Author Archives: carolyncordon

About carolyncordon

Wife, mother, writer, dog enthusiast. Spending too much time on writing and not enough time on vacuuming. Apparently. I can't see a problem. I have suffered in my life, I have had wonderful things occur in my life. Concentrating on the wonderful things makes it easier for me to live a great life.

Exercising Does Help!

As a person with the chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), who is managing quite well, really, I am a good example of a few different things. These are not in any particular order, and some days one will feel the most helpful than at other times. So here is the list:

  1. Exercising
  2. Having a nutritionally sound diet
  3. Living with as little stress as possible
  4. Finding the best medication to help
  5. Having a positive attitude in life

My exercise program is very much an on and off again thing. At the moment, it’s mostly very much On, and I’m feeling the benefits of that, I think. I feel capable of physically doing the things I want and need to do, and I certainly like that! I am a member of the MS Society SA & NT and on their Facebook site recently they had a program of six weeks of challenges, where interested people could indicate their chosen challenge, and report on it and encourage others doing their own challenges. My challenge was to do ten minutes of exercise every day, so I tried to switch on our Wii Fit machine to do at least that much or more exercise, with the machine. Six weeks is a good length of time to set a habit, and now I feel as if something is wrong if I don’t switch the machine on in the morning, unless I am busy doing something else. So far I’ve lost a little bit of weight, which is good, but I also feel stronger, which is great!
hula hoop for blog

My diet is pretty well a good diet, I get sufficicient nutrients from eating fruit, vegetables, some grains (not enough probs), nuts, and some meat. I also have a moderate amount of coffee, because I love it, but I make sure not to overdo it, and to only drink coffee later in the day if I am going out, and will be home late. I try to remember to drink sufficient water too (not eight cups of water, because I don’t need that much, I’m a small person, and not a super athelete or physical labourer.

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(the plant above is Purslane, a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which we now have growing at home, and I am trying to eat some of it every day – trying, but it isn’t a habit yet, I hope it will soon though!)

I am currently trying to move into a secular Buddhist kind of life style, and also am looking at the Stoic philosophy tenets. My natural life attitude seems to be that of an accepting realist, one who looks at life, thinks on it, and deals with what life offers to me, or hits me with. I then deal with whatever that is, in what seems to be the best way possible. I don’t overreact, I simply go on with my life however seems the right way to go, thus reducing stress.

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(picture by Simon Kneebone)

I was diagnosed with MS in 2010, and my neurologist advised me to use Avonex, which is and injecable medication, used once a week, with an injection directly into the muscle. So soon after learning I had MS, I began jabbing myself in the thigh muscle, left one one week, right one the next week and so on. This went on for around two years, and worked OK, but I was very glad to change medication to a tablet form Gilenya, which is a little tablet taken once a day, every day. This is easy to do, and a much more  pleasant way to have my MS meds, that’s for sure. This medication is helping me even more than the Avonex did, and I can see myself staying with this MS med for a very long time into the future.

Having a positive attitude to life. Hmm, I’m definitely a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. If there is a good side to anything at all, I’ll find it, it’s one of my valuable skills! Anyone I meet could become my next good friend, and I treat every opportunity, at the very least, as a new chance to learn. If things go wrong, wow, what a grand time of learning new things that can be! If and when I do something incredibly stupid, which happens more often than I’d like, well at least that’s one more thing I know I should try hard to avoid happening again! I know many people and I’m glad that I can be friends or at least friendly enough acquaintences. Or if they are truly toxic people, I know I don’t need them, and am comfortable in offloading them …

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Life is a crazy mixed up bunch of stuff, and I use my life to measure up the good, the bad, and take what I want from it all! I’m currently putting together some ideas, and wise thoughts of my own, with the plan to make it into a published book at some stage, and I have some other ideas for books to come in the future. Life seems to be a very good thing, from where I’m looking!

I write about these things, and I love to talk to others about these things too! If you need a Public Speaker, ask me, I’ll do it if I can get there!

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Being Positive Helps

Having a chronic illness is never a super fabulous thing to have. Whether it’s diabetes, arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, or any one of the many chronic illness that can hit a person, it will bring challenges to your life.  My own chronic illness is MS (multiple sclerosis).

I’m fortunate to be living well enough, with my chronic illness, and I am certainly grateful for that. I have found a medication (Gilenya), and a way to live my life that helps to keep my symptoms at a low level. I’m careful to eat well (plenty of fruit vegetables, not too much saturated fats or salt), and to exercise my body. I also think good thoughts, concentrating on the good things in life.

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I firmly believe in the good that can come from having a postive attitude to life, concentrating on the good things, not the negative bad things. There has been reputable investigation into this very issue, about the good that positivity can do to your body. This article talks on these matters.

I also have a broad circle of friends, see my family members regularly, and am strongly connected with my communiy. These things all add up to a fine, fun, and fabulous life, chronic illness, huh, step outa the way, I’m busy having a good time!

