Category Archives: living well with MS

Use It or Lose It!

from my Facebook Page:

“I’ve begun a challenge with the MS Society, started yesterday. The challenge I posted was to exercise for ten minutes every single day. So far, it’s going well (I actually started the challenge four days early). I am doing Wii Fit exercises (Aerobic ones), and it’s going well. If I can’t do the Wii Fit, for whatever reason, I will walk briskly for at least ten minutes instead.

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The Wii Fit Hula Hoop exercise is one of the Aerobic ones I do. I’m not at good at it as my husband is, and I’ve had trouble meeting or even getting close to, my own highest score, so those are two challenges to try to meet!

Another thing to help might be to park my car further away, for whatever I’m doing, but I’m not sure if I will do that. I’ll be thinking about the idea though, so who knows. I want to be mobile, so I can keep on being mobile. The idea of not being able to get out and about, doing all of the things I love doing, that doesn’t seem like a good life, not at all. ” I tend to park my car in the same places, when I go out, parks that are ‘nice and close’. But I know it would be better for me if I looked for parks that are nice and shady, instead, and further away, so I get in some extra walking!

I am glad I’ve begun doing this, and I’m thrilled to have four other people doing this particular challenge with me. Having MS can sometimes feel quite isolating, so being involved with this MS group, which is moderated by the MS Society NT & SA, is a great way to talk about MS related things, with people who truly understand you, when you talk about MS, because they have MS too.

The idea of being stuck in my house and needing a wheelchair to get around frightens me, at least a bit, and so it helps me to keep focused on working to keep active. I want to be strong and involved in life, not weak and isolated. Life has many wonderful things in it, and I sure want to be doing some of those things!

There are prizes available to the people doing this Facebook challenge, I don’t know what the prizes are, and that is certainly not the most important part to me. I just like to challenge, and I’m loving sending encouragement to all of the other people who are doing their challenges, but those doing mine with me, and all of the other ones too. Meeting challenges, or at least having a good go at meeting them, is a great and empowering thing to do.

 

When you have MS, it can sometimes feel like you are useless, meeting challenges though, that makes you feel like a winner. I want to live my life feeling like a winner, not like a useless pile of nothing!

Do you set and meet challenges too? Leave a comment here, I’d love to hear about it!

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Challenging Myself, for My Own Good

Early this week, I decided I was going to commit to doing 10 minutes of exercise – brisk walking or something similar, every single day, in the interests of helping my body to get fitter and so healthier, for my mental health to make me happy with myself, and perhaps my spiritual health in some unknown way … I went well for the first few days, doing brisk walking every day. Then of course, life got in the way, and I went without doing those ten minutes of brisk walking. Disaster! Or was it?

Yesterday was the day I should have done a brisk walk or something similarly active but didn’t. So, last night I decided I would make up for not doing my brisk walking, by doing double the usual desired length of time, to make up for not doing it yesterday. And I’m happy with myself because that is exactly what I did. Today, I have got the Wii Fit machine connected up and with fresh batteries, and yes, I did twenty minutes of exercise, aerobic exercises, and I did a weigh in too.

The weight was higher than I would have liked, but the lower weight I’d like it to be is a work in progress, and I expect that will be lower when I weigh in again tomorrow. Because I’ve decided I will do my exercises that way, concentrating on the

AerobicFitness  type of exercises. hula hoop for blog

Today I did two sets of the Hula Hoop exercises, ten minutes of Free Step, two minutes of the Basic Step. Then I did the free run and after that, after a brief rest, some ‘Flying’ where I waved my arms like I was trying to fly. (for this exercise, I didn’t land on any thing, I just kept on flying as high as I could) That added up to the needed twenty minutes, Hooray!

Challenging myself like this is good for me, I feel tired but happy with myself. The more I move, the easier I will be able to keep on moving. I know that many people don’t know a lot about Multiple Sclerosis, but they think afflicted people have to use a wheelchair. There is certainly no wheelchair in my future, not if I have anything to do with it, I don’t even need my walking stick or cane!

Challenges like this could make me a better person in ways beyond the physical, so perhaps that is the ‘spiritual’ side of my life that is being addressed. I was thinking earlier today about the Maslow’s Pyramid of needs, and this exercise program I am doing is certainly helping with my self-esteem, which is the second highest need, according to Abraham Maslow.

At the highest level is self-actualisation. I think the fact that I am writing this blog post about all of these things could be said to be addressing that need. I am interested in knowing what others think about all of these things =- please leave a comment, if you have anything so add to my thoughts.

 

 

Positive Attitude equals a Positive Life?

