I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis in December 2008. This is my blog about my life living with the roller-coaster world of MS with a little humor and advice thrown in!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest Blogger~~Emily Walsh, Methoselioma Cancer Alliance

 I have the privilege of having fellow blogger Emily Walsh give us some insight to health risks among former soldiers.   Emily is a community outreach blogger for the the Methoselioma Cancer Alliance.   Thanks Emily for being my host blogger!

In Advance of Veteran's Day, Understanding Former Soldier Health Risks

Soldiers make a tremendous sacrifice when they choose to serve. Their sacrifice does not end when they get sent home from war or when they leave the service. They continue to deal with many of the health risks associated with service. A smart veteran can do his or her part to counter these risks. By smartly going to the doctor often and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, veterans have an opportunity to live healthy lives for many years after service. The first step to living a healthy life is to understand and recognize the dangers that veterans face.

Mesothelioma and Other Cancerous Diseases
Mesothelioma is a disease that occurs when a person is exposed to asbestos. Though cases are much more rare today, this used to be a major problem for veterans and civilians alike. Today, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are more apt to contract this disease. This is because of the nature of modern warfare. In modern war, older buildings are often destroyed. When those buildings are knocked down, all sorts of harmful things are expelled into the air. People who have served in these wars need to be careful if they want to preserve their health.

What can you do to reduce the risks associated with these diseases? First, you can be sure to visit the doctor at the first sign of trouble. The earlier you discover those things, the better chance you have of undergoing life-saving treatment. People who wait too long will have limited options for treatment. It might seem like a good idea to put things off. As a veteran, though, you should be proactive about these things. You have the opportunity to get some of the best care in the world if you are willing to take advantage of it.

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle
For too many soldiers, post-active life brings about health trouble. This trouble is often related to a change in lifestyle. Soldiers in active duty are required to uphold certain fitness standards. Though every branch is different, they all have minimum standards and physical fitness routines. This training helps to keep your body and heart in good shape. When you get out of the military, you would be wise to maintain some form of training. Good fitness can help to keep your heart in great shape going forward. You will stay away from stress-induced heart attacks and the terrible results of heart disease.

Don't Forget About Your Mental Health
As a veteran, you are probably aware of the effects of war on mental health. Most veterans feel that mental issues just won't happen to them. You should be aware of these risks and you should be willing to seek medical help if necessary. A study from the VA shows the clear link between military service and stress-related mental health issues. The support services are there for people who are willing to take them. Don't delay when your mental or physical health is on the line.


Saturday, October 27, 2012


When I was first diagnosed with MS the word exercise was in a gray area.  My primary Dr said to stay rested and don't over exert myself.   My fabulous neuro said to get out there and do whatever I can in the exercise dept.   His theory is that build your stamina and get your muscles as strong as possible so when an MS exacerbation lays you flat it might not be as hard as normal to recover.   I have followed his advice and found it to be dead on.  

While there are varied limitations to MS patients physical capabilities there are just as many accommodating exercise workouts to be had.   For me, Yoga is number 1.   It works on your mind equally with your body. Stretching my muscles seem to cut down on the muscle spasms in my legs and arms I have from time to time.   My second favorite is Zumba.  It is a wonderful fun cardio workout for all ages and types.   And it's the only place I can be my klutzy self and blend in!!!   Swimming and walking are also top picks.  My local YMCA has a class that all the exercises are performed sitting in a chair.  That's a great way for our wheelchair friends.    

Exercising gets your endorphins flowing(cliche I know)  and makes you feel emotionally empowered.  It gives you the mental strength  to handle physical handicaps with a better attitude.  

Always talk with your Dr. before you start an exercise regimen.  But, in my opinion it gives me a better perspective on my "quality of life"   and I have met some great friends along the way who also have limitations!

I can't think of a reason not to exercise.   It's good for the body and soul. You can't go wrong with that!!

