HMN Advisory Board Member

by Mayim Bialik who founded Grok Nation in 2015 as an online space for deep and dynamic conversations. She is a four-time Emmy-Award nominee and two-time Critics’ Choice Award winner for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on the #1 comedy in America, The Big Bang Theory, has a PhD in neuroscience and is the mother of two boys. She is also known for playing the young Bette Midler in Beaches, as well as for her lead role in the early-1990s NBC television sitcom Blossom.

She is the author of four books: Beyond the Sling, Mayim’s Vegan Table (February 2014, Da Capo Press), the New York Times bestseller Girling Up, and her latest, Boying Up.

Mayim – who is also a certified lactation educator counselor (CLEC) – interviews Lisa Arnold, an MS patient who asked questions about her care and found supportive community

First, a little background information about Multiple Sclerosis (MS). (And you can learn even more here.)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) – a neurological condition in which the body’s immune system attacks itself – affects about 400,000 people in the US and about 2.5 million worldwide. Specifically, myelin — the fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers and makes for fast conduction of the electrical information which carries nerve impulses – starts to deteriorate. The damaged myelin then “scleroses,” or forms scar tissue, giving the disease its name.

MS has a genetic component and there are environmental factors at play in its presentation as well. The onset is usually between 20 and 40 years, and women are affected two to three times more often than men. Symptoms typically present as fatigue, muscle weakness and spasticity, vision problems, bladder problems, and emotional and cognition decline with a strong link to depression. MS is a progressive degenerative disease; treatment is available, but often involves a number of medications that curtail the progression of the disease but can’t really cure it. Sometimes the side effects of these medications are worse than symptoms  patients are experiencing from the disease itself.

After Lisa Arnold’s second son was born in 2008, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and became concerned that her condition might interfere with her nursing plan. Å friend of hers recommended that Lisa contact me for lactation consulting. (I am a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor.)  It’s 9 years later and she has nursed all three of her children, even after being diagnosed. And since it is MS month, I asked her to reflect with me about her experience.

Read the inspirational interview here