Tag Archives: MS

The Common Cold

I’m getting over a cold this weekend. The illness itself only lasted about four days, but the lead up to getting cold symptoms was a week and a half. I blame MS and maybe hormones.

I realized several years ago that I would inevitably have low energy periods each month. I experienced flu-like symptoms (fatigue and muscle aches) without the upper respiratory distress. Every time I made plans to start a regular fitness regime, I would feel not well enough to get started.  Now that I know I have MS, it all makes sense.

You see, the period when I’m coming down with a cold is slightly worse for me than for people who don’t have an autoimmune disease. I’m just guessing. I haven’t done a study. I missed a few days of work last week because it seemed prudent not to overtax myself. I didn’t get a lot of exercise either. I feared that overdoing it could lead to a flare-up.

The only way I can get in better shape when I’m faced with these monthly energy fluctuations is to not skip workouts when I’m feeling good, and do what I can during my less than 100% periods. I’m considering getting in a little strength training every day with some cardio built in. I keep talking about it, but not making a plan. The trick is not to use the lack of a plan as an excuse to doing nothing.

Today, I’m recovering. Tomorrow should be better. I might do some hooping.

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Let’s give this year a try

It’s 2017 and I’m still here, but I sometimes feel like I’m running out of time. The best course of action would be to form a plan. Can I make a plan without the plan itself becoming my primary focus? Or, is that the point? They say that it’s the journey and not the destination, don’t they? Oh, THEY are wise.

Resolve

I gave up on making New Year’s resolution. They set you up for failure. I do however, want to make some changes in my life this year. I have MS, so taking care of my physical and mental health should be my number one priority. That means making more time for exercise, and to do that I will need to put my needs before my father’s needs. Taking time to cook healthy meals is another top priority. Next on the list is my creative practice. I want to continue to make lots of art and jewelry. I want to start selling that art and jewelry. As the list grows, I begin to worry that I won’t be able to manage it all. I want to give up before I start.

That paragraph looked like a bunch of New Year’s resolutions to me. I think it will help if I blog everyday. I know, that’s another item added to the list, but I won’t achieve anything if I don’t keep reaching. This year, I’m taking a journey, and I’ll blog about. That’s the ticket!

sketch

Beginnings of a mixed media work.

At last

I started writing the following a little while ago, but never finished it.

I’m at the hospital waiting to check in for my MRIs. I see the neurologist next week for a 6- month follow-up. She’ll review the MRIs to see how effective the Copaxone injections have been.

The hospital’s main floor is busy. It almost seems like some senior citizens are here on a field trip. It’s kind of unnerving.

This is really not a post about MS, but I’ll report that I had a not-so-great leg day on Monday. I think it was because I didn’t go back to bed for more sleep after Sadie got me up at around 7:30. The last two days have been much better.

I dreamed this morning of two old friends from grad school (UIUC Dance Dept.) I also saw swirling letters or words. When I have these dreams a try and see if the letters are spelling anything, but they fade away too quickly.

Tomorrow is the second to last class of my Library Science grad school career. My application to graduate seems to have gone through, and I’m looking forward to not being a student.

21 days later I’m finally posting

I got an email confirming the address my diploma will be mailed to, so I guess I have graduated. The neurologist said my MRIs looked good and she’ll see me in 6 months. I suppose the Copaxone is working.

This week is dragging. On Monday, I thought that if anyone at work asked how I was, I would say, “I’ve had enough.” No one asked. Tuesday wasn’t as bad, but it wasn’t great. Wednesday was better. It could be that I’m tolerating life better because the arctic air has been moving out. I hate being cold!

If I’m going to get this posted, I need to stop writing. I should have more time to blog now that school is over.

I also have got to stop playing Enso. It’s ruining my neck.

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Enso game

 

 

Craving Attention?

Our performance at Gen Con on Saturday went well, although the audience was a bit quieter than in previous years. I’ve decided that I won’t do this gig again. The other troupe members attend the conference for all four days and dance in busking fashion at various spots in the venue. For the past two years, I have only participated in the Saturday performance. I drive from Bloomington to Indianapolis that morning and return after the performance. It’s a lot of trouble for twenty minutes of dancing. Plus, over the past few years, I just haven’t gotten much of a kick out of performing. I want to keep dancing, but my desire to dance in front of people has diminished over the years. I may have outgrown the need I used to have to be the center of attention.

Is it true that I no longer crave the attention of others? No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t be blogging, and posting to Instagram if I didn’t want to be viewed favorably by others. It wouldn’t matter to me if my posts got no views and no “likes.” Honestly, it does matter a little.

