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What’s in your MS library?

By Mary Pettigrew

I think I’ve become sort of a research geek. I’ve always loved reading books and magazines, but this passion of mine has escalated during the last couple of decades, following post my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 2001. I started to collect more and more books about MS and soon found myself subscribing to as many magazines and newsletters as I could find. Once you learn how to navigate through the influx of good versus bad material, you’ll surely see there’s a lot of fantastic stuff out there.

As research and new information continues to evolve, I know a lot of my books and other publications are now outdated. Some of these periodicals still contain relevant content and seem to have been able to stand the test of time, so far. Therefore, I’ve held on to a few. So, do tell, what’s in your MS library?

I know most anything can be found online these days, but even so, I’m a tangible person and I prefer books and other publications I can touch, “bookmark,” highlight, use to share with others, and for research purposes in my writing. I regularly like to review other items online (i.e., blogs, articles, etc.), but if I come across something of interest, I still tend to print and save such items for future use. I go through a lot of ink and paper, but all is not lost as it does go to good use and, if not, all is recycled.

So, what is in my MS library? So many gems, but far too many to list. So, I’ll just share a few of my favorite items (mainly books and magazines), all of which continue to serve me well.

Publications (Available free via print and online):
  • MS Focus Magazine (MS Focus: the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation – available as both print and online)
  • IJMSC (International Journal of MS Care) and The Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC)
  • Momentum Magazine (NMSS)
  • InforMS (Rocky Mountain MS Center)
  • The Motivator (MSAA Magazine)
  • Brain and Life Magazine
  • PM360 (Resource for Pharma Marketers)

Newsletters, social media, webinars, etc:
  • MS Focus
  • Social Health Network
  • Health Union (multiplesclerosis.net)
  • Shift.MS
  • Everyday Health 
  • Neurology Live
  • Can Do MS 

I have quite an extensive collection of MS, mental health, and other healthcare-related books. Some of them are quite outdated, so I’m not going to list everything in my library, but I’d like to share some of my favorites. I hope some of you might find some of these helpful. Some are completely focused on the topic of MS, other are not.
  • It’s Not All in Your Head: Anxiety, Depression, Mood Swings, and MS by Dr. Patricia Farrell, Ph.D.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide for Families by Rosiland Kalb, Ph.D.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have, The Answers You Need by Rosiland Kalb, Ph.D. (This book continues to be updated, so look for the most recent edition) 
  • Women Living with MS by Judith Lynn Nichols
  • Living Beyond Multiple Sclerosis: A Women’s Guide by Judith Lynn Nichols
  • Speed Bumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood by Teri Garr
  • Blindsided by Richard M. Cohen
  • The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity by Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley
  • Fall Down Laughing by David Lander (Squiggy from TV’s Laverne and Shirley)
  • The Healthy Mind Toolkit by Dr. Alice Boyes, Ph.D.

Rosiland Kalb is quite a well-respected, reputable source to consider when shopping for some good research based books about MS.

Several of my MS buddies have written their own books about their personal journeys with MS and I try my best to support them by purchasing a copy of their book and promoting them on social media. I’ve chosen not to list them in this article so as not to accidentally leave anyone out or to show any preferential favoritism. Just know there are some amazing people out there and their stories have continued to inspire me to do what I do as a writer, as an advocate, and as a friend. I’m grateful to have these people in my life. Some have even been so kind as to send me a signed copy and I will always hold these books near and dear to my heart. 

Everyone has a story to tell. If you’re able, I encourage you to grab pen and paper (or whatever tools work best for you) and get your story written or recorded – put it out there. There are others, especially the newly diagnosed, who may find some much-needed strength, relatability, or solace from reading about your own journeys and that can be a powerful thing. 

And so, I ask again, what’s in your MS library?