Holistically MS

Join my holistic journey with MS


Leave a comment

Getting On The Saddle 

Well hello folks…

I’m still on the wonderful OMS programme and I’m still improving.

I’m getting the odd little flare up however considering the emotional challenges that I’ve had I am amazed how well my MS is holding up. My mother passed away very recently and the months leading up to her death were very stressful and sad…and now I am doing my best to maintain my overall health…physical and mental wellbeing…whilst managing my sadness. My Assistance Dog Uma has been fantastic, as has my wife of course, through this recent time. My cognition is my main remaining challenge these days, however things are becoming easier to work out, and my sensory processing is improving.

Having relocated six months ago, I’m just starting to get to grips with life here in Devon, England. I’ve previously lived in this area however my current health now provides me with open doors!

My exercise programme is still doing wonders for me…even if I feel like avoiding it I still do it and feel much better afterwards. I do this first thing in the morning…although for a bit recently I have been sleeping more…I’m also facing the “hormonal change” so it’s all a bit for my body and mind to chew through. However…my MS is managing! 

I do some lovely daily walks locally with my gorgeously loving Uma who really helps me get out and also meet other dog owners, whilst getting fresh air and sunlight. Alongside my Assistance Dog and my determination, the OMS programme is really getting me better; onwards and upwards in my life. It’s amazing and yet scientifically logical.

My diet/meals have pretty much become my standard way of life. I do aim to do more cooking myself…soon…as my cognition continues to improve. Eating out is still a new area for me however part of this is due to anxiety from social challenges, money and now having moved to a new area I’ll be needing to get to know people. It’s also getting familiar and working out what I can eat when scanning menus. In fact someone from the OMS website has organised a meetup this week, so this will be good to go to. The Facebook group and the website forum are great resources and communities.

My future dream is becoming my present day…with meditation ironing out the creases and keeping my relaxation in check. One analogy I’ve recently started to work with is to imagine yourself sitting or standing in the middle of a see-saw; on the pivot; the equilibrium. To one side is threat, anxiety, alarm, fear and to the other side is adrenaline, excitement, competition etc. Both of these raise the levels of MS. You want the see-saw to be level as much as possible.

I focus on staying in the middle – calmness and observation. Sipping life one day at a time.

Advertisements


3 Comments

One Year of Walking

Well…I’ve just celebrated one year of walking. One year of being out of the wheelchair.

During the early months of the year I increased my exercise routine. You may find some of the following info interesting and hopefully useful:

I exercise daily for about 45mins first thing…with 1.4kg ankle weights on. This goes like this: stretches, yoga interspersed, lying down limb stretches (my take on lying down aerobics stretching, instead of swimming), upside down cycling, meditation (5 mins), jogging (5 mins on the spot), dumbbell weight (1.1kg*) exercises, stationary bike (2km full on). A dog walk for 1-2hrs in the daytime. Then 30 mins meditation in the afternoon.

In the mornings, after I’ve cooled down from my workout, I do some cognitive exercises recommended from a MS article; the Einstein Brain Trainer. At first I was concerned about thinking against the clock, however I’ve gradually improved and also learned of where my weaknesses lie and are improving. It’s a self competition where I also learn to accept blips from outside influences and how this affects my cognition.

My mindfulness course went well, despite some enormous stresses occurring at the time. This improved my meditations also. So I tweaked my meditation to going through each part of my body, whilst focussing on the breathing/counting. I was using an affirmation from George’s book “Let whatever is happening be okay” and sometimes say this in my mind – however sometimes that makes me look for an issue!

Last week I also saw the neurologist. I’m in a new area so needed to check-in with my new local team. The neuro went through the physical examination and I passed it all with flying colours. He was genuinely amazed at my nerve and muscle responses and when doing the muscle responses he was uber amazed…I grinned whilst saying that I do weights. Grins all round. He went on to say something along the lines of other doctors would be unlikely to tell that I’ve got MS. Can you imagine how mind blowing this all was for me? Remember that I’ve had MS for 28.5 years with a late diagnosis, then retracted for 8 yrs (whereby medics questioned my psychiatric ability) and then diagnosed again – so I’ve been through the mill. And now I’m not seeing a neuro unless there is a need!

