Tag Archives: nature

Feeling Fine, with MS

A friend posted a comment on my Facebook page recently, mentioning that I seemed a lot better now than when she met me years ago at a particular event. I’m not sure exactly when that event was, but I suspect it was probably in the early 2010s.


I’m certainly better than I would have been back then, physically. I was just diagnosed with MS, getting used to injecting myself once a week (ouch!), and wondering what on earth was I going to be doing with my life. Emotionally, spiritually even too, I’m am going much these days.

There’s a common little phrase used by some people who have Multiple Sclerosis = I have MS, but MS doesn’t have me. I certainly agree with this idea, in my own case. Yes, I have that chronic illness, but I also have so many much more uplifting and heartwarming things in my life.

I have wonderful caring family and friends, I have a sense of purpose in my life, I have a lovely community I work for. All of these things keep my heart warm and beating strongly. And I have my creative writing, this blog (and others), my books, poetry, works in progress, and the newsletter I edit, the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle.


These things are there, they are going along well, and I am in such a good space in life. With the medication I am on for MS working well, sometimes I can almost forget I even have MS, and that is a good thing for sure.

And as I live in the country, Nature is always there with me, trees, birds, other creatures, and the sky with clouds, I love them all, and I feel they love me too!


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)


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.


Being Mobile Aids Mobility

When you have a disability that results in lessened physical abilities, it makes sense to listen to ‘the experts’, doesn’t it? I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and the experts have told me that being active will, or at least might, help me to regain, or retain physical ability.

When I was diagnosed with MS, my new neurologist told me to walk for half an hour. I think he meant to do this every day, but that I should work up to that level of ability, because at that time, walking for half an hour didn’t seem to be something I was physically capable of. MS had hit me and my muscles on my right side, including leg muscles were very weak.

2016-03-09 12.38.22

My new medication for MS seemed to help me though, and the exercise I began doing helped too. I’m on a new medication now, an easier and more pleasant one, and it seems to be working even better for me. My initial medication had been the injectable once a week one, Avonex. I didn’t like sticking a needle into my thigh muscles, left leg or right leg, but I did it, for two years.

Then a new medication come to Australia, Gilenya, which is a little capsule that you take once a day. It is much more acceptable to me, so much easier to have my G at breakfast time, and no nasty injections in my muscles! I still don’t walk for half an hour every day though, even though my neurologists words, ‘Use it or you lose it’, echo in my mind.

I do try to add walking, and other exercises to my life, every day. I park a little bit further away from where I’m going, or sometimes (not often enough!) I get my hand weights out and do some lifting for a while. I have to admit that in reality, my weight lifting is fairly negligible, so  don’t brag about it. At least it’s something though. I certainly feel better, if I am being more active, anyway.

above the fish pond

Getting out into the garden, walking around, looking at the flowers and trees, and the vegetables too, these things help me to get sunshine, get active, and sometimes get yummy things to eat. And if I’m in the garden, I am standing, walking, bending over and other active things. Being in Nature is good for me in other ways, good for my happiness, my feelings of greater connectivity, as I think about all of the Nature out there, and my own part is the whole world!

clover burrs

Spirituality, and all of that connecting with Nature stuff resonates for me. I am a secular person, not religious one, but I believe in the benefits being in and with Nature gives to me. I feel happy when I can see trees and clouds, and all of the creatures (not the snakes, I never like to see them, not the poisonous ones anyway!) And of course, being out in the sun can help my body build up more vitamin D, which is good for me. Too much sun though can lead to skin cancers though, so it’s a matter of getting enough, but not over doing it.

A lot of life is like that. Living a good and healthy life is all about moderation, a lot of the time. I like moderation, a little bit of wine every now and then, a small amount of chocolate, little bit of cake or other desserts occasionally, and then plenty of vegetables, with moderate amounts of fruit, meat, grains …

I get out and about, my writing group once a week, and other writing related things too. I take an interest in my community, and do various things to help others as and when I can. I’m also conscious of the mental health benefits to be gained from keeping my brain active too. Writing helps with that, connecting with online communities can help, being active in a variety of social media things, but again, in moderation …


I will continue living my moderately mobile life for as long as I can, sticking with my medication, and staying with Nature too. I love the trees and I hope the trees love me!


When Good Outweighs Bad

When you can sit down and look at your life, and see that yes, there are indeed far more good things in your life, than there are bad, this is surely when you have a good life. I mean, yes, I have a chronic illness, that has the potential to take away my ability to walk, and be involved in the broader world, that is true. But it is also not a thing affecting me at the moment, and I can honestly say I have a good life, with many more good things than bad.