****Reminder:   I am not a Dr. or counselor.   These posts are strictly my thoughts and ideas about being an Multiple Sclerosis patient.    :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Relief

I used to regard fall as an unwanted prelude to my least favorite season winter. But, in the last few years thanks to my relentless and annoying friend MS I have found relief in the coolness of the season.  I was a summer gal through and through.  Bring on the heat.  Now my body says no!  bring on the cool balm of fall.   Hmmmmmm,  never thought I would feel that way.   For those of you who suffer with MS "fatigue" (such a lame word for what it really feels like huh?) knows with the heat and humidity of summer that fatigue can put you down.  I mean down.  Walking through quicksand down.  Gotta lay down anywhere down. Can't think straight down.   Worrying that MS has finally gotten the upper hand down.  But, I've noticed with the falling temps I feel renewed.  My thoughts seem clearer. I'm able to be outside without suffering.  Nice. 

 Now I appreciate fall.  For making me feel like I'm not always feeling bad. For letting me know it gets better.  For giving me a break of the plateful of symptoms down to just a few.   Hey, what's a little numbness and tingling?? 

So with that I say welcome fall :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heat & Humidity

Well, I'm back from a wonderful vacation with my family!   Happy to say that I only ignored my own vacationing with MS advice only a couple of times!  Destination Florida!   As you all might know Florida is hot and if you are prone to heat related symptoms you should heed your body's signals!!  I am one of smaller percentage who actually loves heat.  Except, when it comes with high humidity.  Which it did the first few days down there.   I found myself drained, leg dragging and numbness settling in by noon.   Luckily, my husband knew the symptoms before I did.  Every day I found myself shuffled back to the resort room like a toddler needing a nap.  By evening I felt well enough to tackle the sights.  And my husband and teenage boys seemed to have no problem dumping Mom in the room and taking off!!  

It still comes as a shock to me when I'm not able to keep up with my " before MS" pace.   I even think surely I can do it if I just push through the symptoms.  For everyone who has tried that (myself included)  you usually end up worse shape and it can push your recovery back.   I used to go all day on vacations all the while soothing, prodding, and taking care of 3 boys (4 counting my husband!).  

 Oh well.  I'm still able to travel and do things I  love.   You just have to modify.   And even though for some of us that term never pertained to us physically you can.  Get over your pride.  If not you will find yourself being stubborn and not traveling or taking vacations.  Much less enjoying them.  And that is just letting MS win. 

So, get on that plane, train or automobile!  Get out there.  Take a nap, wear your cooling vest, use your cane or wheelchair.   I guarantee you won't regret it!!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Traveling with MS

Well, as I pack my bags getting ready for our annual Fall vacation I thought how my traveling has altered with MS.   I have always been the primary driver on vacations and my husband has slowly been making me take breaks and taking turns when driving.  "I'm fine I say!"   "Of course you are" he says.   But he says let me drive now and you won't be exhausted for 2 days upon arrival.  Hmmmm.  He does have a point.  Sometimes other people can see changes in you before you can.   Sometimes I wonder how on earth have I changed so much in the last 5 years?   I was Wonder Woman, Invincible.  My husband worked crazy hours and I did everything on the home front without complaining.   What happened to me?  If I had not gotten the MS diagnosis would I still be chugging along oblivious?   Are my symptoms more noticeable since I know what I have?  These  questions plague me on occasion.

Well, enough pity party for me!   Vacation here I come!!!   For whatever type of traveling you like to do always be prepared for that sneaky MS.   Don't forget to take your medications along with prescriptions in your name with you.   It's easy to forget when you are having fun!   Think ahead.   Will you need assistance such as a wheel chair for your adventure?   Extra breaks or rests?  There is nothing wrong with all of this.  In fact,  the more you are prepared the more you can relax and enjoy your time.

To be honest, we are going to one of our fav destinations, Disney World.  My sneaky boys have been hoping I need a wheel chair for 2 years so they can get on rides quicker!!  Unfortunately for them I have not needed it!!  But I do need naps so I make sure I don't burn myself out and be out of commission for a couple of days. 

Listen to your body.  On vacation it is easy to get distracted and push yourself beyond your limits and the last thing any MS'r needs is a big flare up on vacation. Pace yourself and enjoy!!!