The ‘Multiple’ in Multiple Sclerosis


Over the past 7 years of learning how to live with all that is ‘MS’ and navigating through life as the ‘new’ me, I have come to the conclusion that the ‘Multiple’ in Multiple Sclerosis means MUCH more than the obvious ‘Multiple Scars’ or ‘Multiple Lesions’…

It’s learning how to deal with the multiple curve-balls thrown your way and being forced to see life in multiple different ways.

It’s feeling multiple emotions on multiple days and managing them despite sometimes feeling a total loss of control.

It’s feeling multiple symptoms, at multiple severities and trying a multiple of therapies in the hopes of easing them.

It’s asking and answering multiple questions asked in multiple different ways on multiple different days.

It’s dreading the multiple times you will have to get up to go to the bathroom, kitchen, answer the door, or any other task that drains your energy in ways which at some point seemed incomprehensible.

It’s the multiple times you will lose your balance, appear drunk while walking, lose your ability to walk at all, trip over absolutely nothing, or take a FULL out ROCK hard fall…and THEN the MULTIPLE times you will get back up and shake it all off.

It’s the multiple times you will say ‘It’s Neurological, NOT muscular’, and the multiple times you will ask yourself when that powerful brain of yours will wake back up.

It’s the multiple moments you will choose to embrace the cards you’ve been dealt, and then the multiple more moments you will want to scream at the top of your lungs!

It’s the multiple, multiple, MULTIPLE times you will try to do something you know you can’t do, JUST to see if anything has changed.

It’s the debilitating fatigue that overwhelms your body JUST from doing one of the MULTIPLE tasks, which at one point seemed SO second nature.

It’s the multiple degrees of pain you feel and the multiple words used to try to describe it, but that just don’t do it justice.

It’s the multiple times you feel let down when a treatment failed to relieve your symptoms, and then the multiple new ones you immediately start researching.

It’s trying to picture the multiple little aliens that have taken a hold of your body, and envisioning all the multiple ways of defeating them.

It’s ALL of the multiple challenges you fight on a daily basis due to an incurable chronic beast that is OFTEN too afraid to show its face.

It’s taking pride in recognizing the multiple battles you’ve already won, yet continuously preparing yourself for the NEVER ending WAR.

It’s finding a balance between all your multiple meltdowns, and trying to remain that strong, positive and courageous person deep within.

It’s being thankful for the multiple people who love, support and encourage you through your ever winding journey, and not being able to picture going through it without them.

It’s recognizing the multiple layers of resilience you have already built, and anticipating the Multiple new ones yet to develop.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY…

It’s NEVER letting the multiple layers of adversity outweigh the MULTIPLE triumphs and successes you’ve endured.

Because one day, I truly believe that all of these ‘multiple’ things will come to ONE happy ending, and we will ALL be able to say:

“I USED to have Multiple Sclerosis…but that was MULTIPLE years ago!”

#happyending #futurequotation #themultiplesofMS #neverlosehope #nevergiveup #resilence #determination #fightingthefight #MSawareness #burnfireburn

From down right ANGRY to down right DETERMINED

The turning point when I went from DWELLING on the fact that my life had drastically changed, to becoming RELENTLESSY determined to be positive and work towards a better ‘me’, REGARDLESS of the circumstances…

It’s CERTAINLY not easy, but it’s DEFINITELY necessary!β™₯️

#MS #MSawareness #inspire #andbeinspired #mindfulness #positivity #theturningpoint #bedetermined #nevergiveup #burnfireburn!!! 

Step Aside ‘MS’ I’m coming through!!

Yep we certainly DID use the selfie stick (mom’s idea😎) because these are monumental moments. 

Going from not playing at all in 5 years, to practicing twice tonight…once with my talented hubby and the other with my devoted father…it doesn’t get much better than that. 
Playing as a wheelchair athlete is by far the most difficult yet empowering thing I’ve ever done. So proud to be one!  #thankfultoplayagain #MSAwareness  #represent

A Tennis Player Once Again πŸŽΎπŸ‘Ÿ

Words cannot even begin to describe how excited I was to get on the courts in a REAL Tennis Wheelchair tonight! 

In a post not even three weeks ago, I mentioned how badly I wanted to do this, and how I was Fed Up of waiting. I was Fed Up of all the years gone by watching on the sidelines. I finally came to the realization that to me, playing in a wheelchair is better than not playing at all. It allows me to be out there with my family doing what I love once again β™₯️

I think the most crucial part of all this, is understanding I have to do what’s necessary to be happy with the life I’m living NOW… not the life I had 5 years ago….and not the life I hope to have in the near future. 

And after coming to this realization, it has been pure DETERMINATION and PERSISTENCE that lead me towards becoming the BEST ‘Me’ possible each and every day.

Although this is not my own wheelchair yet, it is an amazing start and an unbelievable feeling to play again! 

Thank you so much to the kind person who has lent this to me, and to my husband for learning how to best teach me in this new condition.  I must say it is WAY more difficult than I ever imagined. After playing abled bodied tennis, and now having the chance to try Wheelchair Tennis, I can certainly say that Wheelchair Tennis is by FAR more demanding, and I now hold so much more respect for ALL wheelchair athletes. 

NO this certainly is not the way I thought I’d be playing tennis at age 30, but I am VERY grateful to be able to play at all. 

AND rather than feeling self-conscious to be a wheelchair athlete, I instead feel VERY proud and EXTREMEMLY empowered! 

This is only the beginning!!🎾 Let the games begin!! or maybe a lot of practice first 😜

#shebelievedshecouldsoshedid #dowhatyoulove #findingotherways #letyourdeterminationshine #wheelchairathleteinthemaking #MSawareness #youwillnotwin #burnfireburn!!!😎😁😘

7 Signs You’re Stronger than you Think.

Before reading the below let’s just all remember I am DEFINITELY not a Doctor, Psychologist, Researcher or anything else that makes me officially qualified to give any type of adviceπŸ˜‹

BUT what I do have is 7 years of experience living a life in a way I never imagined. As I continue to endure a life with a chronic illness, it has forced me to learn many life lessons, one MAJOR one being that most often we are stronger than we think and sometimes we just need a little reminder as to why. πŸ€”β“

I feel we all need to give ourselves a little more credit as we look back and realize all we have accomplished so far in this crazy life… AND how strong these experiences have made us, despite how much some of them may down right SUCK 😫

So readers, I hope by the time you reach the end of this post, you will gain strength by knowing you have endured or conquered one, some or ALL of the 7 signs below. β™₯️

1) YOU’RE STILL HERE

If you’ve woken up today, faced the daily grind with enthusiasm and optimism and conquered any battles thrown your way…You’re stronger than you think!

2) YOU’VE UNDERGONE MAJOR CHANGE

One of the most difficult things we will ever have to face is CHANGE. No one likes getting uncomfortable. We are creatures of habit! So when it is time to make a life-altering decision, it can be VERY stressful. Whether you’ve moved, changed jobs, gotten married, gotten divorced, started a family, or any other type of major change AND have become more resilient because of it… You’re stronger than you think!

3) YOU’VE SUFFERED LOSS-

Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a hope or dream you once had, or MAYBE even the loss of yourself… It is the FURTHEST thing from easy and the LAST thing anyone wants to face. Grieving is extremely tough on the body both emotionally and physically, and although it usually does get somewhat easier… It never EVER fully goes away. If you’ve endured loss and you’ve picked yourself back up again… You’re stronger than you think!

4) YOU’RE CONSTANTLY PUSHING YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Coming from a sales background, I have firsthand experience in knowing what it’s like to call people you don’t know, and FULLY expect them to say NO to whatever is you are selling. This is only one example…but I’m positive there are many other situations that give you the ‘goosebumps’ before giving yourself the ‘Go Ahead’. However, regardless of the situation…you’re not afraid to do the things that make you feel uncomfortable, or embrace new adventures, and for that reason alone, You’re stronger than you think!

5) YOU’VE  HAD TO SAY GOODBYE

Whether it’s to a person, a job, an idea, a toxic situation, or an ideal world that you once had envisioned…saying goodbye is never easy. It means letting go of something for which you once held so much hope, or letting go of something/someone you’ve cherished with all your heart…. Saying goodbye, regardless of the reason, often leads to heartbreak in a multitude of different ways. If you’ve been through and possibly continue to endure a situation like this… You’re stronger than you think!

6) YOU’RE A SURVIVOR

Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, Car Accident…only a few of the many life threatening health scares we may face. All of which force us to see our life flash before our eyes. If you have ever been faced with any of the above, or any other life threatening scares, AND you’re still here to tell the story…You’re DEFINITELY Stronger than you think!

And last but not least… The one closest to my heart...

7) YOU’RE NAVIGATING THROUGH LIFE WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS

Whether you are the person who has been diagnosed, or a spouse, family member or friend watching and supporting someone you love fight their battle… It’s both difficult and heartbreaking.  Living with a chronic illness means you have endured your ‘new’  life so far, and you will continue to do so for the rest of your life. If you have to wake up every morning with a chronic illness and you CHOOSE to face the world with a smile despite how you’re​ feeling inside…You’re stronger than you think!

As I said, I’m no specialist! BUT if there’s anything you choose to believe after reading this post, PLEASE believe this;

You do NOT have to have a strong body to have a strong mind. I am living proof of this. As I see my muscles atrophy despite my efforts to stop it, my mind must get stronger. 

SO, regardless of how you feel physically…please please please NEVER stop fighting and NEVER lose hope. THE MIND IS A POWERFUL THINGβ™₯️πŸ’ͺ

 

 

For the LOVE of the Game πŸŽΎ

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I REALLY want to be back on the courts playing tennis again.

Today for the FIRST time ever, I went out with my family and hit a few balls in my wheelchair. πŸ˜€ It’s not the proper wheelchair for Tennis but it’s better than nothing! And I know once I try a proper wheelchair and learn the ins-and-outs of wheelchair tennis, the possibilities will be endless! 

When dealt with a situation like this you have two choices… Either you find another way or you don’t do it at all. It’s that simple and the choice is up to you! 😎β™₯️πŸ’ͺ🎾

#itwontstopme #findanotherway #persevere #burnfireburn #MSawareness #fortheloveofthegame 

BECOME the Miracle You’re Wishing for

SO…March 2010, the time I was hit with my diagnosis harder than a Transport Truck running a red light… πŸš¦πŸ›‘πŸš›

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

but THEN WHAT???

I was only told by my family doctor that there were treatments available, but I was never told what they were… and to be honest, I didn’t really want to know at that time.

Learning about my diagnosis alone was totally overwhelming. I didn’t even know what MS was..but I knew I had a LOT of research to do.

It hadn’t sunk in yet…in my mind I was still fine.

I felt fine, I looked fine, I was going on with life, working full-time feeling perfectly FINE…

But I couldn’t run away from the fact that deep down I knew I wasn’t fine at all.

I had just found out there was an invisible MONSTER that had ‘weaseled’ its way into my body… an UNWANTED house guest who had arrived totally unexpectedly and one who was here to STAY.😑πŸ˜₯

The day after finding out about my diagnosis, I just continued on with life as if nothing had happened. I got up, went to work, never said anything to anyone and that was that. I continued doing this day after day, month after month, until the time came when the inevitable could no longer be avoided. The ‘Unwanted House Guest’ was starting to reek MAJOR havoc in my life.

Although my approach was to continue living life as I was pre-diagnosis, I didn’t just completely ignore it…I did do some research, even though I was TERRIFIED about what I would find. 

I’m positive I’m not alone here… I’m sure many of you at some point have felt completely overwhelmed by an obstacle in your path, or a full out war called upon you. A war you KNOW you need to win, one battle at a time.

Often it feels so overwhelming that we don’t even know where to begin…But more often than not, the first place we start is ‘Google’.

I’m not going to say this is a good thing or a bad thing, because it all depends on your personal situation. Google has some great information BUT it also has information that can be somewhat unreliable. And when we are trying to find answers to whatever it is we are facing, it may just be the perfect gateway to CONFUSION.

We also hear ideas from friends, family, quite possibly people we don’t even know…

Then we have our Family Doctors, Naturopaths, Nutritionists, Acupuncturists, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Psychologists…a whole team of support available to us. But sometimes we don’t even know what we need.

I know it can be confusing, and I know it can be overwhelming… Trust me I get it. I have been there. I’m STILL there…

I have been the one staring at the Google screen thinking ‘this is only making me feel worse about myself, reading about the possible prognosis of ending up in a wheelchair or yet worse, on a feeding tube… Reading about what seems like 5 million choices for disease-modifying drugs all of which slowly harm your organs and can possibly even kill you one way or another…

But somehow we are supposed to choose the avenue that’s the best for our health and our situation. How can that be so simple???

Well the answer is it’s NOT…And often this leads us to indecisiveness, something we feel when faced with too much information or when the road ahead seems FAR too tough…

BUT that right there… That feeling of indecisiveness…is very VERY dangerous. Allowing ourselves to feel DEFEATED before we even begin, is a BIG No-No!!

Throughout my own journey, fighting my own daily battles… I have learned that regardless of how heavy everything weighs on us, we MUST fight our way through the sense of burdening suffocation. And once we find our way to the top, we MUST take a big deep breath! We need to pause for a moment, give ourselves a little pep talk, pump up our tires, and say to ourselves OUT LOUD… “I can do this!”

We CANNOT decide to just keep truckin along merely EXISTING, hoping and praying that MIRACULOUSLY our state of being will change.

Yes I do believe to a certain degree that miracles are POSSIBLE, but my FAR more unwavering belief is that 99.9% of the time… CHANGE requires an IMMENSE amount of determination, persistence, optimism, self advocacy, and A LOT of Hard Work!!

It wasn’t just by chance that I ended up in this Stem Cell Trial in Ottawa. I feel extremely grateful for this opportunity, but at the same time I feel accomplished and proud of myself because I know how much effort went into sending emails, phone calls, researching about the trial, calling again and again and again and then more emails, more follow-ups, networking with other doctors … A LOT of Hard work as an active participant in my own journey.

The ‘ball starts rolling’ when we take that first step towards change.  We CANNOT expect everybody else to find the answers for us, it simply won’t happen. We MUST become self advocates, because it is far too risky to rely on miraculous recoveries.

When I was first diagnosed with MS I had no idea where to begin. I was told I could go on a disease-modifying drug, the ones that are around $40,000  and extremely toxic to the body…. I was told they COULD slow the progression of the disease, but that the decision was totally up to me.

My decision was to NOT go on any of those drugs, because at the time of diagnosis, my Neurologist suggested I may want to stay off of them because of how toxic they are, AND because of how well I was doing. Fast forward 5 years… and I can’t help but think about whether or not I made the wrong decision. If I would have just gone on one of those drugs, would I still be walking?…would I still be working?? Would we have a 2nd child? A sibling for Landon???…. POSSIBLY!…but hindsight’s 20/20 right?

I decided to take a more natural approach through diet and supplements. No one made that decision for me. With the support of my family, and the guidance received from my Naturopathic Doctor, I made a decision. Was it the best one I could have made? I have no idea…

What matters most is that I made one! I didn’t just shut down, telling myself how much my luck sucked, deciding not to do anything about it. I made a decision…I took the first step, and I took THAT step because I honestly and truly believed it was the best thing for me and my health at that time.

Since the years have passed, my illness has CLEARLY progressed. If I knew the answer as to WHY this is STILL happening, and most importantly how to stop it, I’d be rich!! but I don’t know…

What I Do know is that I certainly have NOT done everything perfectly. I started that diet out with a bang! but trust me I slacked at times…I ‘cheated’… and there were definitely times I missed doses of my supplements. I still didn’t have any symptoms of the disease other than some mere tingling in my arms.. SO when my friends all wanted to have chicken wings, pizza and beer…so did I! I didn’t want to be the one who was any different. It was hard to imagine what was happening inside my body because it was all 99% asymptotic and 100% invisible.

However, it was that 1 percent that acted as a constant reminder that I was battling something larger than I even knew.

As my symptoms worsened, I buckled down on my diet, but it didn’t help. Maybe because it needed some ‘tweaking’? OR maybe because it was a ‘little too late?’

I unfortunately don’t know the answer to that question either. But what I do NOW believe, is that whatever I DO or DON’T put into my body, HAS to make a huge impact in terms of the way it performs and reacts. It simply just MUST be that way… There’s NO WAY you can load yourself up with unhealthy foods and expect to become a healthier person. πŸ‘Ž

As my journey has continued, facing and enduring many battles, my plan of attack has taken many different turns. BUT the one thing that has remained constant, is my commitment to a disciplined health regime (99.9 percent of the time)

As we all know, nothing or no one can be perfect, but with mindful and positive intentions at the core of everything we do…we set ourselves up with unlimited potential for success.

SO, Getting back to the beginning of this post…

Whatever it is you are battling or enduring, just make sure you take the step… the FIRST step.  No matter what it is or what it entails, it is a step towards self advocacy. Things can always be tweaked or changed but nothing can happen until you take that step. And as I said earlier, don’t just take it for the sake of taking it, take that step with purposeful intent and the belief that it will lead you to success…

And if you don’t get there right away, take the second, third, fourth and fifth steps all the while knowing that with each additional step you are forced to take, your level of resilience is developing rapidly…

Whether you are facing something now, or whether you will be confronted with something soon…Don’t wait for that miracle…don’t sit back and hope that life will lead you through a desired path…

Instead, become an ACTIVE participant in your own journey towards success. Continue to take all the steps needed, perhaps more steps than you even think possible…but take them.

Take each and every one of them in order to build the strength, determination and perseverance needed to stop WAITING, and to start BECOMING the Miracle you’ve been wishing for πŸ‘πŸ’—πŸ‘Š

#selfadvocacy #takethestep #mindfulness #beyourownmiracle #MSawareness #motivate #inspire #burnfireburn