Straight Talk from a 31-Year Survivor
Debbie Petrina walked into her doctor’s office in 1980 with strange symptoms. She was only twenty-five years old and terrified of what to expect; it was not until four years later that she was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Debbie learned how to manage her life with MS as she journeyed through motherhood, career changes, moving across the country, and having to live on her own for three years while in a wheelchair. During most of the years she lived with MS, she spoke to and with thousands of persons and professionals about MS, on her own and as a trained peer counselor/group leader/speaker/committee member for the National MS Society for sixteen years.
Her mission? To help herself and anyone else understand and manage MS.
In January 2012, Debbie published her book, Managing MS: Straight Talk from a 31-Year Survivor. Debbie’s commonsense approach to dealing with MS cuts through the mounds of information available today and packages it into a practical, easy-to-read resource.
There are many books about multiple sclerosis; but she points out these things about her book:
I felt it crucial to make it an easy read using a tone, words and expressions that would enable the reader to feel comfortable. Like I am talking at the kitchen table with them. Living with MS is frightening; one of my objectives was to help reduce the fear.
Living with MS is not easy and is very complicated in many ways: the symptoms, the treatments, the medical professionals, relationships with people, the emotions, and the advancing disabilities. Thus, another objective of mine was to offer guidance and tips for managing these things in a manner that is easy to understand—like an instruction manual. I strived to make it compact, informative, and inspiring.
This guidebook is a collaboration of both my experiences and those with peers, professionals, and others that I interacted with about MS.
My manuscript had been read and endorsed by health care professionals in different fields that I believe lends credibility: An MS specialist neurologist, internist, physical therapist, and nurses.
Debbie counsels, writes, educates, researches, and advocates awareness/understanding of MS through her website www.DebbieMS.com and other social media. The website includes her background/credentials, self-help/educational videos, and links to her MS Blog articles, resources, and other activities she engages in to help persons dealing with MS.
Currently she resides in Glendale, AZ with her husband and her faithful companion Grizzly. An avid reader, volunteer, and swimmer, Debbie’s ability to effectively manage her MS enables her to enjoy travelling with her husband in their accessible RV.
DEBBIE PETRINA DebbieMS.com
Straight Talk from a Thirty-One-Year Survivor
I read this book not because I suffer from MS but because I have a family member who does and wanted to better understand the disorder. Though the book is aimed at those with MS, I think it serves equally well as an introduction for anyone who finds themselves living with MS, either because they have it or because someone they love does.
Having read it, I feel I have a much better understanding of what someone with MS must deal with every day, especially many of the invisible symptoms that I was previously unaware of.
This book functions as an introduction to life with MS. Petrina gives an overview of the myriad symptoms an “MSer” may or may not encounter and provides tips for dealing with them, as well as pointers to additional resources. Her frankness and honesty are refreshing and provide a clearer understanding, while her optimism convinces the reader that it is possible to maintain a high quality of life after being diagnosed with MS. She balances her own experiences with general advice to produce an excellent guidebook with a message of hope.
It may be a full-time job, but Petrina argues that “with a mouth and a brain” it is possible to find the best doctors, determine the right combination of drugs, and make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage MS. -Cait