How many of us with MS are over-achieves? Active, go-doers and do-gooders? When the words "slow down" mean dropping from going "nine-0" to a "55" and no less? Come on folks. We must learn to slow down. As soon as our body gives its first warning.
As I type my friend and next door neighbor is dying at age 56. Rheumatoid arthritis got into her lungs and caused one to collapse. After six months of surgeries, pain and struggles, she has let go and will be with her Lord. Age 56. Too young.
It was less than a year ago when she came to me for help and advice on nutrition. We sat in the living room and caught up. Carin earned her law degree from USC and had been working various law firms over the years. The RA had gotten the better of her. Hands torqued and skewed, body thin as a rail, Carin fought hard to keep up her daily routine. Contributing to society with a good job. Helping her elderly mother. Living with and assisting her sister and niece. Being part of a family. She was consumed with living.
When she came to me for this meeting she looked scared. She knew something was going on but did not know the severity. We talked nutrition, health, stress, life. And what I remember was her saying something to the effect of "I could have slowed down a long time ago. I didn't listen to my body like you did when your MS hit. I'm paying a price that I can't afford".
This was before the numerous surgeries. Before the real stress of the disease hit. I've been so scared for her but was not a good friend. I didn't know what to do. She was too weak in the hospital for most of the time and too weak at home for visitors. But couldn't I have written her a letter? I emailed her but I know that was difficult for her. But only once then I stopped.
All I can do now is be there for her sister, my neighbor and friend. Their mother is in a convalescent home. She is now by herself and her 16 yr old daughter. As a flight attendant this is not going to be an easy time. All I can do is be there for her.
Taking a break. Stopping. Resting. It's the toughest thing for me to do but most important for keeping my MS at bay. I used to only stop when I had a hangover. Which wasn't often but that was an excuse to be on the couch and watching tv. Other than maybe once a month is was go, go, go.
Sound familiar? Learning to chill has been difficult. In the beginning I didn't have a choice as I was so disabled by the disease. But as my MS wanes and I feel stronger, the desire to go, go, go gets unbearable. But if I keep up with my desires I find myself back in bed. With MS being the victor. And I don't want that. I want to say #TakeThatMS!
Yoga helps. Medical marijuana can help. Playing silly computer games and watching mindless tv works. Meditation is great. Teaching the family and friends that being a couch potato is OK despite societal expectations. Sometimes all I need is a rest in a cool, not too bright location, mid afternoon. Time to regenerate those batteries as they are fragile, and we don't want to blow a head gasket. Think we've already cleaned that cylinder once.
I am angry right now. About Carin's passing. She was a beautiful environmentalist ravaged by a terrible disease. Her mind always in action, the brightness shining through despite the illness. I'm angry she is gone. I'm angry I could have done more. Done anything. I'm angry at the doctors. I'm just angry.
But the writing helps. The catharsis of releasing my angry thoughts help them purge from my mind body soul. And this is good. We don't want to keep anger as it settles in our kidneys and that steals us of our life energy. Be angry. Get it out. Cry your friggin head off. Yell.
Then....take a deep breath. Decide your best, gentle way to bring peace: yoga, bathe, meditation, tying flies, social media, stretching, writing, knitting, painting, etc. Find what works. Today I wrote to release my anger. It's not all gone and I'm finding that the anger is trying to emerge through other thoughts. Be careful of this. Find peace throughout body, mind, soul. Cleanse those dust bunnies. Breathing deep into your belly. Listen to your music. Find peace.
Today the reggae on Pandora is working. Reminding me to slow down. To breathe deep into my belly. Carin left this world too early. I know she had many dreams untouched. There is nothing I can do. Breathe deep. But to remember what she said. About the importance of slowing down and letting your body heal. Mind over matter. Not mind over body. Listen to your body. Breathe deep.
For some peace I am pouring myself some apple cider vinegar water with Bragg's cider. Its an alkalizer. And I find the bitter taste quite appealing. My ph test came out clean this morning. Surprising considering the wine I had last night. Cards, family and dinner at a great friends house. But I scrubbed my teeth and scraped my tongue clean last night and had a giant glass of Phion water. Plus took my vitamins and Protandim yesterday. Been slacking on my supplements lately. Though my test came out low, I feel acidic and will drink the cider water. Sometimes the paper is dark green. Ack. Something you don't want.
While studying holistic nutrition at Baumann College I learned the importance of having ph paper around. Our health is directly related to alkaline/acidity level in our body. And that is controllable by diet. Which is something I have control over. Plus, I made this amazing juice yesterday. Check this out:
Purselane, dandelion greens, Fuji apples, cucumbers from the garden, ginger, pineapple. Wowza! Medicine in a bottle.
So while I'm nursing my emotions I'm nursing my health as well since the two are connected. I don't quite understand the relationship between emotions, MS and relapses but I will figure it out. I find it amazing how the devastation of losing Carin can directly effect the nerves, muscles and strength in my legs. That's just random. That is MS.
Let's find a cure for all autoimmune diseases. This is just stupid.