Google+ Followers

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Goals, both MS and non-MS related

2017 green grass 3d happy new year

It is that time again. Last year I was pretty good at fulfilling my promises to self, so hopefully 2017 will bring as much, if not more, satisfaction. Patting myself on the back for successfully keeping my resolutions. Does that mean I am officially an adult?

Projections for 2017 (in no particular order):
* Actively seek literary agent
* Clean up 2016 NaNoWriMo project
* Develop my next manuscript
* Review 10 books a month (or more). My goal is to pay for Boone's summer camp in full with review money this year.
* Get on the sub list???? (Not totally committed to this yet.)
* Arrange more book signings in new/different locations.
* Learn how to knit socks.
* Be more devoted to my MS Self-help group.
* Do something creative with my front yard.
* Be more diligent with my journal writing.
*Exercise more.

Well, there it is...my list, so far.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2016:
* Best book(s) read: The Little Paris Bookshop and Chef Interrupted
* Boone placing in Globaloria competition as well as math Field Day
* Boone's sixteenth birthday
* Ampyra
* Hanging out with my mother A LOT
* Starting MS Self-help group

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and a prosperous New Year.

See you in 2017,
Lisa





Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day...Bring out the gloves!

Give your tax-deductible year-end gift today! Donate by Dec. 31st to help fund life-changing research and 
services.


Today is the official "return" day for all you gift recipients with ill-fitting, ill-selected Christmas gifts. The malls will be swamped (again) and bargains will be thrown out there (again), enticing your pocket book. 
I do not plan to be in the mix of shopping fanatics. All my gifts fit, both my body and my soul. But I commit a portion of my book sales to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and I will honor my promise and the 2016 deadline before the week ends.

 12.95

                                                                      15.00
Get them both for 25.00. I pay postage. Message me and I will personally get these signed, award winning books out to you ASAP; and add your donation to my year end gift to NMSS.

If you are battling the crowds today (again), good luck and Godspeed.

Lisa

Monday, December 19, 2016

Don't let the holidays get you down: A holiday gripe session


When I saw this posted on face book not long ago, my heart wept. Since my diagnosis fifteen years ago, I have often known that this is me. So many people I once called friends are no longer in my life. They do not call, visit, or even recognize the fact that I am still alive. I stay in contact as much as possible, but after a while this one sided relationship just does not make sense.
I refuse to make excuses for my lack of social interaction. It is just not possible any more. And when it is possible, it is no longer fun. 

Retirement has placed a heavy and welcome financial burden on my life that requires me to reevaluate priorities. There is no one no thing more important to me than my son; thus, any extracurricular spending goes to his well being. This often determines how well I address my own health, wants, or needs. And that's okay. I am a mother, number one. A huge lesson I have learned this year: Raising a teenager is much more expensive than I EVER expected.

So, "once friends", I will not be actively socializing over the holidays. (That excludes you, Jodi. I'll meet up with you any time.) I would love to welcome you to my home. That's where I hang out!

Yes, this is obviously a venting session; but do not think for a second that I suffer from depression. I do not. I am just a bit sad that my golden years are met with so much stress. Especially when I discover that my son's secondary form of financial support has a garage full of expensive man toys and a resume of excuses for not contributing more.. But, that's just his MO. My biggest mistake. So, I'll suck it up and fix it all best I can. That's what wed warriors do. We deal.

Bitter? Yep, a bit. 

Okay, that's my Monday rant. It's time to get off the soap box, whilst (Isn't that an awesome word? "whilst") my dignity is still intact.

This week is all about giving, loving, and sharing.

Guess I completed the "sharing": now I can get on with the more positive stuff.

Have a great day.
I promise to be more uplifting later this week. Sometimes a gal just has to get things off her chest.
Thanks for listening.

Lisa

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Travelling with MS

Image result for christmas travel images
Grandma's house. It's just down the street!


Well, it is here. The holiday season. If you traveled for Thanksgiving then you already have a head's up on the preparation route. AND you have had time to recover, hopefully...

Now it's time to get back on that wagon and enjoy the ride. Whether you like it or not!:)

'Tis the season!

Fortunately I no longer have much required travelling in order to enjoy my holiday activities. Mom and Dad live right down the street; my brothers will be hanging out there; and my Dad will pick up his sister in plenty of time for the Chevy Chase mayhem that occurs annually at my parent's  home. 

