Holistically MS

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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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Reality of the waves

As much as I want this blog to be positive and helpful, I also feel that this is to be a true blog of my journey. So to respect you, myself and to ease my stress I shall try to provide interesting reading which is also honest.

I have been continuing with my exercise which this week so far has been sawing up some wood for a friend. I get to exercise; fresh air; tidy the garden and also help someone. And that makes me feel good. I am however challenged with depression from my own body and so if something makes me feel good then I really appreciate it. Often this is short lived though and so I search for more sustainable approaches to happiness. The short term smiles and holidays really ease challenges and provide me with perks in life. However for me I really feel a strong need for consistent living. Perhaps holistic living is what I’m about here.

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So when the waves peak and trough – whether they be in the mind or/and the body – how do we find enough to sustain a happy life?

I do also wonder if ‘busy’ people may feel the same if you were to cut out their daily busy times. I certainly have the time to put into thinking about stuff more than is required, however I tend to keep busy so to avoid thinking about the reality that involves me and my achievements. So…I ask myself…what is my future? All I know is that I wish for some long term happiness that is sustainable and healthy.

So perhaps my passion of watching surfers is deeper than I thought? What I love about watching surfing is the free spirit in the image of the sport and lifestyle. I love the use of wave power and the skill. I love the feeling I get by the sea and by taking time out to just gaze. I love the sound and smell too. The ocean is full of energy and I get to feel that healthy energy when I am close to the sea. Hearing the ocean also simulates relaxation.

The sea gives me the feeling of space by the horizon providing distance and space. Surfing looks cool and I believe that this look illustrates someone relaxed whom is in control. How apt this all seems.

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Where am I at the mo?

Okay…so I realise that you will want a rough outline of what I’m doing at the moment, regarding my holistic approach to my MS.

Nutrition – I’m taking a number of food supplements and have been doing so for approx a year and a half. I say approx due to the tweaking and adding of new tablets. The first supplement which I started on was just over two years ago during a huge long relapse (before the second diagnosis). Anyways this is magnesium and I started with tablets…along with taking calcium so that it all works…however when I started taking lots of other food supplements (vitamins and minerals) I switched to liquid magnesium. This was to ensure quick release in to my body as it helps enormously with my neuro pain. My partner and I researched into this ourselves. And at this point I probably need to say…seek medical support and sensible advice regarding supplements and diets. My neurologist put me onto Vitamin D tablets and then an MS nurse put me on to Omega’s. That was encouraging for the orthodox medics I think. So I’ve recently tweaked my supplements again, namely the zinc levels whilst making sure that they include copper, again for absorption. By the way if you want more info of what I am taking and how much, feel free to request it by leaving a ‘reply’. For the rest of you…it’s suffice to say that I’m taking supplements which aid healing, energy, pain and nerves. So, moving on to what diet I eat…well having been on a number of diets for health reasonsĀ  (gluten free; yeast free; allergy testing leading to certain foods being temporarily avoided; dairy free; low fat – with only the latter two being my own experiments) I feel far more relaxed with eating what I feel comfortable with whenever and whatever this is. I eat some organic foods and homegrown; fruit, veg, meat and seafood; high percentage cocoa dark chocolate (my only caffeine); and shock horror…some takeaway meals for my vice in life! I have to balance fibre intake for IBS reasons so I am quite careful with this and find that oily food can irritate my mechanics. I mainly drink water, sometimes hot chocolate and sometimes smoothies…and occasionally a cordial.

I’ve found it to be really important for me to focus on relaxing…whether it be with diet, environment, health attitude, friends, lifestyle, exercise etc. I do find relaxing a challenge and as we all go through personal hurdles it can be especially challenging alongside MS. I find gardening one of my biggest relaxants, along with being in the fresh air, by the coast/near water, by trees or amongst hills, and being with people whom make me happy. I like being able to have sun…however my temperature gauge somewhat dictates how much sun I can tolerate. I think that relaxation is one of the key areas which I shall be focussing on. I find cats relaxing and fun too…I’ve always been around cats including when living overseas or on most of my holidays I’ve managed to ‘come across them’.

Posture and exercise – I definitely have room for improving my posture and hope to look at the Alexander Technique. I do exercises whilst I’m gardening…some are less helpful to my worn out joints and diluted lavender oil often gets used to ease the muscles. When I can I walk or cycle, which use to be good hobbies of mine. This is rare these days however I really value it when I can. My base level (the norm that I seem to be currently at) is walking with a stick or two…and in and out of wheelchairs. I say the plural as I have a motorised one due to a weak left side…however a replacement manual chair is currently being made to support my joints and posture etc

Incidentally…I recently read this article which seemed to be the final incentive for me to solely embrace a holistic and natural approach to managing my MS, at this moment in my life. The article may also interest you – it talks about the main theories of MS and some eye opening patterns and thoughts. Hence my recent tweak with zinc intake! Another article I read this week was a treatment study occurring in Edinburgh with a look into of the neck area and blood restrictions…this had been suggested to me prior, however whatever this reflects it did make me decide to focus on the Alexander Technique for my neck posture. I do have neck issues due to some worn out joints. Anyways here is this article.

Laughter and socialising…very important and again lots of room for improvement! Due to my sensory challenges this has been a huge hurdle which I am improving on. However from an overall holistic perspective I think that as a previously very sociable person I seem to spend far more time alone. Perhaps to conserve energy or perhaps another reason. I have had friends come and go which has caused sadness and I now choose with more care. The internet has revolutionised socialising and feeling in touch with the world. I do enjoy some TV as long as its what I enjoy. I find people ask me what I do each day…well there’s always jobs around the home for me and I am the sort of person that likes to keep busy and as active as possible. Due to my sensory processing treatment I have a good mix of physically stimulating tasks followed by mentally stimulating tasks. I believe this helps keep my brain active and my body supple.

I think that gives you an outline of where I’m at with my health and lifestyle…let’s see how this improves and what I discover.