Category Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

Sporadic memory loss

I have issues with memory loss. I can’t say for sure if it’s a result of aging or if I can blame it on the MS. It’s spazzy enough that I would be inclined to credit MS for it. It’s both long-term and short-term memory loss. Gaping holes that I just can’t seem to access.

It is a minor nuisance, but my husband and kids have gotten so used to it we just laugh it off and move on with our lives. However, I’m doing this work for the church now, and it’s a whole new group of people who have yet to experience my memory loss issues. And I’m feeling a lot self-conscious as I interact with them. They ask me questions and I tell them I’ll get the answer for them but then I forget the question. Or, like today, I forgot where the question had been posed. Was it strictly verbal? Was it in a board meeting and I wrote it down? I have that inner nagging that tells me there was a question that needed answering but that was sort of the extent of it. Well, I did remember the overall subject so I sent an email to answer the question I guessed had been asked. And then after hitting send I found the email with the original request. And I felt ridiculous, because I didn’t exactly answer their question. Like, you’re aiming for the bullseye and you’re just a few inches off.

Okay, that’s not really what I wanted to blog about today. I should save that discussion for my therapist.

OOH, my therapist! Did I mention I’m going to therapy? For the depression, and I tell you it’s really helping. I leave every session feeling positive and encouraged and like everyone should go to therapy because it’s just so *useful*. I’m learning about the lies I tell myself and it’s fascinating, really. Okay, that’s all. More tomorrow, peeps. Enjoy the sunshine.

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Mason 5k 2018

Last Friday my son and I ran a 5k in our town. It’s our 3rd year in a row running this race and we love it! It’s kind of a small town thing, so you end up seeing a lot of familiar faces. I love this race. The picture on the left is us right before we started. I don’t have one of us post-race, but I can assure you we were both smiling. He had so much fun running he went and joined the other kids in the 1 mile run. That second picture is a picture a woman from our church took and I just love it. If I ever need a reminder of why I’m doing all this running, that picture says it all. Pure pride and joy on my face right there.

I wore my new DeafBlind running vest and it really did make me feel more confident and safe. Although it kept riding up because I’m apparently too small for it, so I need to get that figured out for future races. My dear friend Staci joined me for the race and she decided she was going to stay right by my side for the entire thing, so that was a huge comfort as well. I’m kind of a loner when it comes to running and I get hyper-focused, and I think she is similar in that way so it was nice for her to be there. We were both running alone, together!

I got a slow start training for this race because of my sprained ankle, so it didn’t go as well as races in the past have. I had a lot of problem with bodily functions, and with my left foot dragging. Around the 2nd mile I had a really sharp pain in my right shoulder and I tried to stop and walk to let it rest, but I wasn’t able to keep my foot from dragging and I kept losing my balance, so I just had to push through the pain jogging until it went away about halfway through the last mile. It’s strange and interesting to me that I have better balance running than I do walking.

I still really want to run a 10k in the fall, and I know that MS fatigue is going to be my biggest obstacle to overcome if I am ever going to be able to accomplish that. When my body gets fatigued, the nerves go haywire and it’s not good. So I’m looking into strength training (i.e. Crossfit) so that I can run for longer without my body getting so fatigued.

Overall I’m still feeling really great physically. My mental state is improving as well. I suppose you could say this year’s theme is recovery and strength. And FUN. Oh, I have so much more to share but I hate to lump it all into one post so we’ll cap this here and move on to the next subject very soon!

 

April 30

What shall we talk about today, friends?

Baseball season has begun for my son and husband (he is a coach for the team). Their first tournament was last weekend and the girls didn’t go because it was ridiculous cold and windy and we are wimps about that. So we stayed home and my daughter watched YouTube for 38 hours while I played around in the kitchen making delicious vegan food.

Dance is in full swing for my daughter as they prepare for their recital in June. I received an information packet about all that is required for the recital and OH EM GEE am I overwhelmed! There is a dress rehearsal and requirements for hair and makeup and this is so out of my comfort zone. I was never in dance and I don’t wear makeup (much). I don’t own eyeliner or lipstick, so how am I gonna know how to put it on my daughter?? I don’t know, but I definitely plan to enlist some help on this one.

