Plan B necessary for those with chronic illness.

Living with multiple sclerosis is as random as a snowflake.  No two the same. No two days the same.

Every morning when I wake up, I thank God. Thank him for my wonderful life and all the blessings bestowed upon me. Even despite having MS, it's best to focus on the positive. 

In addition to my gratitude, each morning is met with a body and mind analysis:  how's the pain?  The cognitive fog?  The fatigue?   What's the weather like?  On a scale of 1-10, with ten being the best, how is my ms?  

Once that's determined, then I can make plans.  But wait!  This isn't fair.  How can one live if they have to wait every morning to see how they feel?  Where's the spontaneity? How does one avoid being called flake of the year if plans have to change?  

Plan B!

Yes, as simple as always having a plan B can make all the difference in the world.  

Plan B can be simple or complex. Most importantly it's an option that is doable with ones multiple sclerosis, or ones limitations. 

Just a couple of weeks ago I had a big event. The Los Angeles County Trailduster ride with Supervisor Mike Antonovich. Almost six months in the planning we were expecting over 120 horses and guests to our little community.  So, I better get ready!  

My concerns for the ride:  Heat, balance, urinary problems, pain. 

I hadn't ridden in about a year so I borrowed a friends horse and stretched the old legs out. And boy did it feel good!

The day of the ride came. The weather was predicted for light showers and highs of 82f.  I can do that! Plan B for warmer weather included chillin vests, cooling scarves and bags of ice. But I don't need any of it.  The weather cooperated. 

  As far as the bladder goes, I rely on a pee pad and told myself to take advantage of the halfway pit stop on the ride.  Last time I didn't and when I got back to the barn, peed all down my pants.  Didn't want to do that again!  

Balance issues. Well, I don't have control over this issue but when I got on the horse I felt fine.  My plan B for this issue was to either not ride or take a slightly shorter ride. 

With several Plan Bs to help my day, I approached the ride with confidence knowing that whatever I ended up doing, it would be a great day. 

Me on my trusty steed, Roper. 
Caroline Craven and County Supervisor Mike Antonovich

Local charros waiting for the ride to begin. 

Parks and rec, city officials, trail boss from La Canada Flintridge 

The fact is, our lives are ravaged by the randomness and disabling qualities of multiple sclerosis. But we can learn to thrive. We can learn to wake up, embrace the positive, create alternative plans, and live life to the fullest.  

There have been plenty of days where my plan B ends up with me in bed. But not every time. I had several plan Bs scheduled and arranged nutrient need any of them this time.  So #takethatMS! 

Do what you can when you can. Life is short!

Wiped out.  Nothing more to it.

Cement boots on and energy level that of a sloth on dope. 

But let me tell was Worth it.  

A splurge of a day.  Picked up by a friend at 5:15am we head to Malibu or the 'Bu as some folks call it.  Unfortunately I slept like crap on Thursday, up every hour from 1-4am. Not sure why, and nothing I could do about it but get on with life.  

Earlier this week I invested in a stripping basket, a new line for the wheel I won last spring, and some flies for the surf. Psyched to say the least.  Only my second time surf fishing on the fly and the club was going as a group. 

It wasn't until 9pm Thursday evening when I found there was a ride for me to the beach.  Driving that distance isn't a choice with my Multiple Sclerosis.  Excitedly my fishing gear was formed into a nice pile and placed by the door.  Water bottles, porta urinal, diaper and other Tools for MS were packed as well.  Fishing with four men, and my MS, this shall be interesting.  

After an easy 30 minutes we were in front of the Pacific Ocean sipping coffee, stringing up the rods, deciding which fly to use.  I went for the shrimpy looking thing but thought that the red checkerboard would be the slayer.  The water was real clear.  Beautifully still with small waves forming.  

With waders and boots on, water bottle in tow, fly rod and stripping basket we head to the water.  Within an hour two of my friends are hooked up with Corbina.  One was tail hooked and fought for awhile before getting off.  The other one was a beautiful fish and his first Corbina. I was psyched to take pictures and be there to watch him tactfully being in the fish.  

In fact I may have been more into the photography than the fishing. Or at least enjoyed the photography as a break. In casting.  

My casting isn't the best and being my second time in the surf, the 8wt, sinking line, was a lot for me to handle.  I'm looking forward to taking a class in this type of casting.  But I handled it. And I did not fall into the ocean and get drifted away.  

Being not the best swimmer and with balance like a weeble, the fear of falling in was strong.  I didn't go in above my chins. One time a bigger wave got me and I al,let took a tumble. Maybe a pfd would be good to wear for safety.  One guy had one on and with my instability with MS, could be a safe option for me.  

Have you seen the Martian? Or read the book?  Or seen anyone in a spacesuit walki?  That's me in my waders.  And Waking around in the beautiful pacific coast sand in waders and boots for over two hours, well, that sand gets heavy. 

I'm laughing because I'm obviously not using my stripping basket in this photo But I got used to it by the end of the day. 

After two and half hours I was done.  My legs will be burning once this adrenaline wears off.  Tomorrow will be shot.  This afternoon will be shot. But it was worth it!  

With MS, fibro and other chronic illness our lives are limited. We must do what we want at time. Enjoy what God has given us.  This is a beautiful world.  Enjoy it.  Love it.  Respect it.  

Ume plums, a beautiful discovery in my own backyard

Just a week or so ago I finally identified the beautiful fruit tree in our backyard. It's an ume plum tree. A Japanese plum that is more like an apricot. The fruits of these trees are a bit toxic when raw but are coveted for their alkalizing abilities once cured. They can be made into jam, drid into umeboshi or pickles, fermented and even made into Ume plum wine. Wow. I have a lot to discover.
The ume plum is small and greenish, turning yellow as they ripe. Some get a slight blush to them. Found several websites online to help me with the first project, making jam. Here is the recipe I followed.
First one needs to clean the little stems on the plums using a small paring knife or toothpick. These dont taste good. Then basically I soaked the plums over night with salt to detoxify them. Then I started a boil on the stove and soften them up a bit. After a quick drain I smashed the plums using the flat side of a chefs knife to remove the pit. Again, use this website to learn more.
I had about 4 pounds of plums and used about 3 cups sugar and fresh lemon juice. I could have used less as I enjoy some tartness. But this turned out good. I canned 3 and 1/2 pints and had another pint left for the refrigerator.

Treating myself to fresh ume jam, goat cheese and fresh jalepeno/asiago sourdough from the Rustic Loaf at our local farmers market.
Now this is obviously not the most alkalizing way to enjoy this coveted fruit. But it's a start! And Anything alkalizing is great for folks with MS or any inflammatory disease.
Now time to try to make some umeboshi.

Supposedly it clears up a hangover right away. Imagine what it could do for those with MS!