Category Archives: Friends

In sickness and in health…

You know, I try really hard to be as healthy as I can. I can’t undo the damage MS has already done to my nerves, but I can do the best with what I’ve got left and the body I’ve got now. I stopped eating meat back in November. It’s gone well, so I gave up dairy last week. Right after I cheated a few days eating meat. And then I got sick with some nasty chest congestion. Ugh. The cheating was certainly not worth it.

Then today, I’m having coffee with a friend and BAM! I started having an attack of vertigo. It was so weird, y’all, I mean I have experienced dizziness but this was so much more. I mean, everything around me seemed to be literally turning. And it lasted for a good two minutes before it calmed down. The problem was that the feeling never really went entirely away, even long after my friend had left. I texted another friend to see if what I was experiencing was normal, and if I should go the urgent care or something. I was still feeling super dizzy and I was having some numbness in my left arm. But as I was texting with her I realized that yes, I probably should go. So I called my husband to come get me. My knight in shining armor dropped everything and came as quick as he could. In the meantime my friend came over to check on me and keep an eye on my kids while my husband and I were at the urgent care.

Thankfully, all my vitals and an EKG were normal. The doctor explained that it was most likely inflammation from my recent chest cold that got transferred and consequently trapped in my ear drum, and that it should clear up if I just give it time. In the meantime he gave me an anti-nausea medication to take in case the dizziness is really bothering me or making me feel unsafe. The medicine has helped tremendously.

I was just so ecstatic that I wasn’t having a heart attack and that I didn’t end up in the hospital because I have a family reunion to go to this weekend that I am SUPER STOKED about. Because I have an amazing family full of aunts and uncles and cousins and cousins-plus whom I never get to see anymore. I was so afraid that my stupid health issues were going to ruin that, so I’m just happy. Happy, happy, happy.

I did tell my husband – who knows how hard I try to be low maintenance, and loves me despite my utter failure at it – that I’m ready to get back to the “in health” part of our marriage vows. Seriously.

Hot Mess

85 degree summer heat.

Baseball tournament.

M.S.

Tingly hands debut.

Nerve pain.

Broken A/C freak out.

Sunburn won’t let me cool down.

Feeling helpless.

How does this not bother everyone else the way it does me?

What is wrong with me?

Oh yeah…. M.S.

Crying in the shower, snot running down the drain.

A good night’s sleep tried to help.

Literally dragged my foot to the bathroom the next morning (I did say “tried”).

I sat and waited in the physical therapy office for a half hour before checking in with the receptionist to see what the hold-up was. She was quite obviously unaware of the time of day, and had forgotten to let the therapist know I had arrived. It goes on from there, my bad luck, but I’m tired of hashing it out, those dumb details, so I’ll attempt brevity. I missed my ride, they tried to get me a new one, but I took a ride from a friend instead. Because I didn’t want to risk unleashing my emotions on a complete stranger. I came really close to doing that already at the therapist’s office, after discovering I had missed my originally scheduled ride. My husband reassured me that this was just a minor bump in the road, which I should have already known of course, but he knew I needed to hear it (He still amazes me, coming up with the right thing to say).

This was not my typical Monday. I don’t usually have to be anywhere, or talk to anyone but my family. So it was hard to do in the wake of a rough-on-me weekend. I just didn’t have the tools necessary to cope with minor hiccups like delayed appointments and missed rides. I spouted my frustration on Facebook and received lots of encouragement in return, but I felt a little shameful doing it. Because I like to be the positive one. I guess today I just decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Because it was going to take a lot of effort.

But those positive words helped, and the ride from a friend, and then a good nap in my own bed (with working air conditioning!). The kids were with grandpa for most of the day so my only interruption was the dog barking at who knows what. It was nice. And then I grabbed a beer, turned on some Led Zeppelin, and started chopping vegetables for dinner. I managed to relax. Truly relax.

I have more doctors to see this week and then I start some physical therapy next week. I’d bore you with the physical therapy details if I could remember them. So you’re in luck, cuz I have a terrible memory.

