Taking care of yourself is not selfish

This summer the heat has been kicking my butt. I try all the tricks to remain cool and keep my core body temperature down, but no matter what I do I have become more lethargic and weaker than ever.

It’s crazy to get exhausted just going to the mailbox. That short of a trip now and I’m ready for a nap. I have learned to take things as they come and listen to my body even though it’s not always easy to do. It can actually get quite frustrating.

Sometimes I will have my heart set on going somewhere then not have the energy to go and have to cancel plans. Or I have something that need to get done but it doesn’t get done for days and days and days just because I can’t muster up the strength to do it. If I could, I would hire a maid to clean for me, a cook to make my meals and a chauffeur to take me places. Now that would be the life! Include getting rid of MS into the mix and that would be my dream come true.

But as it is right now, I’m the one that has to do everything even live with a rapidly progressing form of MS. It’s up to me to take care of the house, do the laundry, prepare my meals, bathe, vacuum, pay the bills, change the sheets, put gas in the car, clean up my messes, and live with MS.

So what do I do? I do what I can and leave the rest for another day. I have had to learn to be okay with not getting everything done that I want or even need done. Taking care of me is way more important theses days than taking out the trash or getting the mail. My wellbeing is more important than attending a ballgame in 100 degree weather and my health is of greater importance than buying a birthday gift for the lady next door.

Be good to yourself. Take care of you. No one else is going to do it for you. It’s okay to cancel plans, veg on the couch, sleep late, and most importantly to need help.

There are several people in my life that I know would do anything for me if I asked. I try my best to not take advantage of their good nature and use the calling card sparingly. Mostly because I know the day will come when their help will be needed daily and I want to do as much as I can on my own while I can. That’s not being stubborn or selfish. That’s being persistent and determined in spite of living with MS. I will concede when the time comes—reluctantly, I might add—but that time hasn’t come as of yet. So what do I do…I keep going.

You too! Keep going, doing, being, until you can’t any longer. I have never met an MSer that wasn’t a strong and powerful fighter even on their weakest days. We push through some of the toughest battles. Things that other people never see or even know about because we simply keep going. MSers are an amazing example of strength, persistence and determination. I’m so very proud of you and cheering you on today.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  


About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

51 replies
  1. Kim
    Kim says:

    First of all, thank you for providing this blog. It has really helped and just means the world to me. And second, I am so with you on the heat issue. I had to smile when u said it was kicking ur butt. I literally said the exact words last week. Lol. I live in South Louisiana and told my son it is ridiculous that making a quick run to Walmart with my list in hand to speed up the process does me in for the rest of the day. I know it’s not funny but it sure lightens my load to know I’m not the only one and then kinda laugh about cause what ya gonna do? Thank you

  2. Becky Dalton
    Becky Dalton says:

    I live in Arizona where the heat is relentless for four Months I mostly stay inside. It seems to me even with staying in the air conditioning by August the heat has built up inside of me I start getting grouchy and I get really warm doing little things does this may any sense to anyone. Also I can get awAy to cooler weather but only for a few days I’m wondering if from your experience is it best to just stay in the heat or do you get any benefit from the small relief. Thanks for any help

  3. Diane Kelm
    Diane Kelm says:

    Thank you Penelope for always saying just the right thing at just the right time. I am sorry that you are going through such hard times with the awful heat. It’s a beast and it destroys us in ways “regular” people don’t understand. That’s ok I no longer need them them to understand. All I have to do is take care of me first and then…..work on that list of things to do.what doesn’t get done today gets put on tomorrow’s list.(that’s if I remember to put it there) and eventually it will all get done. Little by little, bit by bit it will all get done. I am sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. And I want you to know we would all be lost without you!

  4. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    My grandmother used to tell me when I was younger that “You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself first”. I remember her fondly and think that she would be proud that I still strive to do just that, especially now. She died before I learned I had MS. I think about her when I get overheated and start slurring my words and getting groggy due to the profound fatigue. Take care of myself while I can. I am learning when to stop before I get too warm, but sometimes I need to pay a bit more attention…like at my grandson’s ball games!

    I like the ideas from “The Joy of Living”…

  5. Joyce Steiner says:

    the state will take care of that for you.. talk to your county office about getting someone to come in and clean for you.. you will be assessed as far as how many hours you will get.. please do this..

