Slightly off-topic… but who cares. :)

This video was the clear favorite of my students this past quarter: Water Bear Don’t Care It’s a rap about an incredible tiny organism that can survive in extreme conditions, even outer space! Highly recommended. :)

And now that I’m officially done with the quarter (including giving four zeroes to people who blatantly cheated on my finals on Tuesday), I’d like to mention one student in particular who’s committing to a big goal. (Many of my students inspire me! But this is a big deal.) She is a ranger herself, has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail already, and is starting the Continental Divide Trail at the end of April–it’s partially for her own personal journey, but also to educate others on wilderness safety. She even gets some college credit for this! So, while she doesn’t have any photos of this adventure up yet, she’s hoping to publicize her Instagram feed, and I thought what better way to do that than blog about it? Please take a look starting at the end of April (if not now! Bookmark!) at http://instagram.com/jesskiel/ I wish her the best. Go, Jess!


I was talking with a gym friend a few days ago about how I feel that I can’t take off too much time from the gym when I’m sick or injured, because of my MS. He looked at me funny, and I needed to explain… which makes me realize more of the lack of public knowledge about MS. (Or… maybe I just looked funny, and he felt the need to look at me funny.)

(Either way, putting on public health hat again)

MS indirectly affects our muscles, and the signals being sent to them by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The muscles themselves are not diseased; the wires connected to the muscles–the nerves–are what are affected by MS. So if an MS patient decides (brain) to create movement in the body, the signal sent to the muscle performing the movement may be compromised. This signal is sent along nerves. We often use an electrical wiring analogy… and it is, in fact, an electrical signal being sent through the body, where voltages change inside and outside the nerve cells! We’re all electric! :)

Anyway, I mentioned that the signal may be compromised because different MS patients are affected differently. Some people with advanced disease may be near-paralysis in some parts of their body. I am lucky and not very advanced at all, and only have a little bit of damage. Still, I notice that my left side is weaker than my right (owing to the fact that the left side of my spinal cord contains more disease than my right), and this is a functional deficiency I’ve been working on ever since I’ve noticed it.

(As a side note: some of the sensory pathways can also be damaged with MS, causing numbness and tingling. I don’t get much of that, but those days where my brain just can’t put 2 and 2 together? It’s a common MS issue… slow brain. Or… it could be due to something else. MS is always my fall guy, right?)

So this is why I push through the tired days, the days of soreness… I try to draw the line at severe illness and feeling an injury coming on.


Hey… yes, I’m still here. My workload actually got lighter last week, which was my last teaching week of the quarter, but my brain was circling in a million different directions… burnout at work, etc. I’m still here–really, I am. :)

Recently, I had a 6-week follow-up after starting Gilenya, and all seems to be well. My blood pressure is still slightly elevated from the “old days”, but not so high as my first dose day. It could just be my life in general causing that? In any case, I’ll stick with it, I suppose… though I did catch another cold a few weeks back, and I very rarely get sick. Is it the lack of white cells/lymphocytes, or is it just my life at the time/random circumstance?

Anyway, more over the coming week, as I give finals to my students! I wanted to come out of hiding just briefly… and wish you a happy spring!

spring is here! :)

spring is here! :)


pi day recipe!

15Mar15

So, in full nerd spirit, I had my annual Pi Day Party yesterday. We had a full living room! :) Lots of Pi’s. I always encourage people to bring a mix of food so that we can actually eat dinner, but alas, we still had a bunch of dessert.

(I have to laugh: a math teacher friend was over, and someone had brought peach candy rings–you know, these circular ones?–and I heard her say, “there’s so much math in this candy!” :D

One of the big hits: it’s not the healthiest, but not necessarily unhealthy, either. I made a Taco Pizza. Here’s the recipe for this lovely work of art. It was definitely popular! I had trouble getting the dough to be round, but it was still a Pi, and it tasted great. I used taco seasoning from Trader Joe’s, which I approve of, since (at least by the ingredient label) it doesn’t have any weird stuff… it only lists things like chili powder, sea salt, cayenne pepper… all things we can pronounce.

I hope you had some Pi of some sort yesterday, and that you enjoyed it!


… not a dollar short, but a day behind in posting! I have too many spinning plates that I’m trying to hold up!

First things first: Saturday is the Pi Day of all Pi Days, right?

it's almost pi day!

it’s almost pi day!

Even though I have so many things going on, I have to have a party. All things Pi and round! (A math teacher friend is coming and she keeps saying how excited she is!) I’m making a taco pizza, a curry spinach frittata (like I do every Pi day), and… the infamous Crack Pie. I’ve never tried Crack Pie before… we’ll see if it’s too sweet, or if I just can’t get enough!

After that… I’ve been toying with the idea of a sugar detox. I know the husband won’t like me very much during that time. I don’t know. I’m always telling my nutrition students that there’s no reason to eliminate a single food unless you have a sensitivity, but I think I go out of control eating sugar sometimes… and maybe this is a way to keep it in check.

Anyway! Good to be back, and I’ll take some Pi pictures… and I’ll report back on the Crack! (Has anyone else tried it? What do you think?)


As you know, I don’t always write about MS, here. I am a college educator (I still have trouble using the word “professor”, since that implies a one-way relationship, as I had with my faculty back in the early ’90’s) and improving the system for our students is a big priority for me.

I work at a small college in downtown Seattle. We try to find new modalities to make education more accessible for all. Recently I pushed through (and I do mean pushed) a hybrid version of one of my regular courses–instead of meeting 5 hours per week on campus, we’ll be doing 2 hours in person, 3 hours online. Our commuter students won’t have to spend so much time on campus, and our classroom space (lots of demand for that) won’t be under such a crunch!

This is a huge undertaking, and it starts in April 6th! So if I spend a lot of time on here talking about this new project, please forgive me. I am living and breathing work–aside from food prep (minimizing my processed food) and workouts are another non-negotiable in my life.

Anyway–this is a big “shoot high” goal for me! I’m sure it won’t work 100% the first time, but if I never try it, I’ll never know, right? There’s a life lesson there. :)


Got 5 minutes? And a clean carpeted floor?

Good! That’s all you need for this! If you have MS… or if you have a busy life… (I see you out there, sheepishly raising your hand) there’s a tendency for hunched posture. (Those of us with MS, moreso, as we lose strength in the stabilizing spinal muscles that hold us up.)

Here’s a quick 5 minute yoga sequence from one of the handful of quality channels I subscribe to. It’s labeled as a full body stretch, but it does focus on the chest. Open chest = less hunching! And… you’ll feel better if you stop to do this during your day. Good stuff all around!

Sarah Beth Yoga’s Quick 5 Minute Full Body Stretch

Here’s my challenge: find 5 minutes to do it today. Then, post in the comments about how good you felt afterward!

(And, while I’m not a doctor, I’m a rehab Pilates instructor, so I do have to advise you against the prone twist if you have osteoporosis or any spinal fragility… disclaimer, disclaimer!)

Enjoy this yummy stretch! :)




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