Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

It was interesting to see these stats on this blog … Obviously more visitors would be good, and more people leaving comments would be fantastic, but ah well, these things take nurturing and they take time. I’ll have to keep on leaving posts here, and work at making them interesting, and fun to read!

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Pride Goes Before the Fall

The heading for this post is a well known idiom, which comes more of less from the Bible. The phrase ‘Pride goes, (or goeth, or comes) before the Fall’ is often said when one is struck down because of their unearned pride. I don’t usually look at myself as being an prideful person, more than I should be, but perhaps I have been feeling more proud of myself than deserved.

Whether that’s true of not, who can really tell. I’m not sure. What I am sure of though, is that I’m no longer feeling overbearingly proud of myself for my physical ability to stay upright whenever I wish to be upright. My pride on that particular one was certainly more than was deserved. Up until the other day.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the great big and extremely painful fall I had a few days ago. The only thing I’m proud of with that one is that I dealt with it calmly and didn’t collapse immediately into a blubbering mess. I go on with what I was doing, and came inside to stop my bleeding.chin and elbow dec 2014

The bleeding was from my chin. Lots and lots of bleeding. When I fell, I hit the concrete hard, very hard! I was talking to a friend today, who used to be a nurse. She nodded wisely when I told her about the blood and said, ‘Yes it’s the bone there, that’s why.’ Then she tapped her head and said, ‘That’s why head bleed so much.’

She’s the nurse not me and I believe her. I don’t want to hit my head to check on that though. Hitting my chin, no crashing down on my chin, that was more than enough. My elbow was involved in the fall too, with a graze and bruising but no blood. Both of my knees were damaged, bruised and my left knee grazed and bleeding, but fixed with a bandaid. dec 2014 fall thumb

My thumb copped a lot of it, with lots of bruising, and for a day, it hurt quite a bit, so that I was worried I’d miss out on the event planned for the Sunday, which was the day after the accident. Luckily I was good enough to drive and the event went well. What else? My tummy somehow got involved in the fun and games, with a painful graze. I suspect the pooper scooper may have scratched me on my way down, as I hit the ground. The pooper scooper handle gave up the ghost today when I was out there being the kennel maid (carefully). Kennel maid duties, that’s what I was doing when this fall happened. I’m glad I can still play an active role in the household, even if it’s slower than usual!

I’ve noticed I heal slightly more slowly than I used to, but healing does happen. I think that’s caused by the MS, or The part that was damaged the most though, that was my pride. On the Saturday night, during the evening meal on the day of the accident, I had a bit of a cry. The other members of the family were blaming me for the accident, and I felt deeply hurt. I’d paid the price in injury, it hurt me to be attacked by them too. So I cried for the first time in a very long time.

They both apologised and I felt a lot better. I was crying for my sense of self-worth, my bruised pride, and who knows what else. I know that once the tears were over, my feelings felt better and I went back to feeling more in charge than I was after I fell.

I have to admit to being a teensy bit happy to have bruises to show, it may be weird, but I just like the outward proof of something having happened to me. My MS doesn’t have any outward signs at all. I have tingling in my fingers and feet, and various bits feel numb at various times, or they may not work every now and then. But people have to take my word for that, because I look like I’m fine, whether I am or not. If you look at me right now, though, you certainly know I’ve had some bad things happen to me. Silly maybe, but there you go. I suspect I’m not the only person with one of these ‘invisible diseases’ who feels like this.

Many Ways to Feel Good!

Not everything in my life is focussed on my chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In fact, not much in my life is directly connected with MS. Most of the important things in my life are connected to my family and creative writing. MS has affected my life in many ways, but I’m still going well with my life, doing a variety of things that interest me.

So, with that in mind, I will talk about something that has only a little bit to do with MS. This thing is fashion. I certainly don’t claim to be a fashion expert, but I do claim to know what colours suit me. And I know that when I’m wearing those colours, I look better and I feel better. The clothes I wear are almost always comfortable, and casual – I’m a comfortable and comfortable kind of person!

I recently went on a bus tour a friend of mine organised. We toured around part of the greater Adelaide area, visiting eight Op Shops (Opportunity Shops). It took all day, and we had lunch as well as the shops. Lots and lots of fun, and I came home with a lovely array of new clothes, that I know would fit in well with my other clothes.

