Summer Reflection

By: Matt Cavallo

For me, having MS sometimblog pices means more sleep. This is especially the case for me with two young boys, who don’t tend to sleep in and have endless amounts of energy. I find that when the seasons turn to fall and the long sunny days turn to long dark nights, I find myself chronically tired and needing to hibernate. When I feel like I need more sleep, I draw on lessons learned from the summer.

This June, my wife and I decided to drive to take the kids to Legoland in San Diego. San Diego is about a five hour drive from my house, so we loaded up the minivan and hit the road for a three day vacation. Prior to that vacation, I put it in my mind that it was going to be hot and that I was going to be waiting in long lines for the rides, but that I needed to give my kids a vacation to remember.

The first day took a lot out of me. The drive was exhausting. Even though the kids behaved and there was only a little traffic, driving that long can be taxing. However, once we got to the hotel, the kids wanted to play. Even though I was exhausted, we met up with friends and went to the beach. I spent the entire time at the beach playing in the water with the kids. After about twelve hours of going non-stop, we went to the hotel and I crashed.

The next morning came too early, but the kids were up and ready to go. I felt like if I could just get a little more sleep, I would have energy for Lego Land. More sleep was not to be had but we spent an awesome twelve hours running around the amusement park, going on the rides and playing the games. The sun was brutal and beat me down as I waited for ride after ride. By the time we got to bed, I was so exhausted that I didn’t think I could possibly pull it together another day.

The next day came and I needed just a little more sleep, but that was not going to happen. It was day two at Lego Land and the kids were ready. It was a repeat of the first day and the kids were having the time of their lives. We spent another twelve hours roaming the park being roasted in the early summer sun. By the time we got back to the hotel, I thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion, but the kids wanted to swim at the pool. So even though I had expended all my energy at the park, I needed to dig down and find the inspiration for one more hour of activities.

While I was sitting at the pool watching the boys swim, I thought that this is what life was all about. It turned out that I didn’t need more sleep. Sure I was tired and the sun and MS fatigue were wearing on me, but I needed to be there. At this moment, having MS meant time with my sons. So many times, I had let my MS fatigue get the best of me, but I fought through it to create memories that will last a lifetime.

As I look forward to the fall season and the long nights, I think back to that summer vacation. I look back at how I was fatigued and didn’t think I would make it, but created precious memories. For me it is all about getting going, because for me getting started is the hardest part. This fall, I am not going to require more sleep. I am going to spend more time with my sons, because that is what motivates me to keep going. What lessons from summer are you going to use to keep going this fall?

*Matt Cavallo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. Matt is an MS blogger, author, patient advocate, and motivational speaker. Matt also has his Master’s degree in Public Health Administration. Matt is the proud father of his two sons, loving husband to his wife, Jocelyn, and best friend to his dog, Teddy. Originally from the Boston suburbs, Matt currently resides in Arizona with his family. To learn more about Matt, please visit him at : http://mattcavallo.com/blog/

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Celebrating our Earth…

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is an event that occurs every year to promote and encourage environmental awareness and protection. It is a day to appreciate and conserve energy for our environment for future generations. On Earth Day you can get involved in the world’s efforts to protect the environment, just by making a few changes in your daily routine…

Here are some ways in which you can help conserve energy, not only for the environment but for yourself too!

For the Environment:

  • Turn off the lights! If you’re leaving the house, shut the lights off, this will help conserve power and energy and it will reduce your energy bills, too!
  • Don’t leave the water running in the sink when it’s not being used
  • Remember to recycle!
  • Keep your refrigerator/freezer doors closed to conserve power, especially when putting groceries away
  • Walk or ride somewhere…If you’re able, walk or ride a bike/other device to the day’s destination instead of driving your car; this can help reduce air pollution
  • Volunteer! Join the community to plant trees, flowers, or to recycle and help raise awareness for the environment!

For You:

  • Conserve your energy! Because fatigue is very common amongst those with MS, try to save your errands/activities for parts of the day when you have the most energy. For more information/tips on energy conservation, see the MSAA MSi Online Video Energy Conservation and MS at: http://mymsaa.org/manage-your-ms/videos/staying-one-step-ahead-4/
  • Stay cool! Summer is almost upon us, so staying cool can help you conserve energy and help you perform the day’s tasks. Consider the MSAA Cooling Equipment Distribution Program to help you stay cool this summer, http://mymsaa.org/msaa-help/cooling/
  • Enjoy the environment… Getting outside to garden or partaking in volunteer opportunities can help you enjoy what the earth has to offer and acts as a way for you to get involved in a meaningful activity!

So what will you do to commemorate Earth Day?

 

 

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