  6. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I hope your new place is good for you. I have a big problem with not being able to rive and it’s driving me a little nuts. I have been home-bound for over year and find it hard to go anywhere With a sick wife who I have been looking after for a long time I can’t do that anymore. It’s a bit frustrating to say the least. All the help services can’t see there being 2 sick people in 1 home so they on’t help an tone here..
    But we get along and do the best we can with what we have got. Friends have helped us but it shouln’t fall on them all the time.. These are the type of people we need as friends but not to overuse them.
    My new normality is getting me through and oing what I can to keep going

  7. Sue Bisgrove says:

    I am amazed sometimes that you are not writing about me personally because so often I feel exactly how you have described me and everyone else with this horrid disease. It’s not fair not to be able to enjoy the things we want to enjoy and do the things we want to do. So, please keep writing because I don’t feel so alone when I read your words. Thank you.

  8. Michelle Eve says:

    Yep I feel ya! Went to the store to get sandwiches for my kids to picnic. So, I was proud to be quick and get done remembering all requests, only to discover I had everything except meat and cheese! Hot and exhausted had to nap after going back for those items! Crazy MS brain in the sun, and I was just delivering lunch to the sun bathing children and hubby!!

  9. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Hi all from Australia. It’s been the coldest winter here. I suffer from both cold and heat. I get the same symptoms with both. Once winter is over regret summer. It gets to 20 degrees my body feels it. Keep Smiling.

  10. JohnConnie Iverson says:

    Heat is definitely our enemy! Living in the PNW, I’m thankful that we usually don’t have too many days that reach into the 80+, but when they do, I’m almost paralyzed! I’m sorry to hear that you’re suffering with the heat right now! Positive thoughts for cooler weather in the days ahead!

  11. Joie de Vivre - The joy of living says:

    How to cope with MS hot flushes
    Do’s:
    – Keep a spray bottle with fresh water near. Add fresh or few drops essential oils of mint and lemon grass for lasting freshness. Rosemary is also good as it aids pain relief, mental capacity and increases blood pressure.
    – Keep feet bare and cool. If your feet are cool so are you!
    – Drink water preferably with lemon and mint especially when eating hot food, drinking a hot beverage, enjoying a glass of red wine and before, after and, if possible, during taking a shower / bath.
    – Plan you most active moments for before 13h or after 16h, when the day is cooler.
    – Time for a siesta! Sleep, read or watch a movie between 13h and 16h.
    – Also draw the curtains during this period to block sunlight.
    – Dress light clothing.

    Don’t
    – Eat hot food e.g. curries, soups, stews.
    – Drink hot coffee or tea
    – Drink red wine
    – Stress because it will only make it worse.

  12. Jason Rogowski says:

    I have to say heat does not bother me.
    Hot showers in the morning.
    Dangling my legs in the hot tub.
    Vacations to Mexico.

    But the cold, just thinking about it made my legs hurt 10x more.

    Stay strong.
    Stay positive.

  13. Jolie
    Jolie says:

    This heat is kicking my butt too. Summer used to be my favorite season, but now I can never wait for it to be done and over with. Thankfully, we have central air, so I can sit and look out my windows at the beautiful day and watch my kids play outside.

  14. Andrea Carter Wilson says:

    It’s kicking my butt too! But I always think that needing to do those things keeps me motivated to get up and do something. Otherwise, my motivation is non-existent when I’m feeling fatigued! I rest in the AC and then tackle things one piece at a time!

  15. Dara Jasumani says:

    I’ve noticed 23c is when I start to collapse. Dry heat seems ok but here it’s often humid though non ms’ers would notice. Btw 22c and lower and I’m comfortable.
    I used to love heat but now I prefer minus temperatures!! In centigrade that is

  16. Lydia Ramey says:

    Yesterday was our 12th straight day of about mid 90’s with the heat index reaching well over 100’s. Add the humidity & it’s been horrid for me. This has been my worst summer thus far. Walking outside hurts to breathe & within 5 minutes symptoms start to ramp up. Needless to say.. I’ve been inside like a prisoner

  17. Ginger Ragain says:

    Can I have your dream. The heat is definitely a killer and no one can begin to understand they always think that you’re exaggerating. And I’m in hell for the next 7 months (Beatty, NV).

    • Sue Smith says:

      It is difficult for people without MS to understand what the heat does to some of us. It drives me mad when they say well this heat affects everyone. Ok but it doesn’t affect us all equally! 😣

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