Category Archives: Mind-Body Connection

MS: You make me wanna “Sweat Like A Girl”!

A few weeks ago, I went to a very nice dinner hosted by Gilenya at “The Marble Head Chowder House”. A Neurologist and MS Specialist spoke for a short time about MS and then for an even shorter time about one of the new disease modifying therapies, Gilenya. It’s a pill that has pretty much the same efficacy as all the others pills, however it’s one pill a day, not two.

For half of a second my interest was peaked, and then they mentioned its heart concerns and the special care that must be given when first taking the drug.

Hmmmm, maybe not :/

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure my Tecfidera is twice a day but I’ve had zero side effects and if I did, heart health would not be one of them.

I did however, meet some really nice people. There were sisters who both have MS; talk about partners in crime. Another woman who brought her 2 siblings so that they could have a better understanding of the disease; I can’t take ALL of my siblings anywhere all at once, it’s too embarrassing. There was one other woman who like me, brought her husband. That couple talked a lot about Hippotherapy which I found fascinating. They convinced me that it was beneficial! I wish I could convince my Insurance Carrier of that.

All in all we had a great night! I think we should get together again and have a mini support group. Next time we should meet somewhere more exciting…I dont know, maybe for a class at “Sweat Like A Girl”. It looks like fun. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

We_Can_Do_It!Comments:

 

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Filed under Mind-Body Connection, MS and Exercise, MS and Oral Medication, MS Drugs, Uncategorized

MS: De-stress strategies when you are a TEN

My stress level this morning on a scale of one to ten, was a TEN!
I’m happy to say that I knocked it out of the park! I can’t control how much stress comes my way but, I can control how I respond.Black-woman-meditating1 Do I internalize it, or not? Honestly, in some cases, stress does break through. Usually family stuff, but even that is better controlled with strategies. But work? I don’t think so!
So, what did I do after a horrible morning? When asked to stay extra time (because it would look good to my employer) I said yes, then gave it a second thought, and said, no. I recognized that I was already a TEN and knew that going home to decompress would be smarter. I then drove home, sat in the garage and talked to my husband (who was at work) for 10 minutes about my morning. Talk therapy and support. I eventually came inside the house, and now this…writing.journal50019628_n I had actually written this in my head, while sitting in the car decompressing. Once this is written I’ll do 30 minutes of Mindfulness Meditation, eat lunch, take a nap and head back to work, making sure to stop for a frappaccino on the way.

COMMENTS: What would bring you down from a TEN?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, Riding Out a Relapse, Stress Management

Drunk Guy Update

washer

Some of you have asked, “What happened with the dryer?” Long post short, it survived completely, Mr. Maytag made no money. I think the fabric softener sheets really did help! There must have been half a box of them in there so, they did absorb a bit, but more importantly, they reduced the splash. It was cleaned up immediately. The dryer was not turned on which meant the hot air hose was never contaminated.

The real issue here is stress management which some of my friends could not BELIEVE. My response to this fiasco, like all of my responses (on a good day) came directly from a place of hard earned well being. Sound impossible…well it’s not. I have put a great deal of energy over the years into being well and at the TOP of that list has been stress management. Please understand that it has come at a price: Months of rising at 5am so that I could meditate (mindfulness meditation) for 45 minutes before work. This meant going to bed at 9:00 regardless of what else might happen, two small children and all. This meant doing yoga WITH the children, just to get it in. This meant leaving my husband on his own, with everything, much more than I wanted to. This meant leaving a career that I loved, which meant cutting my family income drastically. This meant setting personal boundaries to keep toxic people that caused me stress, out of my life.

I could probably go on and on, but I won’t.

More on Mindfulness Meditation

Thoughts and Comments: Have you been introduced to Mindfulness Meditation? Is there anyone in your life that you have disconnected because they were a definite trigger for stress? What stress management methods have you found successful?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, Stress Management

Focus Beyond MS

Do you have an unforeseen life situation that has changed the way you see your future? Is it time for you to find new focus? What will it be?

