Sunday

Join me for an MS morning chat and some free flow movement!

Good Morning World!
MS morning chat and free flow sessions. - Join me! A casual chat about MS and what's going on and a couple of days of watching this girl with MS get moving. The videos got cut off a couple of times. That happens with me. But it's a start and gets us moving in the morning which is what these old MS bodies need.
Please note, I am not an instructor. My free flow yoga type routines are ways for me to wake up my body and get the blood flowing. Sometimes I just chat and swing my arms. Sometimes I fall into a nice yoga flow. Each day different, just like The effects of multiple sclerosis.
Here we go...
Sometimes the inspiration of seeing what I've done over the years, what I couldn't do, What I can do now, it all helps! Everyday is different. Take advantage of the good days!
Honestly I'm pretty wiped put today. I volunteered at the casting club yesterday to spread mulch for the wildflowers. Then helped the folks with a dinner party. Wanted to go to music in the park but family trumped friends yesterday. Next week I plan on going. It's such a fun event and one I can do!
Today it's about getting back to work after the weekend.

Let's do this!

Tuesday

Taking Action on MS

Wow!

I'm feeling very grateful and fortunate to have spent the last year touring the country learning how people "Take action on MS".  


As a certified life coach, I joined two other lifestyle experts, along with Madeline Stowe, and traveled the country to talk about living with multiple sclerosis.   Madeleine does not have MS but her father did and as the daughter of someone with this oft debilitating disease brings an interesting perspective to the table.

Each lifestyle expert focused on a different area.  My specialty is teaching tips and tricks to better manage stress with MS.  The other two areas include physical exercise and emotional patterns with MS.   All three areas are hugely important to learning to thrive with MS - or any chronic illness for that matter.  


In fact the program had such success that five "webisodes" have been produces about living with MS.  These webisodes are available at Takeactionms.com

It still amazes me how some of the simplest tools can make a positive difference in the lives of people with multiple sclerosis.    There are many tools available in these webisodes along with touching personal stories with which many of us can relate.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed, even without MS.  Even with my training and tools, I can fall victim of my own stress.  It's easy to do and that's why it's so important that everyone work together to help those with MS.

Here are just a few tips to help:

1.  Take 5  (literally, take a five minute time out and let the battery recharge)
2.  Learn to say "No".  Many folks with MS are type A overachievers.  We have a condition.  An illness.  Be kind and gentle to yourself.
3.  Start the day with positive words.  Use them throughout the day.  Avoid words that add stress such as "need" "must" "should".   Instead use words such as "I get to"  "I could".   Start with one positive a day and watch this awareness help you grow into a healthier attitude.

There are so many more tips and tricks!     Let's chat.

Caroline





Thursday

What happens during a "relapse" and what caused it?

A relapse is basically new nerve damage to the brain or spinal cord area. A relapse may cause old symptoms to flare up or cause new symptoms to occur. It's quite random. A variety of activities can help cause a relapse.

My relapse nemesis is mismanagement of life. Imagine a diabetic who doesn't take his insulin when needed. Or doesn't eat properly. Or an alcoholic who doesn't work their own program. That is what living with MS is like. And I'm not as strong as I would like to be and I often overdo.

Because MS effects the nerves, many of life's daily activities can be more difficult during a relapse. Just some of the areas hit by MS:

  • Balance / Coordination
  • Weakness
  • Vision
  • Numbness / Tingling
  • Thought problems / Cognitive Thinking
  • Dizziness
  • Pain
Found this great summary of potential relapse outcomes at WebMD - Click Here.

But I don't agree with their slide on preventing relapses. They prioritize western medicine over lifestyle change, nutrition, etc. This girl with MS prefers to reverse this thinking. Place lifestyle first. Make all the natural changes we can toward a healthier lifestyle. Look at Chinese, Ayuervedic and other alternatives. Then go to Western medicine. Use a mix of medical styles to find a balance that works for you.

The goal is to find a lifestyle program that actually works on reducing flare-ups not just covering up the symptoms!



