My husband and I went on a plant based diet a year and a half ago after watching 2 documentaries on Netflix, "Forks Over Knives" and "What the Health." There is mounting evidence that a plant based diet cannot only make you feel better but may actually be able to reverse many health challenges including MS. I admit that I still do enjoy a piece of dark chocolate or a cookie almost daily and will have some lean turkey or some chicken in a salad occasionally but I really don't miss red meat at all. We try to have some kind of salmon or seafood every week too but even too much fish can cause mercury toxicity in the body which can mimic MS symptoms. I'll admit it's more labor intensive to prepare a healthy meal with all the prep and cutting required but isn't our health worth it? Please read the attached article about a doctor with MS who has all but reversed her symptoms with this kind of diet and make your own decisions.
I lost my driver's license sometime over the holidays so I begrudgingly decided to go over to the DMV this morning. Since I'm leaving town next week this wasn't a task I could put off even though the lines would be crazy long since everyone has to get the new star on their license to travel. To my surprise and delight, I rolled up to the front door in my scooter and was led right in and escorted by a nice officer through all the different lines that needed to be navigated. Even though I didn't have the right paperwork to get the new star license, I was able to secure a replacement and at no cost because of my age. Although I felt guilty bypassing all the people who had been waiting for hours no doubt, it was a pleasant surprise to get in and out of the DMV office in under 30 minutes. There are many daily challenges to having a disability so it's really nice when having a handicap warrants special treatment. I'll take it and be grateful because there are sure to be many other times when my mobility issues will be as frustrating as having to wait in long lines all day.
It's usually the New Year before we take down all the Christmas decorations but we went ahead and put everything away today since we had the time and the desire to get the house back to normal. The holidays can be a chaotic, stressful time of year but this year was different, dare I say "magical," in how well everything came together. Granted our children are all grown now but they turn into little kids at the holidays excited to recreate all the traditions they've become accustomed to over the years. One of their favorite traditions is digging through their stockings after we get home from Christmas Eve dinner. I painstakingly shop for fun, little items I think they'll like dedicating so much time and effort into personalizing each stocking but it paid off in more than just the joy on their faces. This year our son-in-law won $80 on a scratch -off lottery ticket which was a blast for all of us to witness. Without having to visit a retail store except for my one soiree to the local mall with our girls, I hit it out of the park with buying gifts in that everything fit and worked. Having been at this Christmas prep for a few years now, I know this is a rare feat for which I am so thankful. Our youngest granddaughter has a Christmas birthday too which gives us all even more to celebrate this time of year. Everybody is healthy, happy and hopeful in our household which is the true magic of the season so my sincere hope is your holidays were just as wonderful.
Tis the season to be jolly but that's a tall order when there's so much to do during the holidays. I am eerily calm and relaxed with just 6 days to go before Christmas because I start preparations back in October to keep my stress down and my precious energy up. It seems everyone these days seem to utilize online shopping which makes it so easy to get everything you need without ever leaving the house. Thank God for Amazon forcing other retailers to compete or be left behind.I did venture out with my daughters to the mall last week but while I so enjoy spending time with my girls, I detest shopping. It is extremely difficult to browse this time of year in my scooter when the stores are packed with merchandise, people and long lines. Some pop-up shops would have been impossible for me to even get into at all so I waited outside and held our bags while the girls went in. So with the house decorated, the presents bought and wrapped, and the cookies made, all that's left to do is to spread a little Christmas cheer with others who might be having a tough go of it this holiday season. I hope you all make the time to brighten someone else's day if possible since that is what we're all here to do. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Physical therapy is so important for people with MS but unfortunately insurance companies don't see it that way. Our current insurance only covers 20 visits a year and only covers a 30 minute session at that. I'm still fighting with our last insurance company because they just stopped paying my pt bills at the beginning of last summer with no logical explanation. Insurance has become big business with an end goal to deny as many claims as possible for maximum profits but where does that leave sick people? It's bad enough that they treat MS like a common back injury expecting constant progress notes from a PT before they will provide the most basic of coverage. Physical therapy is a necessity for people with MS, not a luxury. In my advocacy days, we worked hard on trying to get insurance companies to cover PT for people with MS on an ongoing basis because that's what we need to stay mobile. This damn disease stiffens and contorts the body so badly that it takes constant manipulation to keep our limbs and body more agile. Insurance companies in their infinite wisdom would rather pay exorbitant hospital stays than to maintain health by paying for regular PT visits. So for the foreseeable future, I am having to pay for physical therapy out of my own pocket. applying for medicare to help with some of our high medical expenses, and just hoping that something will change in our healthcare system before it's too late for me and thousands of others who would benefit from physical therapy.
