Friday, December 27, 2013

Sorry, I've Been MIA

Whew, that was rough! I haven't been updating my blog due to my lovely bacterial infection during the Christmas season. I have one of the biggest fears of getting the least bit sick with MS, as I know a simple UTI can set off a relapse. 

What a pain, I can't even have a sore throat and fever without a bombshell of MS symptoms tagging along. 

Thankfully, I didn't relapse and was able to almost fully recover...I was running 103.4 fever and have severe allergies to almost all antibiotics! That's actually not too terribly high for me, typically I'm above 104 before I get something. 

So I laid low for 2 days, took off from work and even shared my germs with my husband. He became sick with the same junk a day afterwards...two sickly people in one house. Basically our heat was on 75 those days and germs were festering in our home. 

The worst part? One of us had to get up and begin Lysoling the home so we didn't just keep going in circles...that lucky person was me! 

Oh well, I'm nearly better, Christmas was wonderful and I'm back to real life. 

Sorry for a period of time with no updates, but hey, we all have our days! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MS and Toilet Paper, More Alike Than You Think

Two weeks ago, I was upstairs playing with my 3 year old nephew in his toy room when we had the below conversation:

Me: I'm going to run downstairs to go to the bathroom
Nephew: Just go upstairs Aunt BB
Me: Well, there isn't any toilet paper upstairs, I'll be right back
Nephew: As his eyes rolled to the side of his head, he looked at me and said "Poop?"
Me: Laughing, I had to explain how girls needed toilet paper for Tee-Tee as well
Nephew: We have some upstairs, come see
Me: (I had already looked, but just to amuse the little rascal I played along)
Nephew: See Aunt BB - (He pulled off the last square inch on the roll and started laughing)

MS is like a roll of toilet paper, some days your toilet paper runs out and sometimes it falls on the floor. The times that this happens on the throne, we have to finagle a way to grasp that trusty roll without falling off the potty.

You know when you are just starting a roll off and you have to go around 4 or 5 times because only part of it is coming off, while ripping the middle? MS is like that, we get up with a fresh start to the day only to be ripped down the middle from the time we start brushing our teeth.

I'm the world's worst about replacing the toilet paper roll. When I start a new one, my typical method is to balance it on the holder and prop it up against the wall. The only time the toilet paper is properly placed on the roll is when my in-laws are coming over, not my family because they lived with me and know my habits.

But the toilet paper almost always falls on the floor, it never fails, just when I'm finishing up I drop it and it unrolls all the way across the bathroom. Don't laugh - I know it's happened to you! MS is like that, we fall, and we fall often. We always have to scramble to pick up ourselves while smiling at the onlookers to let them know that you planned to do that!

Lastly, and most importantly, toilet paper 'feels' like crap. It is used to get up close and personal with our tushies and in turn, feels crap.

MS feels like crap, everyday, all day. If my legs aren't hurting my head is hurting. If my arms aren't twitching, my eyebrow is twitching. If I'm not falling asleep at my desk, it's only by the grace of God!

The next time you go to your favorite potty for some alone time, look at that toilet paper roll (without dropping it) and realize that you can't live without it!

MS is something you can't live without. Whether you want to or not, it's the beast we live with.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Which Activity to Use for Exercise

"Go for a swim," they said. "It will help your MS," they said.

The week after my diagnosis, I knew I wanted to go to the Olympic sized pool and begin swimming, I mean, I have always heard that swimming was great for MS.

So I did what any other newly diagnosed patient would do, I went to Academy, got a fancy swimsuit that I will probably never wear again, and some earplugs and a funny cap. (Bonus: I have never worn the cap)

I built up the courage to finally go to the pool one afternoon, I begged my husband to come with me the first time, so he obliged. I might have pulled the MS card, but don't judge me!

Let me preface with a snip-it from my childhood:

I was about 6 years old when my parents put in the pool in our backyard. It was an above ground pool that was 4 feet deep - and it held so many memories from my childhood. From birthday parties, late night swims, and jumping from the roof of our house, swimming was in my blood.

I was never on the swim team, remember this post? But I was a fairly good swimmer, I even taught my friend Ashley how to swim.

So going to the Olympic sized pool in my community would be a breeze, right? W-R-O-N-G!

We arrived at the pool and there were several swimming lanes open, I looked at the life-guard and asked permission to use a lane...who does that?! He looked at me funny and said yes. My husband and I proceeded to slowly get acclimated with the cold water while watching 17 six year olds swimming laps and doing the butterfly right next to us.

So I took a deep breath, pushed off from the edge of the pool and began doing the freestyle - or rather, something that I thought was the freestyle. Before I was to the middle of my lane, I had drank about 6 gallons of water and stopped to breathe. ummm this was going to be a lot harder than I thought...

As I'm treading water, trying to get my head back to normal from so much water rushing through my nostrils, my sweet husband speeds past me. How the heck did he learn to swim? And why do I suck so bad?

I swam approximately 3.75 laps and proudly hopped out of the pool and went to put my clothes back on. I was dead, my arms were killing me and I had a headache because my nose thought it wanted a drink of water.

BUT, I went back, this time with my brother who is a pro swimmer. By pro swimmer, I mean that he wore a speedo on his High School swim team and was actually a pretty good swimmer. He made me swim with a board like the old ladies next to my lane. I actually did well and didn't take in so much water.

After a couple of months with the board I quickly realized that I'm not a swimmer. I didn't like it, plus it made my hair pretty dry from all of the chlorine. That's when I began walking and eventually running and have ever since enjoyed that activity for my exercise routine.

Whatever you do, swim, walk, under-water basket weaving, or yoga do it with everything you have and enjoy the results of feeling good and living a healthy life!  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Time is Here!

