Holistically MS

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Carve Your Own

After a series of hospital appointments of being poked and prodded I feel that it’s time to evaluate the benefits of being told what to do from a medical stance over my MS. Perhaps it’s just a phase or perhaps it’s a corner being turned for me. However it has created a need to assess and to take some control over my self. I’m starting to ask myself what will actually be beneficial; which appointments will actually help me and which ones will be worth any disruption to my MS.

As with so many aspects of life and certainly many illnesses or dis-eases you want more control. During my time when I was told I do not have MS, when indeed I did have it, a counsellor use to tell me “choice is control”. Yesterday this felt very poignant when one specialist informed me of everything she was doing followed by the other specialist whom just did stuff without explanation and without asking me. This was all for my eyes and was definitely challenging for me. Afterwards I was emotionally and physically tired…asides from the excessive waiting time there was the invasive aspect. It did however make me reflect on two things: I have been against animal testing for a number of decades and yesterday I felt such a small fraction of the torture that animals are forced to endure…I refused one examination due to the invasiveness and stress of it…however those animals sadly have no choice. The other thought I had yesterday, whilst recovering, is what this blog is about. My partner summed it up with the words “conveyor belt”. So this was another possible title for today’s words…however I want it to be positive and to aid the future. Oh, I am pleased to report that my optic nerves are doing me proud and in contrast to the classic MS symptoms they are holding their own. This just goes to show that everyone with MS has different levels of symptoms and patterns…as I’ve said many times before – we are all unique and different to one another and so is MS.

One thing that I do find increasingly challenging is the continual need to make choices about how to manage my MS. There are the drugs, the appointments, the medical experts, the daily living methods, the mental and emotional challenges as well as decisions of when to accept help. It’s slightly ironic for me having cognitive lesions and yet still having to figure out when and how to manage the above. I feel very privileged to have my partner’s help in making these decisions with me. She has an outside view however knows the nitty gritty of what I endure…and what she endures too!

So I want to start asking myself what will truly help me…if an appointment will be productive. By this I mean the outcome and if I will respond with taking medication or feel differently about the results. The burning question is: will it be of any benefit to me, to know the answer from an examination? Often, I’m realising, it is solely for the medical profession to have comparison later on down the line. Of course this may prove useful however so may relaxing and having laughter in the here and now instead.

I have a wish though…to be more positive whilst still being realistic. A bit of a challenging see-saw. Having had medical issues for so much of my life I have got into a partial cycle of negative thinking. Part of this is a self-preparation strategy which I have built up…especially with having MS. The other part is a childhood one of which can now be left behind and my self-esteem be raised. So often children compete for attention…a natural thing to do. So when one child gets ill and they get attention a natural pattern emerges. Much like when one child excels at school, they then may feel pressure to study harder in order to receive praise. To feel good about themselves; to feel self value. Perhaps my recent medical journeys will help me focus on what helps me as an adult. Yes, naturally, I worry about my future with MS – I’m human. Yes, I have concerns over every changing symptom – however it’s really time for me to realise that this is real life. There are implications from symptoms and also from negative thinking. So let’s try to flip that coin over and leave it there. Carve out a new journey…and try to keep it all light.

I’ll just quickly tell you about some homemade therapies I have been doing…with the help of some tech. I have been introducing art therapy and music therapy into my life. The latter after watching a TV programme (When Bjork Met Attenborough). A neurologist was highlighting the amazing effect that music has on the brain. Music reaches so many parts of the brain – way beyond spoken and written words. Since easing my Sensory Processing Disorder I have been able to enjoy music and I have been thriving on this. Since watching that TV programme I have realised the importance and effects music has on myself. I have an app on my gadget to create music…to play with shapes to make sounds. Experimenting in this way is important to me – relaxing the mind and distracting the misfiring of nerve messages. Doing art on my gadget really helps my also. I can paint and doodle, write and erase stuff so easily, all on a screen – and in bed if needed. This again calms down any misfiring messages, however I also do art when I am just feeling creative too. It’s lovely to play and experiment.

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Of course I want to be healthy…there are far happier things to achieve and to receive when we are healthy. There are also many ways to turn around the lives that we have – whatever challenges get thrown at us. Maybe one day there will be a cure for MS, however in the meantime I have the most important job to do…to ease my dis-ease. Perhaps a mantra: Ease my dis-ease.


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Any Way The Wind Blows

This is just a bonus blog…

I just got gastric flu so I have been obviously finding things a little more iffy. However thankfully I think it is beginning to pass.

Moving onwards in subject matter…I think that I may have forgotten to mention that at the start of June I was accepted on the programme for an assistant dog. How awesome! Last Saturday we went to an invitation event held by Dogs For The Disabled which was a fab dog show and full of such amazing dogs. Due to my rare trips out I can say that I picked up the flu from there. Was it worth it? At this moment I feel it was…as long as my MS recovers okay. You may already be aware that MS symptoms can be exasperated by having a flu…the immune system seems to go haywire and the body temperature iffy. My wife has been so wonderful, as she always is, however nursing me that extra amount over the last couple of days has really helped me so much. I’m massively grateful for all of her support as a forced carer, and for her wonderful love and partner stuff. It must be challenging to see someone change bit by bit. I guess we all just have to adjust and keep on adjusting to accept the situation. Of course we need to make the best of the situations we have in life…a challenge for all of us at times.

The title of this blog was inspired by watching the birch trees and the eucalyptus tree blow in the wind. I love trees that blow in the wind and appear to look chilled out…like these two and the weeping willow. Trees have a lovely way about them.

Nature can be so relaxing…I was persuaded out of bed recently to go in the car to take a trip up onto a hill. The outlook was lovely…especially when you live in a flat landscape and your body just says “yes, breathe, thank you”. I adore the sight and sound of natural water flow too. If that is absent then there are ways to create an artificial ambience.

Yesterday I received some magazines from the MS Society (one of them being Research Matters)…some great articles in there, from my perspective. One of the articles was about the Risk Factors for getting MS. Although of course I already have this disease I found it intriguing and interesting to read. If they can keep trying to find the causes (there will be a combo) then maybe a reduction in people with MS will occur. How wonderful! The article discusses the possible aspects of life that may increase the symptoms…one that seems to have raised my eyebrow is about stress. There is a view that it aggravates symptoms however in this article it states that this is not conclusive, as we all perceive stress levels in a different way. My feeling on this is that when we are feeling some stress on our body we automatically tense up our muscles…which has a big effect on our nerves. So when this continues for extensive periods stress plays a part in illness. However upon reading this article I felt a change…a change within me whereby I freed up some self blame and guilt. It dawned on me that, however much stress plays a part in my MS, I create a negative reaction after I have been stressed – one of self damage – as if to take the blame and this then stresses me out further thus creating negative feelings.

Our emotional well being is vitally important and when you have a chronic illness, of course you have good times and more challenging times, you need to go easy on yourself.

Blow in the wind…let yourself go with the gentle self. So when you see the leaves and branches blowing in the wind, remember to join in.

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