Then Was Then This is Now.

that-was-then-this-is-now-quote-coeurblondeHello again,

I wrote a lot about the pains in my legs.  I also wrote about the treatment I had been getting for these pains both bad and good.  I believe I left off with seeing a new Pain Management Doctor under advisement of my Internist.  The plan with the new Doctor was to go ahead and try another shot in my L5-S1 joints of my spine.  He decided to do it bilaterally, meaning that since each disc of the spine has two nerves coming out of it, both right and left sides, that it made more sense to do the shot on both sides.

It’s been about four days since the shot.  I’m feeling better.  It’s not to say that the pain is completely gone, but I’m feeling almost normal again.  I hold my breath each morning when I wake up.  I take tentative steps out of bed hoping that how I felt the previous day is maintaining the status quo.  Sure enough, it has.  Let’s see how long this last.

Between my Internal Doctor adjusting some of my meds to the maximum dosage and the shots, I think I may land up having a decent summer.  I’m so grateful.

Moving on to other bits and pieces of living life with Multiple Sclerosis.

Many of my medical caregivers are impressed with how I’m still standing on my feet, digging ponds in my back yard, and the list goes on.  They are also impressed with my mental attitude given the history of Depression with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  (There was a time I would not have mentioned my mental illness let alone write it for the whole world to see).

I’m not impressed.  For me, I don’t know any other way to live my life but to fight.  It comes natural to me.  My life has been an uphill battle since I was a child, so fighting to live my life my way is the norm.

I don’t want to write about how terrible MS is.  Sure, it is extremely difficult and can be very painful for some.  Not all of us progress the same way.  I’m at a stage where I’m very symptomatic all the time.  This doesn’t mean I want to wallow in it.  I don’t want to use this written venue to spout out how terrible I feel.

I give you the facts.  I tell you everything I’m going through.  However, I don’t pontificate about the woes of it all.  There are times when I do express my deepest thoughts.  What made me cry, what upset me, and so forth.  But again, these are facts.  This is my life.  This is not a venue, at least for me, where I’m expecting claps on the back for being strong or whatever.

For me, this venue is about educating people about Multiple Sclerosis and what can happen to a person along the way.  Armed with this information, they are aware and can be prepared, should these very issues happen to them.

Sure, there are times when I’m miserable, like these past eight months with intractable pain with no relief in sight.  However, for the time being at least, there is relief.  Should the pain return, then we’ll try something else.

I was delighted that I was able to treat my husband to a Father’s Day dinner.  The amazing thing about it was that I was able to sit on a chair without wiggling the whole time trying to find a pain free way of sitting, and that I sat through the entire dinner without having to get up early and wait for my husband outside while he paid the check.

Then was then and now is now.  What happened before is now history and today is a new page in history.  I concentrate on what is important and don’t bemoan what is lost.  There is no point in it.

This isn’t something learned overnight.  I believe that one must go through a learning period of comprehending this.  When you get tired of hearing yourself talk, then you know it’s time to change your perspective.  When you get tired of reading your own words, then it’s time to change something.

I’ve gotten to a point where I just can’t tolerate being by people who are stuck in a rut and won’t take the helping hand in front of them to pull them out.  They insist on staying there believing that everyone else wants to hear them wailing from the rut, that they can’t get out.  I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to read about it.

I am not looking for sympathy.  I’m looking for solutions.  I’m grateful when someone comments about how they like reading my words.  I appreciate that because it takes effort and thought to do it.  I give to you with my words in the hopes that you come to understand the life of people like me.

I try to stay in touch with other MSers but not when they drag me down.  I can’t afford to be dragged down.  If they need help and they ask for it, I will gladly give it to them.  I don’t have the strength to try and pull someone out of the rut if they in turn, try to pull me in with them.

We all have our reasons for writing.  They have just as much right to this venue as I do.  This doesn’t mean we have to like each other’s blogs.  Some of these bloggers are excellent writers.  They use their blogs to satisfy their own needs, whether it is like my reasons or for their own reasons.  Kudos to them.