 

Excerpt taken from MS CONNECTION, NMSS Greater Delaware Valley Chapter 2009 Issue 1

Excerpt taken from MS CONNECTION, NMSS Greater Delaware Valley Chapter 2009 Issue 1

Managing MS or any chronic illness requires a variety of tactics. For me, one is to stay focused on something outside of myself, outside of my head. There is no MS out there.

Jobs are an excellent way to accomplish this. Unfortunately, when my job went away, so did much of the focus on something outside of my body.

Me, teaching Honors Anatomy and Physiology 2003. My last year in the classroom.

Me, teaching Honors Anatomy and Physiology 2003. My last year in the classroom.

Soon after this, I entered photography classes. Classes turned into an internship, and interns are not usually (ok never) as old as I am. The challenge made it more meaningful to me. I was learning new things. Out and about, doing things I had never done before. I was over the moon! Because of this new skill in my life, I was able to create a very emotional photo documentary and book, “Welcome Home”.

Below: A production of Public Broadcasting Station 39 (PBS39)

As my MS changes, so must my focus. What’s important is that I have one.  My current focus is this blog. Because my blog is about MS and me, I have to be very careful. As long as I keep my focus on educating and inspiring others, I’m safe. Admittedly, this is difficult to do at times, hence the need for other focuses.

Acting in “The Vagina Monologues” has become my focus during the spring of each year, for the last 5 years. The reason for this play is to raise money to help stop violence against women and girls, worldwide.

"Vagina Monologues" written by Eve Ensler. Performance, Doylestown, PA 2011

“Vagina Monologues” written by Eve Ensler. Performance, Doylestown, PA 2011

Over time, I have become aware of just how important this is in my life. I am putting much thought into my next focus. It will have the power to educate, motivate and inspire ME. I have to get stronger, physically and build my endurance. I must engage the social aspect of me, I’ve become a bit of a recluse. For my next focus to be able to do all of those things, it must be huge!

I’ve GOT it! Bike MS 2015! Training began yesterday. I walked to the corner and BACK! I’m a beast!

bigstock-Autumn-bike-riding--intention-24879752Comments and Thoughts: What have you used to stay out of your body? Outside your head? Has it had to change with your illness? If so, how?

Focus Beyond MS

Focus Beyond MS

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, MS and Exercise, Riding Out a Relapse, Stress Management

My Zen Colonoscopy and Endoscopy

I had to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy because I have Iron Deficiency Anemia. The concern is that, I might be bleeding inside? I entered into my “Zen place” as if on automatic pilot. I could afford to be upset by NOTHING.

Black-woman-meditating1

The “prep”, which everyone says is so awful, was a piece of cake! I had to drink a Gatorade/ Miralax mixture and a tiny bottle of stuff that tasted like Sprite. All laxatives. Then, just stay near the bathroom, and wait. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

The actual procedure was even easier. Because my husband and I were running a little late, I entered into my “Zen place”, as if on automatic pilot. I could afford to be upset by NOTHING. At times of potential stress, I am quite good at this. I keep my mind in this moment only. Not 5 minutes behind, nor 5 minutes ahead. I focus on my breathing, taking very slow, deep breaths. I speak very little, and when I do, it’s much slower and even in a slightly different tone of voice. Deeper. At times like this, my “Zen place” is a great buffer against stress. It keeps me calm.

We get to the hospital and the staff is amazing. They begin to prep me immediately.

Nurse 1: Do you have any religious or cultural beliefs that might make this procedure difficult for you?

Me: Well…um, it’s not religious, but, it may make the procedure a little difficult for me. I am depressed and having some separation issues as well, so I need to have my husband with me when I go to sleep, and when I wake up.

Nurse 1: Oh don’t you worry! When you wake up, I’m going to go right out and call him in for you.