That chronic illness, multiple sclerosis (MS), is under control for me, thanks to the medication I am taking for it. This medication, Gilenya, doesn’t have such good results for all who use it, but it does for me, and I am grateful about that. And this idea of feeling gratitude, and looking at all of the things in your life your are grateful for, this has become a popular idea for people to rise above the bad and find the good in their lives.

When you look at your life, sometimes it might feel like a mess, with too many bad things to ever be able to uncover anything good. If this is the way you feel, still try. Go outside, see the sky, a tree, a flower, a bird. See Nature doing its work, and feel gratitude for all of the wonderful things that Nature does. Does Nature care? Maybe not, but the wonderful things will go on happening anyway.

When you start looking at the good things to be grateful for (and I recommend you do this often), then you will find it easier and easier to find the good things in your life, and the bad things will fall away to the background, or maybe even disappear completely. This is how the good can outweigh the bad. Good things can help you to continue on with things you have started, while focusing on the bad things may convince you to give up even trying to get them done.

Good things make it easier for you to smile, and if you smile, that makes it easier for other people to like you, and for you to like yourself. More people liking you means more people will be willing to help you if you need help with anything. More people who like you means more friends, and more friends means more fun!

“But more friends means more people demanding things from me,” you might think. But when you are your own best friend, you can value yourself properly, and learn how to say no if anyone asks too much from you, or you can’t go or do what they want, or even if you simply don’t want to do something. Best friends don’t force their friends to do things like that, so being your own best friend, well that’s a very good thing!


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!

My MS Update

Today I visited my neurologist, after quite a long time away. He was surprised it had been so long, and was pleased with my positive progress in my MS journey. Apart from issues I have with my cholesterol, which he claims is unrelated to Gilenya, I am doing well, based on my physical abilities.

I am definitely in remission, and glad to be so. There is no way of telling how long this remission might last though, and I am aware that I need to make the best of these good times … MS is like that, of course. It is both relapsing (the bad times) and remitting (the good times). My neurologist and I will see each other more often that the approximately five years it has been. I am going to organise an MRI scan soon, and will be back to the neurologist early next year, to look at the results, and also to see if my cholesterol levels improve since upping my medication for that issue.

I’m glad with these positive results, happy to be going well with my life, and sad for people I know, and others with MS who are not doing anywhere near as well. Health is a mixed bag for us all, and we never know when our bag may suddenly contain bad things instead of good, or vice versa … Life is a jigsaw puzzle, a challenge, a joke, an inspiration, a disaster … One never knows how or when things might change, with health, happiness, family, or friends.

Living the best life you can can always help to keep you going well, in my opinion, and I am quite sure my positive attitude to life is one of the reasons I am doing so well. I don’t sit around moping, I sit around organising good things, both personally, and with and for others. And I don’t just sit around, of course. We own three dogs, and while I am not responsible for all of the things that need to be done to keep the dogs happy, I certainly do some of the things, like feeding and sometimes cleaning up after them …

I get out and about as well. fortunately I am well able to drive my car, and as long as I have that ability, I am able to be involved in the weekly writing group I run, meeting up with other committee and other members for meetings and events, and generally having a good time with like-minded people. I go to MS related things too sometimes, but this has become a thing I do less often, and my abilities have become much better than they were after my first experience with MS.

Life is good!sofa dogs

Welcoming Gratitude in, Daily!

Having gratitude to the good things in life can help those good things to grow, the more you are grateful for things, the more things you find to be grateful for. I like the idea of having to find the things I am grateful for, for a variety of other reasons too.

So this challenge I have set for myself, is to write, or at least note things I am grateful for, every day, and note them here, on this blog. The attitude of gratitude helps me to maintain a positive attitude to life, and who wouldn’t want to have that happy and positive attitude, every day?!

This blog is the place I’ve decided makes the most sense to do this, Multiple Sclerosis can bring challenges to life, but meeting the challenges, which I almost always am able to do, is certainly a major thing I am grateful for!

So today, what am I grateful for? I am grateful for my husband who does so much to help keep my life in order. I am grateful for the lovely man who is printing my next book for me. I am grateful I have many lovely friends who care about me. I am grateful to have these crazy pharaoh hound dogs in my life, and for the schnauzer (protective and not crazy!).

I am grateful for the rain we’ve had recently, but am also grateful for the break in the rainy weather for a day or so. I’m grateful for Nature and everything good from Nature that is in my life – sunshine, clouds, creatures, the sky, moon and stars.

That’s enough for now, I will be back tomorrow with an update on what I feel grateful for then! If you have a gratitude journal, or something similar, I’d love you to leave a comment here, and tell us about it, and what it does for you!