ Your Stories: Ashlea Deahl Keeps Moving. "Forget about what you can’t do – do whatever you can to keep moving." So says a defiant Ashlea Deahl, the editor of Phoenix Magazine who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 at the age of 22. Her motivating story about controlling her MS, fighting through fatigue, and "running" her first marathon should be a mandatory read for MSers.
+ Seize the Moment! Mild or Spicy. Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable beast that can be as mild as a green pepper or as spicy as a Naga Jolokia, the world's hottest chile pepper. So when faced with an opportunity, well, read what I did by clicking here.
+ Staying Fit on the Water: Kayaking with MS. Suzanne Wilk was used to 9-hour kayaking day trips. But when she was diagnosed with MS just weeks after her 50th birthday, she didn't even know if she would still be able to kayak at all. She can and she does (although the trips are a bit shorter). Here's her story.
+ Exercise can help the brain? That is what studies are starting to show. Exercise may slow brain atrophy, another reason to get (and stay) in shape. Visit the ActiveMSers' forum for more fitness discussion and advice—including how working out can help reduce fatigue and improve your quality of life. Click here!
+ REVIEW: Portable Freezer Impresses. With the summer bearing down on us, staying cool while traveling can be a pain in the rear. Which is why the Engel MT35F freezer, which works in your car, could be considered a Godsend. Click here to read why.
+ YOUR STORIES: Marathoner Keeps Running. Margaret Finelt has run six marathons, two after her MS diagnosis, and she is training for her seventh. She just keeps on running. Click here for her inspirational story.
+ ActiveMSers FORUM is all new. With the help of volunteers, ActiveMSers has launched an all-new, robust forum. We invite you to participate, chat about fitness, gear, or anything MS-related. There is also a section where you can connect with fellow MSers in your area and announce local events. Plus, you can stay up-to-speed with the latest on my treatment updates. Click here to visit the new forum.
+ Life (and Maybe Death) Decisions in the Himalayas. When I went to the Kingdom of Bhutan, I was faced with a difficult quandary: try an insanely tricky route (stairs, no railings, with drops of 1,000 feet) or take a pass on the country's most fabled and holy site. Here's what I decided to do.
+ Best exercise tips for multiple sclerosis. After months of research, ActiveMSers has put together a comprehensive list of the best exercise and stretching advice for people with MS. The tips are also in a downloadable Word document so you can print out and save a personal copy (or forward it to friends). This list will be updated on a regular basis. Click here for the top MS exercise tips.
+ MS attacks can sneak up on you like a hungry shark. Facing my first major relapse in over two and a half years, I should have been more prepared. But sometimes you just can't prepare for the unpredictability that is multiple sclerosis. Here's how I handled it.
+ Hope on the Slopes. ActiveMSer Susannah Wright was diagnosed five years ago with MS at the age of 35. "Within months of my diagnosis, all the outdoor activities I once enjoyed seemed out of reach. Injuries from spastic muscles, tripping and falling had ended my marathon training. Fatigue and dizzy spells made caring for my family's horse ranch exhausting. I had lost the ability to do the things I loved...." And then Susannah discovered snowboarding. Click here for her inspiring story.
+ Dressing up your cane with Kickin' Cane Covers. Darlene was diagnosed with MS in 1995. Since then she has come up with an innovative idea to blend fashion with function: Kickin' Cane Covers. Click here to read her story.
+ Today I hit a pedestrian with my truck. He was trying to commit suicide. Stress can ramp up MS symptoms and few things are more stressful than hitting a person while driving 45 mph in a big SUV. Fortunately the suicidal man lived, indeed walked--and then ran--away. Click here to read what happened.
+ Test Complete! Walking Aides: What's Best. With reviews of poles from Leki, Black Diamond, and REI, ActiveMSers has finished its testing on hiking and walking poles. The results are telling--poles can be a huge asset (and better than any traditional cane). Here's what to look for in a trekking pole.
+ Spelunking challenges for the MSer. Dave revisits a hairy situation 100 feet underground in his blog. How hairy? Think multiple abysses. Then mix in whacky eyesight, fuzzy balance, and the tightest of squeezes: only a scant 10 inches of room! Click here to read!
+ What's Better: a Cane or a Staff? ActiveMSers "fell" into the question, pardon the pun, and came up with some practical advice. We've included a section on canes and staffs at the bottom of our trekking pole review. We'll be investigating this topic in more detail in the future. Here's what we discovered.
+ How the "urge" could save lives. Unless you are purchasing a 2008 Infiniti EX35 with Lane Departure Prevention, having an MSer riding shotgun on a road trip is the next best thing when it comes to safety. Yet another one of the 1,001 advantages of having multiple sclerosis. Dave explains why in his blog.
+ A Quest to Get Healthy (and Lose 70 lbs). Donna James was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. Now she's on a quest to lose 70 lbs (she's lost an incredible 51 lbs so far) to get healthy with MS and raise money for a great cause. Click here to read her story.
+ Horseback riding means therapy for one Active MSer. Martha Skye Martin writes of her fondness for horses and how horseback riding has become an essential form of therapy for her multiple sclerosis. Click here to read her story.
+ Front Page Coverage. The Los Alamos Monitor newspaper put ActiveMSers on the cover of their February 27 edition with a great story about teen MSers learning how to snowboard. Click here to read.
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