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Challenges and Commitments

I spend quite a bit of time flaffing around on Facebook, as I’m sure many other people do too. But Facebook can also be a useful tool for getting assistance to accomplish things, commit to things, receive challenges to do things.

One of the challenges I have recently ‘signed up for’, is to do ten minutes of exercise every day, for six weeks. I am currently in the second week of this challenge, and doing, ok, not brilliantly but ok. And ok is far better than failing miserably, isn’t it?

This challenge will have prizes and things, for people who get the most people working on their own challenges, voting for by the people who are members of the Facebook group. I don’t care so much about the prizes, but I really, really hope I can help to get people moving, exercising, more.

The Facebook group is for people in South Australia who have MS. I know how much exercising can help people with MS, I am probably a good example of this. I know the more I get out and about, and moving around, the more I am able to do.

Of course, my current medication (Gilenya) is most likely helping me too, but I was feeling the good effects from exercise on my former medication (Avonex). Getting moving more helps me to keep moving more. As I’ve written on this blog previously, my own Neurologist told me to “Move it or you’ll lose it” or something along those lines.

Anyway, so this is why I am particularly concentrating on exercising more. Ten minutes may not sound like much, but for some people with MS, ten minutes wouldn’t be possible. I want to work to help myself be able to move whenever I want or need to move!

My main exercises are walking (a bit) and also doing exercise with our Wii Fit machine. I enjoy these exercises, but so often, I lapse and don’t do them. Having this six week challenge on Facebook has made me commit more firmly to doing it. If I don’t do ten minutes one day, I will try to do twenty or thirty minutes the next day.

To further strengthen my commitment, today I started up a new Facebook page – Wii Fit Wellness Group At the moment there are only two members of this group, but I hope to welcome more people who want to work on their own fitness and good health, whether they have Multiple Sclerosis or not.

We can feel so busy sometimes that we let opportunities for doing the good things slip, and just do the busy, busy, doing not much at all really, chores take over. When I signed up for my six weeks of ten minutes a day of exercise, I could see that a mere ten minutes should be something I could do every single day, no matter what!

As it’s turned out, I’ve let myself down occasionally, and not done much exercise at all some days, not even ten minutes of Wii Fit. This is why I often do more time with the machine, hoping the overall amount of time will add up to even more than the ten minutes.

Whether it does or doesn’t, I was pleased that today, my weight was down a bit, getting closer to the weight I’m aiming at for this fortnight, and closer to the actual ideal weight I want to be. The weight isn’t the most important thing, but I have two pairs of jeans I would love to be able to wear again!

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the Garden …

Why MS in the Garden, you might ask, why is the garden relevant to having MS? I have to admit, back in 2010, when MS first came into my life, being in the garden was certainly not on my list of ‘Things to to”. At that stage, I was struggling to even walk, inside the house, so going outside was not even considered.

But times have changed. That first MS relapse, when I was hit hard with MS symptoms – muscle weakness on my right side from arms to legs, tingling in my hands, feet and legs, mostly. The weakness was something I’d never dealt with before, but the tingling in my hands and feet had been with me for some time. tingling and numbness …

above the fish pond

Anyway, I saw my doctor, then a neurologist, was diagnosed, provided with medication, a walking stick and then walker, and life calmed down a little. I learned how to inject myself with a medication, which I did once a week, and I eventually began to get over this relapse, and headed to my new, normal state.

I was still nowhere ‘back to normal’ and I now acknowledge that where I am right now is probably as good as my ‘normal’ is going to be. But how I am now, some eight years after diagnosis, after a change in medication to a small capsule daily, rather than an injection, well, how I am now is pretty darned fine!

And now that I have got to this better way in my life, I am certainly heading out into the garden a lot more. My husband has retired from work now, and I’m happy to leave most of the hard work to him, probably just as well, because I was never going to be as strong as him, so he is far more suited to the harder work.

a rose by any other name

But I can harvest vegetables, fruit, and herbs, I can pick flowers, can do the watering, I can let the dog out into the garden and back inside (& deal with whatever needs to be dealt with there). Being outside in the garden is one of my most favourite places to be. Whether out there, gardening, or just out there, looking at things, plants, animals, clouds, birds, & the beautiful big blue sky, I love to be in the garden!

(Missy loves to be inside on her sofa)

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So Missy may prefer being inside at times, but now that I am able to do it, I am very fond of being outside, where Nature goes on doing its thing. I can be out there with Nature, being inspired, seeing lovely and/or interesting things, & having a lovely time. I am very grateful to have the lovely garden where we live, and I will continue to enjoy it!

I will always try to remember the time when just being outside didn’t seem to be an easy thing to do, and I will treasure all of the good things that go on happening, outside whether anybody is out there or not. If you have a special place to be, I’d love to here about it, please leave a message and tell us.

 

Enjoying My Peer Support Group

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Today I went to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) & Parkinsons Peer Support Group, in Gawler. This was my first meeting at this monthly group, for some time. The last time I was there, those with Parkinsons weren’t a part of the group, but they connected to the group more recently.

