Managing MS: Straight Talk from a 31-Year Survivor (CLICK HERE)


Managing MS:

Straight Talk from a 31-Year Survivor

Debbie Petrina
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 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.


Frank Introduction For Anyone Living With MS

Managing MS:
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




Eye-opening – for patients and their families and

Managing MS:
Straight Talk from a Thirty-One-Year Survivor 

As a family-friend, I was interested in what Debbie had to write, as I have seen her go through the various stages of this disease, maintaining her positive can-do attitude. Also, having a colleague with MS, and a friend’s wife recently diagnosed, I wanted to learn about what it means to have MS, in order to be more understanding of what they are going through. This is a no holds-barred nor punches-pulled “talk”, that really opens one’s eyes on all that having this diagnosis, entails.
And as L Franklin stated in her review, “useful for anyone suffering from a chronic disease”.

I’ve already made a of list of folks I want to share this book with, to help them or their family members learn from someone who has been there, and even better, someone who shares this information clearly and positively.  -Mark R.

Book Review by Sharon Baldacci, Author of A Sundog Moment – (June 29, 2012)

Book Review by Lynn Chambers

Book Review – Mary Jo Nickum (August, 2012)

Author: Mom’s Story


Chris – 5/15/13 (Click here)

Sharyn – 5/25/13 (Click here)

Others on Amazon (Click here)  

Other Reviews:

“Debbie Petrina has written a remarkable book about her personal journey with MS in the hopes that her story and her thoughts will be helpful to others with MS.  Her personal thoughts will be helpful to people with MS and their loved ones as they embark on their own journeys.”  –-Barry A.

Hendin M.D., Phoenix Neurological Associates

“Managing MS:  Straight Talk from a 31-Year Survivor provides practical and meaningful guidance for people living with MS as well as for their family and friends. In addition, caregivers and health care providers can learn ways to understand someone who has been diagnosed with MS. The information is candid and personal from Debbie’s experience living with MS for more than three decades.”  –Ellen Friedman, P.T., M.A.

“Debbie Petrina treats the subject with candor, and her no-nonsense style does not sugar-coat reality, but deals with it in an honest, up-front manner that MS patients, their friends, and their families will appreciate.”–Rita Wilson, English teacher and writer “This book is INCREDIBLE and easy to read. The clinical information and personal experience provided not only answers key questions but reassures readers that they are not alone.” –Sandy Dow, Neuro-Trauma ICU RN, Phoenix,AZ

“Good common-sense advice; not preachy. Very user-friendly.” –Jeffrey Fisher M.D., Consultants in Internal Medicine

“This book is very enlightening and a “must read” for anyone with MS and those who care for someone with MS. When I was diagnosed with MS in 1991 I was in denial and didn’t know where to turn. The National MS Society in Pittsburgh told me of a support group for newly diagnosed MSers lead by Debbie Petrina. She is very knowledgeable in MS and made such a difference in my life; she can make a difference in yours. This is a book that you will both cherish and enjoy.” – Jacqueline Dawso, Trafford, PA

“I wish I would have had a book like this to read years ago, from someone suffering from this disease. MS is very frightening and confusing.  I have had MS for 23 years and still found it helpful in many ways.” –Gerry Markle, Delmont, PA

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