Tag: fatigue

This week in food and fitness

I’ve cooked too much food over the course of the last two or three months. I blame my Instant Pot. Yes, it’s as wonderful as everyone says it is, but all of the recipes I tried were designed to feed the family. I am but one woman with a husband who refuses to eat the healthy meals I cook because he doesn’t want to take it away from me. My life is weird.

What went wrong

Cooking ahead and freezing seemed like a great idea, but it restricted me to eating the same things over and over. Plus, frozen food looses its appeal after a week or two.

The lentil soup I made was tasty, but it started to look like an unappetizing brown mush. I also discovered that I don’t like whole wheat pasta. It just didn’t work in the Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe I tried. My Instant Pot tortellini dish was good the first night, but it didn’t hold up well after being frozen. I’m ashamed to admit that I threw some food away.

A new approach

This week I’ll try cooking something every couple of evenings. My goal is to have food to take to work, and an option for dinner. I’ll aim to eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day. Adding a serving to breakfast should help with that.

Check out the Nutrition Diva’s tips for getting more veggies in your diet.

Illustration of eggplant with human characteristics.
I’m good for you!

150 minutes a week

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. I’m aiming for at least 30 minutes each day. Strength training for all the major muscle groups is also a must. The government says to do it twice a week. Exercise is not a problem for me if MS fatigue doesn’t get in the way. If I happen to catch a cold, or the flu, exercise becomes difficult. Gentle stretching and some yoga poses are an option for me then.

I have chiropractor appointments three times a week for the next two weeks. I’ll try and make it to Planet Fitness on the evenings I’m not being adjusted. I’ve been having a lot of fun with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit. I want to get back to a more regular yoga practice. And there’s that Tai Chi app I downloaded.

Should I make a workout schedule? Maybe. I could be making better use of that Happy Planner of mine.

Figure exercising on mat.

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Not quite right and doodling

I came down with a cold, or something that resembled a cold, a few weeks ago. I took a Monday off and then worked the rest of the week. I did the same the next week because I thought I was better. I should have taken a few consecutive days off because it seems that sitting at a computer can wear a person out.

When I sat at my desk for too long I got a pretty severe tingling sensation on one side of my body. This is an MS symptom that I’m more likely to experience when I’m sick or when I haven’t had enough sleep. When I get the tingling it’s usually mild. These extreme sensations make me worry that the disease is getting worse. It probably isn’t, but it’s easy to jump to negative conclusions.

I think the tingle is related to my tight neck and shoulder muscles. I need to look into a way to tame the tension in those areas.

My blogging has suffered because I’ve been too tired to sit at the laptop. I get upset with myself for not blogging regularly. I haven’t had the energy for digital scrapbooking either.

I’m mad at my body for betraying me, but that’s fodder for another post.

I managed to do some doodling while lounging on the couch this weekend. This was drawn by hand with a Micron pen and then scanned and processed with Art Card for iPhone.

 

Doodle digitized

The not so common cold

I think I’ve been suffering from a cold for the last week or so. It’s hard to tell with me. When I think I have a cold, I get a little post-nasal drip and congestion behind the eyes. I don’t get the traditional stuffy nose. My energy level is lower than usual, and I need to sleep longer than I usually do. During these more prolonged periods of sleep, my dreams are more intense and involved.

I think that my colds last longer because I have MS.

Do a search on ‘MS and the common cold,’ and you’ll find tips on avoiding a cold like staying away from sick people and washing your hands. Some sources hint that a cold might trigger a relapse. When I see that, I start to wonder if I’m having a relapse. I tell myself that probably isn’t the case and then start Googling.

So much and so little

It seems like there are tons resources for learning about MS. It seems that way, but I keep running into the same info. Maybe I’m looking for something that will apply to me specifically. That’s not going to happen, because MS is different for everyone who has it.

Rest is important

All of the experts emphasize the importance of rest. I was looking for something definitive about overdoing it and having a relapse. I couldn’t find anything, but it seems like it’s a good idea to treat yourself well. Get regular exercise, but don’t push yourself to exhaustion. That’s good advice for all of us.

Here’s a brochure from the National MS Society on managing MS fatigue. It doesn’t have the personalized answer that I’m looking for, but it gives me permission to take a few naps every day. I might just give that a try.

The quote is from Lalah Delia. Learn more about her here.

Shopping blues

I tell people my MS symptoms aren’t that bad. Many people with the disease have it much worse than I do. All that is true, but for me it’s the small inconveniences that get me down.

Shop ’till I drop

Shopping for clothes used to be fun. I can’t count how many hours I spent with my mother in malls and big retail stores. I remember us going around looking for bargains on back-to-school wear. Designer jeans were a must for me in the early 80s. I owned the requisite headbands, neon sweatshirts, and even a pair of parachute pants.

