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Monday, February 29, 2016

Today's Yoga On the Go

Early morning at my house is the most peaceful portion of my day. It is the perfect time to practice stretching and limbering in hopes that today I will walk without hesitation. Today I will not fall for no visible reason. Today I will motivate myself from point one to all points in between with a little memory of that graceful gait I once entertained.

And today I am going to find out if Amprya is really the walking solution to my MS that I hope it is.

I know, I know...I swore to stay away from MS prescription drugs and to go it on my own. I would be seriously remiss, though, if I didn't follow my own rantings and give it a try. From my research I cannot find any extreme dangers with Amprya. The possibility of seizure activity seems to be the number one side effect and it is a long shot. I just want to walk with some semblance of normalcy. I'll give it a try if my neurologist says I qualify.

So, I've had my yoga session with the very handsome Kurt (I think that's his name) on Veria. My coffee is yummy this morning. I have completed the dusting and will perform the Monday vacuuming when this rant is compete. Then I will have a little breakfast and take a nice bath; gussy up a bit for my appointment: and be on the road. (It doesn't hurt that my journeys will also include a visit to Barnes and Noble AND - drum roll, please, - my book illustrator. Keep your fingers crossed for me.)

Kurt's mini sermon this morning encouraged me to FOCUS, so I plan to focus on the positive no matter what that entails.

Forward thinking.
Orderly mindset.
Common sense at all times.
Using my time wisely
Smiling through the pain.

I am focused on the perfect cup of Starbucks. I am focused on a lovely meeting with Ashley Teets (Headline Books). I am focused on a GOOD visit with Dr. Brick. And  I am focused on making MS Awareness Month 2016 the best ever.

Tomorrow officially begins MS Awareness Month 2016 and I hope you will focus your intentions on supporting this cause. Don't forget that I am personally donating one dollar from each book sale to the MS Society. I will pay for postage or personally deliver your book(s) if you live relatively near me. (I'm retired. I don't mind taking a little road trip.) Just e-mail me at LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com

I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? $12.00
Abby, $15.00
Bundle $25.00

Be positive today and Happy Leap Day!
Lisa



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Two Days until Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month 2016

From the look of things, several folks have actually viewed my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and are aware of my little fund raiser. Thank you so much for reading my post. Tell your friends. Bribe your children. Threaten you neighbors. Help me make this a worthwhile campaign.

Multiple Sclerosis is a condition in which our own body attacks and destroys the healthy cells and tissues, creating a myriad of symptoms and problems for our neurological health. Because we are all different, our reaction to this internal attack differs as well. Before totally freaking out over the possibility or reality that you have multiple sclerosis, you must realize a few truths about MS.

 MS is NOT. MS cannot kill you, but it can offer health challenges that may lead to death. Multiple Sclerosis is not curable, but it is not fatal either. So, do into get sucked up in the drama associated with having a chronic or incurable disease. This creates stress and stress is one of the leading igniters of MS relapse. 

But, being under stress does not necessarily mean that you are headed for a relapse. Stress isn't good for anyone.

Supposedly MS doesn't affect pregnancy or the welfare of the child, but the weeks following the birthing procedure are often the high risk time period for possible relapse. I discovered my condition and was diagnosed six months after the birth of my son. My months of pregnancy, though, were the healthiest I have ever felt and baby boy recently turned fifteen years old.

We are cautioned to beware of so-called natural remedies and place our faith and trust in the professionals with the prescription pad in hand. I am not stupid enough to take sides here. If you have MS, you already know that trial and error is a way of life. If you are new to this crazy neurological disorder, do not be afraid to research comforting solutions to every day challenges. It's just common sense.

A common mindset to MS is that since there is not cure, there is nothing we can do about the disease.
So, does that mean that you are just going to lie down and allow this basically abstract villain rob you of a rich life? Are you saying life is over? That there is nothing that can be done about your condition?

Well, that attitude pretty much sucks.

John Belushi said it best in the cult classic Animal House: "Over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearly Harbor?"

