Holistically MS

Join my holistic journey with MS


Leave a comment

Tails Of The Unknown

To say that I’ve been busy, seems quite an understatement, to me. I’ve had some fun and some challenges.

image

Soon after my last blog post I received the all important and long awaited call from Dogs For The Disabled…I had been matched to a dog! Placing my mind in an orbit of the earth I tried to gather my composure and focus on what was happening. I was about to head to Wales, independently by train, to spend time with most of my family. This was a massive challenge for me and I was also planning to go without a wheelchair; instead with a rollator. I had a fantastic and very busy time. I managed some walks along the coast which I had been focussing on for months, so I knew that my muscles themselves were up to it…the rest of my body’s ability was, as always, unknown. I had many sociable occasions…which is something quite rare for me. I also gave a public talk on my health recovery and the Wahls Protocol. Needless to say when I got home I felt exhausted. I had three days at home and then was to head off to my training – staying at a hotel. So many challenges were lying ahead of me…to think on my own, study and learn, adjust to winter, dietary challenges in a hotel, a dog, being alone, meeting others etc. I was definitely tested and I was also rewarded.

Fast forward a few weeks and we are now all settling in at home. The training is settling and becoming useful. A little inflammation has occurred due to the high level of activity – mental and physical – in November, however I believe that I am now managing this with more ease. My physical state is being tested with the need for going out and straining my shoulders from wheeling around…so I am having to look into long-term sustainable options. In the meantime my partner is doing a fantastic job in walking Uma…that’s her name…and they both enjoy this. I’m slightly battling mental feelings with needing a wheelchair and having to relieve my shoulders yet keep on going out. Winter is playing it’s part on my views of going outdoors…however I am starting to realise my lack of need to go to places. A need for well-being yes, however a need for other requirements leaves me with a question mark. I really need to sort out my mobility requirements urgently though. My powerchair is now out of use as my cognition is too challenged in using the joystick…it was getting dangerous. So power assisted wheels/self propelling chair seems the best way forwards…costly and timely however that’s disability equipment.

image

So, let me tell you about Uma. It’s her 2 year birthday today. She is a gorgeous Golden Retriever with a very placid and helpful nature. We’ve both bonded well and are gradually learning the essentials for daily living and supporting one another. I’ve discovered the enormity of things to learn; about dogs and assistance dogs. The cats and Uma are beginning to get closer which has been progressing since the early stages of Uma coming home. Uma has settled in to her home ever so well. We have had weekly training sessions with our instructor…going out to local amenities and learning the requirements. Soon we are to do our qualification test, of which I will be relieved to have completed. Uma is gathering a collection of toys and enjoying playing out in our garden…which I enjoy too.

I am starting to have time to think and unwind, with this week being the turning point – partly due to Uma getting walks from my partner and partly due to the training sessions becoming real life task work. This week has been far better for me especially in that I’ve felt I’ve been able to catch up with myself and start to do the things I enjoy and the things that I was doing pre-Uma. This helps me feel secure and to touch base. We both went to my voluntary place of work this week for a meeting and everyone was absolutely fantastic in ignoring Uma…so that Uma can do her job with ease and focus. I wish people out in the streets were this helpful in leaving Uma alone…however I am to become more assertive in telling people to leave her alone. The dangers of being pulled out of my chair; having Uma looking at that member of the public or being distracted in any which way. So please let people and assistance dogs get on with their day – admire from a distance and be helpful whilst respectful. Thank you.

Well, Uma has now got up to gaze out the window. She already has many great benefits to me and it is such an honour to have an assistance dog, finally. I’m very very glad that we are over the hardest and most challenging part of our initial training though. There will always be new situations for me to process ahead of time; lessons to learn; training to apply and enjoyment to receive.

We wish you all a happy festive season.

image

Advertisements


Leave a comment

For The Greater Freedom

It’s just dawned on me that I’m actually limiting my independent travel. I’ve realised that independent trips out have been too controlled by my choice of equipment to hand. Recently I’ve felt so happy with being able to walk a bit, and thus proud of this ability, that I’ve been using my rollator as much as possible. However on reflection of this when travelling solo I now realise that by using the rollator I’m actually reducing my freedom. I can cover a much further distance in the wheelchair. And so I think that now the novelty and perhaps the self-proving stage has passed, I can get on with using what works best in what situation. It’s quite a minefield to process…so I’m currently awake in the middle of the night needing to clarify things and create clear waters.