Tangent

The blogger in 1980s attire.

I’m reminded of how much I loved paging through Seventeen Magazine. I thought that having the right clothes would make me feel the way the models looked. Unfortunately, trying to emulate those fashion models only led me to feel too fat and not pretty enough.

Anyway

These days shopping is difficult because MS fatigue makes it so. Things will be fine for the first 15 or 20 minutes of being in the store. If I know exactly what I’m looking for, I can make my purchases and get out without a problem.

Trip to Goodwill

I went to Goodwill the other day. The goal was to buy some jeans. I like shopping for clothes there because it feels like it’s somewhat removed from the sweatshop produced clothing that I might find in one of the popular chain stores.

So, I easily found some jeans (supposedly) in my size. I brought 5 pairs to the dressing room. Two fit and three did not. I was beginning to tire at this point, but I was on a mission.

I found another four pairs and went back to the dressing room. This time all of the selections fit (for the most part).

Now my legs are fairly fatigued and my balance is getting a little wobbly. The hard part was over, but I could use some tops. So now I’m browsing the shirt racks while holding six pairs of jeans. Luckily my husband is there to relieve me of my load while I continue shopping.

Finally, I decide to call it quits. We head to the checkout and stand in line. My walk to the car is slow and careful. Uneven surfaces are not my friend.

Time to go home and sit for about half an hour. I’ll have to rest before taking a shower, because that can take a lot out of me too.

Tracking Symptoms

Once in a while, I think it would be useful to track my MS symptoms. I was doing it when I was part of this study that gathered data via an iPhone app, I quit the study because I was taking all of those supplements from my herbalist and didn’t want to mess up the data. I was also tired of feeling pressured to complete the app’s activities. I considered logging my symptoms in a paper journal but that didn’t happen.

The Aby app

A week or so ago I saw an ad for an MS app on Instagram, or maybe Twitter. It’s called Aby, and Biogen makes it. Pharmaceutical companies provide these resources hoping that you’ll use their drug. It has a journal feature where you can log your activities and symptoms.  I’ve used it a few times, but it seems like more trouble than it’s worth to report the same minimal symptoms day after day.

Screenshot of Aby journal feature.
The journal feature.

The app has some useful informational articles and exercise videos. The videos are designed for people with MS who tend to have trouble with normal fitness routines because we experience fatigue more quickly than the average exerciser. I’ve done two of the routines so far. One for the lower body and the other for arms. They were both around 25 minutes long with rest breaks between sets. The lower body sequence was sufficiently challenging for me, but the one for arms didn’t feel like much of a workout. These are good to have handy on my very low energy days.

Worth a try

All-in-all, Aby is okay. I don’t like that the medication reminder feature won’t let me schedule alerts for my three times a week injections. You can only set them for multiple times a day. It only got three stars in the app store, and that was from a paltry fifteen users. The one person who wrote a review called it “Good, not great.”  I should probably add my two-cents worth.

Aby is free, so go ahead and give it a try. It may be worth it just for the exercise videos.

Any fitness screenshot

Don’t be a hero

Fatigue is a symptom experienced by 80% of people who have MS. High temperatures tend to make fatigue worse.  You can read more about it on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

It’s summer here in North America. The weather experts say that 2018 is on pace to be the Earth’s fourth hottest year on record. People are dying because of the heat. I am lucky enough to have the means to pay for air conditioning and to have a job in a modern building that is sometimes a little too cold for comfort. My car, which I’m privileged to own, has air conditioning. I don’t have much to complain about.

I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, but I resisted applying for a disabled parking permit until last year. I didn’t think I really needed one because I don’t use an assistive device for mobility. My husband talked me into getting one, so now I have a permit issued by the state. I also have a permit for parking in disabled spots on the IU Bloomington campus where I work. I try not to use it much because I’m trying to lose weight. I need all the exercise I can get.

I have been parking in a disabled spot on really hot days. I feel a little guilty when I do though. A longish walk in the heat is not impossible for me. I can do it without falling over. Sometimes though, if I’m not feeling all that well, a walk in the heat can take its toll. The temperature didn’t seem that bad this morning, so I decided to park in a regular space. I was okay going in, but the trek to the car at the end of the day was taxing. When I got home, I was too tired to do any exercise. Whenever I don’t exercise I worry that I’ll never be able to lose weight. This leads to me feeling bad about everything.

The lesson here is that I don’t need to be a hero. Minimizing my time in the heat will allow me to conserve my energy for the things I want to do, like yoga or Wii Fit in the evening.

Here’s a fitting quote about self-care.

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” ~Christopher Germer