Hello everyone, I hope the Christmas Season’s many duties are travelling along nicely for you, and you are almost ready for the easy part of it all to begin. Christmas when you’re a child is full of fun and happy anticipation, but for the adults it’s not always quite so joyful.
There’s the presents to be bought (and budgeted for), food to be cooked, houses to be tidied up for visitors and many other things. These things are hard enough to get through when you’re full of strength, but with an illness, it just gets harder and harder.
And when you have Multiple Sclerosis, the more difficult things are, the more stress there is involved, the harder it can become for you. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, at least the weather is nice and cool. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is in the first month of summer, and in the state I live in, this summer is kicking in HARD! with too many stinking hot days of well over 35 degrees celsius.
This weather makes me eternally grateful for our air conditioner, which makes our living room almost arctic in its coolness, and I only get hot if I have to venture outside. Fortunately I can stay inside almost all of the time, and if I have to drive anywhere, my car has good air conditioning.
Living with MS is not the easiest thing in the world, but I’m glad that my physical symptoms have been able to be controlled, and I am so much better than I was when I was first diagnosed with this disease. And I’m lucky that my current medication (Gilenya) is working well for me, when I know it doesn’t go so well for some others.
People with MS are all different, unique. What works for one won’t necessarily work for all others. It’s a juggling act, trying to balance medications, side affects, life preferences, family matters and work. When you add in possible cognitive decline, it gets even trickier.
If you have MS and you’re coping well with the whole mess, well done, I salute you. If you have MS and not coping well, I salute you too, keep on with your life as best you can, never turn down offers of help, and good luck to you to work through your struggles.
If you don’t have MS, but know someone who has it, don’t ever assume you know how they feel, unless you’ve ever been stuck in a thick prickly mud pool and couldn’t escape from it. That’s how MS can feel. The best you can do for a loved one, or friend with MS is to ask if you can help with anything, and to listen to what they tell you, and listen for the things they don’t actually say too.
Being an able bodied helper who listens without judging can sometimes be the best thing you can be for your MS friend.
image by Simon Kneebone