Tag Archives: Teaching

The Struggle

The Struggle

I struggle to get kids out of the house with some kinda breakfast, Eggo Waffles in the car, spelling quiz in the car, pull over to yell effectively about wrong words. Doesn’t everyone do this? Get to work, park my car on E. Not the car…me. At work, struggle to pee, no time for that, struggle to teach, to be patient, answer questions, give guidance, go to meetings. Stay awake in them, have fire drills. Struggle to get kids to soccer, tennis, and gymnastics. Take sitter to play with one while the other is in activity. I drink coffee and wait. Struggle to get home, struggle to get family feed, struggle to do homework. Struggle to read stories, fall asleep while reading Harry Potter…again, struggle to grade papers, keep up, Hubby does my report for work, struggling with cog fog, can’t concentrate, struggle to create a test…couldn’t. Struggle to be patient, struggle to be a loving mom, struggle to want sex, sticky notes on bathroom mirror, reminders, HAVE SEX, MORE SEX, ANY SEX, SEX IS GOOD, grade papers 6:00a.m. on SUN. morning at Cracker Barrel, grade and plan from til 12, at noon “Mommy, Mommy!” music to my ears, I miss my family, husband struggles alone with two kids. Try to grade papers, after school; tennis club, drink LOTS of vending machine coffee, after school soccer stay in car to grade papers, instant sleep. Sat. grade papers, pass out, struggle to get to ballet with Avonex side effects, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Celebrex (found to be unsafe, taken off market). Struggle to meditate so that I could struggle more. Struggle to not kill anybody, struggle to stay married, struggle to have date-nights, struggle to get sitter, Chinese food and movie from blockbuster.

I had to stop struggling so I, quit.

HELP! I need your feedback more than ever. I am writing in preparation to speak to groups WITH and WITHOUT MS. Groups that are struggling for one reason or another. To make my presence as meaningful as possible, please tell me if you can relate to “The Struggle” in ANY way and if so how?

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When MS gives us apples, make APPLESAUCE!

Student: “Miss Estizer why do you sound like that?”

Me: “Like what?”.

Student: “It’s gone now…NO! Like THAT!”

Me:”Oh…that. Well, I have something called MS, and sometimes it makes me talk funny. But, don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”

bigstock-Applesauce-being-made-using-a--30407207B-Smart after-school Photography class for At-Risk elementary school children, held at “The Banana Factory”. Provided by ArtsQuest, a non-profit arts organization that celebrates the arts in Bethlehem, PA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Student: “Why does it do that? And how come it goes away so fast. I thought you were doing it on purpose.”

Me: “Nope. It’s something that I can’t control. MS messes with my nerves. Do you know what your nerves do?”

Student: “Yea-uh. Well, sorta. They make your body move, right? But, they don’t have nothin to do with you talking.”

Me: “That’s half right, but they do soo much more! Blink your eyes, now swallow, now pull your hair. Did you feel all of that? Good, then your nerves are working great. Nerves do almost EVERYTHING in your body. They send messages to your brain and you don’t even have to think about it most of the time. When dust or smoke is around, your eyes just blink, right? When you want to drink a soda, you swallow, right? Did you have to say…ok throat, swallow now?”

Student: “Ewww, how about when you have to pee?”

Me: “Yeah…that too. When your bladder is full, you have nerves that take that message to your brain.”

Student: “And what about #2?”

Me: “Ok, ok, ok…I think you got it!  Sometimes my MS interferes with the way my nerves send the messages to my brain. When you hear me talk like that, my brain received a messed up message from my nerves. Or, the message was broken up, like your cell phone does sometimes, and my brain is confused.  Then, my nerves go, “Oh snap”! That wasn’t right, and then my nerves send it again- the right way.”:)

Student: “When, when, when you talk like that, you sound like you got applesauce in your mouth!”

Me: Laughter. When I try to speak again…it happens.

Students:  “Hey, hey, hey, SHHHH! There it is again! It DOES sound like applesauce!” The students that didn’t hear it before are now amazed.

Me: “Wait, wait, wait for it… it’s gone again, my nerves are working just fine now:). Yay! We can get back to work.”

The next time it happens, a few minutes later, the kids close to me hear it.

Student:  “Hey, hey, hey!! It’s here again! SHHHH and you can hear it too!”

The class goes silent and the kids and I make a deal.

Me: “When ANYONE hears it, they’ll tell the rest of the class, and everyone will be quiet and wait for it to pass. When it happens I can’t teach right, because I can’t talk right. If you guys keep talking, I’ll have to wait for you to be quiet EVERY time, and that’ll take forever. We’ve got cool things to go out and do! So how about you all just be quiet EVERY time it happens, and wait a second for my nerves to get straight. THEN I’ll keep going”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt became a game, it was genius. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried!

 

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, MS Symptoms, Riding Out a Relapse

To Not Unravel

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When I began to unravel, I knew I needed help, and more than a girlfriend. I saw Dr, Allison Henry, a clinical psychologist.
In addition to seeing her once a week, she suggested the book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. By Jon Kabat-Zinn I found it very helpful.

I began to practice Mindfulness Meditation and it made a huge difference in my life.
I felt like I was better able to handle the stress, and stress triggered my MS. We will never be able to eliminate it from our lives but we can equip ourselves with the most effective coping skills to handle it.

I am sure that it had a positive affect on how I handled the stress of the classroom and my MS.

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