There were people at the meeting I didn’t know, those with Parkinsons and their supporters, but they all seemed like fine people, and fitted in well. Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis are alike in many ways, but different in others. All in all, there were many similarities, and we got on well.

Being at the group reminded me of how I was when I began the Gawler MS Peer support group, relatively soon after MS came into my life. I don’t remember when it was, but I as diagnosed with MS in 2010, so it was after that. Where the group meets now, is a fine venue, near the Gawler Hospital.

Parking was not so easy this morning, and it is often a bit of a problem to get a park really close to the venue where the meetings are held. The hospital has lots of parking a bit further away though, so that was fine. The MS Society has a Facebook page and there is a challenge being held, for interested people to name their challenge and do it for six weeks, with various prizes to people deemed worthy of being awarded.

I jumped happily onto this challenge, and wrote on the relevant Facebook post that my challenge would be to do ten minutes of exercise, 7 days a week, for the six weeks. I’m doing well with the challenge, which is in its second week. I either walk, do Wii Fit exercises, or do some other kind of exercise. While I may go without actually doing any of these things on the occasional day, overall, I am doing more than that, if you add all of my bits of exercises together.

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There was a little bit of talk about this challenge at the Peer Support group this morning, but I don’t think any of the people there are involved in it. There were older people with MS there, and people who are perhaps more physically ‘challenged’ by multiple sclerosis, than I am. Several of the people at the meeting who I know, commented on how good I was looking.

There were people with walkers, and at least one person with a walking stick, while I was able to walk briskly into the room where everyone was sitting and listening to the speaker, the manager of the MS Society SA&NT. It seemed that it was going to be a morning tea, and there were lots of delicious cakes and biscuits there to eat. Some people where having coffee, but I was happy with a couple of small and yummy things to eat, and no coffee needed.

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It was a fine atmosphere, listening to the talk about upcoming events, possible things in the future, and plans various people had for options and ideas. This gathering was a small one, it being school holidays may have been a reason for that, with some people having children home, or perhaps being away somewhere on holidays themselves. Having MS can be a challenge, but who doesn’t love holidays?

I was interested to hear of some of the future plans of the woman who took over this group when I left off leading it. I’m excited for her, she seems to be moving into interesting things, relating to the Society. Good for her! It’s good to see something I helped get started, being held in such good hands.

So it certainly seems Gawler is a fine place for those with MS, with this group providing a supportive place to visit and meet with other people who truly understand the problems you might have, from having MS, which can be many, and can be troublesome indeed. Yes being with your peers, being understood, these are great things to have, and that is why I love Peer Support Groups!

If you have an illness, I strongly recommend you join a peer support group, if there is one available, you will be amongst people you understand, and can give you news and clues that will help!

 

Increased Exercise Helps

More exercise means greater ability to do even more exercise! At least that’s my understanding of the whole thing, and I hope it’s correct. My neurologist told me, more or less, this was the case, when he said to me, not long after he told me that I had MUltiple Sclerosis (MS), and that it was important that I make a committment to walking more.

“Use or or Lose it” is what he told me, and at that time, back in 2010, just walking from one end of my house to the other was a difficult task. I managed to do more though, and got through that first collapse, and then moved back to better health. Not perfect health, of course. I will probably never be as physically able as I was back before I was hit by MS, but I am certainly better now, than I was then when it first happened.

I can walk for 500 metres or more, and I don’t get as fatigued in the evenings as I used to get. I can go out at night, and can keep going until I get home again. So I guess I’m getting fitter, and stronger, and I’m glad about that. At the moment, I’m involved with a challenge with the MS Society of SA & NT. It’s an eight week challenge, and people were asked to say what their challenge was they wanted to do.

My challenge that I put up on the MS Facebook page, was to do ten minutes of exercise every single day. At the moment I’m not doing quite as well as I did at the beginning, but I’ve done enough days with thirty minutes of exercise rather than ten minutes, so I’m looking on that as being still in front, as long as I do a little bit of extra moving around. I have to get back to the actual challenge though, and do some proper work outs.

Being able to walk, get from my car to wherever I’m going, and such things are important to me. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone else, I want to be able to take after myself as much as possible. If I do too much in warm/hot weather, I know my body won’t like it and I’ll pay the price, with my muscles giving way, until I can get cool again.
So exercises during the oncoming warmer days, will probably be at home, with the air conditioner on.

Keeping cool and getting fitter, these are both tools to help me get on will with my life. MS at the moment is going OK, I’m looking forward to a time when I can say I’m going extremely well with MS, but I’m not sure when or if that will happen. OK is enough for now, and I am grateful for that.

I’m using hand weights when I do the Wii Fit exercises I do some days, and I hope adding these will help with the whole strength increasing thing, and the extra walking I’m throwing in some days helps too. It all helps, I think. I may not every become extra ‘iron woman’ fit, but being able to get around when and where I want to is enough for now. I hope I can keep going with this challenge, there’s about six weeks to go, and I’m feeling good!