Thursday, September 25, 2008

Carnival of MS Bloggers #20 - The Invincibility Edition

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

"Strength and Invincibility"

It was Thursday and Thursday is the day my sister and I meet over at Mom's and have dinner with Mom, my eldest son and his wife, and my granddaughter, and my 10 year old who comes with me.

We were going to go straight there after getting back to town at 6:30 but SOMEbody had to use the bathroom and I decided to check my email. (I am seriously addicted to the internet).

We both get done with our respective tasks and we head out the door, me first. I yell over my shoulder "Make sure it's locked!" and he did.

I looked down at my hand. Uh oh. The keys are by the computer.

This wouldn't have been a big deal had I not relentlessly hounded John into finishing the privacy fence. The only way in was in the back yard and it was a fortress protected by a 6 foot fence with a gate that has 2 (locked) locks.

I look around giving the front yard my best MacGyver I Spy once over sweep in search of how to get over the fence. Aha! There's an A-frame from John's work van haphazardly leaning against the fence, as if inviting someone to climb up and over.

My son climbs up and looks over the other side.

"I dunno, Ma. I think I might get hurt," he says as he comes back down.

"Oh for cryin' out loud" I say impatiently. "Here, let me have that thing." I take the A-frame from him and he points out that our old pool ladder is leaning up against the inside of the fence about 12 feet farther down.

I take the A-frame over to where I can see the ladder between the fence slats. On this side, however, is some construction related material from John's work. Carpet padding, specifically.

I plant the A-frame straddling the roll of padding, sure that it will work just fine even if it is a little wobbly.

Did I mention that we live on an *arterial highway* going through our little town? And this was right around rush hour? Maximum audience.

As I am climbing up, I am thinking to myself "heh. You'd have never caught me trying this last year! I've become darn near invincible! Good thing I wore sneaks instead of flip flops."

And it was right about then, as I had one foot on the top rung and the other poised, mid-air to swing over the top of the fence, that I realized the A-frame was moving and it wasn't a side to side wobble. It was falling away straight out in back of me.

As I fell down onto the top of the fence which hit me right square in the gut, I remember thinking "glad we got that square topped fencing and not that real pointy stuff!" I balanced there for a couple seconds and then began to slide. The fence top caught under my shirt and the rough, unpainted wood proceeded to peel me like a potato as gravity pulled me down.

"YEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!" was all I could manage to get out as I slid uncontrollably.

Then I realized, to my horror, the fence had scraped right under my shirt and managed to snag under my bra and I was hanging there, in front of the rush hour traffic with my shirt and bra over my head and my feet still off the ground.

Oh. My. God.

So many thoughts racing through my head as my hands worked madly to try and lift my entire body weight off the fence by my snagged shirt and bra.

"I hope my neighbor isn't watching!"
"I hope my son isn't watching...and scarred for life!"
"Man I don't want to find this on youtube!"
"I hope my brand new bra isn't all womped out of shape now! I paid good money for that!"
"That breeze feels kinda nice!"

It was probably only seconds before I was down off the fence. Then I was so busy surveying the carnage that I forgot I had an audience and when I remembered I was frantically trying to cover back up.

So how did we ever get the keys and go to Mom's that night, you ask?

My son, who had fortunately been spared from witnessing the whole tragic act, was around the corner wandering and goofing off, oblivious to it all.

When he saw me crying over my hurt dignity he asked what was wrong and I told him the fence had just beat me up.

He puffed out his chest and strutted over to the fence proclaiming "I'm not letting MY mom get hurt again! I'm going over the fence!" He proceeded to climb with a purpose and was up and over the fence without so much as a splinter to show for it.

He was in the back and out the front with keys in hand before my stomach and chest had even done welting up and bleeding and turning black and blue.

So, there could be one more side effect of Fingolimod that I hadn't considered.

The bottle should say "Caution: May cause feelings of grandeur and invincibility that could cause you to go temporarily insane and make a 47 year old do something that only 10 year olds should even attempt."


"Caution, always tuck in your shirt while taking this drug. May get hooked on fence and hang naked in front of traffic. Be sure to stay away from all fences before you know how you will react to this medication."


"Stop taking this medication and consult your physician immediately if you find yourself hanging by your shirt from your fence during rush hour with your boobs exposed for all to see. This could be a serious reaction and may need medical attention, especially if scrapes, swelling and bruising develop."