I have to mention that lately I am obsessed with this vegan cashew “mozzarella”. It is so easy to make and super duper yummy. I add it to everything I can think of, but my favorite use for it is grilled cheese sammiches! My husband will tell you I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches, and I won’t deny his assessment. I make a lot of them, and I’m always really sad that I can’t eat them, because YUM. But now, with this cheese? I’m in sandwich heaven! I also bought little mini pizza crusts and sauce so I can make my own little veggie pizzas at home. With cheese! So that’s what’s on the menu for today and my tummy is growling just telling you about it.

I’ve been running, sporadically. I have a 5k I’m running with my son Friday night so I had to be sure I’m prepared for it. I don’t think I’ll beat prior years’ times, but I’ll be happy if I can finish in under 40 minutes. I ran a full 3 miles today and dang, why is that 3rd mile so much harder than the first two? But I didn’t fall. My left foot was dropping a little, but not nearly as bad as it’s done in the past. I did have nerve pain in my feet but thankfully I didn’t notice it until I was finished with the run.

I always have some anxiety at these races because strangers don’t know that I’m disabled. So if people are trying to get my attention by yelling or waving, it’s not gonna work. I’ve been bumped around during races because people assume I can see to get out of their way, or hear them coming to move aside. So I bought a reflective running vest that says “Deaf Blind”. It’s really bright and in big block letters so there’s no way I won’t be noticed. I feel a little weird about wearing it at the race but I have to convince myself that it WILL make me feel safer, and that’s all that matters. Maybe I’ll even run a little faster, knowing that I’m safer. I guess we’ll see.

Anyhoo, I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting but I’ll leave it here for now. I’m gonna go make me some vegan pizza! 🙂

Winning-ish

Still fighting back that depression. I’m better though. I’m not sleeping excessively. I take naps when I need them, but I think about it first when the urge comes. Does my body need rest or am I just trying to escape a dark feeling? If I determine I’m just wanting to sleep to escape, I go the other way. I pick from my list of “pick-me-ups” and go from there. Drink water. Have a snack. Get dressed. Wash my face. Text my mom. These things help to serve as a way to sort of reset and redirect. And it’s working. Every day I’m standing a little taller and am feeling a bit lighter.

My brother and sister and I went out a week or so ago to celebrate my birthday. It’s a tradition we used to have, where we all met for the other’s birthday. The birthday guest picks the restaurant, the other two pay the bill. We had let the tradition slide for many years but we recently decided to pick it up again. We went out for drinks after dinner and talked for hours. It was wonderful. The three of us share a pretty special bond because our parents divorced when we were very young. Through all the changes that situation involved, the three of us were the constant. We always had each other. And I am so thankful that’s still true.

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While out for drinks with my siblings we talked about running. They are both avid runners, having run 5ks to marathons, ultra-marathons, Ragnars, you name it. And I admire them both, and look to them for encouragement and inspiration. I want to be a runner. I don’t love running the way they do, but I love the satisfaction that comes at the end of a good run. I love that I am able to run. I find it worth doing. I say all that, but I had not been running regularly since I sprained my ankle just after Christmas. My ankle is fine now, so I don’t know what I have been waiting for. However, today I managed to get myself on the treadmill. I walked/jogged for 40 minutes. My body hated it, of course, having had a solid three months to loaf around. But I continued moving until I reached my goal time. See, I want to work up my endurance so that I can run a 10k race this fall with my brother and sister. I am not sure if my body will let me do it, but I’m gonna put it to the test anyway. I’m going to keep working up my endurance as far as I can go. Let my body tell me I can’t do it.  When I think about actually running a 10k I don’t really feel up to the challenge, but I’m taking it in steps. After all, there was a time not long ago when I thought I would never run, period. Today I moved for 40 minutes. By next week maybe I will be able to do 50, and maybe next month I’ll be able to run for 90. We shall see.

I do expect and hope that getting back to regular exercise will help finish off this depression once and for all. I know it should help my pants to fit a little better, and how can that not make me happy, right??

Depression looms

I struggle with depression. Back many years ago, I didn’t struggle with it, I just gave in to it. That’s never a good thing. Thankfully at the time I had some wonderful friends who spotted what was going on with me and encouraged me to get help. It was because of that experience that I can usually sense when depression is threatening to take over again. And thankfully I’m not afraid to be open about it with my loved ones, and I know how to ask for help.

For the past month or so I’ve been sort of dipping my toes into the pool of depression again. It’s not a game I like to play. I can drive myself crazy analyzing the potential causes, searching for solutions. It’s all a bit futile, if you ask me. There are so many factors that make me a potential victim. Family history, multiple sclerosis, recent trauma… oh, and can’t leave out living in Michigan where there is a severe lack of sunshine. I need my sunshine.