Effective January 1st, the recreational use of cannabis is legal in this state. I'm pleased that people in any kind of pain have other options besides abusing opioids or other deadly alternatives but I have some selfish concerns about marijuana being available to everyone of legal age. Because I have a gummy or other edible every night before bedtime to ease painful spasticity in my legs and rest more soundly, I was initially concerned that my local dispensary would be so packed that I would have to wait in long lines to get my own supplies. Fortunately I just found out that my dispensary will be dedicated to medical patients only which is a big relief but there are still so many unknowns with this rollout including cost, supply and demand. I'm in the process of renewing my Medical Cannabis Registry card which is an involved and costly undertaking so I really hope that I'm not hit with a more highly taxed or lower grade product when this new legislation becomes law in a few weeks.
The house is abuzz this morning with all the Thanksgiving prep for tomorrow's feast but as usual, I have to pace myself so that I'm not completely wiped out for the weekend. Fortunately our son came home yesterday to help my husband start getting everything ready for a house full of hungry relatives. Our daughter and her husband will be in later to start preparing their contribution to tomorrow's meal. Not only is it fun to have our grown children around the house, it's especially helpful that they both enjoy cooking since I have never enjoyed meal prep choosing instead to use my limited amount of energy on other activities. My main job will be directing traffic in the house, delegating and managing all the little details around hosting a large group. I realize that we enjoy an embarrassment of riches around here compared to many others who are less fortunate so I don't take this day for granted. I am truly thankful today and everyday for family, friendships and a life filled with love and laughter. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
We went to visit one of our very dear friends in the hospital last night which prompted me to consider my own health issues. Although this serious disease plagues me on a daily basis, I have only been admitted to an actual hospital 2 times in over 23 years with the first time being just a few months after being initially diagnosed with MS when I contracted pneumonia. The second time I ended up in the hospital was from a severe reaction to Tysabri, one of the disease modifying drugs which attacked my hemoglobin levels. Although I'm a great patient after so many years of being poked and prodded, I do everything in my power to stay as healthy as possible so as to avoid both doctor visits and hospital stays. Although it's far from perfect, my health challenges are minor compared to so many others and for that I am eternally grateful.
I'm sitting here trying to live in the moment because life seems to be moving so fast right now. Our granddaughters have turned into preteens overnight it seems, our kids are all accomplished adults and the days appear to be flying by at a dizzyingly frenetic, pace. Today is the first time in weeks that I've even had a moment to read a good book, one of my very favorite activities. I'm trying to just slow down enough to appreciate all the blessings in my life especially those who take the time to read these blogs. Thank you for your love, support and encouragement as I share with you the daily challenges of living with MS. My sincere hope if that you too can slow down enough to really appreciate all the good in your life.
Every Wednesday I drive an hour away from my home for hippotherapy or therapeutic horseback riding at Equestrian Connection in Lake Forest. There are a ton of benefits to riding a horse for people with mobility issues including help with gait, balance, coordination, strength and cognition problems. I had a new instructor today who had received the message loud and clear to push me beyond my comfort level. Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes to really challenge the status quo because I've been riding for over 3 years now and am more than ready to try new skills. Today I got to take the horse on a fast trot off lead which initially frightened me a bit since it was the first time but I did it and am so proud of my small accomplishment. Sport of any kind can be a confidence booster, especially if you have a disability. Today has me wondering what other athletic endeavor I might be missing out on because of what I perceive are my limitations. I used to be a pretty decent skier when I was younger so that might be something to try again with modifications of course. The moral of this story is that we are all capable of more than we think possible regardless of our physical condition so live your life to the fullest.
Hello World. This is a blog we created to give any one affected by MS in any way a constructive way to communicate with others going through the same challenges.