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-your-attitudes-affect-your-health

The article in the link above is a great one, that says many of the things I believe, regarding having a positive attitude to life. It says that having a positive attitude to life and to ageing can help you to in fact live a longer life, and who wouldn’t want that? Probably people who are hating the life they’re living might not want it, so I guess they’re bringing what they want, then.

If you have a negative attitude to life, and don’t look forward to the great things that are there for you to see, experience, and if you instead get out of bed dreading the passing of the day, every day, well you may well not have to endure you life for so long. But having that attitude is a dreary way to go, that’s for sure.

My general attitude to life is to find the good things and enjoy them, and to find ways to minimise, improve or otherwise make better, the bad things that are there. I am an optimist and am happy far more times than I am unhappy. I also have things planned in my future to look forward to, good things, things that can lead to even more good things. I have great friends, and my family love me. I know I am a lucky person, a very lucky person.

This luck in life I have seems to affect my health as well. I have a chronic illness, MS (Multiple Sclerosis) that can habe many bad effects on the lives of people with it. I have certainly had some of those bad effects, but I am almost always able to have only minimal ill effects from my MS. I am on a medication that seems to work well for me, when many other affected people have far worse results from the same medication.

I have no proof that my positive attitutude is positively responsible for this result, but I’m sure that it helps in some way or other. Expecting things to work well, and being greatful when they do, these are tools to keep myself living a good and positive life. Do you believe your attitude is responsible for how you are, living with MS? I’d love to hear about it, if you do! Feel free to leave a comment here.

I’m Nuts for Nuts!

Yes, I know eating too many nuts is bad for a person, but eating too much of almost anything is bad for us. Probably it would be difficult to overdose on lettuce or celery, but apart from those two, a moderate amount of most things would be OK, regarding food and drinks. When a person has a chronic illness, as I have (multiple sclerosis – MS), eating a good healthy diet is recommended by the health experts.

And of course, nuts, in moderation, for a part of that healthy diet. I did a little research (ie, I googled it) and walnuts definitely seem to be one of the best nuts to eat, in terms of good health. I have had a very high reading on my cholesterol recently, so I am happy to find things that might help to reduce my reading there. Walnuts have been judged as the best nut for this purpose. This is great because I don’t mind walnuts at all. They’re not my favourite nut, but I quite like them.

The only real heathy diet issue I have is that I don’t eat fish or seafood at all. I don’t like it, and it makes me vomit, which is a bad thing to do 😉 – yuck! The thing these foods are particularly good for is Omega 3 fatty acids, so I am missing out on that healthful item in my diet, unless I can find ways to source it from other places. I happy to report that a new herb we have begun growing, purslane, is very high in the Omega 3 fatty acids, so finding some growning locally the other day was a health bonus!

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I only planted a small seedling of purslane, but I hope and expect in a few weeks time, we may well be adding it to our meals, whenever appropriate. Eating our medicine, by finding the good things and limiting the bad things, that’s my favourite way to go with these things. Good and healthy food leads to a good and healthy life, and who wouldn’t want that?

Do you have any thoughts about these things? I’d love it if you left a comment here!

 

Mild Autumn Days

We are close to the last month of Autumn, in Australia, where I live. In my part of South Australia today we had one of the lovely mild Autumnal days which I love so much. Gentle breezes, a slight bit of rain early on, and then lovely kind sunshine to dry the clothes I’d hung out before lunchtime.

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(picture by Simon Kneebone)

Hanging out, and later bringing in, a load of washing can tire me out quite a bit sometimes, but today it was a pleasure to be out there, taking care of this task that I now often share with my husband, who is also my carer. I don’t know why it felt so easy for my today, but I know I’m very glad that it was, because who knows if that might last.

The thing about having MS (Multiple Sclerosis), is that you never really know what you’ll be capable of doing, until you’re doing it. You have good days, as I did today, and then you can have the bad days, when simply getting up and taking the full laundry basket outside is too difficult. After having had MS for eight years, I’ve learned to make the most of the good days, and rest up on the bad days.

Having things to look forward to doing, and enjoying lovely days as today was, these go toward more good days, I think. I have a writing related project that is exciting me, and will enable me to do something to help other people who are struggling in another way. It’s a creative writing project, and anything creative writing related is something that fills me with joy. Helping others, and bringing new creative writing into the world, this is blissful to me, it feels like my life’s work.

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This idea of my life’s work is a good one to think about. I know that a full-time job wouldn’t be good for me, it would be too stressful and would interfere with my sleep. I know this from past experience, and I won’t go through those stress levels again, because I hate how my body reacts to that. Weakness and worry don’t go together well, but that’s what I get from stress. This is not something that doing workshops does to me.

