MS Xplained: My story in an app

MS Xplained is an introductory guide to the complex world of MS., in the form of an app.

Medicine X_MS Xplained_Ladywithms

MS Xplained: An app about MS

Being diagnosed with MS is hard

Ever been to the doctor and not understood what they said? It happens. And it definitely happens when someone says you have MS… The only coherent question I had when my diagnosis was confirmed was ‘can I still drink alcohol and eat cheese?‘ (yes, in the face of the unimaginable that really was my question).

Despite normally having myself together (with the ability to ask relevant questions), being told you have MS is overwhelming. There are questions you need to ask, and information you need to understand at a practical level. After all, it is your body and your disease.

But there is introductory information available

MS Xplained is MS explained by real doctors for real people with an MS diagnosis, in the form of an app. It is based on real MS stories – in this case, mine and Melissa’s. The goal is to help those newly diagnosed understand the disease and the treatment options available.

This app explains MS in a way everyone can understand. There is no judgement, and no doctor-speak. It is just the information you need to know to help you – or your friends and family – get the basics right.

As someone with MS, I can say this information would have helped me when I was diagnosed. Once you understand this information, you can choose how far you take it and decide what else you want to know (even if all you can consider wondering about is whether you can eat cheese).

Download it for free here.


Medicine X worked with MS Australia and MS Research Australia to develop the ‘MS Xplained’ app. Full disclosure: I am a National Advocate for MS Australia, and I did not receive any fee or reward for sharing my story or writing this post.

Fearing Spring: The most common time for a relapse

I have to admit, I am growing a little anxious. Fearful even. Spring is here.

Spring is the most common time for an MS relapse, and so far I am 2 for 2: I went downhill in late September and October 2013 (culminating in my rather impressive first relapse), and in late October 2014 (resulting in my second relapse).

There is no definitive reason behind this, although (as so many things related to MS) it may be related to Vitamin D. Vitamin D levels are naturally lower after living through the winter – less sunny – months. The data back this up: winter is the least common time for an MS relapse, as Vitamin D levels are still adequate after being bolstered in the summer months. And then of course there is the relationship between MS and geography – the incidence of MS increases the further away people live from the Equator.

Research into how Vitamin D is related to MS – whether it is onset of the disease, the time between MS relapses, genetic absorption factors and ideal supplement levels – continues. I was in the Vitamin D PreVANZ trial throughout 2014, until my second relapse meant I was no longer eligible.

In the meantime as the MS community waits for results, I am taking an awful lot of Vitamin D and hoping for the best.