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January 27 , 2011

Faulty Wiring: Living with Invisible MS


Images of profound physical disability usually spring to mind when most people hear the words: multiple sclerosis. They immediately think of an illness that causes uncontrolled movements, obvious imbalance, progressive paralysis and slurred speech. But there’s a hidden aspect to this chronic disease that often goes unrecognized and is frequently misunderstood. These invisible symptoms include depression, anxiety, bladder dysfunction, cognitive impairment and fatigue – and while they’re often considered less significant (or benign), their impact is anything but mild. This book shines a light on that experience and expands the definition of what it means to have MS beyond obvious physical disability.

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"Faulty Wiring" is the story of one woman’s journey with MS, but it’s so much more than a memoir. The author uses her journalism training to weave factual information about MS into her personal narrative (e.g., What is MS? Who gets it? What are the possible causes? And how is it treated?) and the result is a rare blend of knowledge and experience that provides a more balanced and intimate perspective. She shares her greatest fears and the lessons she’s learned along the way, and offers practical tips on how to communicate with your loved ones, share the news with your kids, manage cognitive impairment and fatigue, eat well and stay hydrated, exercise your mind and body, and secure the medical care and emotional support that you need. She also provides a list of organizations providing support and resources, an annotated bibliography of books on MS, and a collection of additional references available on the web and in the scientific literature.

Anyone with MS will find this book helpful - especially the newly diagnosed. But it will resonate the most with those who are experiencing the invisible symptoms of MS. The author knows that it feels like to live with these hidden disabilities and how distressing it can be to have your problems dismissed. If you are having similar issues, you will find comfort and validation in the author’s story. And if you know someone who has MS - or you care for MS patients medically - you’ll be encouraged to look beyond their physical appearance in assessing the full impact of their disease.

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