Tag Archives: meditation

Mixed Bag of Responses

When people tell me I’m looking good, my first response to them is to smile and say thanks. My initial response to myself though is quite different. One day it may be a wry inner grin, on other days it could be an inward – you just don’t get it, do you. Other days it’s either of those two or something in between.

Looking good, and feeling good are two quite different things. I know that I’m doing relatively well with MS. The medication I take to keep the MS under control is working well for me, my mobility is good enough for me to be able to walk, and even run a little way. I can exercise a bit, which keeps my muscles going. If I want to go out somewhere to do something, I’m always physically able to do it. Life is good.

But, and there’s always a but – my medication is possibly causing the skin cancers I currently have a small crop of. My medication is also making me more likely to have outbreaks of cold sores, I think. I went through that earlier this year, and I didn’t enjoy that at all!

The medication I am on is Gilenya – a daily tablet. It’s certainly a lot more pleasant to pop the pill/capsule every day than it was to inject myself once a week, which is what I did for two years after my diagnosis. That treatment was one of the injectables, the weekly one. I hadn’t thought I could jab myself every day, or other day or every three days, but I figured if it was only once a week, and it had to be one of the injectables, I could do it.

My current medication is working better for me than the other (Avonex is the name of the weekly one). Avonex worked OK, but Gilenya works better, and it’s easier. And it doesn’t cause me the stress the injections caused. I wouldn’t like to go back to doing the injections, but I’m proud of myself for being able to do it.

Nowdays, my MS symptoms are reduced from what they were at the beginning, nearly five years ago. My right side muscle weakness is still there, but it’s not as bad as it was. I don’t suffer from foot drop now, so I don’t need to used a device in my shoe and around my ankle anymore. I haven’t fallen over for many, many months, which is a great thing!

I’m able to exercise, as I’ve mentioned. I do Wii Fit exercises. I went back to doing these as soon as I could, after the collapse that brought about the MS diagnosis. My neurologist had told me to walk for exercise. That didn’t appeal to me, so I got going with Wii Fit, which is more my style. That helped in many ways. With balance, with muscles re-building and with self-confidence.

Like most people I let the exercise program fade away. I take it up again every now and then and let it disappear again, even though it feels good to be doing it, and I know it helps with my mobility and strength. It’s certainly helped me with my weight loss, and keeping to my ideal weight, which I’m proud to have achieved, and maintained. When I switch on the Wii Fit machine, I know I have to weigh in, so that helps me to keep on track with my dietary path of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds (in moderation), and not too much meat.

So yes, I am looking good at the moment. There’s certainly no wheelchair waiting for me, as far as I can see. There are no guarantees though. I still have Mick the Stick and Jane the Cane ready for me in my car, if I need them. And my walker, whose name is Tex (It’s an Adelaide Crows Football Club joke), he’s in the house, loaded up with bits and pieces as a storage place at the moment, not waiting for me to keep me steady at all.

I work to keep a positive attitude to life – I do my own form of Nature meditation every now and then, I try not to stress about anything. Things happen, and I know worrying about them will never prevent them from happening. Stress has been proven to reduce the lesions in the Central Nervous System, that cause MS. The positive attitude and the lack of stress both help me to keep going well. If all could do the same thing, the whole world would be a happier place!

I’m looking good, but others can’t feel my numbness of hands, feet, and knees, and they can’t feel the way my legs shake slightly when I’ve been standing up for too long. They also don’t realise that when I’m sitting down, it’s not because I’m lazy, but quite likely because I was worried my legs might stop holding me up!

Life is good, getting better all the time, but who knows how long that will be the case! MS is there for life, unless they come up with an actual cure, rather than just another way to treat the symptoms. Bring on the cure!

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Weight for It!

I’m wandering from place to place today, without really moving very far. I’ve written an MS related post on another of my blogs, hoping to gather some more people to my online fun! The other blog is about two important things in my life. These things were with me well before MS came along to muck things up.

My husband and I have had dogs all of the time we’ve been together, about thirty years. And gardens, trees and flowers are important to me too. I love trees and flowers, looking at them bring me joy. Finding things to feel joyful about is a wonderful search, trees and flowers bring beauty to every day!

I love to sit comfortable outside and look at the trees that are on our property, lovely tall trees that bring birds to us, every day. Gazing at Nature is my meditation, sitting and just being in the presence of lovely things. My place to sit is my happy place and I believe all should have such a place, somewhere to sit and find serenity. It is the path to a stress-free and joyous life.

MS and Stress, the Terrible Combo!

If you stress about having MS, you can make your MS worse – isn’t that a cruel thing? But if you have MS, you quite likely have many issues and problems that go with trying to live with the symptoms of this chronic illness. So, if you check the internet, and other references, you will see there is a very strong link between this combo.

