Coldfront coming through…

This morning my daughter tried to go to school wearing skimpy gym shorts and a tank top. Because it’s gym day, of course.

Then my son kept trying to argue his way out of wearing a coat to school.

My children are clearly in denial about the weather changes. It’s 38 degrees and raining.

I, on the other hand, am happily wearing a sweater, jacket, and scarf. Because I an a realist. And also I love this beautiful Michigan fall weather.

2016 Hot Cider Hustle 5k

Oh boy. The days just keep moving along, don’t they? And I feel like I’m forgetting something, constantly. Sometimes I actually am. Usually I’m not, or I am but it’s inconsequential. But I do remember I said I was going to blog about something… the 5k I ran last weekend, perhaps?

Okay, yes. Last weekend I ran my second ever 5k, the Hot Cider Hustle. I signed up for this race back in August, with no other runners committed to running it with me. I had just decided that I needed to get it on the calendar, to give me something to work towards. And if anyone else ran it with me, even better. Then football schedules came out, and it turned out my husband and my son both would not be able to be there, as they had their respective football responsibilities. So it was just going to be me and my daughter. Now, I could get us there with the trusty Spec-Tran, but the problem would be that my daughter would be left alone while I ran the race. Not an option, as she is only 6. So a dear friend of mine offered to take us to the race and sit with my daughter while I ran. That is the first thing I had to be grateful for that day, but it gets better.

As we were driving to the park where the race was being held, I received a text from another dear friend, telling me that she was there, and had just signed up to run! She had run my first 5k with me, signing up at the last minute for that race as well. I love happy surprises. The first race I finished before she did, but only because she hadn’t even been training. This second race I was able to keep up with her new pace for most of the time, but towards the end as it got more crowded I wasn’t able to keep up with her and pass all the people safely. We plan to run more races together, and hopefully next time she won’t wait until the last minute to sign up!

And my most favorite part of this race? My big brother drove up to run it too. He told me 2016-10-15-08-12-30just a few weeks prior to the race that he was going to join me, and I was both shocked and thrilled. I hadn’t even asked him to run. Why would I? He lives an hour away, and he’s a serious runner. He’s run marathons, so these 5ks are small time for him. I’m still not entirely sure why he decided to do the race. Part of it maybe was him missing the thrill of it, but I believe a bigger part was his desire to support his little sister (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Of course he was a huge support to me, big time, and I’ll never forget it. Since he finished the race long before I did, he was able to run right alongside me during my final mile, coaching me to the finish.


This was definitely a difficult run, especially after I lost my friend in the crowd. I had to be sure I was on the right course, because there was a 10 mile race going on as well, and signs directing the runners. I only lost my balance once, and fell into the runner I was trying to pass, but I apologized and kept moving on. No harm, no foul. My brother suggested I get a bib to wear on my back that tells people I’m disabled, so that they don’t assume I can hear them, or that I can maneuver the way the other runners can. I think it’s a great idea, and I’ll definitely be looking into it for future races.

After I crossed the finish line, my brother came around to help me walk, because I really am a mess during those minutes following, when I’ve stopped running. The race volunteers were concerned, but my brother and friend (who had joined in helping me walk) assured them I was fine, that I had MS and I just needed to rest awhile. It may seem silly, but it makes me feel proud for people to know I have MS, and am running in spite of it. I may not run fast, but I’m running, and I’ll keep running until I’m forced to stop.

So, at the end of the day, I ran a very satisfying 3.1 miles in 38 minutes, 34 seconds, and was able to celebrate and share in that achievement with my big brother and two very good friends. It was certainly a day I’ll never forget.



My hands are cold

Today I went to the YMCA and ran for a bit, lifted some weights, read the newspaper. It was nice. I’m trying to increase my running speed. I ran a 5k last weekend and set myself a new Personal Record – my total time was 38:34, which is an average time of 12:25 per mile. This was only slightly better than my last 5k, but it was a movement in the right direction, so I’m happy with it. I would like to cut my time down, see if I can get faster. At this point I’m not really interested in running longer races; I would just like to get those 3.1 miles done faster.