When travelling on my own and relying on public transport the wheelchair enables me to wander a few miles and also catch the commercial bus – which in turn means I can be spontaneous with when and where I go. It means that I can get to a bus stop and feel one of the masses…and preferably move to a regular seat in order to face forwards. When being taken out in the car and accompanied, the rollator provides the ideal apparatus for walking with someone, having an eye level experience and with easier access to buildings; blending in to the crowd and having the safety of someone being able to move the car to pick me up.

Is this feeling like a step backwards? Perhaps so however if I’m to maximise my benefits in life then I need to focus on looking at the situation from the aspect of greater freedom and independence – and this means that I can go out more. I’ve actually realised that since using the rollator and travelling independently I’ve only gone out three times (by community bus) – twice to go directly to an office to volunteer and the other time was yesterday to get to my dentist appointment. With my brain processing all sort of activities in town and preparing for an appointment I found this experience to have been slightly limiting. Deep down I knew that being in the wheelchair will have improved my trip. Yes, sure, with the rollator I was standing up and able to take my time however the wheelchair does provide me with a more comfortable experience overall. Which in turn gives me more freedom, more independence, greater distances…and therefore more accessibility.

It seems that there is always more to learn about having such a variable disease. There is a lot of safety to take on board in order to keep my health at optimum levels. Changes can occur at almost any moment – reminding me that life is always changing, whatever our situations and capabilities, and whatever our choices. My advice to myself is to accept the modes of mobility transport with flexibility and focus on the objective. So as I process this I hope to see the wider opportunities grow.

shoe wheelI’m still doing well on the Wahls Protocol; my training programme continues to work for me and my muscles gaining strength; my relaxation techniques being just that; my cooking skills increasing as I experiment with baking options and gain confidence. My overall happiness is glowing and growing. Also as a couple, our lives are changing so much – for the better. We went out cycling at the weekend, and with the exception of the biggest hill, I realised that I was grinning for the whole trip…the enormity of happiness was far beyond my expectations. I’m very much enjoying sharing my journey with people – sharing this good news is such an energy magnet for everyone. Thank you for being part of my happiness and success.


Leave a comment

The Highway Merger

Yesterday I walked through a supermarket. It was amazing on so many levels. I had a stick and placed it in the trolley and leant on the trolley. As I was going down the aisles I had to process movement of myself and others whilst looking for food items, meanwhile adjust to noises and food at a different height to normal, for me. After many many years it was a really new experience that people just wandered passed me – I blended in. Gone were the wide berths; gone were the apologies; gone were the looks. My aim was accomplished however my processing ability will take some time to adjusting to steering and avoiding people whilst relying on my legs. The venture sure was an amazing feeling. The extra add-on bonus of standing is that I feel tall. I am in reality far from it, however it’s all relative. The food was different at standing level too…less brightly coloured items for attracting children.

Today I went to view a mobility scooter…after much research. I test drove it. I was the first to use it even though the owners had purchased it a year ago for an elderly relative. Anyways, as agreed we went away to discuss it and how I felt. I felt weird – although the freedom it will give me to steer to a shop and walk inside – it felt like a reliance on a motor (I use to rely on my powerchair); a dependence and the concept of sitting there steering again was unsettling for me. These days I have enough energy to power myself in the manual wheelchair for quite some distance; I have enough energy to do my training programme every weekday; I have enough energy to walk about where there is a small amount of processing required. So I realised that I wish to skip the step of a powered scooter. I’m off to research for an alternative method to get around town etc. It may be to lock up the wheelchair in town (probably too much of a wierd concept for others); try a handcycle; try a small-wheeled bicycle or a foldup one for the car; or a go-cart. I wonder if there is such a device as a manual mobility scooter aka adult size kids pedal car!

Recently I moved up a level with confidence and cognition. I was spending time with friends travelling on buses and trains; in cities and in their two storey house. I was thinking for myself; speaking up for myself; observing busy environments and becoming a part of them. I then embarked on some solo town and city trips. Learning to communicate with strangers; learning to find my way; learning to be independent.

Happy times…finding my self.

Recently I looked through the Do It Volunteering Website to see what voluntary work is available either virtually or in a local working environment. Over time my confidence and trust in my new found health will improve. However for now I feel comfier aiming for some virtual/home volunteering. On top of this, next month I am returning to the voluntary centre where I use to volunteer many years ago. I’m happy going there as they know my whole story, my ability and I’m part of the team…so I can be flexible, dependent on how I feel.

image

Transitioning…in whichever way…takes time, acceptance and most of all patience. Also requiring self allowance and flexibility.

A counsellor I saw when I was misinformed about my diagnosis use to say to me: Choice Is Control. This has helped me through many challenges. I chose to try The Wahls Protocol as a tool to try to stand up, to be out of bed, to ease my digestion and to think with a bit of clarity. I got a whole lot more…