With creative writng workshop kind of work, I feel alive, invigorated and thrilled to be doing something I know that I can do, and do well. I’ve done this work in a variety of different places, with people of varying degrees of literacy levels, and it always comes up with some truly special writing from at least some of the attendees. I hope for this, and also healing, for the attendees at my next project!

It’s Autumn time, and my life is going fine!

 

Living a Good Life

Is living a good life the answer to it all? And if it is, what is ‘a good life’ anyway? Two good questions and I can only hope I have the answers. I can’t answer for everyone, just for myself, and I can honestly say I feel I am certainly living a good life. I’ll talk about why, and others can decide for themselves whether my life is a good life.

First up is this thing that I have, that many might say vcould prevent the living of a good life. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Bang – surely that prevents the possibility of a good life? No actually. MS if it is hitting a person hard, can causing them to lose their mobility, so they are stuck in a wheelchair, that would make the good life much harder to attain.

But having a medication that works well for you, that makes it much easier to find that good life. Having finances and relationships under control are important too, as are eating a nutritionally good diet, and getting some exercise. Having things to look forward to in life, that’s another important thing, and feeling that you are important in the world, either because you have a job that satisfies you and that you do well, or because your family love you and feel you are important in their lives.

If you can have these things with no stress, that is an excellent thing in life. I feel that living a stress-free life is perhaps the most important thing there is in life. When things are going well, and you feel untroubled, your body can function well, especially if you are doing the exercise and eating well with it.

I do a mindfulness nedication from time to time, taking moments to be at one with Nature, breathing in the good, and breathing out the bad, mindfully being at peace with the sky, the trees, with myself. Breathing in slowly, and out slowly, just for a few minutes, when I think of it, it all adds up to a stress-free time, which further leads to more stress-free time, and so onto a stress-free life.

I feel I am important to my family, my close friends, and my wider circle of acquaintances, and of course I’m important to my sweetest friend, our dog Missy! IMAG0272She has a chronic illness of her own, Canine Dry Eye, which needs treatment morning and night. This is my most important role in her life, and I certainly feel important because I can do this for her, putting drops into her troubled eyes. Missy recently had medical treatment, and needs more soon, having a cared for pet brings these things, as they age. Missy will get the help she needs, for as long as we are able to provide it, and if it becomes too difficult, we honestly know we’ve done our best for her.

Pets can bring much joy into our lives, and certainly having dogs in my life for the past thirty years has been a wonderful thing. My illness has been with me for the past ten years, but the dogs have been with me for much longer, and so my good life is certainly helped by having the wonderful dogs I’ve shared my life with.

Other people have other ways to live a good life, I’d love to hear about it, leave a comment here!

Not Too Hot & Not Too Cold …

Oh, if only I could find that sweet spot of not too hot and not too cold. Sadly though, I’m going from too cold then too hot and then back to too cold again. I know it’s a little too hot outside or maybe even much too hot, I haven’t been outside for hours, not checked out the outside temperature. I just know how this room feels to right now, and it’s a little too cold …

Ah these first world problems, I have air conditioning and can’t find the just right temperature, when there are people in other towns, or other countries who are dying of thirst, or freezing to death. It’s a sad thing, I’m very aware of that. I give some money to charity – to Medecins Sans Frontieres, every month, and hope my donation helps some people.

Our house has some insulation. It was put in quite some time back, and we are assuming it is still more or less effective. Certainly our air conditioning is effective, keepin us cool or warm, as needed. But as the woman of the house, I prefer the house to be a little bit warm, whereas my husband prefers the house to be a little bit cool. I can always put on some more clothes though, and there’s a limit to how much he can take off. Once you’re down to underwear, that’s about it!

We also have solar panels on our roof, and these help us with some of the costs of our air conditioning. I love these blue sky days we’ve been having, sending down the sun’s power to our panels …

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The MS I have might play some part in the temperature troubles too, I’m not sure. Sometimes at night when I’m in bed trying to get to sleep, I can feel both too hot and too cold, both at the same time. It might not actually be an MS thing, but that’s what I’m putting it down to. If I shrug and say, oh, that’s just MS, I can just get on with trying to live my life as best I can, pull up or throw off my light blanket, and drift off to sleep.

Many people have big problems with sleeping, but I’m not one of those people. I drift off to sleep fairly easily, and don’t wake up until after I’ve had a good bit of sleep. I have to head off to the loo for a tinkle some nights, but not every night, and can go back to sleep again fairly easily. I certainly don’t have to worry about my home being blown up, or not being able to eat enough food. My life is a good one, a very good one.

So yes, I have MS, and various symptoms that can go with it, but I am living a great life with MS, just a different life perhaps than I would have been living without MS.