Just remember…blah blah blah…we are all unique and have MS affecting us uniquely. However also remember to keep on the OMS, keep exercising, keep meditating, keep knowing that all improvements are improvements. 


ce414c0c-1054-4263-a9a3-6237cabfc7da-1

Jumping for Joy

* dumbell weight increased to 2kg on 28th November. After one week this increase in weights became easier. Within two weeks it gave me a great feeling.


Leave a comment

After the Tunnel

It’s apparently one hundred days since my last post. Was I informed of this century? No…I just decided to come on here and see if I feel like writing another blog. Or perhaps moving onwards with something else.

The last one hundred days…like MS they have been varied. Like the weather it has been a topical subject one day and not so, another. However…I have stuck at my Wahls Protocol. On May 3rd I started an AIP Leaky Gut diet…for three months. Auto Immune Protocol, by Dr Sarah Ballantyne…to try to improve on my Leaky Gut. My so-called virus this year ended up not being one. I discovered that my joint pains were in fact tendonitis triggered by nutritional deficiencies…caused by stress, infections and relapses. I also, recently, found out that my sore throat this year, exasperated by the aforementioned, is in fact GERD (chronic acid reflux). I then researched how to avoid taking the medicine prescribed and found out that most acid reflux is caused by the stomach having too little acid. Search it and you will see this: http://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/ I highly recommend it. And what I thought was MS hug was in fact GERD. I may get MS hug sometimes however I now know the reason for food easing the pain. It makes sense. And more so…after removing acidic foods and being in agony, to reintroducing acidic foods…add cider vinegar, eating slower and less in the evening…my pains have cut right down. Hurrah!! Oh, how ten days can spin right around on it’s axis and make you feel that your body is in fact united once again. Incidentally that website material is educational for IBS, Paleo, low carb, sugar free etc…so when I found such a lengthy article which covers lots of my issues, my digestive -throat to toilet- challenges, I  became the student.

So…now my nutrition is starting to get back as a team inline with my body and I am already seeing the turn around; the united body. My exercise levels are back on the agenda. The mediation and yoga are daily and now joined with exercises. I’m also able to take my assistance dog out for wheelchair walks, with some actual walks through the countryside. Helping my mental health also.

So yes, I’m back. Back…and also far far forwards in holistically being healthier; holistically understanding my body and; holistically focussing on the best options which I feel are right for me. 

And so folks…here may endeth my blogs. Thank you for reading about my journey, I wish you great health and happiness.

…I’m off to do the rest of my life now!

  


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


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.


1 Comment

Silver Linings

It’s so amazing sharing my journey of life with others. The fascination of my recovery is absorbed with open eyes and sometimes open mouthed amazement.

However underneath this silver lining is a challenge with the taste buds; a challenge of the convenience and a challenge of social merging. My partner strives on through with her support for this new lifestyle especially by currently doing some of the diet with me. The protocol logistics are totally satisfying, understanding and suitable. I enjoy the training programme, the lifestyle requirements, the scientific reasons, the knowledge of the rebuild and the results are totally amazing of course. However the food aspect is what sometimes becomes a trial. Yes sure, there are lots of Paleo recipes with totally yummy foods and treats, however adding the low-FODMAP aspect in to the mix often takes the delights out again. I try to believe that the low-FODMAP aspect of my food intake is indeed temporary. For however long I need to endure this tougher level it is still somewhat frustrating for me. I have a sweet tooth and the Wahls Paleo diet as a standalone diet works well fulfilling me with these needs. I have so enjoyed the meals and treats baked for me by loving and generous friends and family.