Today my daughter had a playdate at the park with a friend from the old school. They played and climbed while the moms talked. I was so glad they had that chance to see each other again, and I’m also happy that her mom and I can now say we are friends in real life (not just on Facebook). It was a lot of fun, but we’ve been home for over an hour now and my hands are still cold.

I have much to say about that race last weekend, but it’s too late in the day to collect all my thoughts properly and also, my fingers… ice cold. Seriously. Which makes typing kind of a challenge I would rather not suffer through. So I’ll leave you here and maybe revisit tomorrow or Sunday when my hands have had a chance to thaw out.

Chicken what?

Did I mention a new restaurant opened near our house? It’s this Lebanese restaurant and they serve the best everything, but especially the chicken shawarma. I ate there Monday and Tuesday and then just finished off my leftovers today and ohmagersh I could eat this every day EVERY DAY. It’s so yummy and my tummy is happy, but since it was just a small portion (leftovers) I’m wanting more. If it were earlier in the day I would ride my trike and go get some, but it’s already after 3:00 so I guess I have to suffer until next time. 

I will survive, of course. 

Now off to shower cuz I just ran 3 miles outside and I’m kinda stinky. 5k race Saturday, wish me luck!

The Trike

My husband’s employer loaned us a trike for me to try, and perhaps keep if I like. I guess they had purchased it for a single purpose and no longer needed it, so lucky me! It definitely makes riding feel a lot safer for me.

So Monday the kids did not have school (something about Columbus) so we decided to ride bikes up to the store to get donuts and hot cocoa. All was going well until I hit a rough patch of pavement, throwing the trike off course, and eventually me with it. It felt like slow motion but was really only a matter of seconds. I found myself pinned to the edge of the road, this enormous tricycle and basket on top of me. The kids looked back and immediately ran to help me. Thank goodness for them, really. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been alone. It was a pretty scary fall, and I shredded my elbow, so I was bleeding quite a bit for the rest of the trip. Thankfully we were able to snag some band-aids from the donut shop. 

The rest of the trip was lovely, with the donuts and cocoa, and then some shopping, and then lunch at a new restaurant that had just opened that day. Best chicken shawarma ever!

But then today. Have you ever been in a car accident, and you hurt worse the following day? It’s a ridiculously delayed reaction from the impact. That’s what’s going on here. I underestimated the impact of that fall. My entire upper body is in excruciating pain and I am finding myself to be the biggest wuss about it! I am such a big whiner baby right now, and so I’m just gonna try to sleep. Last night I kept rolling over on my elbow and it would wake me up and that was just annoying, so hopefully it leaves me alone tonight and let’s me sleep. 

I am always telling you all to be thankful for the day and enjoy every moment so now I’ve gotta remind myself to take that advice. Come on now Mindy, it’s just a little aches and pains, be thankful you’re alive. You could’ve been run over by a car, after all! Get some rest now people… get some rest.

My very first reader question!

An interesting question was raised here on the blog earlier this week, and it’s one I felt important to answer. The question? What is a cochlear implant, is it for MS, and does it help?

Well, first off – a cochlear implant is a device implanted into the skull near the ear in order to replace a malfunctioning inner ear. I can’t speak much for the inner workings of the ear, and all the moving pieces natural hearing involves, so I won’t. But the cochlear implant takes the place of the cochlea, which is the auditory portion of the inner ear (Thanks Wikipedia). Basically, the cochlear implant restores hearing.

It’s not a terribly invasive surgery, and most people are able to go home the same afternoon. After one is healed from the surgery, the device is activated with the use of a processor that sits on the ear and is connected via cord and magnet to the implant. It’s kind of fascinating, if you ask me. When the magnet and processor is not attached, I hear nothing. Actually, that’s not accurate. It’s only when the magnet is unattached that I hear nothing. Complete and total silence. But when it’s connected, I’m back in business and hearing again. The processors that hang on my ears look like your typical hearing aid, but they work in a totally different way. Hearing aids amplify sound, but cochlear implants take sound and process it for you, communicating that sound to your brain.