If I have anything to say about what the warning labels will be, that should about cover it.

by Michael of Perspective is Everything
Living with a disease like multiple sclerosis, or many others for that matter, can be very unpredictable. One day you feel strong, the next day you don’t. One day you are asymptomatic. The next day you have a new symptom that won’t go away. Diseases are just like life. Every event, every instance falls into one of three categories:
  • The things we control
  • The things we influence
  • The things over which we have no control
I choose to exercise as much influence and control over my disease as I possibly can. Let me explain what I mean by that………

A few months ago, my right hip started to give out. Typically, when this happened I fell down….and I don’t like falling down! I went to see the chiropractor to get an adjustment. I went to the orthopedist and got an x-ray and an MRI. I went to see my neurologist and my physical therapist, too. Since nothing showed up on the x-ray or MRI, the consensus was that the weakness was caused by a weakening of the hip muscles…..caused by MS.

So here is what I did about it: I started exercising my right side. I exercised it at least four days a week. In time, I started exercising my left side too. Now, I exercise five to six times a week. Do you know what happened? My hip got stronger and stopped giving out and I stopped falling down.

About two months later, I started having lower back pains. I saw the chiropractor and the acupuncturist and that helped for awhile. But then, a few weeks later, the pain was back with a vengeance. It was so bad that I could not stand up or walk. I could barely move. At home, I normally use a walker to get around, but for a few days, I used a wheelchair in the house. The chiropractor came to my home. So did the acupuncturist. I was able to move, but only a little. I saw my neurologist and my physical therapist. Again, the consensus was the same: the disease was progressing.

The physical therapist explained it best: my quadriceps (the muscles of the thighs) had become so weak that the way I walked was putting a great amount of stress on my lower back, which wasn’t that strong either. “THAT’S GREAT NEWS” I said. “That’s something I can do something about.”

So I did something about it. I added exercises to my workout to strengthen my ‘quads’, lower back and core. Guess what is happening? I am getting stronger. These new symptoms may be the best thing that has happened to me in these past few years because they have put me in control of how I manage this disease. I am getting stronger, more disciplined and more determined to not allow this disease to overtake me, at least not yet. In fact, the physical therapist calls the exercises we do today “pre-gait exercises.” Pre-gait means “before walking.” Am I going to improve my walking? You bet. Will I be able to walk without a walker? We will see. What I will do is the best that I can.

We may not always have the ability to do something about what is happening with our bodies and our diseases. We can be defeated or energized. We can do all we can to combat what is happening or we can do nothing at all. We can focus on all the abilities that we have lost or focus on all the abilities that we still have. One thing is for sure, we always have a choice in how we respond.

New symptom? Bring it on. Teach me how to respond to it, manage it, beat it and be stronger. It is not easy. But it is my disease, my condition and it is my job to do as much as I can about it for as long as I can……which I plan on doing for a very long time.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

This concludes the 20th edition of the Carnival.

The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on October 9, 2008. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

Thank you.
Comments for this post.


  1. Fabulous capture for the Carnival! I have been reading Jeri for quite some time now, and I ALWAYS leave her blog feeling better...ah yes, TWISTED, but better! I'll be sure and check out Michael as well...

    Linda D. in Seattle

  2. ROFL didn't know I was being quoted in "The Invincibility Edition". My post needs some sort of disclaimer about not trying this at home or something.

    It's been a week today and I'm still black and blue...but I now have a spare key. It's hidden just over the fence. (NOT!)

    Thanks for sharing my story. :-)


  3. Thank you for continuing to put the carnival out gives us all a chance to meet new people.

  4. I actually laughed like a moron reading the first submission. That poor woman and the bra and the fence. I should copy that and print that out because that has been the one thing that has brought me out of my funk for a long time.

    I bet my neighbors must have thought I was out of my mind because I'd laugh and then stop, read more, and laugh again.

    Thanks Lisa,

  5. Thank you all so much. I love getting the comments and am glad that you enjoy the Carnival. Of course, everybody is welcome to send stuff for the next one.

    (Jeri, I know you didn't exactly send this my way, but it was simply too good not to share.)

  6. Applause! Applause! Applause! Living with MS so needs a laugh. I cannot wait to read this to my wife. Thank You!

    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick