Every day seems like moving day

Packing up your house and moving hundreds of miles away can be a daunting task for a healthy body. Add Multiple Sclerosis into the mix and it can become terrifying. That’s not an over exaggeration either.  Anyone who has moved can testify to that. The energy it takes to box up you entire life, load it into a moving truck and then unload it a few days later, wears a body out. It is my job now to make sense of the mess and boxes as I work to put my life back into order.

It’s kind of the same thing when diagnosed with MS. It’s as if one day life was going great and plans were set…then bam, it’s time to pack up and move from your normal, ordinary way of doing things into a new way of living filled with uncertainties almost on a daily basis. Sometimes those shifts are easy to make. Sometimes they are the hardest decisions you could ever imagine possible.

I still remember the day I started using a cane to help me walk. I was so stubborn at first. I knew I needed something to help me because I was stumbling and wobbling about, but I just couldn’t break down and get a cane. My doctor was the one who made it clear I needed to get one. She told me that a broken bone was not near as easy to fix as broken pride. Boy was she right.

I have had that same struggle with each major life changing moment along with way due to MS progressing and causing me challenges. Going to a walker was another huge move that I found hard, then a wheelchair. The wheelchair was a really tough decision.

I have also had tough changes to make around my house to make sure I’m living as safely and as comfortably as possible. Things like shifting to using lighter silverware to eat from since my old set of forks and spoons were heavy. Or placing my dishes on lower shelves for me to easily reach on my own. Or having grab bars installed in the shower. Or adding a ramp to the entrance to my house.

There are so many changes we make as this disease progresses. One thing I have learned over the years, MS will shed you of your pride one way or another. It gets chiseled away little by little. You would think by now I would be pride-free, but I still have a hard time asking people for help. Not in everything. But sometimes I still find myself just wanting to do things on my own…even if I have to struggle in the process. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

It’s okay to have a stubbornness in you that refuses to give up. It’s okay to ask a friend to allow you to do something even if you struggle in the process. It’s okay to try, try, and try again all on your own. But it’s also important to know when to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong in asking someone to help you do something. The asking part gets easier, trust me. And besides, from my experience, people really do want to help. Many times they just don’t know what they can do so they pull back and do nothing. When you open up and become honest with others about your true, genuine needs, most are ready to jump in and be a support. We just have to ask.

And to the ones that aren’t a help…you learn who they are fairly quick and that’s when you start to lighten your load. I’ve throw a few boxes off the truck in my lifetime. Make sure the people around you are a support and not a hindrance. It’s okay to lighten the load. I’ve had to shed a few people from my life because they caused me more trouble than helped.

Moving is tough…but it’s also rewarding. You learn who your true friends are in the process. Not may people are going to carry a heavy couch up three flights of stairs for you. Hold onto those people and be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. Sometimes we forget to tell them.

Living a life of thanks with Multiple Sclerosis

Being thankful when you’re hurting seems like an impossible thing to do. How in the world can anyone live a life of gratitude in the middle of a life of pain? You may be looking at everything happening in your life right now and thinking I’m crazy to even suggest such a thing. Being thankful with Multiple Sclerosis on top of everything else going on in life? Yeah, right!

When you look around all you see is pain and hard times. You can’t see anything worthy of thanks. Tears happen way more than smiles. I get it. I understand how overwhelming and difficult it is to live a life of constant change and uncertainty.

Do this for me…take a moment, pause and look back at your life. Look at everything you have come through over the years. You have faced circumstances that seemed impossible to others as well as yourself, but you made it through those times. You have seen heartaches and heartbreaks. You have walked through hell itself more than once. Most of those times you don’t want to relive, but as you look back you find things to give thank for. After all, you endured and didn’t give up. The strength and wisdom you gained during those times are lessons worthy of thanks and gratitude.

Giving thanks when you’re hurting is something most people don’t want to do, just like most don’t want to go to the dentist for a root canal or start a new diet, but the rewards are worth it. You can’t give up hope and allow the weight of your current circumstances keep you from seeing that life is filled with more than just momentary pain. It’s filled with beauty too.

Pain has a way of changing our lives for the good if we let it. You don’t have to give thanks for Multiple Sclerosis, but you can be grateful for the things it has taught you and continues to teach you. When you approach life with that kind of thinking, you find that being thankful is not only possible but doable.

Find three things you are thankful for today. You can have a hundred thing to want to complain about but choose to focus on those three good things. Tomorrow do the same thing…then the next day and the next day do it again. I challenge you to a week of gratitude. Can you make it through an entire week focusing on things each day worthy of thanks?

I’ll start…three things I’m thankful for today
1. a good cup of coffee to wake me up after a night of no sleep.
2. the beautiful people in my life that go out of their way to help me do the things I can no longer do.
3. that my move to Alabama went well and I’m starting to get my house organized and feeling like home.

hero

You are an MS hero

I’m not ashamed of my story. I’m not ashamed of the life I live. I’m not ashamed of my problems, struggles and hard times. I wasn’t before I had Multiple Sclerosis and I’m not now.