Part of my program includes:

  • Reduce stress/work
  • Accept consequences of reducing work
  • Write, read, explore the mind
  • Learn to chill
  • Breathing meditations
  • Yoga
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Nutrition
  • Physical outlets. Horses for me
  • Mental outlets. Computers and writing and design
  • and many more...
What are some of your program activities?





Monday

Diapers. Really? Snaughling and Incontinence for adults

The day has come.
Diapers? But I want to Snaughle with confidence!

Really?
Yes, really. Nervous bladder nelly here has recently been living in her disposable diapers and pads. These things are nasty for the environment. They must be. And if you wear one once but not soil it, well, that's kind of gross to reuse it. And then the red rash comes. I bathe. I clean. I dry. But one day in those disposable wraps will get me every time. Especially now that it's bikini weather.
But wait, I can't completely bash the disposables. Without them I would be a mess! Like just last week when I was serving jury duty in Burbank, California. Usually I have a doctors release. And I did this year. But it came the day after Memorial Day. How could I at least not try this year as I have been recently blessed with better days? Think of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers over the course of history and what they have done or are doing for their country. Time to step up to the plate Ms Craven. Time to step up to the plate.

Well I made jury duty and the case was dismissed by noon. Phew, I made it! And hadn't peed my pants. I took advantage of the restroom then went to my car and drove ten minutes to the Los Angeles River. And decided to do a little fly fishing. I wasn't really feeling it. Body and mind were out of sync. I watched the water for a bit. Made a few castes. Then headed back to car. Either way, Uh oh. Bad choice. Quickly I got to the front seat of my car. Time for the coffee cup. My bladder needed evacuating NOW! And I could tell the diaper wasn't going to hold it all. I hadn't had anything to drink. Where was this all coming from? So I tactfully positioned myself over the cup and then proceeded to overflow all over the front seat of the car. The diaper was used, the mess was mopped. Well, That was interesting. I cleaned myself off best I could and realized how thankful I was not to have been in the courtroom. Ack!

So, although my disposables have saved me time again, the desire for reusable protective underwear is intriguing. And now very accessible.

I am getting ready to try out my first pair of reusable peepants. They look OK too. I should have them this week and will keep you posted on how I like them. I will be trying two of the following pairs from WearEver.
I am Excited to try something new!
I ordered the smooth and silky and the black lace ones. And for every pair I order, the company will donate $1 to the MSFoundation. Wahoo!
Check out this program with MS Foundation and Wearever:
This is great news! Talk about a win win for everyone. MS Foundation has partnered with Wearever this June to raise money to support MS Foundation’s efforts. Wearever is a health and wellness apparel brand with lines of incontinence underwear that assist those living with incontinence maintain their dignity while also being protective, comfortable and affordable. These innovative undergarments can be washed and re-used 250+ times, saving the user hundreds of dollars on disposables.
Wearever is donating $1 for every purchase of men and women’s undergarments made in June back to MS Foundation.


Thank you Wearever for helping us all with MS live a better live with our various illnesses. We appreciate you!This great program ends June 30 so let's all act today and see how we can help our bladders AND help others!
UPDATE: the panties came and I am sporting the smooth and silky as we speak. Go ahead, make me laugh and snaughle! While I know the underwear won't hold a pint I do know that I can leak with confidence! And that's a huge confidence builder. In fact I'm going a walk right now and now plastic diaper on my bum.
Thank you MS Foundation for all you do to help us With MS. Check out their website and to see all the great events, research and activities going on around the U.S.
Let's do this!







A Day of Rest, Rejuvenation and Random Surprise!

