Thursday, May 5, 2011

Carnival of MS Bloggers #87

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

cycles in life and hope

By Mary K. Mennenga

Learning your capable of doing something doesn't mean you should
Time teaches us we aren't as smart as we thought
When we become willing to admit this, that's when growth begins
We no longer need to be told what someone else thinks
The answer to our question is
We begin to seek out the answers for ourselves
To the questions that the answers bring to mind
Creating even more answers that need questioning
As we begin to make decisions about what we believe the truth is
Who we are and what's important to us and why
We learn that each choice we make will change
What choices and options are available to us
It becomes a lifelong cycle of questions, answers
Learning and personal growth making decisions and choices
It's a kind of learning that you learn as you go
So don't judge yourself too harshly
This never-ending cycle helps you become
The person you know you want to be
It's a journey that no matter what you do
Still takes a lifetime to finish

Well coordinated
by Toots of Maybe MS Truth

Today (now yesterday) my masseuse commented that my knickers matched my walking stick. Let me explain.
  • a) I have had regular massages since suffering a work related shoulder injury many years ago. I wrenched something. It hurt. A lot.
  • b) Unusually for me, these particular knickers are patterned with red cherries.
  • c) I own a variety of patterned walking sticks. This is one of two recent bargain buys from Timpsons. It is bizarre how excited I now get about buying new walking sticks. Who’d have thought someone my age would get so much pleasure from a pretty stick! Not a euphemism.
I often coordinate the colours of my clothing and, to a certain extent, accessories – earrings, bags, walking sticks. This probably makes me sound far more fashion conscious than I could ever pretend to be.

Loss of coordination was one of the first symptoms to affect me when I suffered the MS relapse that led to my diagnosis. I don’t remember what I was wearing when I went into hospital (in an ambulance) but I bet it wasn’t in any way coordinated. I do remember I couldn’t write properly with my left hand. I am left hand dominant. Left-handed to you and me.

I had also started dropping things. I was already using a stick due to footdrop, balance and coordination difficulties when walking - and when standing or bending down. Sitting seemed to be ok but that doesn’t take a huge amount of coordination.

None of this is unusual for someone with MS but when you don’t know you have MS and these difficulties are accompanied by visual disturbances, extreme tiredness (fatigue), strange numbness/tingling in limbs and crushing pain round your midriff then the loss of coordination is disturbing. It was the midriff pain that landed me in hospital, It moved up to my chest and the out of hours doctor told me I had to phone 999. Best thing I did. Once in hospital I had the raft of tests that led to my diagnosis.

On diagnosis, I was told by the hospital MS Specialist Nurse that the crushing midriff pain, which felt like a far-too-tight twisting belt, is known as the MS Hug. I think of a hug as a pleasant thing. This wasn’t, and still isn’t, at all pleasant.

One of the problems with all my symptoms is that they didn’t/don’t feel coordinated. To a lay person like me, it’s like having a whole jumble of stuff wrong. So yesterday it was good to be told that one part of me was coordinated. My knickers matched my walking stick. I was well coordinated. Very important, I feel, to look your best... in case you get run over by a bus.

by Maryann of MS and ME

These are my two grandsons, Alex (8) and Albert (12). They came, along with their parents, for a visit in March. We had a wonderful time with them. Behind them in the picture is the Roanoke River. We were all walking on the Greenways, a very nice asphalt walkway that goes through Salem and Roanoke.

I had MRI scans of my brain, cervical spine, and thoracic spine taken with and without contrast. Following that, I had a visit with my MS specialist neurologist last week. He said there were no changes since my last MRI. However, in a blood test taken the first of March, I tested positive for the virus that causes PML in people who are on Tysabri. Dr. S told me to discontinue my T infusions for now, but to not have my port removed.

Because of my tiredness, sleepiness and fatigue, he is weaning me off of the Flexeril and Baclofen that I had been taking. If my muscle spasms come back and are too painful, I am to start taking the meds again.

He did a lumbar puncture, which was my second in 20 years. There was a problem gaining entry, and they ended up having me sitting on the exam table, with my arms extended over a walker, and my chin tucked into my chest. That opened the area up and the LP was done. I also had to go to the lab, carrying the fluid from my spine, and have blood drawn.

I will also have a sleep study done because I am overweight and I snore. Then, I will also begin Physical Therapy.

That's an awful lot of stuff. Dr. S seems to think I have another disease along with my MS. He mentioned Primary Progressive MS, and he also mentioned Parkinson's Disease. I hope I'm negative for both of those!

We're going to Margate, NJ to celebrate Passover with Arnie's family. Along the way, we are stopping in Philadelphia to visit a friend I met on Facebook. I am so looking forward to seeing Rita in person, along with her little dog Jake. Can't wait to see the family and be with them for the Seder. This will be a pleasant trip for all of us.

by Jodi Bean

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable Shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the other one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have work the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger women.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has MS.

Author Unknown

I changed the last line of this poem to "who has MS." It was written for another use but rings so true for people living with MS. As a social worker and as a person I try not to be judgmental or to make assumptions about people. I often say to myself and/or co-workers "until I've walked a day in her shoes I'm not going to judge/assume." I think it is a good motto to live by.

I don't know what it is like to live someone else's life. Life is different for everyone. Everyone's journey is different. I walk in my shoes on my journey which has been shaped by MS. I can honestly say that it has greatly impacted everything I do and every decision I now make. But my journey is not a sad journey or an angry journey or even a depressing journey. Yes there are bad days and my future health is unknown. But there are also a lot of good days, great days, happy days, time with family, vacations, time with friends, dinners out, sunny days, good books, funny reality tv shows, laughs, drinks, memories, support, love and HOPE.

My journey is filled with hope. Hope that one day I won't walk my journey in shoes with MS. I hope that one day there will be a cure. I hope that I will continue to be strong and happy and motivated. I hope I will never give up the fight against MS.

This concludes the 87th edition of the Carnival.

The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on May 19, 2011. 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, May 17, 2011.

Thank you.

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