When managing one’s MS, there can be many factors and elements involved in the process. All such journeys are different, and each person’s experience with MS is very unique. This makes it difficult at times to compare and help navigate its course and impacts. Its unpredictable nature can cause challenges in finding ways to help manage symptoms and disease changes. But there are so many different types of support, treatments, and strategies in place nowadays. Experiences can be shaped and influenced greatly.
Between the cold weather and COVID, it might be a challenge finding fun ways to stay busy in the winter. There’s no need to stare at your ceiling out of boredom. Staying home can be just as fun and productive as putting real clothes on and going out! These 10 ways to stay busy in the winter will have you saying “paaaar-tay!”
· Call up your friend or a close relative
· Clean out your closet
· Give yourself a manicure
· Read a good book
· TV time!
· Start scrapbooking
· Bake a delicious cake
· Take up knitting
· Have a dance party in your pajamas!
· Virtual Zumba classes
For many people, the mere concept of sitting at home is enough to make you feel like you are swimming in a sea of boredom. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Try out these different ways to stay busy in the winter and see how it works for you!
You might find that you keep the sea of boredom at bay!
Is it MS, or is it something else? If you are experiencing numbness and tingling in your body, these symptoms could be caused by MS. On the other hand, there are many illnesses that easily mimic MS symptoms. To help figure out what is going on, the next step is to make an appointment with your primary care physician. If your doctor suspects MS, you’ll probably be referred to a neurologist for a definitive MS diagnosis.
B – Brain MRI
The MRI scans the brain using a computer, radiofrequency stimulator, and a huge magnet. Good news, MRIs do not expose patients to radiation, and helps doctors get a clear picture of what’s happening in the Brain. The MRI is used to assess the size and location of lesions in persons with multiple sclerosis. Contrast enhancement is often used to help to better assess inflammation and determine if MS is present in the Brain.
C – Consider Your Treatment Options
MS can be treated with a variety of effective FDA-Approved drugs. These medications can be recommended for all three types of MS. There are three main goals of MS treatment. Firstly, is to limit MS activity and development. Secondly, is to lessen the severity and duration of a relapse. And lastly, is to treat MS symptoms. All of these medications are typically administered by a doctor who specializes in MS or a neurologist. To download a list of FDA-Approved MS medications, please click here.
Living with MS is a unique and different experience for each person it affects. No two people will have exactly the same symptoms or disease course, but many still find commonalities in their experiences and feelings when it comes to the condition. MS tries to bring a lot of baggage with it, but many find ways to cope and manage the disease in their own way that works for them. This is done with the help and support of healthcare professionals, family, friends, and others in the MS community. As we focus on some of the ABCs of MS this month according to each person’s view of it, I’ve highlighted some factors I’ve seen relate to MS below.
A: Some of the A’s I’ve seen correlate to MS include Acceptance, Adapting, and Adjusting. Hearing a diagnosis of MS brings a period of trying to accept the diagnosis and coming to terms with it. Acceptance is not an easy feat and can take time. It can come in waves and show up again at later points in the disease course too. So, it’s a step that individuals may find themselves faced with multiple times. Finding ways to help accept it can look different and change too and is unique to each person. Adapting and adjusting to some of the changes MS can create is something people find themselves doing often as well. Making changes and modifying things can help maintain balance and expectations. If routines/schedules/tasks need adjusting to help fit your needs better, take time to make these changes so they work for you.
B: B’s associated with MS can include Building and Backup. Building relates to the education and knowledge piece of MS. Building upon information about the disease and continuously learning new facts and resources is an important piece to the process. Continue to build upon your strengths and goals and finding what you enjoy too. Backup refers to the support you put behind you when dealing with MS. Whether it be your own skillsets and strengths, support from others within your circle, education and resources, and health information. It never hurts to have a little backup when needed.
C: The C’s related to MS incorporate Community and Care. Within the MS space there is a great sense of community that many individuals rely and depend on for support. It is vast and has many layers that consist of healthcare teams, MS organizations, peer and familial support, counseling help, and other pieces individuals connect with throughout their MS journey. Community support is a great tool in helping to manage the disease and finding assistance. Care is a crucial piece to the puzzle as well. Finding healthcare, personal, wellness, and emotional care aid is significant in helping cope with the disease and all its factors.
It’s hard to imagine that one disease can have so many differing views of it and be experienced in such vastly different ways, but MS can and does. But no matter how unique each person’s course of it is, there’s still so much to connect and relate to about it. No one is alone in this.
As this year comes to a rapid end, I’d like to leave you with something positive to help you get your 2022 off to a great start. As I thought about what I might share with you, I came across this acrostic that truly inspired me. My hope is that it will inspire you as well, and that you will have a Happy New Year.
