Getting Organized and Staying Organized: It’s a Lifesaver When Living with a Chronic Illness

By Stacie Prada

I love being organized. I love containers and labels. I love having my finances organized and being able to find paperwork when needed. It brings me a sense of peace to plan things, be prepared and know what to expect. When everything has a place and is put away, it brings me joy. Living with a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis can be the exact opposite of that. It’s unpredictable, it disrupts plans, it can be invisible, and often it doesn’t have a logical reason behind the symptoms it brings. It can be manageable, but it’s not curable. Unlike my belongings, it can’t be fixed and controlled.

I know not everyone Continue reading

Share

The People Who Surround Me: Those I Keep and Seek

By Stacie Prada

As I age, I’m getting more intentional about who I spend time with and how I shape interactions. We can’t always completely avoid people who drain us, but we can shift how we approach our interactions. We can’t always spend enough time with the people we love, but we can shape our relationships to maximize our joy and connection. A lot of our daily lives involve acquaintances who with a small amount of attention can become friends. Our friends and family won’t always have the skills or perspective to meet our needs, but we can find circles of friends who will fill the gaps.

People who drain me: If I can Continue reading

Share

Dating and MS: Loving and Risking Heartache

By Stacie Prada

I used to feel such relief that I was married and didn’t need to be out in the dating world. It sounded horrible, and I enjoyed having my relationship set with the expectation there’d be no divorce. Then I started having health issues and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after 15 years of marriage.

When a married person is diagnosed with MS, the rate of divorce is about the same as the general population, but the gender disparity is enormous. A study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center1 found that Continue reading

Share

Fresh Starts: Changing Self-Talk to Serve Me Better

By Stacie Prada

Sometimes we want to make changes, and sometimes we need to make changes.  We choose some, and some are thrust upon us. It doesn’t always mean we’re ready or able to make them. Making a fresh start can be exciting and intimidating.

I’m a big fan of trying to make these changes easier.  Like the placebo effect can help us feel better when we take sugar pills thinking they’re medication, I’m all for using how our brains work to – for lack of a better word – trick myself into doing things I want to do.

How we think, our opinions of ourselves, and the language we use can limit us and our personal growth.  I’m considering Continue reading

Share

Changing Family Traditions for the Better

By Stacie Prada

I love family traditions. They’re unique to each family, and they bond us to each other. Sometimes it isn’t until we’re older that we realize there are other ways to celebrate. It’s also not until we talk to each other that we realize traditions we love may not be universally liked.

Throughout my youth, Santa always included an orange in the toe of my Christmas stocking. As an adult, I feel like Continue reading

Share

After the Stress: The Arc of Relief Takes Time

By Stacie Prada

In wellness circles, we focus a lot on trying to reduce, offset, and avoid stress. It sometimes seems like feeling anxious or overwhelmed is perceived as a deficiency in our ability to handle life. I’ve come to believe that certain life chapters and physical conditions are inherently stressful and completely outside the limits of what any well-adjusted, positive and active person can live through without physical consequence.

I once heard that Continue reading

Share

Repeatedly Accepting My Health Condition: It’s Not One and Done

By Stacie Prada

Living with multiple sclerosis, I find I repeatedly need to accept my diagnosis and reality. I have moments where I feel great and totally at ease with my health, life and possible future decline. Other times I have symptoms ramp up, and frustration and fear can leave me rattled.

I’ve been living with my diagnosis ten years, have likely had MS at least another 15, and Continue reading

Share

Life Goals: Checking in When the Seasons Change

By Stacie Prada

When summer turns to fall, a sense of routine and normalcy seems to return to my life. Kids are back in school, my coworkers and I are done with big vacations, and we’re all ready to get back to work. This year it occurred to me to start reflecting on this year and planning for next year earlier than usual. I think this might be Continue reading

Share

Remembering I’m the Boss for My Health Care Professional Team

By Stacie Prada

When I think of all the health care professionals I’ve seen in the last thirty years, it overwhelms me.  When I look at how I interact with them and how it’s changed with time, I think changes in my confidence level and perspective have contributed to much better interactions and level of care.

Thinking of the number of health care providers I’ve seen since reaching adulthood Continue reading

Share

Laughter Is Essential When Living with a Chronic Illness

By Stacie Prada

Sometimes feeling crummy and being overwhelmed makes a person forget to do things that didn’t take any thought when they felt well.  It’s natural to focus on what’s wrong and stop thinking things are funny. It’s easy to let the hard things override any impulse to be lighthearted.

I haven’t really found a way to laugh at my MS symptoms.  They’re inconvenient and sometimes debilitating, they’re an indicator of how much damage my MS has done, and they’re scary for the damage that may be yet to come. Continue reading

Share