No More Secs! Book Giveaway

Editor’s Note: We are giving away a copy of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis by our awesome blogger Ann Pietrangelo. Check out this excerpt and commentary from the author, and don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win the book!

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 44, all previous assumptions about health, work, and my new romance were suddenly up for grabs. No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis, is a story — my story — of acceptance and change and a basic truth — good health and life are fleeting, but love and humor trump all. Every second matters, a point driven home by yet another life-altering diagnosis.

How do you plan for lifeís second half with a body youíve never met before? One precarious step at a time.

An excerpt from No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis:

ďYour test results are all normal. At this point I would consider the three treatment options we spoke of. There is no hurry in making this decision, but would like to hear back from you in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions or concerns please call me. Thanks.Ē

When I was a kid, doctor shows were all the rage on television. Iíd seen the pronouncement of diagnosis hundreds of times. The kindly old doctor touches the patientís hand and looks into his eyes as he breaks the news. He might put an arm around the patientís shoulder, or comfort the worried spouse. The camera would then zoom in on the patientís face so we can see the emotional impact up close and personal.

But it seems weíre not going to get our Marcus Welby moment Ö or anything that even vaguely resembles one.

The email that changes everything lands in my inbox on January 28, 2004, at 2:19 p.m. Just another email mixed with a batch of well-worn jokes and plenty of spam.

The test results are all normal. It is one of those good news/bad news situations. In this case, however, normal does not translate into a clean bill of health. It is in this instant, through this most impersonal exchange, that normal takes on a whole new meaning for me.

The email comes as no surprise. Diagnosis or not, life as I know it has already been altered beyond recognition. Still, the doctor doesnít actually use the words. The meaning of the email, prompting me to decide on treatment options, is clear Ö but not clear enough. I want to hear the words, or at least read them. I want and need this diagnosis to somehow be declared official before I make any decisions. This is a very big deal.

The news is, for the moment, known only to the doctor and me. I fantasize briefly that if I delete the email, that if I pretend I donít know, it wonít be true. If ignorance is bliss, maybe I can simply refuse to accept the information Iíve been given, like a child who ignores her motherís call.

Until this moment, I could still hold out hope that it was all some colossal mistake or overreaction on my part; just one of those things that happens and is soon forgotten. Sure, Iíve had health problems like everyone else, but nothing like this.

Even while these thoughts run through my mind, Iím aware of another stream of consciousness floating alongside. I consider these feelings as being a normal first response because, after all, nobody plans to be disabled or sick. Itís just the luck of the draw and on this particular day it happens to be my turn to draw the short stick. I was never one of those ďit wonít happen to meĒ types. Iím more of a ďwhy not me?Ē kind of gal. I always figure Iím as good a target as anyone else, for both bad and good life events. Now, when itís put to the test, is my chance to see if I truly subscribe to that philosophy.

My fantasy of just ignoring the news is short-lived; the realist in me wins out and I return to the task at hand. I hit the reply button and type, ďThank you. Does this mean I have a definite diagnosis of MS?Ē I marvel at my own matter-of-fact attitude. I am not about to let emotion rule the day and my stoic New England heritage is firmly in control.

Thatís right. An email. Thatís how I learned I have MS. But my story is no tragic tale of woe, thatís for sure. From the impersonal diagnosis by email to a wedding presided over by a funeral director, the book, like relapsing/remitting MS itself, alternates between the serious and the silly.

No More Secs! may strike a familiar chord if youíve got multiple sclerosis, or love someone who does. Still, it is only my story, not your story, and certainly not THE story of MS. Oh, and itís not all about MS either. Really. Thatís because life marches on whether we feel up to it or not. Mine sure did and, whether or not Iím ready, it keeps on marching. Yes, every second matters. At its very heart, this is a love story. Romantic love. Love of family. Love of life.

If you take a leap of faith and give No More Secs! a read, it is my sincere hope you come away from it on a positive note. Maybe itíll even make you smile. Now thatís when Iíll know Iíve really done good.

Thank you for the support, Care2. And a hat tip to my husband, Jim, for his beautiful cover design!

Image copyright and book cover design by WebCamp One LLC

For more information, or to buy the book: No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Like ĎNo More Secs!í on Facebook.

WIN THE BOOK! Enter a comment below and you will automatically be entered to win a copy of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis by Ann Pietrangelo. Winner will be announced on February 14 (winner will be notified via Care2 profile). Good luck!


Janis J.

Winner: Please email Samantha at to claim your new book. Thanks to everyone who entered!


Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

Thanks to Care2 for offering this venue, plus the many oth thing it does...
Ann has written beautifully,
"If you take a leap of faith and give No More Secs! a read, it is my sincere hope you come away from it on a positive note. Maybe it’ll even make you smile. Now that’s when I’ll know I’ve really done good."
It's my true desire to take that leap of faith AND also read her book!

Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

To be given your MS diagnosis by Email seems uncaring, cold and outrageous. Every person needs to be respected and hopefully "cared about" by those who do know them. Other than that, on an impersonal web-site [such as this] but THIS Care2 site seems to give the idea that it DOES care. However, what I'd like to know is the parameters / details if You will, of the NO MORE SECs offering. How many time should I add another "thought"? and does anyone know by what DATE the winner of the Book will be decided? OFTEN other contests will state up-front those details. Who knows in this case? WHO may I ask kindly?

Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

Just like Cyndy I keep looking for humor in the MS world. Is there laughter in NO MORE SECs ? I'd lied like to read it.

Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

I USE email and other electronic devices, albeit poorly, but will NEVER USE persons. I USE books for pleasure and to get information. I can get information from persons on a site like this one. Can't wait to read the NO MORE SEC's book. Hope to find information and humor!

Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

MS and falling are no strangers. I've fallen more than once, but as a devoted lover The Floor will say again and again, "I'm always here for you!". It's no mystery, as black holes in space are :)

Miriam Nelson
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

I received a Green Star today from Adrienne N. that i' probably am not worthy of but am grateful for nonetheless. Thank you, Adrienne! Am struggling to use a new iPad while on this site. Using the iPad is almost as hard as accepting the fact of MS. Challenges they both are, but I wish to do my best with both.
Hope to receive and read the NO MORE SECs! book. SOON if at all possible.

Adrienne A.
Adrienne A.4 years ago

I enjoyed the article and insight into being diagnosed with MS - or anything, really - in this electronic age. (E-mail - ugh!) Humor has been my best ally in the dance of life that has included several debilitating "body events" and lifetime issues/challenges. It is always refreshing to see that another woman is writing about her experiences not in a "poor me" manner, but in a way that shows that a person is not the disease/disability but a conscious participant in what Life can still be grasped. I will share your book with my Friends to encourage and uplift them! Feel Good!

Angela W.
Angela W.4 years ago

I love the cover design, so kudos to your husband for that! I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect until I read the excerpt, but I think this will make an excellent addition to my growing #MS library, which leans more toward understanding this disease and working to combat symptoms.

I love to laugh, though, and goodness knows that #MSandLife can create a number of situations that beg to be celebrated with laughter (like relearning the potty dance at 35...and still not perfecting it a decade later, lol!). I'm looking forward to reading this!

Miriam N.
Miriam Nelson4 years ago

I agree TOTALly with Cindy Y. Humor is salve for humanity. I'd LOVE to read the book!

Cindy Y.
Cindy Young4 years ago

wow! where have you been all my ms life?
Humor is our sanity.I'd love to own this book.I've been looking for the laughter in the "ms world" for 19 years