By Lauren Kovacs
Summer is a double edged sword for many with MS. Making the monster happy is a battle. While winning the war may not come until a cure, small victories can be celebrated.
Heat is a battle most of us fight. Staying cool is essential. Cooling vests with the ice packs work well. I don’t enjoy looking like someone on safari suffering from some weird allergic reaction, but it is better than the alternative. Lumpy ice packs stuffed into a vest are not a fashion statement anyone wants to make.
Stick to a routine, as much as possible. I know having kids home for the summer is like herding drunken cats. As a mother of three boys and being a frequent wheelchair user, I am very familiar with the struggle. Pick an activity indoors, like bowling. It is cheap and you can bask in the A/C with caffeine and cheese fries. You can still participate from a comfy chair.
Fatigue it my number one enemy. It cuts me down with one swoop and then stabs me to be sure I stay down. Coffee and soda are the poison of choice for many. But, as caffeine is a diuretic and liquids have to exit the premises, these are not always good options for those of us dealing with tight time limits on the bladder. The caffeine crash is another unsavory blow.
I have found timing is everything. Time medication and naps to your daily needs. My secret weapon is caffeine gum. Chewing caulk-like gum is gross, but it gives me a wee kick without frequent trips to the potty. Using the potty, for me, has its own gymnastic routine. It also means using precious energy. I feel like a gnat in winter already. I cannot afford to use energy on potty breaks.
Take summer slow. Summer days drift away so fast, but enjoy it too. MSers are great at balancing. Enjoy what you can, when you can and however you can. Sitting in a lumpy cooling vest chewing caffeine gum is far better than missing out.