I’ve been listening to a podcast called SPONTANEANATION WITH PAUL F. TOMPKINS. In the podcast, the aforementioned Tompkins performs a monolog and then interviews the show’s guest. The guest is asked to come up with a location for an improvised narrative sketch to be performed by the assembled group of improvisers. Some sketches are funnier than others, but to me, the show is always entertaining. I love doing acting improv. That’s the kind of performing I would love to do at this point in my life. I don’t see that opportunity coming along any time soon. If it did, I’m sure it would be too time-consuming an activity. When would I write and make art? When would I exercise to stave off the MS symptoms?

Speaking of MS symptoms, I found that despite the fact that my legs have been doing really well, I had trouble on Saturday because the stress of the performance caused some spasticity. It wasn’t terrible, but it was disappointing that my effort to get really hydrated that morning didn’t pay off as much as I had hoped. That’s another reason performing isn’t fun. I just never know quite what to expect from my body. Maybe the answer there is better stress management strategies.

That’s the size of it. I’ll talk about audiobooks and digital humanities in my next post.

Illustration of woman on stage 

 

Is it PMS or the MS?

To recap, I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2016. It wasn’t a surprise because I had suspected it for years. I had the tingling, the weakness, the drop foot, etc.

I’ve had a theory that I’ve been suffering from exaggerated PMS symptoms ever since I stopped taking the birth control pill (post hysterectomy). Every month there’s about a week and a half when I feel like I have a mild flu. I need to sleep a lot, my lower back hurts, and my hip flexors tighten. I think these symptoms couple with or exaggerate my MS symptoms and generally make my life difficult.

I’m currently experiencing that phase of the month, but I think things are slightly better because I’ve been working on improving the health of my legs. I do strengh training for the leg muscles twice a week, and I try to walk 30 minutes on the treadmill on most days. The trick is to make sure I work  out during these “fluish” times of the month so I can continue to improve my fitness level. I’ve been drinking a lot more water these days which I think is making a difference too.

I’m not doing great on the diet side of the equation. I haven’t been eating enough food because of the anxiety I’ve been feeling. Thus, I haven’t been getting those five fruits and vegetables every day. The increased Fluoxetine dosage seems to be working now that three weeks has passed. I’m hoping things will continue to improve.

Making art helps ease the anxiety. I’m trying to keep my art blog going as I create. I’m starting to think of myself as an artist. I’ve got two canvases going now. The art journal work has ceased for the moment. I’m sure I’d be more productive if I cleaned off my table. That might happen someday.

Photo of 10 x 10 canvas in progress.

Canvas in progress.

 

 

My Health

The one-word prompt is healthy. I can work with this one since I was already planning to talk about health.

The nurse came to my house to teach me how to do my Copaxone injection. I’ll be using an auto-inject device instead of a needle, so that makes it a more pleasant thing to have to do three times per week. So I’m on the way to preventing an MS relapse.

Injection rotation planner on the Copaxone Tracker iPhone app.

Injection rotation planner on the Copaxone Tracker iPhone app.

The flare-up that resulted in my diagnosis has just about gone away. Now it’s time to start going to the Y and getting in an hour of exercise at least five times a week. It’s also time to plan and make healthy meals. This is going to take some more work. I tried a recipe for “broccoli tater tots” the other day. It’s basically chopped broccoli with egg, breadcrumbs, and cheese. I forgot to add the cheese, so I wasn’t happy with the end product. I’m not sure the cheese would have added that much, though. I might try to make them again and remember the cheese and also, add something else to enhance the flavor. I may try a different recipe. There seem to be lots of similar ones out there.

Now that I feel better, I don’t have an excuse for not getting started on my goals for staying healthy. I’ll also be going to work instead of working from home.

Onward and upward as they say.

Of course there’s hope

I have to keep remembering that there is hope.

Last night I had a little breakdown. I made the mistake of visiting a web site where people were talking about their experience with, Copaxone,  the MS drug I’ll be taking. Some said they’ve been on it for over a decade and had no problems. Some experienced skin irritation at the injection site. There were various other statements about the drug. As I skimmed through the comments it really started to hit me that I have this condition and I’m going to have to deal with it. Then I started to feel sorry for myself. “Why did this happen to me?”  I asked. “It’s not fair!” I whined. Then there were tears.

I know having MS is not the worst thing in the world, but last night, it felt that way. I also know that I have to maintain a positive attitude, because negativity will only make things worse. I know these things, but sometimes you want to throw yourself a big old pity party.

There is hope for me. They’ve made great strides in the treatment of MS, and it is likely that by being compliant with my medication and taking good care of myself I can go the rest of my life without a relapse. Hope abounds!

I made some progress in the last few days. I went and voted on Tuesday. I went to the bank and to the store yesterday. I’m going to be okay. I’ll even say I’m going to be great!

And I found a new coloring app called Pigment. It’s much more like real coloring than Recolor.

Butterfly

Colored with Pigment.

 

 

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