Monthly Archives: October 2016

Worried about Your MS? Don’t Stress!

Having MS is never a good thing, but did you know that stressing about this, or in fact any other negative thing in your life won’t help you and can in fact make things much worse. Experiments have been done about this, see here¬†showing that negative stress can make getting a relapse more likely, while good things, though perhaps giving stress, but in a good way, can reduce the likelihood. So events such as a new baby in the family or a wedding, which can be stressful, but in good ways that are fine in relation to MS. They won’t (or shouldn’t) bring on a relapse, where negative stressors might.

Learning coping skills so that you know how to better handle stress is a valuable thing to do. Thinks like Mindfulness, Meditation, and Exercise can all help with Stress Management, leading to a calmer mind, and fewer lesions – both excellent things. Being with Nature, looking at swaying trees, and clouds as they pass by overhead, these things can bring a gentle contentment to a person, and are free!

above the fish pond

Having MS can be stressful itself, of course. No-one wants to have a chronic illness with no cure, at the moment. There are ways to lessen the load though. Eating a good nutritional diet, exercise, being involved with other people in non-stressful ways, these are good things for everyone and especially for those of us with MS.

Being involved with other people who have MS is a good way to find other people who truly understand your MS life. There are many peer support groups that are connected with the MS Society in various states in Australia, and I’m sure the MS Society in other countries would have the same. When you finally find people who are living with some of the same issues as you, it can help you to feel less alone. Our family and friends may try to understand, but as they say – If you don’t get it, you’ll never really ‘get’ it.

So best of luck to everyone living with MS, and if you have any tips for remaining stress-free, please share them in the comments here!

 

 

Remembering How Things Have Been

I was looking at another of my blogs this morning, and found a blog post that is very much suited to this blog. I sometimes accidentally post the incorrect thing to a blog, as in this case. This error may be caused by having too many blogs, not paying enough attention to what I’m doing, my MCI (Mild Cognitive something that starts with an I – Impairment, I think).

What ever the reason (and it could just be age …), this is where you will find the blog post I’m talking about.¬†In the post I talk about Mick the Stick, the mobility device I have that assists me when needed to get about. As the time of writing the post in August 2013, I was three years into my new life with Multiple Sclerosis, and getting more used to walking with a walking stick.

On the day in question, I was obviously feeling stronger, but still a little uncertain about my footing, so took Mick the Stick with me on a walk I wouldn’t even think about using him now. When I re-read the post, prior to decided to put up the link to it on this post, I wondered, but then remembered how frail I had felt at times with my MS. Frailty isn’t with me these days, except perhaps at night after a big day of being out and about.

I am so glad my medication and whatever it is, is working well for me, and I can almost forget I have a chronic illness. Except of course when I forget a word I know that I know, which is frustrating, but it also reminds me not to get too cocky about how ‘well’ I’m doing with things.

And then of course there are the rushed trips to the toilet which remind me even more strongly of some of my less lovely MS symptoms. Any kind of incontinence is a very nasty thing to have to deal with, and I am grateful to the government for the financial assistance to buy the items needed to deal with the issue.

Does anyone else have thoughts about the progression of a chronic illness they’re living with? Please feel free to leave a message in the comments section …

 

 

Lists are not for Losers!

List making is not proof that a person is a fool, list making is proof they are organised! I adore the idea of writing lists, and I admire people who regularly write lists, and tick things off their list as the things on the list get done.

I’m not a list maker though, not of a daily basis anyway. It’s one of the many things I wish I could get into the habit of doing, along with working on my novel, my new ‘Buster the Dog’ book, my Wii Fit exercise program, and probably something else I would remember if I had written a list with the thing written down on it …

I’m thinking about getting more organised though, and to that end, I did a Google search and found this article on the internet. I found the article short, easy to understand, and intelligent. I can easily believe the truth of what I read. The reasons why list making is a good idea were outlined well, in a fun way, and it should be easy for me to follow at least some of the ideas.

I have problems with my memory due perhaps to my age (approaching 55), also my MS, which has caused something my expert (neuro-psychologist) called ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’. He tested my cognition, particularly memory, and thinking processes in the couple of years after I was diagnosed with MS, and that is how he came up with this diagnosis. It was a very intensive testing process, and I did badly enough to show I had problems. I remember the doctor being somewhat surprised at some of my results, because I did quite well in some things, surprisingly well.

These things related to words. He was surprised,but of course, as a writer, I would have been more surprised if I had done badly, after all, words are my work tools … I am good with words, and that’s not unusual for a writer. I do forget words though, far more often that say ten years ago. As I indicated, words are my work tools, and it worries me a little that I am forgetting words.

Worrying won’t help me though, so I try to just be cool about the whole thing, and laugh about it. I find it sort of amusing that one of the words I often forget is the third word in the diagnosis the neuro-psychologist gave me. I can easily remember Mild and Cognitive but the third word, Impairment, sometimes slips away from me, like a wriggling tadpole or something, slipping out of my grasp as I struggle to hold on to it. I know the word indicates something bad, and think of words that indicate bad things, error, mistake, destruction, distraction – they all seem wrong (as they are in fact wrong), and I might keep trying until I catch that slippery word.

Other times I will just let it go, knowing I will remember the word eventually, as I always do. Worrying can be stressful, and nothing is gained by stressing myself out. It doesn’t help me to remember anything, and it can be quite upsetting, sometimes bringing on other MS symptoms. I certainly don’t want to make that happen.

I know many people have memory problems, but I’m not what I would call old, and I get tired of forgetting things. I do remember many things though, and because I forget there is always the wonderful feeling when I find something I’d misplaced! I’m thinking about some money I kept forgetting about, not being able to remember where I’d put two lots of money. I have spent many more hours than usual looking for these things recently, and I’m glad I finally have both amounts of money in the same place, ready to use the money tomorrow, when I am getting my car fixed!

Do you have memory problems? And if you do, do you have any tricks you can share? I find that putting things in spaces that make sense to me should work, but my thought process is a bit too quirky sometimes, even for me! At least I can make myself laugh though, so I’m still having a good time, in some ways, even though it can be frustrating!

I use my calendar on my phone, which works for me, as long as I remember to look at the calendar!2016-03-09 12.38.22

At one stage, I left these hand weights near this computer, to remind me to do my weight training every day. It worked well, but I’ve given the weights in the photograph to my mother now, so I forget to lift any weights, even though they are relatively close to the computer. They aren’t right in my face, so I forget about them. I have to other, heavier weights. I can see them right now, if I look to the floor to the right of me. No excuses, I will finish this blog post, and do some weights after I switch off the computer in a couple of minutes!