Many of us, though, are not as fortunate in holiday travel plans. Travel with MS, even short jaunts, can be excruciatingly stressful.
Take a deep breath and experiment with some of the tips and resources I have found.

https://www.liftms.com/action/ms-travel
www.access-able.com
www.nationalmssociety.org/travel

The first thing you need to do pre-travel is calm any anxieties regarding your medical life. Consult your neuro about your travel plans if you are overly anxious about your trip; but if that is a little too hard core, remember to rely on Common Sense (my good buddy).

Plan ahead. Do some research to establish the existence of wheels and slow walker accommodations.  Do not overly plan events that will zap all of your energy too early. You are not obligated to participate in every single event on any given adventure/journey. Pace yourself so that what you do choose to do is an enjoyable venture.

If  you are travelling via air, there are several things you can do to assure comfortable travel. Contact the airlines several days prior to your departure date to let them know of any special needs you may have. If you have the luxury to do so, select a seat that allows you ample leg room and appropriate proximity to the rest room. Pack smart by placing things you might need to access quickly on top of in your carry on luggage and make sure you tag all any and all mobility equipment.

Your medications, of course, need to hold top priority; so pack them in your carry on/purse/man bag/fanny pack. If refrigeration is needed you can either tote the adequate packaging. All medications need to be accompanied by the original prescription label and need to travel in the original packaging. If you self-inject make sure to have a safe used-needle container. A letter from your neuro is always a nice touch but not always good enough to satisfy security officials, so be prepared to be thoroughly questioned. Unfortunately, we MS Warriors do not always travel lightly. Be prepared.

If travelling out side the USA you may need to get a vaccination (or two). With our weakened immune system it is especially important to not skimp on that necessity. Log on to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) to inspect guidelines for each vaccination offered. www.cdc.gov/travel/vaccinat.htm

Just because we have MS (Yes, I said just, as if it is no big deal. It is a big deal, but should not impair our opportunity for adventure.), we are not locked into a no-travel zone. Get out there and live life. Regret is a horrible disease. Possibly more so than the one that inhabits our bodies.

In his awesome story Chef Interrupted, Travis L. Gleason tells of his decision to realize a life long dream of travelling to the "wilds of west Kerry, Ireland for the winter" after his diagnosis. Okay, this is a bit "out there" in my travel plans when my goal is to make it to the grocery store without mishap. But, it is a beautiful story and one that I hope you add to your winter reading. Who knows, you might be inspired to take a LONG journey.

Not matter what your holiday plans are, take time to consider all aspects of your trip and ENJOY. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

My personal travel tips:
Pack spare underwear.
Always have a bottle of water on hand.
Never leave home without a book (personal rule).
Pack spare underwear...Oh, already said that.
Don't be afraid to ask directions (if necessary...so far I haven't gotten lost in route to my mother's house).
Avoid all unnecessary additions to your trip.
Be happy where you are, where ever that may be.

Have a great weekend!
Lisa

Friday, December 9, 2016

How are you feeling? Part 2: Reflections

Image result for how you doin meme


It is not such a bad thing to be asked. In fact, it is a polite courtesy in the Miss Manners etiquette we all taught early in life.  so, why does it make us feel so weird?

So, I walk with the assistance of a cane. Big deal. Maybe it's a fashion statement. Maybe I just like canes. Maybe it's one of your business.

Okay, that is rather rude.

It is also rather rude to pose that question when you really do not want to hear the reply. I think that is the major issue here. Because if we warriors really opened up and gave an honest response to that inquiry our already limited friend base would quickly diminish even further. I mean, do they really, really want to be told about the number of falls experienced in a typical day? The urgency of our bladder situation? The embarrassment of eating in public with numbed fingers? The disappointment of missing a social event because of fatigue? The feeling of being a burden on your family?

Answer: No, no, no, no, and no. 

Of course, me being nonverbal me, I rarely get caught up in how to respond to the question. I simply reply, "I'm well. And you?"

A dear friend once told me that I have a particularly intimidating expression that often warns away predators. I have never figured out what that expression is nor did it ever work for me during my teaching years. Students obliviously are immune.

Because I rarely have the opportunity to voice my opinion on things, I have to believe this expression exists, though. I am usually the blob in the background of most conversations. When I open my mouth to contribute, someone else's voice is heard and I am left with my silent thoughts as if my existence is as hidden as my thoughts.

I have found, though, that an easy way to avoid an insincere inquiry as to my well being is to jump the gun. Ask the second party first. Smile and briefly comment and steer the dialogue elsewhere. Or just simply smile and nod, encouraging their story. Because, they always have a story. (Did you catch that sarcasm?)

Joey did it best...How you doin?

I hope you took the time to scroll through the (plagiarized) articles in my previous post. Although the headline really caught my attention, becoming the initial focus of Wednesday's blog post, I strongly identified with ALL the articles.

