Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 6610 MSFocus Summer 2016 MS does not exist in a bubble. Those with MS know that, while this condition affects them in ways many people cannot understand, it is not only the person with the disease whose life is touched. Their families are also affected, and, frequently, that brings about changes in family dynamics (the way family members relate to and interact with one another). But not all change is negative. While there will be challenges for families affected by MS, there are also times when MS might be a blessing in disguise, binding families together with a bond that cannot be broken. Communication is key in keeping a healthy family dynamic; be honest about what you need and what you don’t need. Sometimes, family members may attempt to help you when that really isn’t what you need at the time. They may jump in to perform tasks that you would rather perform yourself in order to keep a “normalcy” about your day. There may be other times when your family members may not know what you need and they might pull away when you really need support. You may also see a shift in family roles. Maybe the person who has always worked 60 hours a week will suddenly be home more often. Or maybe you have always been the “caretaker,” and now you are the one in need of some TLC. Again, open and honest communication about what you want and what you need are vital in situations where roles change. Lessons for the little ones Children are not immune to the change in family dynamics. It is important to be open and honest, but also appropriate for the child’s age. For young children, this may mean addressing changes as they come up. For example, maybe you are not able to perform the yard work anymore because of heat-sensitivity. If your child asks why someone else is doing the yard work now, you could use that as an opening to start the conversation. It’s common for children whose parent has any type of illness to worry that their parent will die. Confidently reassure your children that people with MS typically live as long as other folks. This can help decrease the anxiety surrounding the topic. Also, keep in mind that your actions, more than your words, will tell a story that your children can believe. Get out and be By Emily Cade