I’ve been sleeping a lot, and it concerns me that I could let that go too far. I do feel rested when I sleep, so I’m trying to listen to my body’s cues and determine when it really needs rest or when it’s just the depression killing my motivation. I made a list today of some coping mechanisms. This is based off of what I learned from my housekeeping hero, The FlyLady, a long time ago: you can do anything for 15 minutes. So I have a list of the things I can do for 15 minutes, so that when I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have to think about what I can do. I just have to pick from the list. These are all things that tend to make me feel better or motivated to stay up and out of bed, like crocheting, washing dishes, journaling, showering, paying bills (no kidding lol), and blogging. On the really bad days when I can’t muster enough oomph to do even those simple things, my short list of motivators is to wash my face, get dressed, take my medicine, and/or drink a glass of water.

Depression is real, man. A dragon that is so unbelievably difficult to slay. But one day at a time, I’ll be fighting it. And if I can’t kill it, at least I’ll leave it seriously wounded, while I move on with my life.

I’m the boss around here

So, I was doing the dishes today and as I leaned over to put another clean dish in the drying rack I see that there is a full cup of coffee sitting in my Keurig. I stare at it for a second or two, trying to recall brewing a cup of coffee. No one else in this house drinks coffee, so it must have been me. Yet I can’t recall. The cup is cold to the touch, so it’s been there for some time. This worries me.

I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence for me. I wish I could say it happens every now and then if I’m rushed or exhausted or whatever. Because I know it happens to lots of people. My girl friends joke about it, reassuring me that it’s just a normal part of aging. But I don’t think that’s true. I think it happens more frequently to me than it ought to, and I have to be honest: That scares the S**T out of me.

I have multiple sclerosis, and anyone with multiple sclerosis understands that every teeny tiny symptom could be a start of a relapse, or it could be nothing. Fellow MSers understand that hovering cloud of doom, threatening to take over your body once and for all. I have the relapsing kind, for now, so if I do have a relapse I can hold on to the hope that it may not be permanent. I’ve had lots of symptoms that have popped up for a couple months and then gone away, never to reappear. But on the other hand, the damage to my nerves is always permanent and will always leave the potential for problems down the road. Take my vision for example. We’re calling that episode a relapse, but it left permanent damage that will affect me the rest of my life. I will always be visually impaired this side of heaven. I don’t struggle as much with it as I did in the beginning, because by God’s grace I’ve grown and adapted, but it’s always here as a reminder.

But memory loss? I don’t know, that one seems so much scarier to me. I mean, I can deal with losing physical functions. But losing my MIND?? I don’t know. I just don’t know. It just scares me, y’all, and that’s all I wanted to share really. That though I’ve been in the best physical shape of my life lately, feeling good and having no issues, at the end of the day I still have MS. It will always be a part of me. I just have to make sure that it knows who’s the boss around here.

Slow down, you move too fast…

This new “job” doing bookkeeping for the church has been a really great thing for me. Missing the work these past four years, and wondering if I was even still capable, really wore down my confidence level. But as I do this job, day by day, my confidence is building back up. This time, however, I’m doing the work with a full reliance on God to help me through.

The only problem might be that I’m taking it a little too seriously. As my husband said to me the other night, I’m going at this like it’s my career. True, I was up a little too late straining my eyes on balancing and reconciling. I forced myself to go to bed and get some rest, but it was too late. I had already pushed myself past my limit. The next day I had some serious pain in my left eye (my ‘good’ eye). It figures the right eye was fine, as she is absolutely useless. The sharp, throbbing pain was surprisingly more tolerable than my regular headache. I just put an eye patch over that eye, sat back with a cup of coffee and my Les Mis soundtrack, and rested for awhile. It was much better by the evening, but hopefully I’ve learned my lesson not to overdo it.

Today the kids are home for a snow day so it’s nice to have the company. They are busy playing their video games and I’ve just been putzing around the house, doing some reorganizing. It’s a lazy day, and I’m loving it. I started reading Lord of the Rings this week and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Humor was not something I expected, but it’s given me a few laughs and I’m only on the third chapter. I’m trying to move away from my normal genre of legal thrillers. I just finished Angela’s Ashes and Cider House Rules and they were both great books. My list of books to read is growing shorter, so if you have any books you would suggest I read, let me know.

I’m struggling to find a smooth transition to a closing, so I’m just going to leave it here. Have a happy Friday everyone!