Peace out, readers. I hope you take some time this week to relax. Really, truly relax. It can only do you good.

 

Might as well call it the May Update…

Last month I published ONE blog post, and as it’s already the 10th of May, I guess I’m off to another slow start. Lest you think my silence is a bad sign, I’m poking my head out to let you know all is well. To prove it, I will now proceed with semi-coherent ranting about what I’ve been up to. What fun, yes??

So last Friday we ran another 5k race, my son and I. He absolutely killed his time from the year before, but since he had not really been training for it his recovery was pretty rough. He’s feeling better now, but the weekend he was in rare form, complaining of sore legs, not wanting to move around. I hadn’t done a lot of training either, and my finish time reflected that, but my legs felt okay after so I’m not sorry. I stayed on my feet the entire time and that’s my one true goal when I run, so I’m happy. My daughter ran the one mile race that’s not timed, and her goal was to finish, and girl, did she finish. She cramped up a little towards the end, but she was determined to not give up, and we are super proud of her for that. Both my kids are serious fighters.

I’ve been filling my weeks judiciously with shopping trips with friends, playing fetch with the dog, and going to various doctor appointments. I saw a dermatologist (Did I blog about that? I seem to remember) and discovered I do not have acne, but rosacea. Which was still possibly triggered by my round of steroids, but treated much differently. I’m also seeing my primary doctor soon in regards to what I’m calling “significant” joint pain in my right hip and knee. I suspect it’s just my osteoarthritis acting up and hoping it’s nothing more serious. We shall see.

I decided back in November to stop eating meat. It’s going fairly well, and I do feel better. I still eat some fish and some beef (the ground beef we buy from a local farmer) but only when other options aren’t readily available. I don’t have a great explanation for the change, other than the fact that I really, really love vegetables and grains and I’m disgusted by what I’ve read about the way meat is processed in this country. So my appetite for foods I used to love is pretty much gone. Like last night, I made chili dogs for the family and I totally thought I was going to eat one too. But then I just couldn’t do it. So I made myself a spinach salad, and it was delicious.

Also, somewhere between November and April I realized I had gotten a little too uptight about food, and it was spilling out onto my family members. I’m not sure how to correct that really, but I’m trying to loosen up. Geesh, that’s the story of my life, trying to loosen up. I’ll get there, eventually. Won’t I?

My son is turning 10 in one week, and he is beyond excited. I remember turning 10… double digits was a big deal. He is just as excited, and we will be throwing him a party right here at the house. I’m a little nervous about the dog, and the noise, but I think we’ll get through it. Just praying for good weather so they can all play outside for most of it. My only major responsibility for this party is making a cheesecake, which I can do days in advance and I love that. Piling too many responsibilities into one day doesn’t work very well for me, so I love when I can spread things out throughout the week.

We have an MS Walk coming up here in May, and I’m excited for that as well. I haven’t participated in one since just after I was diagnosed 7 years ago. I had decided this was a good year to get back on that wagon and pull my friends and family together to show me some support. Selfish? Maybe, but I’m not sorry. This girl is learning to step out a little and ask for the things she wants. And I want a gang of people I love walking with me on a beautiful morning in May.

I think that’s enough rambling for now, don’t you think? I pray you all have a blessed Wednesday and are able to soak in some sunshine!

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.

hotciderhustle2016

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.

Free lunch and learning

I just registered for a lunch seminar-event-type deal, and it’s way out of my comfort zone. The MS drug manufacturers sponsor these events all over the place, and I see my neurologist is often the keynote speaker. However, she is not the speaker at the event I signed up for (oh, well). The one I signed up for is truly just a topic I’m interested in, “healthy living with MS”, and I thought it couldn’t hurt to go. Several reasons: it gets me out of the house, I may learn something new and helpful, and it will be nice to be surrounded by others who can relate to the struggles we all face with MS. Also, it’s free!

