Push through! Push through! You can do it.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. ~ Thomas Jefferson

As many of you know, I manage my MS by maintaining a strong exercise program – which includes swimming, walking, and yoga. This daily exercise routine is necessary to manage my fatigue and pain levels. Too much lying around causes my leg pain to skyrocket, and makes me more fatigued and less mobile. Two days of inactivity can cause painful immobility – and I really don’t like it, so hence I maintain as high a level of physical activity as possible. Luckily, my earlier years as a synchronized swimmer, lifeguard team member, waterpolo player and weight training enthusiast have given me a “push through the pain” discipline and mentality that serves me well now when I need it for my own survival.

Even so, MS remains confusing to manage and pisses me off sometimes (ok – lots of times).  I can push myself very hard while swimming and maintain amazing cardio benefits as a result. I can do hot yoga and regulate my breathing and maintain flexibility. But push myself a bit hard on a warm sunny day? …that’s another story all together. Hubby and I hiked around the Dingle Tower park here in Halifax recently on a beautiful sunny summer day, then we climbed to the top of the historic tower. It is just a few stories high…straight up wrought iron stairways. No problem, right? I mean – I am fit, and have cardio benefits to burn, right? Well, I get to the top…and the world starts to go grey at the edges and I feel myself about to faint…so I drop immediately and spend 15 minutes on the floor to prevent a full-on faint. All this brought on by being overheated and my MS flaring up, saying: “Nope – don’t like it. I am gonna take you down.”

It made me angry to feel weak and vulnerable. It made me angry to feel “bested” by my own body – despite all my efforts to maintain a good balance. So – that stubborn streak came out yet again. Because I recognized what was happening, I was abe to prevent a full-on faint by resting at the top of the tower, allowing the breezes to cool me rapidly. Once I felt cooler and stronger, I got back up – and I climbed down those stairs on my own, shaky legs and all. And lucky hubby – he did not have to carry me down the tower stairs! Though he chivalrously walked in front of me so he could catch me if I fell. (That man is wonderful – and so patient with my stubbornness! )

To me – it is that “push through the pain” mentality that allows me to push the boundaries of my own body like that – beyond my MS; beyond my fear of having a seizure. I don’t like feeling held back – and I will try to do whatever I can to succeed at my goal. Do I always succeed? Heck, no – we all know that by now. But to me, trying is the most important part – it means I am alive and moving forward. Sheer stubbornness helps too!

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power. ~ Clint Eastwood

Namaste

Carolyne

MS Whammy: The Raw Emotional Impact

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Well, I have been “off-line” for a few weeks, you may have noticed. Why? A bunch of things…but suffice it to say the bottom line was because of an MS back-handed WHAMMY!

In recent weeks I have been trying somewhat unsuccessfully to juggle my health management needs, family needs, and work-related needs. As is my wont, I pushed myself much to hard to meet a deadline at work for a high-profile opportunity (which was successful, by the way). At the same time I was dealing with a teenager’s confused and volatile life-searching angst which had direct repercussions on how I manage my household, and dealing with a new “complication” related to my MS. All this combined to bring me down to a state of total disengagement and “cocooning”. I was bone tired. I was at a level of raw emotional pain that literally had me keening in the fetal position in my shower almost daily. Basically – I needed to check out for a bit – from work, from tech, from everything…and simply rest. Rest, rest, rest.

Have I ever mentioned that it is hard for me to “slow down” and actually rest, despite a chronic illness that requires it?

With all the stuff going on, my self-identity took a direct hit, leaving me wondering what my life would be like without MS & seizures. Would major decisions have been different had I never had that seizure that forced my car accident all those years ago? Would my family have been better cared for if I had died in the accident? Did I do enough for them despite my MS? What is my life purpose? Why can’t I stop crying? Who am I? I felt angry as hell at my health situation – angry that maybe it was a main reason behind the teenage angst I was seeing.

What was all this? Grief.

You see, grief that is associated with living with a chronic illness can back-hand you at the most surprising times, and in any of its various stages. The past month I was feeling deep grief and anger and depression – triggered by a decision made by a family member. That in turn made me more ill with a flare of MS symptoms and more despondent, especially since I was already at a low ebb due to giving everything I had to teaching a professional workshop.