And how did I know this? I knew this because they all matched mt ‘look’! I found my ‘look’ when a dear friend told me about the joys of knowing what your colour season was, or thinking about it, that dear friend may have actually been a book I borrowed from the library. Hmm, yes that’s right. Well, books can certainly be dear friends! Payneham library, many, many years ago.

My colour range is the autumn colours – I know that if I’m wearing these colours, I look good – and If a person knows they look good, it makes them look even better! So now, I only buy clothes in those colours, so everything matches everything else.

So, do you know what season you are? The link here can help you work out what your season is, and so what your ‘palette of colours’ includes. Take a look and see what you think. I’d love to know what other people think about this idea!

Mixed Bag of Responses

When people tell me I’m looking good, my first response to them is to smile and say thanks. My initial response to myself though is quite different. One day it may be a wry inner grin, on other days it could be an inward – you just don’t get it, do you. Other days it’s either of those two or something in between.

Looking good, and feeling good are two quite different things. I know that I’m doing relatively well with MS. The medication I take to keep the MS under control is working well for me, my mobility is good enough for me to be able to walk, and even run a little way. I can exercise a bit, which keeps my muscles going. If I want to go out somewhere to do something, I’m always physically able to do it. Life is good.

But, and there’s always a but – my medication is possibly causing the skin cancers I currently have a small crop of. My medication is also making me more likely to have outbreaks of cold sores, I think. I went through that earlier this year, and I didn’t enjoy that at all!

The medication I am on is Gilenya – a daily tablet. It’s certainly a lot more pleasant to pop the pill/capsule every day than it was to inject myself once a week, which is what I did for two years after my diagnosis. That treatment was one of the injectables, the weekly one. I hadn’t thought I could jab myself every day, or other day or every three days, but I figured if it was only once a week, and it had to be one of the injectables, I could do it.

My current medication is working better for me than the other (Avonex is the name of the weekly one). Avonex worked OK, but Gilenya works better, and it’s easier. And it doesn’t cause me the stress the injections caused. I wouldn’t like to go back to doing the injections, but I’m proud of myself for being able to do it.

Nowdays, my MS symptoms are reduced from what they were at the beginning, nearly five years ago. My right side muscle weakness is still there, but it’s not as bad as it was. I don’t suffer from foot drop now, so I don’t need to used a device in my shoe and around my ankle anymore. I haven’t fallen over for many, many months, which is a great thing!

I’m able to exercise, as I’ve mentioned. I do Wii Fit exercises. I went back to doing these as soon as I could, after the collapse that brought about the MS diagnosis. My neurologist had told me to walk for exercise. That didn’t appeal to me, so I got going with Wii Fit, which is more my style. That helped in many ways. With balance, with muscles re-building and with self-confidence.

Like most people I let the exercise program fade away. I take it up again every now and then and let it disappear again, even though it feels good to be doing it, and I know it helps with my mobility and strength. It’s certainly helped me with my weight loss, and keeping to my ideal weight, which I’m proud to have achieved, and maintained. When I switch on the Wii Fit machine, I know I have to weigh in, so that helps me to keep on track with my dietary path of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds (in moderation), and not too much meat.

So yes, I am looking good at the moment. There’s certainly no wheelchair waiting for me, as far as I can see. There are no guarantees though. I still have Mick the Stick and Jane the Cane ready for me in my car, if I need them. And my walker, whose name is Tex (It’s an Adelaide Crows Football Club joke), he’s in the house, loaded up with bits and pieces as a storage place at the moment, not waiting for me to keep me steady at all.

I work to keep a positive attitude to life – I do my own form of Nature meditation every now and then, I try not to stress about anything. Things happen, and I know worrying about them will never prevent them from happening. Stress has been proven to reduce the lesions in the Central Nervous System, that cause MS. The positive attitude and the lack of stress both help me to keep going well. If all could do the same thing, the whole world would be a happier place!

I’m looking good, but others can’t feel my numbness of hands, feet, and knees, and they can’t feel the way my legs shake slightly when I’ve been standing up for too long. They also don’t realise that when I’m sitting down, it’s not because I’m lazy, but quite likely because I was worried my legs might stop holding me up!

Life is good, getting better all the time, but who knows how long that will be the case! MS is there for life, unless they come up with an actual cure, rather than just another way to treat the symptoms. Bring on the cure!