Me: No…you don’t understand (sniff, sniff) when I go under and when I wake up, I need him to be (eyes fill now-voice cracks) RIGHT HERE! (Hand on bed-rail indicating…right here!) and tears begin to fall.

Nurse 1 and Nurse 2: Oh weeee understand, and don’t you worry! One of them summons Kevin, who is standing near by, to come to the bed. We’ll have him right here now, and when you wake! The last thing we want is for your blood pressure to go up, so that’s NO problem!

Great…I’m calm and back in my “Zen place”. Nooow, they can start the I.V. to put me to sleep.

I look at Kevin standing by me and say, “Honey, this stuff is not working. I’m not EVEN sleepy!” He says, “That’s because it’s over!

I don’t know what all the fuss is about!

To learn more about relaxation techniques for stress relief, click this link. There are many ways to find your “Zen place”; which is best for you?

Leave comments please. I’d love for you to share how you respond to stress, and what keeps you calm.

 

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Filed under Long Loving Marriages, Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, MS and Depression, MS and Iron Deficiency Anemia, Stress Management

MS: My Mind-Body Connection

The house is SO quiet; I can hear the hum of emptiness. The holidays are over, and as of yesterday my husband and I are “empty nesters”… I think; does being off at college count? I’ll tell you what, it’s the first time in twenty years that we didn’t have to “close the door”. It was AWESOME!

I’ve got to take immediate action to fill the emptiness. In the three weeks that the house was filled with holiday energy and family I experienced improvement with my MS relapse that I can measure. It’s exciting and supports the Mind-Body Connection Approach to healing. As I researched this approach, I discovered that there is much more to it than I first thought.

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

(BODY)Observations at start of Holiday break: Legs extremely weak, mobility very unstable. Outside of house dependent upon cane 100%.

(MIND)Changes observed: 1st day home, daughter hugged me and told me quietly she was glad I was doing “okay”. She has clearly been worried and is now relieved. I felt an increased level of concern and compassion. Son home more and he’s very happy. He’s planning to move out, which adds to his happiness. I am going to miss him; I enjoy having his “energy” in the house. Ultimately, both children will leave.

(MS RESULTS) Symptoms observed during last week of Holiday Break: Legs still extremely weak, mobility moderately stable. I have not used my cane at all in a week. Used family members for stability (held daughters hand). Went out alone! Still have trouble with the “wobbly, drunk” walk but not enough to use my cane. Just slow down, or stop walking, recover…stabilize, and start again.

To me, this is a clear case of a “Mind-Body, Connection” and I’m excited because I have a measurable outcome. The official research is much more sophisticated, with hypnosis, guided imaginary, meditation, visualization and a few more long words. I AM a believer in many of these techniques and if they are given serious time and energy, I’m sure they can be used quite effectively in developing a mind-body approach that fits. It is NOT, I repeat…not, a one-size fits all scenario. I meditate and I just don’t think about it being a part of my M-B healing approach, but it most certainly is. Writing in my journal and on my blog are as well.

If I were my own doctor however, I would insist on more aggressive “mindful” activities. My goal is to continue the positive effects that I am seeing in my body right now. These activities are not the kind that my mind needs to “connect” with my body, for continued healing; to bring me out of this relapse! My mind needs compassionate activities that involve other people and physical touch. My mind needs lots of hugs, maybe small children; photographing a pre-school class. Teaching photography to six year-olds. An art project that I am emotionally invested in, maybe a play. See my son once a week… learn to shoot pool. It is important for me to stay as active as possible and emotionally engaged. Not at ALL one size fits all.

That’s an awful lot of work. Maybe I’ll just get a puppy. I’ve heard that they’re great for filling empty houses and…hearts.

Meet Malcolm!

Meet Malcolm!

Leave a comment; tell me what you think:
Can you put your finger on an event that might have triggered a relapse?

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Filed under Awesome Sex, Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection