MS in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Our Tour is about to start!  A scenic float trip down the snake river.  Camera is ready and so am I. We arrived two days ago. The weather cooperated and the Tetons showed their stuff.

 We took a leisurely hike yesterday to Christian Pond. The MS stayed at bay and I was able to walk the whole way.  It was not a long hike but we are at some elevation. And it was Gorgeous!  
The boys played with a frisbee that Tauck gave them as part of their care package for the tour.  We start in Jackson Hole, travel to Yellowstone then on the Cody and Mt Rushmore. 
I took a solo lunch yesterday with cheddar cheese soup and a Pako IPA from a local brewery.  The weather has been cool but I've been wearing my Arctic Cool shirts just in case.  Just knowing that they can cut the heat a few degrees...  I'm going to be away from internet and wifi and unplugging for a few days. Then I'll be back! 


More to this spot!  

Peeing One's Pants - Really?

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

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 via Wearever:

Here is a great program that we took part in back a couple of years ago in 2015.  The promotion is not valid anymore but what a great way to help MS patients.


Check out this program with MS Foundation and Wearever:

This is great news! Talk about a win win for everyone. MS Foundation partnered with Wearever back in June 2015 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 has ended so but we can still act today and see how we can help our bladders!

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!

Guest Post "Just Another Haircut?"

Just another haircut?

by Jennifer Digmann

A British survey conducted by the hair care line Tresemme found that the average woman spends a staggering $50,000 on her hair over her lifetime. In addition, each year we women spend an average of $800 between shampoos and conditioners, styling products and haircuts. Plus, those of us who color our hair tack on another $330 a year.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

What’s worse is that after I read this statistic, it simply served as a reminder that I needed to make a hairappointment. After all it has been almost 6 weeks since I went short with my hair. Okay, maybe it is not as short as some people expected, but it is short to me.
Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis more than 16 years ago, my hair length is just another causality of this progressive disease as I’ve had longer hair (middle of my back) most of my life. My hair being cut short is kind of like my driving, working and walkingnone of which I am able to do anymore.

Please understand that I haven’t just given in to the disease. I have had oodles of physical therapy to maintain as much as possible, but it gradually has taken these things from me.

Because my arms and hands don’t function as well as they used to, I have made concessions to the disease. It started with simplifying my hairstyle (keep in mind I am a child of the lots-of-Aqua-Net-big-hair 80s, so you can imagine what I mean). Then Ibegan to ask my husband, Dan, for help. And while he could blow dry and flat-iron my hair with the best of stylists in town, how fair was that daily demand to him? So I have learned to accept and appreciate my natural curls. But it was not until the haircut I received 6 weeks ago that I felt totally confident with my “do, and with doing it myself.

My stylist, Elizabeth, put all of the pieces together in one hairstyle. A little shorter than shoulder length, minimal styling products, wash-and-go curly hair. And you know what? I love my cut! Plus, I have been getting lots ofcompliments on my new shorter style. Yeah, sure that wasn’t why I did it but going shorter and being complimented on my hairdo is a nice perk.

More than anything, cutting my hair has allowed me to regain control over something that my body was letting MS take away. I’ve regained control over my hairstyle, which I like. Bonus, it boosted my confidence, which I love.

Originally posted 12/18/13

Essential Oils and MS

The Benefits of Essential oils

Essential oils (EOs) have been tickling and delighting noses for centuries.  The ability to create a spa-like atmosphere in one’s home or the scent of holiday cookies in the oven can instantly warm a heart.  And now they are proving that these oils make for a healthier, more natural way of living.  From house cleaners to medical treatments, EO’s are growing in popularity and proof and showing up in homes across the country.

Essential oils are highly condensed byproducts of plants and have been used therapeutically for centuries.  But there is little published research on many of them. This is beginning to change as more scientific studies on essential oils are conducted around the world.

EOs are applied one of three ways:  ingested, diffused aromatically, or taken topically.  Oils are considered to have relatively low toxicity and safe with proper application.  Oils such as oregano are “hot” and need diluting before application as they may burn or irritate the skin.  Citrus-based oils like orange or grapefruit may cause sun sensitivities and it is advised to wait 20-40 minutes before going outside.  Other oils like tea tree, or melaleuca, are safely used directly on the skin.

Oils are extracted from plants in a natural form.  Different parts of the plants are used as well as different extraction methods.  Plants from all over the world are sought after for quality and quantity.  They are used in perfumes, food flavorings, and medicine as well as in aromatherapy where the oils alter one's mood, cognitive, psychological, and physical wellbeing.

Because oils come from plants their qualities change with location, geography and local weather conditions, the time of day they are harvested, how they are packaged, shipped and stored.  EO’s are never exactly the same, a much different scenario than the synthetic-controlled substances of western medicine.   Because of this they are not standardized making it difficult for the blind studies necessary in getting funding and research.  It is also difficult to blind test an essential oil due to its aroma.  Masking the scent can be difficult or impossible. 

And because EOs come from plants that anyone could grow, big pharmaceutical companies do not tend to want them due to difficulties with patents, limiting potential profits.   Despite this, more and more tests are being performed to look at the efficacy of these natural ingredients as a result of consumer demand and popularity, driven by the demand for a more organic way of life. 

EOs have been found to have antibacterialanti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.  Several clinical trials involving patients with cancer have also been published. And eucalyptus has even proven to have antimicrobial effects against e. coli.