Fortunate to be at my friends little hideaway. Resting and recouperaring from the last couple of weeks. Energy is just low. Drained. Wiped out. But here I am in a little piece of heaven while my body rejuvinates.
This is Leroy. He is my dog of the day. He lives here and let's me come over and rest with him. He seems to know just how much ball I can play before I get too tired.
Last evening was spent by a beautiful fire. It's an original Batchelder fireplace. This is quite the bungalow and could easily live here. Lots of great reading around. No chance of getting bored here!
Yesterday we celebrated the life of a community trails advocate, fellow board member and friend, Elizabeth Blackwelder. It was a beautiful ceremony and saw many friends and acquaintances. But needless to say I was wiped out. Last night and this morning. Legs on fire. Time to rest.
Today was a full day of rest. Other than a doodle here or there, a fledged attempt at a wall etching, this has been a pretty chill day.
Batchelder fireplace 1924
And then the random surpise.
Received a Facebook post about a new website/business called homehero.org. Basically it connects those needing in or out of home health care and those with health care providers. This is huge in my hood. So I contacted my old friend and boss, Mike Jones, of Science, and congratulated him on the launch. Next thing you know, I have a conference call Monday afternoon with Home Hero to see where I can help out. I have so much passion toward what they are doing it has me absolutely psyched! I will keep you posted.
I will give this project more attention but wanted to get it on the blog! Many of us are going to need this one day or another.
Rain is slowly making it down the State of California. Hoping it hits here. We need it. Desperately, we need some rain.
Off to do a rain dance...of sorts!

And to enjoy yet another fire...


Feeling a little MS, but bring it on!

Dogs, good friends, a fire and some stunning wine make for a lovely afternoon and evening during the rainstorm.
Cowboy and Tucker
Some local flavor as well as something stunning from the cellar.
After an amazing salmon dinner with friends, we brought the horses in from the rain as the fields looked like they could flood a bit when high tide came in.
I was tired by the end of the day and settled Into an early evening. While I slept pretty well, I did awake around three am and took awhile to fall back to sleep. Wasn't anxious or anything just mind wandering.
For the first time since I've been in Oregon I could feel the MS in my legs. The fatigue and weakness creeping in. Oh crud! I haven't even fished or ridden yet. But that's OK. After a little stretching they seemed better. I got dressed and ready for our morning walk.
Today we walked with the ladies on Beaver Creek. The weather looks a bit threatening so I left my camera at home. I considered my rain pants. Hmmmm. Not sure why I only considered them. Would've come in handy.
The creek was swollen and the weather seemed ok. Then the skies opened up. And boy did I wish I had my rain pants.
A little flooding but there is blue sky! Looking forward to a ride tomorrow on the horses.
Let's do this!

Seeking Quiet to Restore Battery


When the body and mind are fatigued to the point of exhaustion, we seek solutions for our Multiple Sclerosis. Some are quick fixes, such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol, prescriptions such as provigil. But what we often need is solid down time. Time for our battery to restore and rejuvinate.

It amazes me, the power of shutting down one's sensors in order to feel stronger with MS. Sensory overload is tiring. It saps the energy from our batteries at a rapid rate. Sensory triggers such as light, sound, movement from people, crowds, events, television, can all effect our MS symptoms by putting our nerves on high alert. And our nerves are already on high alert.

Twenty four hours can make all the difference, even a twenty minute "time out" can help. But these breaks are not easy to find. With family, work, community, household demands, how do we fit in healing time for us?

I had a sad experience this weekend. And one I could have fixed, maybe. My dad and I had a couple of nights at home and mom was gone. We wanted to watch Dallas Buyers Club. Problem is he won't use a hearing aid and watches TV at volume 75. I am sensitive to noise. In addition our television room is not the best set up so you either have to sit pretty close to the tv to see it or far away which is hard on the MS vision. And by the end of the evening my senses are already tired so television is not a good option for me. It was tough. Decisions like that seem small but they're not. MS symptoms effect our lives everyday. I could have worn earplugs and sat in the room with him but I was already having an issue with my MS and didn't want to push it. Bottom lime, no Dallas a Buyers Club and no movie time with dad. We made up for it by spending time in the garden together. Where it was peaceful and quiet.

As the weekend continued So did my aversion to all things noisy. While dad was catching up on his tennis, something I usually enjoy, I found myself seeking the quiet of the garden where the air floated between blue skies and the colors of spring.

How do we find time to heal? We find the opportunity and make choices. Sometimes they are not easy choices but they are important choices. I knew I had an opportunity for quiet time last night. My last chance before my next MSontheRoad adventure which starts tomorrow. And I took it!

After brewing a pot of herbal pomegranate tea with some local lemon and honey, I stretched out on the sofa and fell into a book, Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Pure entertainment. Mindless yet curious, the perfect distraction.