It’s Friday, and this completes the second week the kids are back in school. I’m just now starting to settle back into my “normal” state. I did some outdoor running this week, as the weather is cooling off a bit (we’re coming into my favorite seasons, fall and winter). Also, I was able to spend a lot of quality time with friends this week, and I know that did my heart some good. I have some pretty incredible friends. All in all, it’s been a good week.

What is on my mind

 

1. I’m type A, lists help me function. I feel discombobulated sometimes and I get confused (especially later in the day when I’m fatigued), and making lists just really seems to sort things out in my brain and help calm me down.

2. I went to my high school reunion Saturday and it was even better than I had anticipated. Most of the girls I was close with in high school were there, and it was *refreshing* to sit and catch up with them. Ha! I’m so glad I found that word, refreshing. I think I’ve been subconsciously searching for it since Saturday. Anyhoo, yes, it was refreshing. I didn’t realize it at the time of course, but it was. It was refreshing because all of these people knew me when I was young and carefree (to an extent, I guess) and they treated me that way. They remembered the old Mindy, and seemed to remember her fondly, but were also overwhelmingly accepting of the new Mindy. Everyone was sharing different memories – just the good ones, of course – and it was interesting what some of us had remembered and others had forgotten. It was nice. No expectations, no judgments. Oh, and also my husband, who had been not-so-secretly dreading the event, enjoyed talking with people throughout the evening, and as a result I never felt rushed to leave. It was a great night, and I think we all left ready for the next one 🙂

Class of 1996_20th Reunion
Class of 1996, 20 years later

This picture only represents about a fourth of our class, which was small to begin with, but in this case the old adage “quality over quantity” definitely applies. What a great group of people. Oh, and if you’re having trouble finding me in this photo, I’m in the front, fourth from the right with the ginormous tattoo on my arm.

3. Life is short. Just days after our class reunion, while everyone was still sharing photos on the private Facebook event page and discussing ideas for the next one, we were informed that one of our classmates (who was unable to attend the reunion) had passed away. On the same night of our reunion, her family’s van was struck by a drunk driver. Her husband and two children were injured as well, but her injuries were much more serious. She passed away late Monday night. Her name was Lorri, and she was literally a friend to all of us. Seriously, I don’t think there was a mean bone in her body. She was kind and caring, and always ready to share a smile. She will be missed by so many in varying degrees, but our hearts break the most for her husband and children. To lose your wife, your mother, so tragically is unimaginable. And all because some bonehead (I had to put it mildly to keep this PG, but insert R-rated insults if you wish) decided to get loaded and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Senseless, reckless, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Ok, so I know that’s a major downer, and I promise I won’t leave it at that, but I want to say some things about all this. One – never ever drink and drive. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may be tempted to drink and drive. Hand the keys over, make arrangements, whatever you must do, while you’re still sober and thinking clearly. And two – it floors me how people have been rallying together to support Lorri’s family through this tragedy. Not only has her husband lost his wife, but he was injured as well. They are going to need a lot of help going forward, and thankfully they seem to be getting it. All the good that Lorri poured into people’s lives throughout her life is coming back to her family. A sick twist on paying it forward, I suppose, but it’s still comforting to see.

4. We finally sold our house, the one we moved out of last August. The closing is scheduled for tomorrow, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. My husband grew up in that house and it was also the first home we had purchased, so there’s a twinge of bittersweet there, but our new house and neighborhood make it all okay. When we come home at the end of the day, we are among friends, and we are in the first home we chose for our family. And we have a garage, so who’s complaining? Tomorrow it will be official. No more second lawn to mow, driveway to shovel, utilities to pay. Such relief. Goodbye, South Holly Way. You were good to us, and we thank you.

Goodbye South Holly Way 2016

5. Summer. Friends. Children and their friends. We are making the most of it, for sure. Some days we play, some days we rest. Some days I clean. The screentime rules I usually set for vacations have been neglected repeatedly, but not entirely forgotten. I make the rules around here, and I say it’s okay. So there.

6. Feeding the children. That’s a thing that must be done. Now, in fact, so I’m outtie. Have a superb day, bloggy people. Embrace the moment and hug the ones you love!!!