Category Archives: Stress Management

MS and Anger: “Falling the Fuck Apart”!

So you wanna know about “anger issues” when dealing with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis? This question caused me to go back into my blog post’s and find this post. I knew I MUST have written about it SOMEwhere. I did…and it’s a joke. “To Not Unravel”, clearly, it was early on in my blogging and I hadn’t come to terms yet with how “politically correct” to be. Well, I’m over THAT! How bout ” Falling the Fuck Apart”.

First Christmas as a new Mom, Ho, Ho, Ho.

First Christmas as a new Mom, Ho, Ho, Ho.

When first diagnosed I was cool, but about four years into it, I became a beast. As my husband would say, “A PitViper”. I was unbearable…even to myself. I had no idea it was my MS. I thought I was just exhausted (I now know, THAT WAS MY MS) I had two small children though, and I thought it was just life, not MS. That was until one day I noticed my brain was boiling. I sat down on a footstool in the kitchen and called my sister-in-law, the nurse. (What the hell was I thinking; I should’ve had my Neurologist on speed-dial) She told me to eat some bread and take some ibuprofen. I did that and went into a quiet room to meditate. The boiling feeling stopped.

Now that I’m twenty years into it, I realize “Hindsight truly is 20/20”! That wasn’t the first time I had noticed the “boiling” sensation and I NEVER mentioned it to my Neurologist but, I did recognize that this problem was:

  1. Physiological
  2. In my brain (where I now understand much more about the presence of lesions)
  3. Something that I could stop, with the right tools, knowledge, and sometimes drugs.

The doctor that I DID go to about this was my Psychologist. Yes, it was MS related. Although I didn’t know that at the time, what I did know was that I had to have someone to talk to about it. That someone had to have enough skill (and sense) to know that, I wasn’t crazy. She listened (once a week) and then threw me headfirst into “Mindfulness Meditation”. That is what saved me.

Is this the face of a beast?

Is this the face of a PitViper?

I started with the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by John Kabat Zinn.

JUST DO IT, and remember these things:

  1. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, you are not a bitch (or bastard)
  2. You are still be a good mom, dad, daughter , sister, or brother.
  3. The MOST important thing in MS is that you’ve GOT to take care of yourself…”By Any Means Necessary”.

 COMMENTS:

Have you experienced anger issues with MS or any other Illness?

Have you come to manage it, and if so…how?

6 Comments

Filed under Mental Well-Being, Stress Management, Uncategorized

LOOK Ma…No Relapse!

An extremely stressful few weeks WITHOUT an exacerbation .WooHoo!I am here to report that I made it through and I feel like it was without a doubt, due to my regular Mindfulness Meditation practice.

Black-woman-meditating1

This is how I’ve found meditation to work: Consistent practice builds up my resistance to stress which is sometimes present in daily life, like, getting kids off to school or going to work. Stress however, is not something that we can always predict, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the holidays, or a divorce. I have found that I am most resilient against these sometimes sudden and large stressors, as a result of my Mindfulness Meditation. Does it always work? No. I believe that my last relapse was triggered by one of these large life stressors. One that I never would have even suspected of being able to reek such havoc but, in hindsight I realize that I had let my meditation lapse.

I feel the need to clarify here that “Meditation has Nothing to do with Religion” ( As explained here in a video interview with Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra) As a young person, that thought would have made it impossible for me to take advantage of its stress and overall health benefits. Although many different religions incorporate meditation in their practice in different ways, it is not a religious act.

Note to self: Let’s keep a disciplined practice…disciplined.

Comments:What have you found to be helpful in your stress management?

References used below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.mayoclinic.org

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Filed under Stress Management

MS: Hug, Heart Attack, or NEITHER!

You heard me. Neither! I went blazing into the emergency room and it was neither.

WTH is Takotsubo. Commonly called Broken heart syndrome?

I’ll tell you, it’s something that feels, looks, and sounds like your neighborhood HEART ATTACK.  Which is by definition: blockage in the hearts arteries. Well, like I said on the table…I’m not having a HEART ATTACK! I’m a Vegan! OK, I’m sure there might be a Vegan somewhere in the world that has had a heart attack, but I’m not the one. Let me remind you…I have MS and that is WHY I’m a Vegan. Not that I think my dietary choices will cure MS. I make those choices to put myself in the best possible position of good health, if anything else arises. There will be no clogged arteries, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. So when Mr. Nurse kept barking heart attack…I KNEW HE WAS WRONG!