Yep. You giving up makes about as much since as that famous movie line.

Look at the progress that has been made in the study of multiple sclerosis. We have come from being institutionalized or quarantined from society to fighting Washington for disability rights. What began as three marketed MS drugs has grown into a spread sheet of FDA approved prescription treatments.

This is NOT over. 

Unfortunately, every second of research requires time and money. 

Contributions and donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis is an evil necessity.
I know, I know...we get pounded with requests from multiple foundations and movements every day. I sometimes (ok, always) hate to answer my phone because I know it's another telemarketer begging for me to fund their cause. It's not that I don't want to...I cannot afford it.

This is personal, though. I have seen what MS does to people. I share the frustrations of my fellow warriors and I want so desperately to do my share.

So, if for no other reason than the dollar I will donate from the sale of each copy of my books, I hope you will support my effort.

My donation is not a great amount and I will probably loose money with my promise to personally pay postage and handling; but it's what I can do to work toward the extinction of this enemy.

I hate MS. I hate what it has taken from me and I hate what it does to all of afflicted with it.

To order your copy of my award winning I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? ($12.00 when you directly from me) and/or my YA award winning Abby, ($15.00), contact me at 
LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com.

Want to bundle? Get both books for $25.00.

For every book purchased, I will donate one dollar to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Let's make March 2016 the best Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month ever.

I will pay for postage or even personally deliver your books if you live close.

Lisa




I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 41, six months after the birth of my only child. Since then I have published 3 young adult novels all centered around the main character Abigail Van Buren Masterson, whose mother is diagnosed with MS. Reading and interest level of Abby, is 11 years to adult.

I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? was published in November 2015 by Headline Books. An honorable mention at the London Book Festival and Readers Favorite five star review recipient,  I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? briefly chronicles life with MS. 
"With I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?", Lisa McCombs lays it all out - the sudden attacks, the mistaken assumptions of the public, the setbacks large and small - and she does it with unblinking frankness. As someone who has wrestled with the MonSter for 30 years, I recognize my own life in her very personal stories. Lisa does as people with MS must: accentuate the positive to defang the MonSter?"  - Geoffrey Camerson Fuller, New York Times bestselling author and ward-winning editor

Friday, February 26, 2016

MS Awareness month

Cassy Goetting Millings's photo.

I do not do a lot of donating. Hey, I'm a retired school teacher. I didn't make much when in the work field, and this retirement business isn't any better financially. Living with a chronic disease is an additional financial burden. But I'm loving life and doing something I always dreamed abouth: writing

My goal for the month of March is to contribute a substantial portion of my book sales to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I would love to just hand over my royalties in their entirety, but those bills mock me from their perch on the corner of my desk. I am excited to donate a dollar of each book sale to http://www.nationalmssociety.org/
Why are my books of interest to anyone fighting the MonSter?

You must not have read one if you are asking this question.

Speaking of questions...Do you ever wonder how the children in your life deal with your MS? Well, meet Abigail Van Buren Masterson, the alter ego who emerged after my diagnosis. Watching the reactions of my son, parents, and friends upon my sudden lifestyle change(s), I knew that my personal journal was my most reliable outlet for my own frustrations and fears. I love to write and have always kept a journal.  Writing Abby's story just felt right. Here is what evolved...

Abby, was published in 2011 at the insistence of a seventh grade class under my tutelage. The story of a seventh grade girl who attends 5 schools in 7 years, Abby, is a Readers Favorite, as well as a Purple Dragonfly award winning young adult novel. When her father is killed in an accident on the WV Turnpike, Abby's mother cashes in the insurance money to travel the state in educating her young children. That vagabond lifestyle is cut short, though, when Mrs. Masterson is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, forcing the little family to settle into an unfamiliar lifestyle for Abby and her brother. Although Abby discovers the security of living among family she didn't know existed, she is faced with a school bully, making friends, and coping with the mysteries of her mother's disease.
Abby, is the ideal novel for the reluctant reader or anyone preferring short reading sections. Written in journal format, it is easy on the eyes and will certainly make a mark on your heart. It is the "Hallmark greeting card" of young adult fiction.






So, we've got the youngsters covered (reading level/interest, ages 12-adult). After I became a little more comfortable with my MS, I didn't stop writing. Oh, no, two sequels followed Abby, encouraged by those same students and earning attention from Readers Favorite. Raspberry Beret chronicles Abby's eighth grade year and Opening Pandora's Box: The Conclusion is Abby in high school. These novels are more about the main character and not MS, but I highly encourage fans of Abby, to read on.


In November 2016, I took the plunge and shared my personal life with multiple sclerosis.  A relatively SHORT epistle (it's only 80 pages), I have attempted to offer common sense suggestions to my fellow MS Warriors. I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? is currently an international Honorable Mention in the self-help category at the London Book Festival Awards and a five star review recipient from Reader Favorite, New York Times bestselling author, Geoffrey Cameron Fuller and an assortment of enthusiastic readers and MSer's. Read the reviews if you need to know more:   http://www.amazon.com/Have-Whats-Your-Super-Power.
During the month of March, I know you will be going orange in support of MS awareness, and I want to help in the only visible way I can think of. I would love to see sales of my books on Amazon and through my publisher, but for the month of March (my birthday month!), I want to support the battle against MS with a monetary contribution by donating one dollar from the personal sales of every copy of Abby, and/or I Have MS. What's Your super Power? 
All you need to do is shoot me an e-mail LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com

I will take it from there. I will pay postage and you get an autographed copy! (wowzer)

I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? is $12.95
Abby, $15.00

If you live near me, I will even hand deliver!

To honor the current trend of bundling, let's bundle!
Get both books for $25.00.

My donation of one dollar per book will of course double with a bundle purchase. 

Hope to hear from you soon,
 Lisa

Thursday, February 25, 2016

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT





BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!
Make sure you visit 
lisa-mccombs@blogspot.com
Friday, February 26!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lisa's Page: My MS, MyStory: MS Life from My Perspective

Lisa's Page: My MS, MyStory: MS Life from My Perspective: As I view my kitchen floor I realize that it's very different from that of the bathroom. Both constructed of ceramic tile, I offer sile...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

MS Life from My Perspective


As I view my kitchen floor I realize that it's very different from that of the bathroom. Both constructed of ceramic tile, I offer silent appreciation to the previous owner of my cozy home. He did a wonderful job of installing the floors in the two main rooms of the house. While the bathroom floor is white, the kitchen tile is a gorgeous hunter green, which is perfect for the French wine country theme that I have developed since purchasing the home. I am proud of my kitchen design: stainless steel appliances, wine colored paint on the walls, new granite design counter tops, and this beautiful dark green ceramic that I accented with two complimentary area rugs. No, I am not a designer nor can I lay claim to the Martha Stewart Movement of crafting the perfect home staging.

I'm just on the floor again.

At least this time it was an easy fall. More like I just kinda folded to the ground. Sometimes I don't even realize I am falling until some body part has made contact with solid ground. As long as that body part is not my head (that has happened more than once in the past) I am relatively fine with the fall. I have accepted that falling is just another element of the MonSter. I don't like it, but if I can thumb my nose at it, I know I'm still in the race....just at a different vantage point.

Do I sound wildly upbeat and nauseatingly positive? Sorry. That's just the way I roll.

According to Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies  (I have probably sold more copies of this book than any of my own!): "Sometimes attitudes - your own or other people's - get in the way..." (p. 278). But, we know that, right? If you have a relationship with Common Sense, then this is old news. Whether it's in the work place, with family members, or those so-called friends, there is always attitude running interference with every well planned play of the game. Beginning on page 279 of the Dummies guide, we as Warriors must first deal with our personal attitude toward the MonSter before taking on the attitudes of  others. And face it, folks, personal attitude requires every ounce of our positive being to combat.

