More MS news articles for May 2001

Mom's Book Helps Kids Cope With Parent's MS

It outlines symptoms, coping techniques

http://www.healthscout.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Af.woa/5/wo/C83000qa800KU600k2/18.2.7.21.13.70.3.3.7.1.3.1

Pem McNerney

When a parent is sick, even for a little while, it can be tough on the kids. When a parent is stricken with something like multiple sclerosis, repeat attacks of the disease can leave children scared, frustrated and angry.

One mother who recognized that problem decided to write a book to help children understand the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and cope with their parent's illness. According to an article in C-Health ( http://www.canoe.ca/Health0105/04_ms-can.html ), Caroline Courey started experiencing strange symptoms in 1992. A year later, her doctor told her she had MS.

MS is a disease that interrupts the flow of impulses along the nerves because it attacks the protective coating of the brain and spinal cord, called myelin. Symptoms can include temporary blindness, immobility, extreme fatigue, muscle stiffness, and problems with balance and coordination, the article says. MS is not fatal, but most people have relapses that get worse over time.

For children, having a parent with a recurring illness that puts them out of commission can be frightening. The kids wonder if it's their fault. They wonder who will take care of them. They are angry, then feel guilty that they are angry. The book, written as a novel, encourages parents to talk with their children about the disease and find out what their kids are feeling.