Mr. Lash was diagnosed with MS at the age of 42 in 1969 though, as with many people with MS, he had symptoms long before that. Now in his seventies Mr. Lash (sometimes called “the Mr. Rogers of MS”) is a very active volunteer in his local chapter of the NMSS. His book is both an autobiography of his illness and, more significantly, a compendium of his knowledge and experience in coping with MS. As stated in the book’s introduction, Mr. Lash does not write much about drugs or medication. He leaves that to medical professionals. He writes, instead, about living day to day, one day at a time, and successfully, with MS.
Many people write books claiming to have conquered their diseases with one particular regimen or other which they suggest you use if you wish to conquer your disease. But Mr. Lash takes a refreshingly different approach. He tells you what he did- what worked for him. And then he suggests you experiment ’til you find what works for you.
The specific suggestions he does make are all very practical, and sensible: eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest, enjoy recreational activities, modulate stress, find some way of reaching out in fellowship. He writes in a simple confiding way. I imagined myself sitting on a porch somewhere listening to Mr. Lash talk about MS, himself, all the options for health he’s found.
“Paying attention” is what most of Mr. Lash’s book is about. He asks us to pay attention to ourselves in wholesome ways. He suggests we learn to listen to our bodies and respond to what we learn in ways that bring us closer to health. He acknowledges that each of us has his own health- not Mr. Lash’s health or some idealized medical standard. As with all really useful pathways for successful living, the most difficult aspect of Mr. Lash’s philosophy is that it requires significant change from within. One can usually follow any behavioral suggestion, but until one learns to listen to and trust one’s own inner voice (the one that says, for example, “don’t eat that, eat this instead.”) it’s tough to find one’s own healthful way of life. And once you find what’s healthiest for you, it’s tough to continually pay attention to that inner voice in the face of external pressure from family, friends, others with MS, and medical personnel, any of whom may want to tell you just how to live with your disease. But it can be done and, for the sake of your life, it may be well worth doing.
Mr. Lash offers a very gentle, down-to-earth book of suggestions for getting in touch with and following the promptings of your “healer within.” He opens a door that, if you are willing to pay attention, can start you on a journey toward a more healthy life with MS.
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The book review represents the opinions of the writer only. You may have a different opinion when you read this book. Information shared here is not for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. For specific information and advice consult your personal physician.