What it all boils down to is if I’m going to spend my time writing, I would like to think that I do it well and that I give people food for thought.  Other writers are also giving people food for thought.  I’m proud of all us bloggers who write about this disease called Multiple Sclerosis.  It’s important that people read all our blogs to see the effect it has on us at various stages of the disease.  How different we all are and yet, how similar we are.

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On Maggie’s Pond

I’m sitting here noticing that I need to clean my keyboard.  I can do that!  I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t do.  If I sat around bemoaning all the things that I can’t do, just give me a shovel so that I can dig a hole six feet deep that I can crawl into.  Only problem would be is how would I get the dirt filled up after I’m in the hole.  That I can’t do.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis is not a death sentence.  It is not something to despair over.  It can lead to a shorter life depending on the type of MS one has, and actually; it may lead to a shorter life for those with other variables of MS, but not by much.

What is significant about MS/Multiple Sclerosis, is all the things we can’t do as time goes by.  You don’t get a diagnosis of MS and all of a sudden you are bedridden or significantly impacted in an obvious way.  Many people have MS and still work.  Many people, inclusive of those I know; you would never be able to tell they have the disease.  Many people, including myself, have advanced into severity but still go on taking care of the house and other activities like yard work, etc.

Let me show you an example.

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I started this pond last year.  My husband dug out the slate for me and put them in piles around the hole that I dug.  My husband helped define the hole for me.

This was my baby.  It was something I wanted to do on my own so that I could feel a sense of accomplishment.  It was something I could do.  It took me nearly two years to do it, but I did it.  I carried each one of those rocks from one part of our very large yard to the pond.  Along the way, there were things I couldn’t do, and I gladly turned it over to my husband.  Although he was very concerned about my falling, which I did often, he left me alone when I wanted to do it alone.  He did put his foot down a few times and insisted I come into the house but he balanced his concern with my determination to do this.

It wasn’t easy.  It took forever and many small steps to carry stones.  I couldn’t use a big cart so I piled rocks into my shirt and carried them that way across the yard.  I averaged about three trips in an hour and the rest of the time, I laid the rocks into position.  I still have a ton of rocks to go, but at least it looks like a pond.

There were many falls, one where I had to lay there a couple of hours before help came along.  It was okay.  I turned over on my back, watched the clouds and made up a melody in my head.  When I was asked how long I had been laying there, I white lied.  What would be the point in worrying anyone when I was hurting?  The hurt did not come from the fall but from my legs, which started last year.

At that time I thought that perhaps my legs hurt because I wasn’t doing enough on my legs.  I wanted to work them out.  It didn’t work.

I focused not on building the pond, but on picking up a rock, putting it in my shirt, then picking up the next rock, and so forth.  Then I focused on the long walk back to the pond, or at least it seemed like a couple of miles.

The pond was the ultimate goal but the pond gets built by a lot of small steps.  I focused on those small steps and broke those small steps even further.  I landed up with mini steps.  Those I could do even if it took me all day to do what someone else could do in one hour.

This past weekend, I was like a child excited about going to a candy store.  We went to the pond store where I purchased six Koi fish.  I tried fish last year, but the pond’s habitat wasn’t mature enough.  I waited a lot longer before I finally deemed the pond habitable for fish.

My Take on This

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that when you first hear the diagnosis your head spins with envisioning the changes that will happen in your life.  Yes, they are disturbing and yes, it seems calamitous.  It leads, for many of us, to debilitating lifestyle changes…gradually unless you Progressive MS.

I’ve had MS for 30 years, if not longer.  I still work around the house and in my yard.  I still walk with a cane or walker.  I am using my wheelchair a lot more frequently these days.  I have more than likely moved into progressive but I’m not asking if I have.  I don’t care to know.  It’s enough knowing that I have Congestive Heart Failure now.  That is something to worry about.  I’m trying not to.  The prognosis for that is about five to ten years, but my internist said he knows of some who have lived longer.

If one thing doesn’t get you, something else will.  It’s the nature of life.  We all die.  

It’s how we live that’s important.  It’s what we leave behind that counts.  We live on with the memories we gift people.  I concentrate on quality not quantity.  I concentrate on embracing the difficulties of the day not on defending myself from those difficulties.