There was however, the little problem of my lower left ventricle not pumping properly, like there was something blocking it, but there was nothing there. Hell at this rate, I coulda had the cheesecake after all!

MS Hug is a symptom of MS. It presents as much like a heart attack, as the real thing, chest pain and all. The pain can extend around one side or the other, or completely “hugging” the torso. I’ve had this to happen a few times over a three week period, off and on (click here to read that post). The very first time, I sat in my car in a sweaty, breathless, panic. I told myself to relax and that this was NOT a heart attack, it was that “Hug” thing I had heard about. In hindsight…that was a dumb move. What if it had been a heart attack? I told myself that the next time it happened I would go to the emergency room just to be safe. Glad I did.

Now let’s talk Takotsubo. This condition has only been recognized for the past five years. It is stress induced and 90% of all cases are postmenopausal women. Menopause reduces a womans estrogen and estrogen is known toplay a part in protecting the heart. These women now become particularly vulnerable.

There you have it. I experienced Tako…you-know syndrome.

I started asking around. Three women that I know have experienced this and they had no name for it. My general practitioner admitted that she had to look it up. She had never heard of it either.

That’s me…a real Trail-Blazer!

thaufire

Links  to information you may find helpful…I did!

Mayo Clinic-Heart disease in women: Understand disease and symptoms

Mayo Clinic-Hormone replacement therapy and your heart

Comments: Do you know of any women who may have experienced Takotsubo?

Have you experienced an MS Hug? Tell me about it.

 

4 Comments

Filed under MS Symptoms, Stress Management

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

I want an MRI :/

 

I see my Neurologist today and I’m actually going to ask for an MRI.Fotosearch_k2478801 I’ve been on Tecfidera for quite awhile now and I’d like a comparison picture, a before and after if you will. I’m sure I had one just before I started the new drug. We’ll see what they say.
It’s time now to make that list, the one of symptoms since my last visit. I always seem to forget at least one while I’m there. Because I try to focus on the positive, “in my mind” I make small of issues when they’ve gone away. I’m learning to not “blow them off”. Who knows, maybe they can tell me something helpful. Like how to avoid that wall even when I see it coming!

What helps me to get through an MRI is definitely MEDITATION. If you haven’t tried it already…you should!

COMMENTS: What helps you get through an MRI?

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Filed under MS and Disease Modifying Drugs, MS and Oral Medication, Neurology, Stress Management

MS and my new job update

At least once a day I feel overwhelming excitement, love and connection.magic_schoolbus At least once every other day I feel fear, anxiety, and sadness. And then every three days, I wonder if I can do this. But NEVER have I felt like… I can’t.

The overwhelming love and connection comes from the kids. Some can’t wait to say “what’s YOUR name”. Like Thinn, the little Asian 5th grader who left her seat, going against the flow of kids entering the bus, to sit next to me. We talked only 10 minutes or so but, when she left the bus, she stood on the sidewalk after the others had left; staring at me. I was so happy that I saw this and could wave goodbye as the bus pulled off. Her face said that, that was what she was hoping for, as she bounced up and down to wave back.

The fear and anxiety come from having a hard time walking up the walkway, fearing that people must see me struggling; holding on to the hand rail constantly, even when it’s wet, cold and icy. Losing my balance when I get to the end of the rail, grabbing for the only thing there now…snow. Not very supportive, that stuff. Could have been a disaster but, I caught myself just in the nick of time.

The sadness comes from not being able to do the simple things that I used to take for granted: walking up a hill, in a straight line, or climbing up steps. It’s like losing a friend. Not a BEST friend, but still a friend.

The self talk creeps in now, with the doubt, that voice that wants me to give up. The voice in my head that feels sorry for me, has little faith, and doesn’t think I can do it.

I speak to NO one at work. It’s not safe, so I hear no other voices to shut this one up. I have made a couple of friends at work, and after close examination, do feel I can talk to them…a little. I go to Doc with my negative self talk, and he says, “Sounds to me like you’re trying to talk yourself out of this job.” The voice in my head screams, “No Doc! No! That’s not it at all!” but, I realize he’s right.  That’s the voice in my head… not the real me. The real me has a kind voice, is a cheerleader, and super supportive with 100% faith that this is the RIGHT thing to do. The real me focuses on all of the positive moments that support this idea, this kind voice; like Thinn, on the sidewalk. Every now and then, I talk to Doc for a reality check of what the other voice is trying to do, make me fail. Then, I turn it off.

KindrgrtnBsComments:

Have you gotten back into the workforce after having to be out of it for a while? Were you successful? What roadblocks did you encounter? What did you find helpful in sticking it out?