Of particular interest is the interest in a specialized workout space for those of us with neurological issues. We have a very nice facility where I live, and I have visited it often, but my insurance does not cover the  cost so my visits are rare. Oh, and my Wii exercise board died so my avatar exercise friend and I no longer meet. (Did you hear that, Santa? I want a Wii exercise board for Christmas!) I do not mind exercising solo and, if you now me, you are aware of my many video exercise classes. But sometimes, it is just too much effort to insert selected exercise option and push the "on" button. Understand? Been there? Like right now. I could be twisting my body an assortment of Yoga poses, but, no, I am instead conversing with you while mentally planning my day. Call me Ms. Multitask-er. That's me.

Think I'll hit the mall this morning. 


 If you do not receive this MS newsletter, I strongly suggest that you subscribe. It is a free service and full of very valuable information. 

Have a great weekend.

Oh, and if you are looking for a great and unique gift idea ( 'tis the season), do not forget to investigate my assortment of personalized books. Yep, I will sign them and pay for the postage. Just drop me a line, include your address (pm) and I will get those out to you!




Bombs Bursting in Air
first place winning novel West Virginia Writers Inc.
This is my latest young adult novel that focuses on the effects of PTSD in a young girls who looses her father. 
$15.00

Abby,$15.00
Raspberry Beret, $11.00
Opening Pandora's Box, $11.00
The set: $35.00

This trilogy represents my first published works. All focused on a young girl, Abby, who is finding her way in this weird world of inconsistencies.






Internationally award nonfiction. Common sense guide to living with multiple sclerosis. It's funny. It's painful. It's true.
I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?, $12.00

Want them all? Let me make you a deal. LisaAnnetteMcCombs@yahoo.com

Lisa

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How are you Feeling?

Yes, I realize tht I am guilty hof plagiarism. I am, after all, a retired English teacher. Plagiarism is a BIG thing in my circle. 

But, this issue requires something more than an opportunity hto cick on a link. Not that I have anyting against "links." They are very helpful; but I also am a strong believer in saving time. Thus, my crime of plagiarism.

Your comments (on the aricle, not my crime) are apopreciated.

The Question “How are you feeling?” And The Mixed Feelings It Can Cause - MultipleSclerosis.net
Devin Garlit- If there is one question that those with a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis hear a lot, it’s “How are you feeling?” or some variation of it. It may seem like something so simple, so common, but it’s something that stirs up mixed emotions for someone like me. At times, it can be an extremely positive measure, that I’m very thankful for. However, other times, it can leave me feeling a little down depending on the circumstances. Regardless of how it makes you feel, it’s a question you are going to encounter often and it’s good to be prepared to... READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

17354 - MultipleSclerosis.net
MS in America 2016
LEARN MORE
Forums - MultipleSclerosis.net
Talk about it
Visit the MultipleSclerosis.net forums.
LEARN MORE
Laura Kolaczkowski- I’ve been talking to a person investigating the ‘construction’ of a standalone wellness center intended to serve people with neurological disorders, especially people like me with multiple sclerosis. A point I make over and over to the point I am sure he is tired of hearing is before they do anything, they should actually talk to the people who are expected to use it. You can build the most spectacular setting for wellness, but if the program doesn’t resonate with the people who are expected to show up there, it will likely be a failure. So what would a center... READ MORE
Editorial Team- What is Giving Tuesday? #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Health Union’s role in supporting #GivingTuesday In the spirit of giving, MultipleSclerosis.net’s parent company, Health Union, is asking you to tell us where to donate! On Tuesday, November 29th, MultipleSclerosis.net will post a #GivingTuesday video on Facebook. Anyone who shares the Facebook post will be... READ MORE
Kim Dolce- I approach managing multiple sclerosis in the same way I approach writing in that I instinctively lean towards my strengths. Hindsight is one of my best, as is learning all about something of which I know nothing and then teasing out the subject as though I invented it. Mine is a searching, integrating internal process equipped with a reliable editor. That said, procrastination and intellectual laziness are up there, too. I know my limitations and can therefore wholeheartedly embrace humility once I get around to it. Writers walk a fine line between self-aggrandizement and self-loathing. So, too, people with MS. Decisiveness is a strength that has always taken a... READ MORE
Kim Dolce- How embarrassing. While I was feeding pop cans into the return depository at the grocery store the other day, a woman suddenly planted herself in front of me and said “Hi, how are you?” in a very familiar manner. I didn’t know her from Adam. “Fine thanks, and you?” I said, trying to act cordial while I racked my brain to remember where I’d seen her. But she wasn’t fooled. “I’m Patty, Ann’s daughter,” she reminded me, looking a bit uncomfortable. I can’t say I blamed her. The same thing happened to me once, only the recipient wasn’t friendly and... READ MORE
Read other headlines on MultipleSclerosis.net.
I heard on the news last night the men’s football head coach from the University of South Carolina answering a question about how he felt about playing football on Thanksgiving Day. He said Thanksgiving wasn’t a day, it was a meal. I totally disagree. I believe Thanksgiving is a way of life. The Bible tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. After being diagnosed four years ago with multiple sclerosis which has no cause and no cure, I had to reconcile the fear... READ MORE
Read other stories, or submit your own at MultipleSclerosis.net.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What do you do to stay sharp?