Cochlear implants are only used with people who are permanently profoundly deaf, and who are not helped by hearing aids. It’s nothing like natural hearing, and everyone responds differently to the implants, but in general it’s been a very good thing for me and pretty much every cochlear implant recipient I’ve spoken with. I was a late-deafened adult, meaning I lost my hearing in adulthood. I didn’t grow up in the Deaf community, so it was a severe loss, losing my hearing. I had almost no way to communicate. I was profoundly deaf. I didn’t just lose some hearing, I lost it all. So the cochlear implants have been a huge help for me. I’m able to have conversations with my children, make phone calls (with the help of a captioned phone, usually), listen to music, follow along with church worship services, etc. It’s been a wonderful gift.

I do have MS, and while some people with MS experience hearing loss, my hearing loss was not caused by MS. When someone with MS loses hearing, it’s usually in only one ear, and is not always permanent. I think I saw a statistic that said only 6% of MS patients reported symptoms of hearing loss. My diagnosis was Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, which affects less than 1% of people with hearing loss (including Rush Limbaugh, who is also a bilateral cochlear implant recipient). How’s that for odds? Maybe I ought to buy a lottery ticket.

I hope that answers your questions, MSersgettingfit! I’m sorry if I went more in depth than necessary, but it’s a big topic for me. Hard to scale it down. I still feel like I left so much out, so if I only raised more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Actually, this goes out to all my readers: I absolutely love answering questions, so please feel free to ask away. I am at your service!

Facebook is reminding me

Does anyone else on Facebook get those daily reminders of things you posted “On This Day” in prior years? I’ve been getting them for some time now, and lately it’s been a heavy feed of reminders of the days leading up to my MS diagnosis 7 years ago. Today was no different. My status posted on 9/29/09 was this:

Mindy has been having new symptoms creep up and is kind of freaked out about it.”

One of my comments on this post was this – “I don’t know, they didn’t SPECIFICALLY rule out larvae. I’ll have to ask😉 But in all seriousness, I’m really just praying it’s not MS.” (This was in part a reply to a coworker friend who had been joking that this was all being caused by larvae in my brain. It wasn’t.)

I think on a deep level I knew it was MS before I was given the diagnosis, even though I was praying against it. In fact, I vividly remember sitting at my desk during a lunch break, scouring the internet for explanations to my symptoms. I landed on a page at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website that described the many possible symptoms of MS. They listed common symptoms and less common symptoms. When I saw “itching” described among the uncommon symptoms, tears welled up in my eyes and I had to catch my breath.

From the National MS Society: “Pruritis (itching) is one of the family of abnormal sensations — such as “pins and needles” and burning, stabbing or tearing pains — which may be experienced by people with MS.”

This was exactly what I had been experiencing around that time, in my upper arm, and it was by far the most painful of the symptoms I had been having. It was the word – stabbing – that caught my attention. I hadn’t thought to use that word to describe it, but that was it, that was it exactly. So to see it described that way… well, I guess I just knew. At that moment, I knew.

The rest is history, I guess you could say. I’m not certain of the exact date I was diagnosed, but I’m curious to see if it comes up on my Facebook feed. I know it’s coming soon, the anniversary, but I’m not sure if I posted it publicly at that time. I guess we’ll see.

I think the most interesting thing to me as I reflect on those days is that I remember the absolute dread I felt, and the fear and uncertainty of it all. I knew nothing of MS at that time, and I really believed it would be a death sentence. I thought it guaranteed a miserable life spent home bound and dependent on others for everything. I was so scared… so, so scared.

I was also very wrong; I look at where we are now, and I am so grateful for my life. MS is just one of the many challenges our family has faced, and through prayer and patience we are coming out of each one stronger and stronger. It’s just like that saying, that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. MS can certainly be scary, all unknowns it brings with it, but it doesn’t have to be. No one is promised another day on this earth. No one is promised health and wellness. We must be grateful for what we have today, and really learn to appreciate and embrace each moment. I am learning step by step to do this, and I encourage you to do the same. Carpe diem, folks, carpe diem.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34