There is no guide out there, for Dummies or not, that can dictate personal attitude. I can take up space providing inspirational titles for you avid readers out there (The Gathering Table: Defying Multiple Sclerosis With a Year of Pasta, Wine, and Friends by Ronda Giagreco; I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? by yours truly; King James Holy Bible), but no one else's words or experiences can force you into a positive state of mind if you are fraught with any type of resistance. And no one can offer the sure-fire solution.

But I can pass on some suggestions.

1. Exercise!!! "Living with MS requires planning and careful decision making. We do not simply leap into an activity, even if that activity is as simple as preparing breakfast. We MSers must take time and thought into consideration for every single thing we do...My advice: Find an activity yo enjoy and just MOVE!" (p. 46, I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?) When you read my book, you will discover my devotion to Yoga. I'm no where near a master yogi nor do I plan to be. The stretching is the key. Keeping muscles lengthened and toned is essential to my walking regime. Yoga doesn't require an abundance of physical exertion and is totally portable. Even the National Multiple Sclerosis Society condones Yoga as a MS warrior's friend. Check out MYMSYOGA with Baron Baptiste and Dr. Eliot Frohman on www.MyMSYoga.comwww.MyMSYoga.com. And DO NOT WORRY about messing up. Those instructors cannot see you. They cannot judge your progress. They simply provide the guidance you might need to KEEP MOVING.

2. Read, read, read...everything from nonfiction and research material to that soft porn novel I know you have tucked away under your mattress. As a retired reading teacher and current book reviewer, I can tell you that there is no better escape than the written word. Give it a try. Let a good story line or riveting research document be that passport to another focus in your life.

3. Volunteer. Whether it be on the phone or door-to-door, if you are able. Hospital gift shops are always in need of volunteer clerks. Churches will not turn away anyone wishing to assist in stuffing envelopes, answering the office phone, organizing newsletters or scheduling group meetings. Community centers, food pantries, even local elementary schools welcome servers,  classroom readers, or just an  extra hand. Nursing home residents love visitors. There are plenty of opportunities out there.

4. Take up a new hobby. I learned how to knit last fall and am surprised at how soothing the activity can be once I figured out the basic stitches. When my bestest friend and I began beginning knitting classes, I had my reservations as to how well I would progress; but I have found an activity that I absolutely love. I used to play the piano and even entertained the thought of one day doing so professionally. Stiff fingers and unpredictable muscle spasms do not allow me to enjoy my piano much any more, but that's okay. (It's a lovely piece of furniture on which I display an array of treasured photographs.)  I can accomplish more with my knitting needles. Hope all of my family and friends are as excited about those knitted dish cloths they will be receive next Christmas as I am!

5. Keep a journal or write a blog. If I can do it, ABSOLUTELY anyone can. I finally figured out that consistency in blog posting is the key. I VOW to post every Tuesday and Friday, no matter what my readership may be. The activity is more for me than anyone else; but I would love to think that my rantings are helpful to someone else out there.

6. Netflix! It's awesome! Okay, maybe this is really stretching the KEEP MOVING button. It's just that I have never been much of a television watcher and since my retirement from the pubic school  system last June, I have discovered the allure of trending broadcasts. Before Christmas I spent an entire week binging on Orange is the New Black and am anxiously awaiting the new season. Recently I pledged my alliances to  Rick and the gang that comprise The Walking Dead. It's addictive. Being the rather impatient TV viewer that I am, though, I still have to keep moving while watching. So I almost always employ a few yoga moves or pick up the knitting needles while my eyes take in the ridiculousness of zombie-ville.

There is no end to the possibilities of how to brighten the spirits and lighten the attitude. But it has to be up to you.

MS is a personal journey and leaves its unique stamp on each of us.

I am not always so upbeat, but it is useless to turn the other cheek and allow MS to dictate who and what I am. The sooner we realize that it is what it is, the sooner we can get on with our lives to adopt a more positive attitude.