 This is what a NaNoWriMo winner looks like near the end of her challenge. Eyes nearly closed, forced smile, listless posture...but look at those two books in front of her. These are results of past NaNoWriMo events. It's worth it. Wish I could keep it up all year round!

Last month in my MS Support Group meeting, one member posed the question "What do you do to stay sharp?" Yep, my group actually has homework!

I didn't need to think about it too awfully long, seeing as how I was in the thick of National Novel Writing Month, an event I look forward to all year. NaNoWriMo is  self-inflicted challenge that many writers commit too every November. I love it. I hate it. I live for it. It keeps me relatively sharp in times of MS cog fog.

Now that NaNoWriMo 2016 has concluded I am in search of a new challenge to keep those brain waves dancing.

This is what I brought to the table during yesterday's meeting:
Knitting is my go-to challenge because it requires concentration (of sorts), counting, and eye-hand coordination. I also love words games. Words With Friends is a great online scrabble game that I play on my Kindle. The comradery of the game is amazing. When a faceless competitor messaged me a few weeks ago, I actually got giddy to know that I had a friend somewhere out there in Cyber World. My nieces, brother, and mom have a Sunday Game Day a couple of times a month and that requires a LOT of mental aptitude, so I counted this activity as well.

Another lady shred her adult coloring pages and they are BEAUTIFUL. When she is not filling the pages of this 21st century rage, L also works word puzzles. She also introduced us to something new. (Isn't that what groups are all about? Sharing the goods and the not so goods?) L taught us about Zentangle.

Upon googling zentangle, this is what I found:

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.

Benefits and Uses of the Zentangle Method

It is fascinating to learn how other people are using the Zentangle method. Here's a list of benefits others enjoy from practicing the Zentangle Method. This list continues to grow as people apply the Zentangle Method in ways we never considered.
  • Relaxation
  • Simple and quick access to mindfulness
  • Non-verbal journalling
  • Insomnia (Improved sleep by creating Zentangle art before bedtime)
  • Self-esteem
  • Inspiration
  • Panic attacks (For fear of flying, creating Zentangle art during takeoff and landing)
  • Modify behavior
  • Being part of a supportive and fun community
  • Create beautiful works of art
  • Nurture and develop creative abilities
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve eye/hand coordination
  • Develop/rehabilitate fine motor skills
  • Team building and group focus
  • Therapy
  • Anger management
  • Addiction therapy tool
  • Diet aide
  • Early artist development and appreciation
  • Increase attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Home schooling
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem Solving
  • Design inspiration
  • Stretching and warm-up for artists
 Read more at this link.
https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method

At the mention of the word BENEFITS, my interest spiked and I decided I  might give this a try. Sounds like fun. It is obviously a big thing. It is on Pinterest!

After our cog fog discussion, we turned rather serious. Valuable information was shared regarding self-catharization.   One of our member does this. She shared the name of a very reputable physician in the tri-county area who she highly recommends. Her honesty about life with a cath was inspiring and really took away some of the fear that those of us who are considering it really appreciate.

In my group we share med news nearly every month. After years on Copaxone, B has just begun her Tecfidera journey. Now we have two members on Tec and I really, really wish them well. My experience with that drug was horrible, but after listening to the testimony of my fellow group mates, OI really believe that a lot of my problem was my own fault. I am anxious to hear an update next month on B's experience after progressing to the higher prescribed dose. Maybe I will try again.


I really enjoy my MS Group. I was excited this summer as I trained to be a group facilitator, but as the time came closer to actually be in that position  I became anxious. Memories of my initial experience with an MS group after my diagnosis kept haunting me. It was not good. But these ladies are wonderful. Some faithfully attend and we have those who wander in and out. That's okay.

We may be small, but we are intimate. And we are a safe place for anyone with MS. 

So, back to the purpose of this post: 
What do you do to stay sharp?

Hope to hear from you soon!
Have a great weekend!
Lisa