Monthly Archives: March 2016

Two things – bad leading to good

The other day I drove to the place we usually get a pizza from, when we want pizza for our evening meal. I’d ordered the pizza first, and when I got there, it was ready for me, yay for that. Living out in the country like we do, we are used to having to drive a bit, to get what we want.

I went into the Dublin Hotel, where the pizza was made for us, paid for the pizza and carried it back toward my car. This all sounds quite ordinary, doesn’t it, woman with pizza, purse, car key, no problems …

Ah but don’t forget this – the woman has MS, and people with MS are more inclined than the general population, to trip and fall. So what did I do after I walked out of the Hotel? Yes, that’s right, I tripped and I fell.

One metre from the door of the Hotel, five metres from my car, down I went. I tripped over nothing at all, for no reason at all, other that the fact that I have MS. The weather was a bit warm, I’ve been feeling a little bit weak because of the weather, and it may have been time for me to have a not so gentle reminder that my life wasn’t actually perfect, and that I did indeed have a disability …

It would be nice if I can say that I leaped straight up again after the fall, and zoomed off home again, no problems at all. What I actually did after the fall, was to sit on my bottom for a few minutes, and reassure the lovely ladies who rushed out of the Hotel to help see if I was OK, and to help me. The two chaps having a smoke in front of the Hotel got involved too, and helped me to stand up again.

I wasn’t OK at all, but as I sat on the ground I’d done a quick check – the pizza was still in the box, and the correct way up, my glasses were on the ground, but not broken, my purse was on the ground too, but nothing had fallen out of it, and my car key was just there on the ground next to me. I wriggled my feet, and they wriggled properly so nothing was broken.

My little finger on my right hand was bleeding from a cut a the very tip, and I held my thumb on it to stop the bleeding. One of the ladies unlocked my car for me, and gave me my purse and glasses. Then she put the pizza in my car and asked again if I was alright. I said I was, got carefully into my car and drove off.

That was the bad …

The good?

That night, I had an idea for a short poem about this experience. I knew I had a poetry workshop to run the next morning, and one of the themes I would be talking about was short poems. I had recently learned of the idea of writing ten word poems, and I spent some time Saturday night before I went to sleep composing a ten word poem. I told myself to remember the poem in the morning, confident my aching left knee would remind me about the poem.

When I woke up, I did indeed remember the poem, Yay! It’s a simple little poem, full of angst and agony, short and far from sweet. It’s an angry poem, a painful poem about a painful episode in my life. A reminder that I had a disability, and that Gravity was not my best friend, Gravity was in fact a spiteful bitch at times!

It felt good to write out my feelings about this, I have strong opinions on the benefits of creative writing as therapy, and my experiences in life that I’ve written about have certainly been improved by writing about them. This is a good thing, a very good thing. Yes, my left knee is still painful and will be quite bruised very soon, and my little finger on my right hand is still a little bit painful if I bang the keyboard keys too hard, but things are OK, and I have a brand new poem!

I read that poem to those at the workshop and received a good response, I have a new poem, I know I will be all better soon enough, and with any luck, I won’t fall again for a long time! I know I will though, some time. I just have to hope I get over it without anything major happening, and my bones remain unbroken, and my sense of humour stays intact so that another poem can happen if needed!

So may I always have a good thing follow, if something bad happens …

Do you use creative writing as therapy? I’d love to read your thoughts about it …


On Being Labelled

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and went through the process of getting connected with the various formal assistance organisations available, I thought about things. A lot. I had a new label, I was officially now ‘disabled’. Or was I?

Many people with MS will say, ‘I have MS, MS doesn’t have me!’

(photo by Martin Christmas 2013)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s a way of refusing to bend to this tricksy and nasty disease. Sometimes you can’t do things you want to, sure, but other times you can. And it’s those other times, that make it difficult, in a paradoxical way.

Those times when you may barely feel you have MS. The times when you are in remission, no signs of a relapse, the times when you feel you could run a marathon, or dance the night away! These are grand times, and you relish the feeling. But they are also the times others will remember, and throw at you as ammunition, during the other times, the times when you feel you can barely make it from one room to another and the thought of dancing makes you feel ill.

Yes, I have MS, I have a disability, but somehow, I feel it’s important to label myself as having a disability, rather than saying I am disabled … I have the ability to do so many things that other ‘normal’ people can’t or won’t do. I am a published author, I regularly perform my poetry to an audience, I happily stand up and give talks to groups of people about my writing, my MS, and other things. I’ve often been told I am ‘brave’ or ‘inspirational’.

I think those two last labels are fine ones, even though accepting them makes me blush a little! I certainly don’t feel brave, for doing the things I love doing, although, thinking further on that, I realise some people have long held ambitions that they may never see come to fruition, and so they may see me as being brave for having the courage to put aside the expectations of others, to do what they truly want to do.