When something like MS enters your life, you can see it as something that is going to wreck your life, and fight angrily against it. Or you can give in and bow to the inevitable problems you see will affect you. Either way, you will still have MS, and you will make choices in life – medication, treatments and so on that you certainly hope will have a good impact on the illness.

Stress is a multi-faceted thing, and even good experiences can be seen as stressful by the body. The build up to an important but good thing is still stressful for your body. This, in terms of MS, can lead to your symptoms from MS getting worse. This was shown to me back in the first year of my diagnosis. It was the day for the launch of my first poetry collection. There were many people there, family, friends and interested others. Things were going well, the book was launched and books were being bought and I was signing them for their new owners.

A great day, and surely not a reason for my body to pack up with things all going well, you might have thought. My body thought differently. By the end of the day, I was leaning heavily on my walking stick, my husband and anything else there to be leaned on. My walking was as bad as when I’d have my initial collapse, but I was smiling and proudly happy. In my head I was happy, but my body read that level of happiness and excitement as stress, and it was behaving that way. To the body, stress is stress, whether happy stress or sad/bad stress.

I’ve been working at removing stress from my life. Things happen, and I accept them happening, or change them for better things if I can. I aim to continue breathing calm and slow, and I take time out to do nothing much at all, as often as I can. I’m not a religious person, but I have a strong reverence for the works of Nature. I have Nature meditations, where I just go outside and be at peace with Nature. The clouds and the birds, the trees and other plants and all of the creatures, we are all there, just there and doing what we are doing. No further thought needed. We are all being there, in the present moment, doing what we are doing …

I am slowly learning to live in the moment, and I feel so much better for doing that. Things happen, and I can accept them happening … Good things, bad things, while there is life, things will happen. If I feel I want them to happen in a different way, and I have the power to change them, then I do what I need to do for that to happen. If they are beyond me and I can’t change them, I try to just accept them. It’s still a work in progress, life is not perfect, but for me, life is pretty darned good!

I think it would be a good thing if people with MS were prescribed stress-reduction sessions, instead of or in conjunction with medications. That is my idea of proper help …above the fish pond

Do you love trees?

Image

I do, I love them very much. I am a few different things, and lover of Nature is certainly one of those things.

I love Nature, especially trees, clouds and birds. I spend some time almost every day, and certainly at least once a week, contemplating Nature in a meditative way. I sometimes sit on our front veranda, watching birds and clouds and trees. The tree on this page was the focus of a recent article I wrote.

I am the editor of the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle. This publication is a newsletter published monthly, and focused on the town of Mallala. I have lived in the Mallala district since late 1988. We moved out there from a lovely cottage in St Morris, so that we could begin breeding dogs.

At the time, my husband Graham and I were involved in showing dogs, and breeding them seemed to be a natural progression. We moved to the country with our pure bred Schnauzer, and our crossbred dog, and the dog breeding/showing began.

At that time, we didn’t have any children, and I wasn’t going to have any kids, I wanted to go on breeding and showing dogs for the rest of my life. My body had other thoughts though, and soon enough I was getting quite desperate to be a real mum, not just the dog’s mum. Nature took its time, but soon enough, we were blessed with a human baby for me to care for.

I resigned from work and settled down to be a stay-at-home mum. That was nearly twenty years ago – we all settled in to living in the country (the only home our son has ever known), and we did our best to become ‘country people’. I found that I loved this country life, where the sun and the wind and rain were more important than climbing any corporate ladder (for me anyway, Graham still had that climb to do for many more years).

Things were going well, but between us, we found many other things to do on the weekend, and the dog showing thing lost its interest to us. In the meantime though, we’d taken on another dog breed – the Pharaoh Hound, breeding a couple of litters, but that wasn’t enough to keep us heading off to the dog shows.

We still have one Schnauzer, and we have three Pharaoh Hounds. They’re pet dogs now, and we’re all enjoying ourselves. I’ve become ever more interested in creative writing, and Graham and Jake are both involved in the Mallala Lawn Bowls club. They both have other things that are important to them too. We’re far too busy for dog shows!

So life is going well, but of course there are always things that happen that might throw a spanner in the works. My spanner in the words has been multiple sclerosis (ms). This chronic illness came along in early 2010, and it’s still there, making my life, our lives, a bit more challenging. 

MS is an illness that causes the body’s immune system to attack the Central Nervous System (CNS). It causes lesions/scarring along the linings of the CNS. This causes nerve impulses not to go where they should go, or to be halted. As a result, various parts of the body don’t work properly in people with MS.

There are various medications that may help to slow the progression of this disease, abut at this point, there is still no cure. I’m living well enough with MS. I’m on a new medication that seems to be controlling my ms, so that my body can heal some of the scarring, and my disability is somewhat lessened. I still can feel the disability though – when I get stressed or get too hot, my symptoms come back to haunt me…

Watching Nature helps me to conquer stress, most of the time. Sitting and watching the trees, like the one here, helps me to stay serene…