The house, quiet. Through the windows the birds chirp and chatter about the garden. Encased by glass and redwood, I peer over the pages scanning the tops of a deodar and a palm tree through the filtered pink light-shades of the angels trumpet tree.
Angel's Trumpet
For hours I rest. Reading, sipping tea. Closing my eyes as needed. All day until my eyes chose to stay closed which was only about 9pm. After some water and an evening melatonin I slipped into a beautiful, restorative sleep. Waking at about 3-4am to relieve my bladder, sleep was easily found again. A much needed night of rest was had.

When I woke a couple of choices presented. Attend church, (which I often do but missed the last few weeks) or stay in the quiet zone (take advantage of this rare opportunity). I chose quiet zone. I can watch the sermon online which are helpful. But the quiet zone is a rarity. It's important that my battery be fully charged before tommorow. And honestly, it feels pretty darn good!

The day ahead is planned between a mix of quiet and productive time. A few more tasks to attend to before leaving town. Family will be returning so will the responsibilities: dinner, dishes, conversation. The goal will be to use the least amount of battery power while finishing things up. And to take as many "time outs" as possible

Time to do this!
Time to Rest. Relax. Restore.

Sunday

Starting the day right with Mamaki Tea

Been awake since 3am then 5am. What is it with MS and sleep? I find it's difficult to get both the physical and mental energies dialed down at the same time. And this heat! It's not even that warm yet but my body is feeling it. Well, Ok, the internal heat is probably from the food choices I made last night.
I really wanted a nice lazy morning with a black cup of coffee and nice eggs and bacon. Unfortunately it's all too fatty, salty and warming for me right now. Bummer! But I must listen to my body or pay the price. I'm paying a bit for last night as we were at a Tournament of Roses happy hour fundraiser and I ate so poorly. All the appetizers were fried, processed, salty. I devoured some celery, my body crying out for cooling, clean eating food. But generally it was not a meal for MS and here I am, Saturday morning NoT drinking my black coffee. And with that whine I'll be cooling the body and nerves with Mamaki tea from Hawaii. Love love love this stuff and off to make a cup. Hold this thought.
Time to start over...
Good morning!
It feels so darn good to be writing again, the cathartic release rushing through the bloodstream. It's only been a couple of days but the real pleasure comes with being able to sit down, relax, and fall into ones writing, putting all other concerns aside. I have been too hurried lately. And that's not how I want to live my life. MS taught me that much. And I have already made major decisions that will positively change this in the coming months. As we know with MS it's essential to set priorities and boundaries and to stick with them. I recently excused myself from a couple of positions to lighten up my load and I am taking a much needed vacation at home and spending time with friends and family - the important things. AND, Being mindful and growing ever more aware.
And I am ever so mindful of the lovely Mamaki tea I am drinking. And aware as my body begins its shift from the MS blahs of this morning to a new level of clarity and inspiration. And check out the nutrient factor. Pretty cool: from www.miraclemamaki.com. I don't understand why crushed leaves would have no iron but whole or ground does. That will require some more investigation. In the meantime, it's interesting at least.
Do you know the Hawaiian Legend of Mamaki? Here's an earlier post about it on my blog: click here for GWMS and Mamaki Tea
Honestly after just one cup, I am feeling much better now than when I first woke up. In fact you can probably feel the energy of my writing change, from slow and sluggish to zippier with a touch of sunshine! I'm blaming the tea. Wow. OK. Sometimes it's easy to forget how little things, like a cup of Mamaki tea, can help tone the blood and mind pretty quickly.
I am also diffusing in my room. Ahhhhhh! And had several glasses of water. Feeling tons better than When I woke up.
Now of course I'm feeling much more excited and ready to hit the day. So much for my lazy day? Off to yoga, farmers market and anything else I can get into trouble with today.
We don't have tall buildings where I live but the weather isn't too bad today especially now that my internal heat just dropped by a few degrees.


Tuesday

Amazing Vegan Gluten free Cookies and the Benefits of Lime!