It's here! Ready or not, the time of giving, family, and relentless eating has creeped up! What a joyful time it is for families to sit around laughing and visiting about their goals and aspirations in 2014.

This will be my first Christmas season with MS and I'm putting my big girl pants on and looking forward to sleeping in January. There's no time to be down and sad during the most wonderful time of the year, right?

I've always loved Christmas and even as a 25 year old woman I continue to decorate cookies, with my nephew of course *wink wink* and sing Christmas music before Thanksgiving even makes it's entrance. Why should this year be any different?

It's not, and I won't let it!

Sure, I have the dreaded stress that comes along with every Christmas but, for my health, I'm not letting it bother me. I don't have time for that and neither does my body. I'm pushing forward to keep my focus on what's truly important this season, the birth of our Creator.

This is not the time to mope around feeling sorry for myself, it's a time to praise God for sending his Son to a world undeserving of Him. What love, what hope we have in Jesus.

I am looking at this time of the year as a blessing, with or without MS, and I encourage you to do the same! Look around and count your blessings instead of focusing on what you don't have.

I would love to be able to think straight or feel completely normal, but that's just not an option. I'm not going to take the focus of Christmas off of the Gift of Life we have been given through Christ's birth, death and resurrection and feel sorry for myself.

Whether you struggle with MS or anything else during this time of the year, take a step back and see what gifts you HAVE been given.

That's the best advice I have for a stress-free holiday, don't make it about yourself but rather what it is truly about, Jesus' Birth!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Exercising with MS

Yup, you read that right. Exercising with MS is possible! Let me paint you a picture of my childhood, but promise not to laugh.

I was a band-nerd, a twirler, and very exercising to me is horrible. I hate it!

I knew I had to make a change in my life to continue living it to my fullest ability. Where to start though? I had just enrolled in a fabulous online boot camp that friends of mine had started, it was pretty hard-core for the band nerd I was. I was following the Paleo diet and enjoyed watching the pounds drop in a healthy manner. I couldn't continue on with the bootcamp style training, it was intense workouts that my body wasn't able to handle. (if your body can handle it, you seriously need to check it out here)

So I began walking with my sweet husky, slowly and for short distances each afternoon. Walking to the stop sign at the end of my road would be the point at which I had to turn around and head back due to the tingling in my feet.

Discouraging? Yes, but I had researched and read about many MS patients who run marathons, I know this is good for my body. I mentally kept saying slow & steady and was so thankful that I had the ability to walk.

I skipped every other day and continued to walk until my body told me to stop. Eventually, I was walking 2 miles, then running parts of those miles.

Only about 6 weeks after I started I was running the full mile and walking the second. Wow! I was impressing myself to say the least. Then I just kept running and am now able to run the full 2 miles without walking.

How do I do it? How do I find the will to push myself? This is my mentality:

Exercise to be Healthy

I am not focused on losing weight or fitting into a cute summer outfit, I have the mentality that if I don't use my muscles, I will lose them. I want to have the agility needed when I am blessed with children. This mentality is great for MS fighters because you don't get discouraged. Each time your feet hit the road and your butt is off the couch, it's meeting a goal that you set for yourself.


I pray when I run, I thank God for giving me the ability to run and not having to be contained in a wheelchair. What an easy way to get my mind off of nearly dying to focus on my Creator.

Congratulate Yourself

I'm super proud every afternoon that I motivate myself to exercise. I sleep better at night due to the exhaustion from my afternoon run. I feel like I'm winning, I'm beating this disease one step at a time, and to me, that's all I need to keep myself motivated.

Take a look at this video that motivated me to get my rear in gear and I hope it does the same for you. Watch this inspiring story of an MS fighter who exercises with P90X to improve her MS!

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Beloved Piano

My stress reliever and my happiness is my piano. I have been playing since 6 years old and it truly is a passion. When I'm anxious, or upset I cling to my hobby to bring me to a utopia of happiness.

When I was first diagnosed, my symptoms didn't prevent me from continuing my beloved passion due to the affected area being below my waist. It was a blessing that I took for granted during that first month of relapse, telling myself 'at least you can still play.'

In July however, I relapsed again and was completely numb from the neck down...which meant my hands were numb. They were the most affected part during this relapse with my pinky and ring fingers hurting because they were so numb. I would compare it to when your hands are freezing and you put them under hot water, it constantly felt like that.

I attempted to play during this relapse, to get my mind off of this beast I live with. After fumbling around trying to play a few hymns, I sat and cried. Why? Why does this have to take what I love so much? Why can't I use my passion to crawl away from the depths that MS brings you during a relapse?

The only thing I could play with was my nose...and that wouldn't go as well. (Now you have a mental image of me pounding my baby-grand with my nose, you're welcome)

I always fear residual numbness, which is something I'm so blessed to not have, yet. I watch my mother struggle to even write, take pictures, or put the dishes up due to residual numbness on her right side. (Seriously, breaking dishes in our home was something that happened once a week).

After the relapse ran its course, I was back to 'almost' normal and able to play again. What a joy that brings to me, listening to the acoustics of Glorify Thy Name throughout my home, it's something that I don't take for granted anymore.

With that being said, I need your support and prayers. I have played in several weddings throughout my years however, a very special couple (my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law) are getting married in June. I'm honored to have been asked to play at their wedding, yet there is something that lingers.

What if that happens again? All I can imagine is "Here Comes the SPLAT" - ummm I can just hear the gasps now. If it were a funeral, it wouldn't be so bad, as I have an excuse to screw up (due to crying) however, at a wedding, no one notices the piano unless you break out in Jerry Lee Lewis or create your own musical tone clusters...She already told me no Jerry Lee Lewis, trust me I tried to throw it in there!

So when June time comes, be praying for my hands and my MS to take a back seat during the weeks before the ceremony...I can only hope right?