Multiple Sclerosis is not a death sentence.  It is just one of those incredibly difficult and painful things that some of us are burdened with.  

I want to leave this blog behind as my gift to the MS world.  It is concise, brutally honest, happy, sad, uplifting, and depressing.  It is the whole of what MS is in “my” life.  It’s different for everyone.  In the long run, I want readers to feel that they have gained a lot of information (not the technical stuff), about what life is for one person with MS.  

My motto is “MS does not define me.  I define what MS is in my life.”

 

TRY TO REMEMBER

Im confusedI’ve been seeing the man in the moon into the wee hours of the morning.  Every time I try to sleep, I can only do so for a couple of hours and then I’m up again.  I’m told I have very dark circles under my eyes.  I didn’t need to be told.

My mirror reflects back at me the sight of a woman who appears ill.  If I go through the whole makeup routine, then the mirror reflects back at me a woman who appears ill with too much makeup.

I have been busy with so many things that I don’t have time to think.  In fact, the actual thinking that I can do, is mostly disparate pieces of puzzles, floating around in my brain looking for another piece to lock onto to form an entire picture.  That’s not how my brain works any more.

For those of you interested, I have a favorite app that I use for doing jigsaws on the computer.  It’s called Brainsbreaker.  Click on the word and it will take you to the link.  It’s a great way of taking your mind off things.

There is not much to write about when you don’t go out.  I feel like a recluse.  Having given up my car which I regret doing, I find myself like a bird in a cage, looking forlornly out through the bars.  Even if that bird was let out, his wings have been clipped, so he can no longer fly.  If anything, he could hop around from one location to another, but he would still be a caged bird with just different cage walls to look through.

My life at home, of late, has been one of oil painting, playing games on the computer, Facebook, composing songs then painstakingly putting the notes into the score.  Then repeating the whole process when I add a new instruments to the score.

I also keep busy writing my book and in here, although it doesn’t appear that I’ve done much in here lately.

Confusion, insomnia, incontinence, tremors, spasms (spasticity), optic neuritis, falls, loss of balance, hearing problems, paresthesias, peripheral edema, incredible fatigue, chronic iron deficiency, extreme vitamin D deficiency, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),  allergies, and a huge seroma in my gut that will be removed in two weeks.  It’s larger than a football.  Add to that a failed carpal tunnel surgery.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things but you get the picture.

This is my life with MS.  My days can be nightmarish and usually, people would get their restorative sleep at night.  Oh no!  The man in the moon wants to go dancing!  I waltz away with him till I am literally drooping in his arms.  I’m sure there is a large blotch on the moon to human eyes if someone knew where to look through a telescope. That would be me in the arms of the ever present moon.  He does hide sometimes.  He has a right to his days.

I’m not complaining.  I sometimes put everything down so that I can take a critical eye to the list.  I wish it were a “To Do” list so that I could scratch things off as I heal.  No.  This list is permanently penned to my refrigerator with indelible ink.

If I complain about anything, it would be the discombobulated thinking that I live with.  I actually have a “To Do” list.  I see something that I can do and I start to do it until something else occurs to me.  So then I need to go do that.  However, before I finish that, something else pops into my head.  This goes on all day.  At the end of the day, I have all these things half finished.

Do I finish them the next day?  More than likely not.  I move on with new things that need doing which adds to the confusion in my home and in my brain.  Oftentimes I look at something and don’t know why I was doing what I was doing to it.  I think, “What in the world?”

My other chief complaint is precisely what I wrote above.  My memory.  I don’t know why it keeps playing games with me.  If it were a separate entity from me standing right in front of me, I would smack it upside its head and tell it to get its act together.

I try to remember things.  Say I’m in the bathroom and think that I need to purchase milk.  I tell myself to write it down on the pad that is on the fridge.  By the time I wash my hands and walk out the door, I have forgotten about it.  I will go to the fridge and stand there wondering why I went there.  I open the door and pull out a can of something or other to drink.  Later on in the day, I will think.  Oh I need to get milk.  The whole thing starts all over again.

The fatigue  This is too comprehensive to talk about right now.  I will tell myself to write about it.  LOL

I hope I remember.