Happy New Year by Catherine Pulsifer
H appiness depends upon your outlook on life – Find the good in all situations A ttitude is just as important as ability – Keep your attitude positive P assion, find yours this year! – Do what you love and you will never work P ositive thoughts make everything easier – Stay focused and stay positive Y ou are unique with special gifts, use them – Never forget you have talent
N ew beginnings with a new year. Enthusiasm, a true secret of success. W ishes, may they turn into goals.
Y ears go by too quickly, enjoy them – Wisdom from your elders, listen E nergy, may you have lots of it – Take care of yourself A ppreciation of life, don’t take it for granted – Live each day R elax, take the time to relax in this coming year – Keep a balance in your life
May your holidays be filled with joy and may you have a “Happy New Year.”
I am sorry to learn of your recent MS diagnosis. My heart cannot truly grasp the emotions you must be experiencing. I imagine this new chapter of your life has been quite scary and frustrating for you. Please know that you have a community of advocates behind you cheering you on.
I have seen firsthand how an MS diagnosis can take you on a wild emotional roller coaster ride that you never asked to be on. My mother was diagnosed with MS back in 1996. Advances in research and educational information about MS were much different back then. She wasn’t told that every person’s MS journey is unique and can look totally different than someone else’s. As a family we had no idea that MS didn’t look the same for everyone who was diagnosed with it.
As you deal with being newly diagnosed, I’d like to share with you a few words of encouragement that I wish someone had given my mom.
Your story as an MS fighter is completely unique to you. Try to stay away from searching online and get your information from reliable sources such as your doctor’s office and MS organizations like this one I’m writing to you from. Also, staying positive is extremely important as you navigate through this uncharted territory. Remember, toxic emotions release neurotoxins into the body. Additionally, being mindful of the type of food you put in your body goes a long way. And Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help, and never be ashamed to advocate for yourself.
Friend, I want you to know that I think of you often and wish you all the best as you learn to live life as someone who has been newly diagnosed with MS. MSAA is rooting for you, cheering you on, and doing everything we can to make a positive impact in your life and on the entire MS community.
When you have a relapse of multiple sclerosis (known as an exacerbation or flare-up), nerve signals are disrupted due to damage in the brain or spinal cord. As a result, you may experience new or returning symptoms. An MS relapse is defined as one lasting longer than 24 hours and occurring at least 30 days after any previous relapse. The duration, severity, and symptoms of relapses are all different. Here are a few common signs of an MS relapse.
Normal messages from the brain to the body are disrupted when the protective covering of nerve fibers is damaged. When such signals are disturbed, the body stops working properly. Things you used to do easily, like opening a jar or turning a doorknob, can seem challenging during a relapse. You may be experiencing a relapse if you have sudden or worsening weakness that does not go away.
It’s possible that you’re starting to relapse if your eyesight is blurry or you’re seeing double. As the optic nerve becomes inflamed, some people lose their depth or color vision. Vision issues can be caused by taking a hot shower or bath, or by a viral infection like the flu, but they are just momentary and should go gone within a day.
One of the most typical indicators of a recurrence in multiple sclerosis is numbness. It’s possible to lose so much feeling in your hands or other affected body parts that it’s difficult to use them. You might be unable to write or hold a cup of coffee. Please pay a visit to your doctor if your numbness is new or getting worse.
It’s aggravating to lose track of where you put your vehicle keys or to have to reread the same phrase several times simply to grasp the meaning. MS can impair your mind in a variety of ways, especially as the disease develops, affecting with memory, focus, language, and information processing. Any new difficulty thinking clearly or recalling past events could be a sign that you may be experiencing a relapse.
It’s uncomfortable to feel lightheaded or unstable on your feet, but it’s a frequent symptom of MS relapses. Damage to the areas of your brain that control balance causes dizziness. In the short term, there are medications that can help relieve the ‘room is spinning’ sensation, but if it lasts longer than a day, you may be experiencing an MS relapse.
If you suspect that you are experiencing an MS relapse, please reach out to your doctor to share your concerns. What you are experiencing could possibly be signs of an MS relapse.
Do you ever find it difficult to find happiness in the midst of hard times? Even in the face of adversity, having a mental list of simple behaviors to try out every day may help you feel happier. You might find that doing something as easy as listening to music improves your mood and helps you on your journey to finding joy in life.
Whatever joy means to you, you may tap into it in surprisingly easy ways, even when it’s tough to remember what it’s like to be joyful.
So, here are 3 easy-to-implement suggestions for finding joy in life during challenging circumstances.
1. Find the things in life that make you happy, and then do them.
2. Always take a moment to express gratitude.
3. Stay connected to the good relationships you’ve established in life.
Remember friends, do what brings you joy. Demonstrate thankfulness. And stay connected to your relationships. You are amazing, and you can do this!
The world is once again changing, but this time it is changing for the better. This time, the world is offering new opportunities for a new beginning. Instead of writing my usual blog this month, I wanted to share an inspiring poem that really resonated with me. My heart’s desire is that you will also find it inspiring and encouraging as well.