My successful way to ease my IBS is to cook the permitted low-FODMAP berries. It’s this simple! I eat the low and medium fodmap foods unless I know I have a digestive reaction to anything. After decades of the condition I now have it under control…albeit via a limited diet with specific processes. However this health boost is truly fantastic to live with whilst knowing that my gut is indeed healing.

As autumn sets upon us I find myself focusing more on food when I get cold. Due to lots of weight loss I imagine this winter to be an interesting new element to circumnavigate. Last winter, as my MS was rapidly declining, I was unable to acknowledge the cold until I was extremely cold. So for safety reasons the heating was left on most of the time. The winter before that I seem to recall I just sat in the cold. So…the lessons have been learnt and this winter I feel fortunate enough to be able to at least exercise to keep warm. I’m definitely needing to purchase more clothes. I saw some discounted double layered walking trousers in a well known outdoor shop recently however thought I’d get too warm in them. Hmmm…on second thoughts yes please!

image

After a short amount of frustration with the limitations, I try to focus and recall the amazing distance that my health has come. I find it so mind baffling…in such a movie-style format. No matter how many chocolate treats and savoury cravings and delights I desire I always choose to refocus, regroup and metaphorically slap myself, in order to wade through the world of the majority…and find my world of quality; my world of minority meals; my world of life enhancement and my new world that welcomes me with open arms and a huge energitic smile.

I feel so so fortunate to have the opportunity to rebuild, to restart and to reconnect with my life. The journey worth enduring. The life worth exploring. Our health worthy of so much.


2 Comments

Total Rebuild

I’ve been wondering, for a while now, what to entitle this blog. I want to summarise myself being rebuilt, reprogrammed, rediscovered. Perhaps like a new town being created brick by brick.

So…I’ve been busy with the training programme which has had to change equipment due to my improved health. Yes the wheelchair accessible medical cycle machine kept needing to cool down so I knew it was time to change. Albeit with a proud smile that my fitness and strength is improving more and more. We now have a treadmill which provides me with safe side bars for learning how to walk. My pelvis has started to adjust to this new way of moving, along with my legs building up their muscles for the weight bearing stuff. I also have started cycling out in the real world…quiet lanes and off road. The latter was taking my MS symptoms out of their comfort zone, along with my sensory processing too. However this was fun and really began to help me become distracted from fear of a new unknown life. Yep…as weird as this may sound to some, to others it may make sense. I’ve spent nearly all of my life with medical issues and am fortunate for this change…however long it will last. I still use my wheelchair for going out – for safety, distance and whilst having to process all sorts. I recently purchased a rollator, after tons of research for aesthetic and practical reasons. So far I’ve used it twice.

The food situation has been a pain in the arse for me and my IBS has been challenged so much due to many new food alternatives. My IBS had been increasing in symptoms over the years and then it improved when I went on the Wahls Protocol. Then something was consumed which knocked my digestive system…my ultra sensitive gut started a ropey journey. I tried a low-FODMAP diet for the recommended six weeks which helped. Although my taste buds and enjoyment for food had a different view. And now…I’m back on the extra diet and this time eliminating almond milk too. I do have peaks and troughs with attitude to tolerating the absent tastes…I’m human. Anyways…today I’m fine so we’ll move on now!

My weight loss has been an interesting journey…a subject of which I have not really thought about until spring time this year when I began to change shape. With the results of double diet, I’m frequently in the charity shops rebuilding a wardrobe in a smaller size. It’s so weird looking in the mirror and learning to recognise my [new] self, however it is a lovely bonus on top of the long list of wonderful changes.

Wow…life is becoming life…a new one that feels so so foreign to me –  overwhelming and also hugely fantastic! I’ve just started volunteering out in the real world, away from virtual work. It’s great. I feel like I am living in a surreal world. Perhaps a movie can be made…any takers?!!

image

I love this photo and it says so much about how I feel…as I start to socialise, feel free, awaken and feel ready to enjoy this new life which is the best present to ever ever have.