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Stress Management, Uncategorized

MS : Re-entering the Atmosphere!

Re-entering the work-force is like re-entering the atmosphere, and I’m going in like Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity”

gravity_660_101013050908

“Gravity” Movie Trailer

It’s violent and unstable; her shuttle burns up and falls apart all around her. She’s not sure if she’s gonna make it, but, her only choice is… Well, it IS a movie, but that pretty much sums it up.

Back in my real world, I’ve got a JOB! I haven’t been this excited about having a job since I was sixteen and one day. That’s when I began stalking the manager of our local grocery store, “Big Bear”. He made the mistake of telling me that I’d have to be 16, and I WAS.

I can’t finish this post now, or do anything else because, I have a job:) That means its 5 minutes til 8 and I have to go to bed at 8. Why, because I need to be up at 4 to practice mindfulness meditation for 30 minutes, stretch (with a teeny bit of yoga) , dress, have a muffin with tea, take my Tecfidera and Ampyra, leave the house at 6. Work til 9, am home by 9:30, big breakfast at 10 and sleep at 11. Wake at 12,  groggy til 1, leave for work again at 1:30. Work til 4, gym by 4:30, exercise bike for 30 minutes, leave by 5:30, home by 6, dinner at 7, take Tecfidera and Ampyra, shower and bed by 8.

BOY, I want to finish this, but I can’t. I’ve got SO much more to tell you :)Like: Why now? What have my doctors said? How much have I revealed about my MS?

Please come back soon:)

COMMENTS: What do you think my job is?

Hints: Must leave the house and be physical (no stay at home-computer work), must engage people, love kids, must require few hours(part-time), relatively low stress.

2 Comments

Filed under MS Drugs, Riding Out a Relapse, Stress Management

“How to Meditate in a Moment”

Black-woman-meditating1

Learn to meditate in a moment with this hugely popular animated video, based on Martin Boroson‘s book, One-Moment Meditation. Reduce stress, improve focus and find peace … right now. More info and online training at http://www.onemomentmeditation.com.

I was well into my Mindfulness Meditation practice when my husband shared this video with me. Boy, how I wish I had had it in the beginning! I was introduced to Mindfulness Meditation by my psychologist at the peek of an exacerbation. That was 15 years ago and I have practiced it every since. Sometimes more committed than others but always feeling it’s benefit. I began with the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabit-Zinn, and have since recommended it many times. During an extremely  stressful time in my husband’s career I was even able to convince him to take a weekly meditation class with me. After that experience, he recommended it as well. It is safe to say that it has a positive effect on our lives.

Thoughts and Comments:

What has your experience with Mindfulness Meditation been? Do you have suggestions for how you are successful…or thoughts on why you think you are NOT? If you meditate, when and how did you know it was working? How long did you take to feel results?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, 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?

2 Comments

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

Happy Father’s Day

Can you remember? Put your finger on a really stressful event that happened in your life in the year that you were diagnosed with MS? I can…my dad died.

Me and My dad, Louis H Anderson, Sr. doing homework 1973.

Me and My dad, Louis H Anderson, Sr. doing homework 1973.

 

Today is Father’s Day where I live. This got me to thinking more about my Dad, and missing him. I thought back to when he died and realized that he died in the same year that I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Let’s talk about STRESS!

This made me do a little research on “Stress and the Onset of MS”. I had heard long ago that a very stressful event, along with everything else thought needed to cause MS (maybe a virus, ethnic make-up, where you grew up- temperature, susceptible genes, gender and who knows what else) STRESS or Trauma might be responsible for getting the party started. I couldn’t find much, but I did find an article written in “The National Inst. Of Neurological Disorders and Stroke”. This fueled my interest. Most of the article by Dr. Trond Risse, professor of lifestyle epidemiology at The Univ. of Bergen in Norway, suggested that stress was proven to not be involved. Only to be contradicted in the end by a different professor, Dr. Thomas Mack, professor of preventive medicine and pathology at The Univ. of Southern, CA.

Having said all of that, I’d like to do my own research 🙂 If you have MS, can you identify a stressful event, or series of events within the 12 month period preceding your diagnosis? Please tell us about it. Have you ever considered it to be involved in the presenting of your MS?

Resource:

Reuters Health, article May, 2011 by Genevra Pittman, New York

Thoughts and Comments:

Scientific minds want to know!

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Diagnosing MS, MS and Family, MS and Tragedy, Stress Management