Recently an acquaintance approached me with questions about dealing with a friend who suspects she has multiple sclerosis. The friend is frantic with concern and anxious to find some answers. She has researched MS and is convinced that she exhibits a large number of MS related symptoms. I sincerely pray that the MonSter has not knocked on her door, but I also hope that she is successful in including positive research to her findings.

MS is not pretty. It's not fun. But with a positive outlook we can allow it to sit in the corner (face to the wall) while we work for a cure.

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. This year I am in the position to monetarily to my part in the funding of said cure. Beginning Friday (three days from now!), for every copy of my book I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? and for every copy of my young adult novel Abby, that I personally sell, I will donate a dollar to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

These need to be personal sales for me to control the donations. I will pay the postage for every book ordered directly from me. I am not much of a business person, so I hope this little project doesn't go belly up. I just want to do my part. I am in no way discouraging you from ordering from  amazon.com; but if you order from me, I will include a FREE autograph!

Just give a shout LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com and I will promptly respond with book(s) in the mail. Or if you just want to chat, I am thrilled to meet you.

Have an AWESOME week!

Lisa

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Library-Education-Programs/You-CAN!/Improve-Your-Balance

https://www.mssociety.org.uk/what-is-ms/signs-and-symptoms/balance-and-dizziness/about

https://multiplesclerosis.net
/http://www.mymsteam.com/people?

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Roller Coaster Ride of MS Medications




July 2001 is when I became a druggie. That is the summer I fell (literally) into the collective pool of drug users. And I did it big time. Go big or go home, right? I went straight for the needle. Beta Seron was my drug of choice. I learned the proper way to self-inject and NEVER shared needles with anyone. Of course, at the time I didn't know anyone else who took medication for multiple sclerosis and was just learning about my own personal alphabet disease. You know the ones: MS, MD, ADHD, the letters for Lou Gehrig disease... The needle sharing thing was not really a possibility as Biogen assured that the user's equipment was and is for singular use only.

At first the injections were not a whole lot of fun. it's not that I have an aversion to needles; scheduling the treatment is just not convenient. And, sure, needles are not that much fun. But I had to keep a positive attitude and I found pleasure in the little things. Like when the auto injector was introduced and I not longer had to manually prep my injection site, personally inflicting the pain of plunging the needle under my skin. Always fascinated with gadgets, I actually loved when the drug company amped up the design of the injector and made it visually attractive in new funky colors, complete with a color coordinated travel case. Hey, whatever works for ya.

https://www.betaseron.com/


Beta Seron and I remained friends for several years, but in 2012 I some how forgot to pick up my monthly prescription and conveniently forgot that I needed it. Two months later I realized that I felt SO much more energetic without my "fix" and decided to proclaim myself drug-free.

And then the annual neuro appointment rolled around and I was caught in my drug-less routine. I do not know of a neurologist out there who won't insist that we all must be "on" something. By this time several new treatments had been added to the big three (Beta Seron, Copaxone, and A) and my doctor was anxious to introduce me to the latest. I had to admit that I felt better wince my departure from Beta Seron, but my drop foot had worsened and I had to look at the big picture. I had a son, a husband, parents, students, ad co-workers who depended on me. There was no time to play around with the future of my MS. So, I folded and agreed to try Tecfidera.


I was kinda excited about an injection-less drug. Tecfidera was the new wave of MS treatment. An oral MS drug! I knew from previous MS research that this was a HUGE, HUGE advancement in the world of multiple sclerosis. And I guess I wanted in on the action. MS is my constant companion and I needed to take a more active interest in the relationship.  I scheduled my Tec trial over Christmas break 2012. I had great  hope for this new drug. When I started Beta Seron I was fortunate to not experience any of the projected side effects of flu-like symptoms. I was absolutely certain that Tecfidera would also offer no such negative effects.

Oh, boy, was I ever wrong. At first I was fine. On the starter dose everything seemed to be absolutely copacetic (love that word). So when I doubled the dosage to begin the actual prescribed amount I was expecting the same result. Wham, Bam, No thank you, Ma'am!

The man upstairs was definitely looking out for me by giving me the foresight to try out this double dose over a school holiday because this middle school teacher was learning a lot about bathroom tile and commode functions. First hand. Up close and personal.

When I could break away  from my latrine studies long enough to make the call, the medical advice I received was to take a few weeks vacation from work and allow the drug to acclimate with my body's system.

Whaaaaat!?

Teachers do not eat up sick and personal days to play with drugs, go to the beach, or do laundry. We are ON CALL for the required 180 hours of annual instruction time (and beyond) in the designed school calendar. Sorry, Charlie.

So, Tecfidera and I parted company after only three weeks.

Drug-free again?

A visit to another neuro crushed those plans. Is there a required neurological course titled You Must Be on Something 101? I understand the research and can see the data, but those are just numbers. I am a person. And not a numbers person. Totally right brained, I function on art, literature, and emotion.

But I succumbed to professional advice and began a round of Copaxone. Everything moved right along, until the itching began. Red, puffy, swollen injection sites made wearing anything with a waist-band unbearable. No blue jeans? No Lisa.

https://www.copaxone.com/about-copaxone/copaxone-40-mg

I have nothing against the variety of MS drugs. Nothing was working for me, though. The penalty wasn't worth the the promise.

And then I read about the Walking Drug. Amprya was receiving rave reviews in assisting people to walk more fluidly as well as aiding in balance, cognitive improvement and overall confidence in movement. None of the reported side effects totally turned me off, other than the risk of seizures And I could take Amprya on a more self-directed schedule. There apparently is no penalty for stopping the drug if it does not agree with me.

So, I have an appointment at the end of the month with my ever anxious neurologist to discuss this next step in my treatment. We'll see what he says on February 29.

Common Sense has already shown me that regular stretching and daily exercise helps with drop foot and walking gait, but if there is something out there to help me along, I'm game for ONE MORE shot at pharmaceuticals. ONE MORE SHOT...
Of course, I am a never-say-never kinda gal, so I won't pull the plug on the hopeful possibility that there is something out there that will work for me.

https://www.patientslikeme.com/treatment_evaluations/browse/16031-ampyra-side-effects-and-efficacy?brand=t
http://msfocus.org/article-details.aspx?articleID=488

Multiple Sclerosis is a never ending subject for research. MS is proven to treat every single person differently. Symptoms vary drastically and everyone has her/his own story. Sometimes we are forced to take matters into our own hands in coping with MS; but there is always another door opening in the vast topic of treatment. I do not like ruling anything out until I give it a try.

Wish me luck,
Lisa

HeadlineBooks.com
http://www.amazon.com/I Have-Whats-Your-Super-Power?
LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Let It Go

Yep, the theme of my rant today is a popular animated movie title; but the words sum up my thoughts precisely. I've not had a great couple of days. I'm light headed. My muscles are atrophied and I just don't feel right. I have even allowed myself to succumb to senseless crying spells (alone of course). I do not like this. My  husband wants so badly to help and that he can "see it in my eyes". Since the eyes are supposedly the windows to the soul, I feel like it might be wise to wear dark shades in public so that my pain is hidden from view. I just do not like sharing my personal "stuff" with other folks.

Especially the skeptics. Y'know: those poor ignorant folks who insist on proclaiming that MS is a catch-all term for abusers of the "system".

Ah... don't get me started. It would take too much out of me on this, the first day I have felt like doing anything in a week. I plan to "let it go" and find something productive to charge my day and erase whatever my husband sees in my eyes. I will meet him at the door this afternoon with renewed life in my emerald greens, even if that means extra mascara.

The best thing I have found to assist in "letting go" is to learn something new, step outside of my comfort zone, feed my inner super hero and avoid my personal kryptonite ( I Have MS. What's Your super Power? http://www.amazon.com/Have-Whats-Your-Super-Power). 

