Taking Action on MS Pittsburgh!

With so many ways to Take Action on MS I feel blessed that this past weekend was spent with about 100 fellow MSers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Genzyme's Take action on MS campaign with Madeleine Stowe. While Madeleine does not have MS, her father did. And boy does she have a lot of good stuff to share with us all.
Knowing that I don't do that well in the heat, I was a bit nervous flying into Pittsburgh with A weather report of 91F and raining. As summer is approaching I was nervous. The MS was starting to creep up on me. I could feel it, time to take action. The week prior to traveling consisted of lots of water and good quality food and some tricks to distress the body. One of my favorite tricks iS an elixir from Orchard Flats Juicery in my home town of La Canada. The one I took was for stress and included ginger, turmeric, B12, lemon and celery. These are amazing! I took two the day before I flew out and the wave of calm over my body felt like a comforting, cooling blanket.

The week prior to flying was a busy one. On top of working with my marketing clients there was much to do for the event this past Saturday. Wardrobe called for some blue shirts so I did a little shopping. Rocked a total deal at TJMaxx when I found a Vince shirt in the color of my eyes. Clothes cleaned, hair and nails done, I was ready for the flight and the stage.
And an early flight it was to be! 7am from local airport, BURbank. Only twenty minutes door to door. Not bad. The big black car picked me up and I was on my way with plenty of clothing options to keep me looking good.
After an easy flight, I met up with the team at Vallozzis restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. Delish! Starting with about five appetizers followed by an amazing dinner of homemade pappardelle and suckling pig, we were feeling fat and happy. Time to head back to the hotel and get some shut eye. Saturday to be a long day!
Waking in just enough time to doll myself up I left for the event. Time to take action on MS!
I checked out my set and all looked good. I was ready to go!

As the doors opened in cime about 100 folks wither with MS or caretakers of this with it. This is my group! As they settled in I handed out my cheat sheet on managing stress with MS. I love this sheet of tips and tricks and wish I had it fourteen years ago when I was diagnosed. Not a day goes by that I don't use something from this sheet:

There's so much to learn at these events. From managing stress to exercise to emotional issues. And then we all sit down for a lovely lunch and meet Ms Madeleine Stowe and hear about her experiences as a child with a father with MS in a time when they knew nothing about the illness. Her story is a good one. And she's a doll. A very nice, supportive person. Just who we need and want to help us build awareness for the MS community.

So how are you taking action on MS?


Tips for making it safely through the day

Here some tips to help us survive MS on a daily basis.  Trust me they work!

These might seem small and silly but attention to these details can save you from a bump, a bruise or a stressful moment, none of which we want in our lives.  

1.     Knife on the cutting board.   Always face the blade the same way – either inward toward the center of the board or outward, away from the center of the board.  This way the practice of putting it in the same place can help reduce accidental cuts from moving hands too quickly in the cooking area.

2.     Close the cupboards.   Every time you grab a cup out of the kitchen cupboard or the hairbrush, shut the drawer or door.  Ever knocked your noggin on a door that wasn’t shut?  When one it moving too fast and not paying attention it’s easy to smack something.  Take the time to closes things up.

3.     Put things where they belong.  First, have a place for important things like keys, phone, purse, sunglasses, water bottle.  Get in the practice of always placing things back in their place.  When we are rushed it’s easy to forget where we’ve left things – by always placing things back in the same place this little trick can save an exorbitant amount of stress when it comes down to it.

4.     Close the Drain.  Ever dropped something due to clumsy fingers?  Like earrings, hearing aids, contacts, etc., getting in the habit of simply closing the bathroom sink drain can help avoid a disaster in the future. 

Small habits these are but practices that can help avoid stressful situations in the future are ones worth acquiring. 

Practice everyday.  Increase your awareness, take your time with each habit, breathe deep and bring intention to what you are doing.   After some three weeks or so this practice will start to become habit.  

Good for you!   

What are some of the smallest habits you have picked up to help you get through the day?   


Lizard brain will survive!

I will survive, Cake, bringing up memories of kayaking the McKenzie River, Oregon. Perpetually in my CD while driving up the river, I may never have progressed as far without the help of that quirky music. And friends. What a change for me, from working with horses 24/7 to playing with friends and everything outdoors. I had been a class IV river guide on the Kern River, California, but not one of your better ones. I preferred creative food buys and driving shuttle. And the people. Always seems to come back to the people in my world. But that was near ten years earlier. My life had been horses, period. Time for a change.

My love hate relationship with water I knew no other feeling. Those beautiful moments, the ones where my brain clicked off and let my instincts go, will forever burn in my mind. The green water of surfing the ocean outside Florence, Oregon, window shades and stern squirts, creeking, floating. The moments it clicked there was nothing like it. One with nature.

A beautiful spring day, friends around, sun shining. McKenzie river refreshing after a day in the corporate dot boom. Clover at just the right level. Side surfing, moving it around, relaxing, rolling, playing with river otters. Yeah, that's one with nature.

Those are the memories I want to hold onto. Because the other memories, the fears and anxiety of not feeling one with nature. Of feeling in such discord that the slightest roll left me swimming and freezing on our annual News Years Day float trip on the icy upper McKenzie. Or the time I entered the Redsides White Water Rodeo - 1997. Old-school boat was fine with me. Redsides already ate my lunch earlier that season. Luckily a nearby friend anchored my skirt down as my hands were barely able to grasp my paddle with anticipation.

Let me go first, I'm ready. In other words, get out of my way before I panic and run in front of all these people. Luckily my lizard brain took over, instincts ruled and I had an awesome run. Even the Patagonia rep was clapping, good sign. Unfortunately my thinking brain kicked in. By the 5th round I lost it. Missed my roll and swam. Too freaked out to go back in I forfeited my round and lost the tournament.

That is what we trainers call hot and cold. Not a competitors winning strength. But it was a push for me, to be in that rodeo. I loved kayaking. I hated kayaking. I loved the lizard brain. Detested the thinking brain. of all things it was great for my multiple sclerosis.

The water therapy alone was enough to keep my MS at bay for several years. Rolling in the McKenzie is a bit of a breath-taker when there's snow on the ground and you are layered in fleece and dry-suit. My friends were another therapy. Especially the one I didn't listened to that much. my chinese doctor.

Kidney yin deficiency. Follow the diet. Follow the life style. But did I? Nah. I kept burning along, literally. Until I burned out.

Thirteen years later and how am I finding ways to survive MS? By following a kidney yin deficient diet. After two more diagnoses and research it became obvious that the answer for me was right in front of me. And had been for years!

So, what is a Kidney Yin Deficient life-style? That will come in another post. Lucky my fingers have lasted this long...