Popularity in natural remedies has also been driven by those looking to avoid side effects from many pharmaceuticals including those often prescribed for MS patients.

Reducing stress and anxiety is key in helping those with MS and improving quality of life. Clinical trials have investigated aromatherapy primarily in the treatment of stress and anxiety in patients with critical illnesses and have been found to be helpful.

MS Patients often complain about insomnia. Diffusing essential oils such as lavender is proving to be a safe alternative to pharmaceutical interventions for mild to moderate sleep disturbances as well as a natural pain reliever.   

Nerve pain and muscle cramps are annoying problems caused by MS. Holistic healing sources also suggest peppermint oil for nerve pain while muscle cramps might respond better to lemon grass.

Dr. Axe promotes a specific essential oil protocol for MS patients on his website, touting the use of frankincense and helichrysum as an aid for multiple sclerosis.  In addition he recommends oils for holistic treatments from the flu to reducing cellulite.  

Essential oils are purchased at natural food stores or via one of the fast growing, multi-level marketing oil manufacturing companies such as doTerra and Young Living, found throughout the internet and social media. 

In 2014, as the industry gained momentum, the FDA took notice and instigated higher standards for manufacturing companies who claim that their products are being marketed as unapproved drugs including doTerra and Young Living.  No longer can an EO company or representative make medical claims toward their product. This is not slowing down the industry.  The $7.5 billion essential oil industry is expected to reach $11.67 Billion by 2022.


Relapsing? Time to Slow Down, Eat Right and Enjoy Life!

Wow - My MS has been really bad this year.  I thought it was just a cold or bug that was making it bad but it got really bad.   Unfortunately the process is so cumbersome with my insurance that the soonest I can get in is end of May.  So, the relapse is here, can't see a neurologist for months, what to do?   Take care of it myself! 

This is not a sponsored blog post - just my thoughts during this rough time with MS.

Thank you @PositiveLivingwithMS for this awesome Meme which seems to be so spot on!    

Relapse!   Relapses can happen when symptoms are exacerbated or worse, when new symptoms appear.  This is what happened to me.  My tongue felt like it was plugged into an electrical outlet.  @RedheadNut - I finally know how this feels!   Ugh - just make it stop.  

Weebles Wobble. And then my balance went wonky.  Did you know you could fall over in happy baby pose (ananda balasana)?  Seriously?  I was on my back. had my feet up then just lost it and rolled over like a turtle.  Then I just lied there and enjoyed the feeling of being grounded and relaxed.  Falling over in baby pose. Seriously.   

Vertigo go go go away!  WOW.  It's been ages since it was this bad.  I would stop walking and the room kept going.  Like some horrid dream that wouldn't stop.  I couldn't drive at all.  Hid out and wrote and didn't do too much.  

Mood swings and depression:  Yep - both have been bad lately.  This is why I'm starting a new Mini-ReBoot for May.  3-Days of guided nutrition/life coaching/inspiration/gentle exercise/meditation.  Only $25 special - New Clients only.  Limited space.   We all need support while dealing with this insidious  disease.  Time to support each other and learn to thrive despite our MS.  Join me!   

So - I'm making changes to divert this relapse and send it away!  

Supplements:  Sometimes we really do need some extra help.  I Started adding vitamins back into my diet.  I removed my vitamins last spring and tried some other things.  Not sure if its the cause but my MS fell into a well of abyss.  Just ordered and received these vitamins from Sports Research  and started taking them again.  I believe my Vitamin D has been low - well, it has been low based on my blood work.  So, I've decided to try Vitamin D, Biotin and Protandim.  The Protandim is designed to fight Oxidative stress.  Not sure about the biotin but it should help my deficiencies if any and the recent hair loss I've been experiencing.   Vitamin D we know is good for MS.   These are the ones I'm trying - seems to be good quality.  

Do something you enjoy that is outside and safe.  My friend took me riding which is something I can do when my MS acts up.  And boy did I appreciate it. The movement, the connection, the energy.  It was all so calming to my nerves - very energizing for mind, body and soul.

And then I went fly fishing at the LA River.  Mainly for Carp and no, we don't eat them. Good practice for Redfish in Texas Gulf and other hunt able fish.  Didn't venture out into the water too much because the rocks can be dangerous and did not have a walking/wading staff with me.  Keep it safe but keep it fun!  

Two more very important things to consider when the body is relapsing.  

Stop and smell the roses.  Literally!  Slow down.  Enjoy spring.  Notice flowers, birds, clouds in the sky.  Soak up natural sun (use protection please) and breathe deep.  Place flowers in plain sight - a bedroom, restroom, desk.  As you enjoy the flowers think of them outside under the blue skies and sun, and the energy they are bringing into your home.  Gratitude for the smallest of things can be so rewarding.

Spoil yourself with healthy food.  Fresh clams are one of my favorite.  Some butter, herbs, garlic and white wine made this a beautiful and tasty topping for some al dente linguine.  

I did not use the heavy cream - FYI.  

Remember to buy some crusty loaf of bread to dip in all of the wonderful juices!  

Nom Nom!  

Most importantly:  Take care of yourself.  Be gentle and kind. You did not ask for this disease and it is not an easy one.  Work with family and doctors to find what is best for you.  

Remember you are not alone. 

And if you ever feel down or need a boost, 
please contact me or reach out via social media @thegirlwithms.