So, this morning I forced myself off the couch and onto the floor (not a big feat since that's where I have been spending a lot of time lately) to participate in Kurt Johnsen's daily yoga class on Veria's "Yoga for Life". I was actually "late for class" and tuned in for the last 20 minutes. But that was enough to help me stretch with Kurt and then continue on my own for another 20 minutes. I mean, I was already down there inspecting my carpet, so I figured I would take advantage of the situation. This definitely placed me out of my comfort zone, physically; but it felt good as well. What did I learn from my early morning floor party? I need to stretch EVERY DAY. Of course, I already knew that, but I don't always listen to myself. Kurt also offered his daily Yoga on the Go advice: drink or water. Not only does it help with weight loss; it is a mood enhancer. Goodbye, coffee. Hello, water. (Well, when the pot is empty. Don't want to get too far ahead of myself:)

After my stretching experience, I hurried to the bathroom mirror to check out my soul windows, but they didn't look any different, so I realized that I wasn't finished letting it go" for the morning. I hate to give too much credit to my disease and refuse to blame every little ailment on multiple sclerosis. Sure, it's a big part of my life -  actually a HUGE part of my life - but I refuse to give it that much credit. MS is part of my life, but it doesn't define who I am. I do have a vested interest in the subject, though. I try to read as much as I can about MS, as long as the reading doesn't cast a darker cloud on the already gloomy topic. When I want to learn something new, I often turn to Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies. I just love the for Dummies books. There is one for practically any topic on the face of the earth. The language is simplistic and common sense rules every message.

 Any way, Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies is my go-to guide for MS. I randomly flipped my copy open to page 14 to rediscover that MS is 2 to 3 times more common in women. Okay, old news. Men typically are diagnosed later in life than women and move primarily to the primary-progressive stage upon diagnosis. Sorry, guys. MS is evidently a white disease, but is not partial to race or ethnicity. According to Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies, the farther one lives from the equator, greater are the chances of developing MS. Hmmmm...This information develops further in an additional paragraph at the bottom of page 15: "An interesting wrinkle in the geographical data - which no one can yet explain - suggests that timing may be the key. Data, particularly from Israel and South Africa, suggest that people who migrate from their birthplace before puberty take on the MS risk factor of their new home, where as people who migrate after puberty maintain thew risk level associated with their birthplace." Can I hear another Hmmmm....?

Another fun fact I learned from my morning reading: MS is NOT an inherited disease. I think I already knew that, but it is interesting to know that I can stop blaming my ancestors. In fact, I feel reassured even further when I read about lifestyle elements. All of my years exposed to the sun's rays while working as a  lifeguard did NOT cause me to be diagnosed, although vitamin D is very, very important in dealing with MS. So, I take my vitamin D every week. Smoking and diet cannot be directly linked to MS, but my friend Common Sense should wave his scarlet flag in from of us all. We can control our MS to a certain point. Although my faithful hand book suggests that Inuits are not at risk to get MS because of their fish-heavy diet. Well,  I do not mind eating fish maybe once a week, but husband and son usually snarl at their dinner plates and refuse to talk to me until a peace offering of calorie infused dessert if offered to cleanse their palate.

When I was diagnosed, my mother insisted on worrying herself with all the "what if's" and "should haves" possible. It surely must be her fault. If only she had done this or done this differently her daughter would not suffer from this cruel condition. Well, Mom, it isn't your fault. It is what it is. There is nothing that can be done to reverse or erase my multiple sclerosis. So, get over it. "Let it go!"

I wold love to tell her this and, even more, for her to believe it and move on. But mother's aren't made like that. Our roles have shift and daughter is in the tough love seat.

Aha, another lesson for today! Tuesday is just getting better and better.

Before the wheels fall off and I revert back to a dark mindset, it is time to grab some breakfast, a glass of water (coffee pot is empty), maybe take a bubble bath and shave my legs (ugh-o, Mr. I Can See It in our Eyes), and enjoy today.

Lisa