This is the wonderful thing I felt my diagnosis with MS, my label of ‘Disabled’, gave to me – it gave me the permission to do what my heart and mind told me I truly wanted and needed to do. I now had the permission to give my all to the creative writing that fed my soul, my sense of worth, that made me the person I was always meant to be.

The label that feels truest to me isn’t the label of being ‘disabled’ or even ‘having a disability’. The best label for me, the one that sits best with the ‘me’ I believe myself to be, is the label of ‘Poet and Writer’. That is me, wife, mother, poet and writer, Carolyn Cordon.

So who are you, what are the labels you are willing to accept? Do you think society labels people too readily? I’d love to read your thoughts on this …


A Resolution (again)

This is my workstation, the computer desk, my favourite place to be at home. The computer is there, the keyboard is there, and yes, my small hand weights are there too. There’s also space for my drink, which at the moment is a glass of water, soon it will be a cup of coffee, I think.

This room is the main room of our house, the kitchen is just a few metres behind me, the TV is off to my right, there are a sliding door (glass) to my left and a window to my right as well as the TV. The window is easier to look out at, the TV is slightly behind me.

In the next room, not terrible far, is the Wii Fit machine, and another TV to view the Wii Fit on. So yes, everything is there ready for me, whatever I want to do – eat, drink, work, exercise, observe Nature. All the good things in my life.

So that brings me to what this post is all about. A Resolution, one I have written about here many times. Yes, I yet again am committing to do more Wii Fit exercises. I will also do hand weights every day. I have a kind of a coach, a person from the government who is helping me to get healthy, by exercising and eating well (Nutritionally speaking, not Flavourly). I’m not saying fruit and veg aren’t tasty, they’re just not a delicious as say a slice of cheesecake …

2016-03-09 12.38.22

This morning was the morning my ‘coach’ rang me to talk about how this Get Healthy program is going – I’m halfway through, and I’m finding it interesting to have a coach for the first time. They’re not the sort of coach who is in my face making me do stuff, they’re only on the telephone, not in person. But it’s always a good thing to have a person who is as committed as you are to do the things you want to do, especially when these things are good for you both mentally and physically.

The Get Healthy program is a SA Health initiative, where people can sign up for six months of either phone calls or sent information, regarding exercise and nutrition as well as other health related ideas. I signed up in January this year, and still have three months to go. I was pleased today to be told I’d lost weight since then, but still had a little way to go to get to my desired weight.

I know I’ve said I’ll do this before, but I’m hoping that by putting the word out more, I’ll be more inclined to stick to it. So to be clear, my Resolution is to do thirty minutes of Wii Fit exercises three times a week, and to do one session of lifting hand weights every day.

There, that’s it. I’ll also keep an eye on my food intake, but I know I’ll still eat sweet things sometimes, I’ll just be careful …

Has anyone else been successful at these things? I’d love to hear some tips and ideas to help me get comfortably into my jeans!





Barometric Pressure and Multiple Sclerosis

If you Google both barometric pressure and multiple sclerosis, you will get a lot of hits. A lot of the articles on Google are personal comments, indicating that they are, or seem to be affected by changes in the pressure, whether high or low.

I haven’t found any scientific articles in my cursory look into the subject, but I certainly feel I am affected by this. Just before the rain comes in, and the pressure lowers, I feel like I am more affected, and feel weaker.

These things are often felt by many sufferers before there is any scientific evidence uncovered to verify our feelings and ideas. Should we be concerned about this? After all, we’re the ones who have MS, not the scientists!

Well, yes, I think we do in fact need to be concerned about this. There is such a thing as herd mentality, where people tend to go along with the most important people, agreeing with them on issues, and believing the same things they believe.

Does this apply to this circumstance? I have seen a group of comments about barometric pressure on social media, and I have decided that, yes, this affects me too. Thinking about it in a more scientific way now though, I wonder … My head and sinuses feel heavy. Am I imagining that because others are mentioning the current low pressure, and that they are feeling affected? Who knows.

There are many examples given on many sites on the internet, some personal, some nonsensical, some scientific. I’ll go with the scientific, such as this one. If you look at it, we will see many historical examples of mob mentality, where people follow along with others, no matter what. Not wanting to stand out can be an issue, that explains some of this, and also perhaps wanting an explanation for something that is happening to you.

Of course, for some things, there isn’t really an explanation, and some things just happen because of a combination of circumstances, that may never happen in quite the same way again. Humans like to have reasons, and will often snatch at silly ones, because they don’t want to believe the is no actual reason. Sometimes things just happen.

So what do you think about this? Herd mentality? Coincidence? Or truth? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this … Leave a comment!above the fish pond