Made these Snow Turtles yesterday for our wellness fair. Huge success!
Simple, easy and delicious!
I used fresh lime juice and zest. Small bites packing lots of flavor!
Super easy!
Ingredients:
2 cups Pam's gluten free flour mix
1 cup solid coconut oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar and some for dusting cookies at end.
Juice of 1-2 limes
Zest of lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
MIX this all up with your very clean hands! Your natural body temp will warm up the coconut oil and you will get the hand spa treatment of a lifetime!
As you mix the cookies, add a little oil, drop by drop until you reach desired flavor. Anywhere from 4-12 has worked.
Roll dough into little balls and place on parchment paper on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins, remove, dust with sugar whole warm. Remove from sheet to cool. Serve and enjoy!
Everyone asks for the recipe so bring it along!


Interested in learning more? Ask me about lime and other oils.
Join the conversation!
And #takethatMS

Wednesday

Mind Body Cleanse - my Journal

Hello all!
Welcome to my journal about my gentle cleanse as I reboot my mind body connection. I'm working with award-winning author and certified fitness trainer, Loa Blasucci, and her online mini system is just 5 days. I can do this!
Day 1:
9:13am
What a glorious morning. Had a restful night sleep and ready to start the cleanse and reboot my mind body.

Started off by not drinking the usual cup or two of coffee in the morning. This morning started with two glass of lemon water. I'm used to going back and forth from water, tea and coffee, so this first step is pretty easy for me. What's interesting is how my body was craving the ginger-lemon hot hottie and not the usual black sludge. Now don't get me wrong, I love a nice cup of coffee now and then, but going back to hot lemon water is fine by me.
Having several things on my to-do list today encouraged me to get started early. But, no slumping at the computer for the next four hours. Twenty minutes - get it done and get outside for a walk before it gets too warm. And crank it out I did.
Looking at the clock and realizing it's later than I would like I check the temperature outside. Beautiful and not too warm yet. A shade trek should be nice and doable. Not too hotside...yet.
Slow and lethargic I moved along the street, my 82 year old father by my side. He wasn't slow, I was. He was on his cool down after walking 1.5 miles at the gym. Good genes.
As we walk, my mind starts releasing toxic thoughts. I can feel them coming and then, just as quickly, they leave. No stressors. No anxiety. Just thoughts that come and then leave. I practice breathing deep and with intention. What do I want to release today? what negativities are holding me back in life? Ahhhh. My breathing gets deeper. I can do this!

In a gentle room I stretch. Nothing harsh or drastic, just a peaceful environment, and positive thought in my mind and heart. Breathing deep, I stretch a few minutes and then head back to the laptop.
After about a half hour on the laptop working away its time for my morning juice. I am so blessed to live in southern California and have this abundant produce everywhere around.
I'm off to cook, juice, chop, and prep for the coming week of cleansing.
---
Made plenty of reboot soup, salad, quinoa and fresh juices to nosh on during the day. Delish! Throughout the day my mind was continually trying to hang up on something. To get anxious and upset. To find that one thing to justify anger. But it wasn't there. I let it go. I kept letting it go. Every time something got me anxious and short of breathe I took a big deep inhale and let it go. And it worked. I felt free of angst and it felt amazing. I'm looking forward to continuing this freeing feeling with breathing and relaxing techniques as I cleanse months of crud out of my system.
Time for bed. Took a relaxing bath with bath salts.  Boy did I sleep well! At least the first part of evening til about three am, then I woke for a bit. But that's OK. I fell back to sleep a bit and woke for good about an hour ago.
Day 2:

Continuing my cleansing and growth through the second day. Starting the day off with a ginger lemon hot tottie and prepping for me gentle Loa Flow class that starts in an hour.
My body is warm tho. Very warm. I can feel the inflammation in my legs as the crud from my body is expelled. I can see negative thoughts leaving my body and mind. A reboot is happening and it feels so good!
I am aware that our bodies are amazing and they cleanse on their own. But sometimes modern day life makes a cleanse feel necessary.
Well, actually I never made the tottie and ended up just drinking filtered water. But that's what my body was asking for and I listened. That's one of my best learned lessons in life. Listening to the body. Really listening.
The amount of anger in me taking to the surface is surprising. I didn't realize how many negative things had accumulated. In my body. In my mind. But today, yesterday and this week, they are exiting this building!
Cleansing in some ways has become easy. Almost. But there are deeper parts about a cleanse that can get the mind going.
The light meals and juices are keeping me going all day. I made some lovely lemon ginger iced tea to sip on which became real refreshing on these warm summer days.
Day 3:
This was a good week to choose to cleanse. My schedule is light and easy with some work but not a lot of obligations.
Interesting as thoughts of work and projects would enter my mind, trying to raise my anxiety level, but my body just breathed deep and relaxed. No anxiety. Wow. The mind body cleanse is working!
Throughout the day I practice deep breathing and some gentle meditation. My intention is continually bringing my mind to the present as my anxiety levels release and disintegrate. Man this feels great.
Again this morning I go for the filtered water. Several glasses before I get out of bed. How refreshing!
My morning walk started with a spring in my step. Where did this spring come from? I'll take it that's for sure. Must be the lightness I'm feeling as the crud is leaving my body. I pick up the pace. It's supposed to be a gentle walk but my legs are wheeling spry. I take advantage of the feeling and let my legs go with it.
By the time I got home my whole body was aglow with sweat. My body felt strong light and hydrated. This is a feeling I like and will bring to intention throughout the rest of this cleanse.
Patience. I'm not known for it and struggle daily with finding it. Today was a good example of how I'm growing as a person through this reboot. I was at the market picking up six apples for my juices. I got in the wrong line. Almost a half hour later I am being waited on so I can pay my $1.68. The lady in front commented on how calm and happy I looked. Well, there was nothing I could do about it so I mentally succumbed and enjoyed a couple of magazines while waiting. Love this feeling! This is also an intention I'm carrying throughout the week and beyond. Succumb. Relax. Know the things we can change and the things we can't. Courage. It all helps.
Day 4:
Morning world!
What a great night sleep. While the last several nights brought sweats, pain, and inflammation, last night had just one wake up for a restroom break and some water then back to sleep. Yay team!
I'm off to make a hot lemon toddy! I'll be back. But for now I'm enjoying my cleanse. I have a gentle schedule today and will focus on my intentions.
Juicing through this day feels refreshing. Almost easy as if by following these simple instructions gives less to think about. The cravings are not really there. And an earlier time of healthier eating raises its beautiful head and reminds what eating could be like. Oh I love this reminder!
The negative thoughts still escape me. I love the feeling of them leaving my body as my lungs fill deep with air and comfort my tired, MS body and mind.
Bits of anger and impatience flit about reminding me of my weaknesses. I struggle for a moment but then the fleeting annoyances fly away. Fly away. Float away. Fall away. They do it all and my strength grows.
My intentions during this cleanse are to let go of what o can not control and to choose those elements I want in life. My life goals for this chapter are writing, artistry, and living each day best I can.
Day 5:
It's 2am and I can't sleep. Keep thinking of my beautiful aunt who is dying of brain cancer right now. Hospice is with her and she is joining her God as she leaves this world. Man, I love this lady and now she's gone. The tears flow freely. For my aunt. For her family. For my uncle. Life is amazing. So powerful yet so vulnerable. Life is the snowflake we are given. Unique. Delicate. Destructible.
How do we protect our snowflake yet let it shine like no other?
This day became a bit more challenging in ways and easier in others. After a morning stroll to get the blood flowing, and so,e time in the garden, I continued my juicing. Keeping my schedule light I used this time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. Ahhhh. I needed this!
We had a big dinner to go to tonight so I glad I stared my cleanse a bit early. A local favorite prime rib spot is closing. I'm not a big prime rib fan and coming off the cleanse wanted to keep it light so went woth French oinion soup and spinach salad. I keep the bread and cheese to a minimum and are the broth and onions. Delish! And plenty for dinner.
I always have this great Sense of renewal after a cleanse. A true reboot. And this was no different. As the toxic crud left my body I was left with clear vision of what I choose in life and what I am letting go from my mind.
I could still feel a few rid bits of toxicity left in me. Negative thoughts, anger and impatience. As I breathe through each possible moment of anxiety I know that I have the tools to move forewar, successfully. And that's just what I'm going to do, use my tools: journaling, meditation, exploration, nature.
Join us as we move forward with what we choose and let go of what we want no more.
#takethatms #mspals