We live in a world filled with people who pretend their life is full of only sweetness and that problems simply don’t exist in their world. They think that denying all pain and problems is what a positive attitude is all about…but it’s not. There’s a difference in smiling through the pain when faced with difficulties and in hiding the fact that you’re hurting simply because you can’t bear someone knowing that your life isn’t perfect or that you need help.

We have this inner desire to be accepted and liked by others but don’t hide the realness of who you are just to fit in. That kind of “fitting in” will fade away and you will be left wondering where the people went as time passes. True friends accept you for you…warts and all.

There are times I might share some TMI (too much information) moments…and I’m okay with that. If I want to tell a poop story, I do. I’ve told neighbors, strangers, bosses, friends and family some crazy TMI moments when asked how I’m doing or what’s going on in my life. Sometimes the stories come tumbling out of my mouth before I even realize what I’m saying, but I’ve never been one to hide how I feel or what’s going on in my life.

Why do I do that? Because if I don’t share the reality of MS with others or talk about the struggle I’m going through, how will they ever learn or even know when I need a hug, some encouragement or help? They aren’t going to learn about MS by watching a movie or going out to eat with friends. Most won’t even look things up for themselves online (no matter how inaccurate the information may be) unless it affects them personally. They learn by asking questions and by watching us as we deal with our daily struggles with MS. Our lives are a walking billboard and we get to choose the message on display.

It can be a message of denial and pretending to be okay, but people will never learn anything if you cover up your needs and pains. Asking for help, sharing your problems, opening up your heart, talking about the difficulties…that’s what’s needed to get the message out. Not in a complaining, “woe is me” kind of way but in an “I’m in a lot of pain today and having trouble thinking, can you help me get a few things at the store” kind of way.

You can’t be ashamed of your life or of the fact that you are living with MS. Embrace the person that you are and use your life as a living example of how a person can rise up in the struggle. It’s okay to have a melt down. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to have a bad day. Real heroes do. And you are a hero. Don’t hide your cape under a boring t-shirt. Wear it proudly and rise up to become the warrior you were meant to be.

face today

Face today with courage

I woke up this morning with this one thought on my mind…you can’t give up, you have to keep hoping.

Many of you are facing some very difficult times right now. You don’t know what to do or who to talk to. It may be Multiple Sclerosis related or something else in your life that has brought such pain that you aren’t sure how you’ll make it through. Don’t allow your day to become so focused on the pain that you lose sight of all the good you have around you. People really do care about you, even when you think they don’t. You are loved…dearly loved!

If I could, I would sit down with you and we could cry over a giant chocolate muffin or slice of cheese cake. Sometimes that’s all you need…a moment to release the floodgate of tears in order to relieve the pressure that has been building up.

Keep hoping…face today with courage and a smile. I’m proud of you and the strength you carry. Show the world, and MS, just what you are made of.

 

potatoes eggs and coffee

Potatoes, Eggs and Coffee

The past few weeks for me have been hard. Sometimes life just keeps happening and no amount of searching uncovers the STOP button. This short inspiring story has been running through my mind lately. It was something I read a few years ago and I find myself thinking of it from time to time, especially when I’m having a really bad day. Every day we are faced with choices. We may not be able to choose the struggle, but we do get to choose how we will respond to it…

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

In life, things happen around us and things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

Living in a snow globe

Do you ever feel like you’re living in a snow globe?

I live in a snow globe kind of world. The wind doesn’t blow and the rain doesn’t fall. Instead, the earth shakes and everything flips upside-down, right-side up, then upside-down again. The torrential swirls that are created sends shockwaves throughout my world and threatens to topple Continue reading “Do you ever feel like you’re living in a snow globe?” »

You’re not alone in the fight

A mosquito woke me up this morning. Do you know how annoying it is to have something you can’t see buzzing around your ears? Bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz. I swatted at the air a few times to distract it and make it go away, but each time I did, it just came back again. I’m sure I will find a welt or two somewhere on my arms or neck later on from its bite. Just thinking about it is making me itch. Continue reading “You’re not alone in the fight” »

you are brave

Find your brave

Dear Weary One,

I know your heart is heavy. Right now you are on the verge of tears…tears that have been collecting deep in the spaces of your heart and flooding over into your mind. You have met reality face to face and you don’t like it one bit. Multiple Sclerosis is your reality. It’s real and you feel it deep. You are finding yourself overwhelmed and Continue reading “Find your brave” »

take a break

We all need a break sometimes

I will be taking a few days break from my morning blog writing. We all need time to rest and this is my time. I will miss sharing with you, but will be back Monday, September 14th ready to fill your day with smiles and encouragement once again. I hope you know that I will miss you! Continue reading “We all need a break sometimes” »

I think we just broke the world

There have beens days when I have looked back at what used to be and wished life was different. I have even envied others who didn’t have a disability. What? I shouldn’t think like that? Sure that’s easy to say, but thoughts happen, and in my head they happen more than I care to admit. I don’t think you would want to live a day in my head. It’s kinda scary in there. I can think of some crazy ideas and have some equally wild woe-is-me moments.  Continue reading “I think we just broke the world” »