I am crawling out from under my rock now. But these past few weeks have served as a strong reminder to me that the grief of living with a chronic illness such as MS sometimes lies much closer to the surface than I am willing to admit.

But it also shows me that there is always a light shining somewhere when that rock is moved away.

“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” ~ Sai Baba

Be gentle with yourself. Namaste.

Carolyne

Chronic Illness and Mental Health: Ghosts We Fear to Discuss

The moment in which the mind acknowledges ‘This isn’t what I wanted, but it’s what I got’ is the point at which suffering disappears. Sylvia Boorstein, Happiness is an Inside Job

Did you know that today, February 12th, is mental Health Awareness day? It’s a day for talking about what most of society wouldn’t talk about in the past. The stigma is HUGE.

Well, by now most of you know how I feel about stigma!

Depression is one of the “side effects” of a chronic illness, like MS… a struggle with maintaining good mental health. Personally, I call my own struggle as a struggle with the Ghosts of Lifetime Past. Let me explain…

What I have noticed over time for myself is that as my MS has progressed, so has my own awareness and understanding of myself – but in ways I never could have seen coming. For example, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a fact of life for me now…for various reasons and at various levels of complexity. When my symptoms of fatigue and pain pull me down, I tend to feel like a burden to family and friends. (Rationality has nothing to do with it!) I then can tend to feel depressed and even more emotionally exhausted…and I want nothing more than to “escape” from this burdensome-ness by disappearing somewhere, anywhere. I understand now that this comes from past emotional trauma from a very young age in which I was the oldest child of an alcoholic parent who would insist that our entire family would end up living on the streets without a home nor food and in rags if I, as oldest child, did not “shape up, do more to take care of the house, and be more responsible for my siblings“. I was 8 years old when that particular burden began being laid on me regularly. (This typical “burdening of the oldest child” usually came after my parents fought over my father’s alcoholism and my mother was ready to kick him to the curb.) So for me – I can begin a cycle of feeling very depressed when my symptoms flare up and create change or havoc in my life. I feel like I am failing at keeping the family together, happy, fed, successful. These are literally ghosts of my past – being exacerbated by symptoms of illness in my present.

But – Why do I understand it now? Because I talk about it. Because I look into myself. Because I seek self-awareness everyday.

The thing is – everyone has old ghosts. And chronic illness can raise these ghosts in the strangest ways and at the strangest times. It can create new ghosts. The changes brought into our lives by chronic illness can also make us go into hiding as we avoid talking about painful emotions, fears…depression.

If you are feeling depressed – talk about it. Now. Tomorrow. With a friend, relative, professional…with whomever you feel most safe. Just talk about it.

Namaste

Carolyne

Try, Try, Try. Period.

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But, by all means keep moving.” ~Martin Luther King Jr

Sometimes it takes digging deep – really deep – to keep getting back up and trying. Has anyone else noticed that?

I have been going through an exacerbation of my MS symptoms, with old symptoms returning with a vengeance. To complicate matters, my peri-menopausal flare-ups are adding new symptoms that I am trying to wrap my head around, as well. Combine the two – and well, we have a pretty fatigued and worn-out Carolyne on hand.

Last week was a particularly busy week at work, and I had to be on-site at the main office for most of the week. My MS symptoms were flaring pretty badly before the week had even started, with MS Hug episodes taking my sparkle down to a dull “splat”. Then, the 2nd day into the busy week I was hit by what I am now calling the dreaded peri-menopausal period. My fatigue and pain got so bad that one of the days I actually left the room full of people I needed to be with, headed to my office, shut the door, and lay there doing the yoga “legs up the wall” pose for 20 minutes…just breathing and trying to meditate to reduce the pain and fatigue and brain fog. (I think someone may have come into my office during that time…but left when they saw how busy I was!)

My synchro swimming was also affected in that my coach could tell right away that something was not right. She could see my fatigue and my balance was way, WAY off.

SO…this peri-menopausal period stuff seems to be becoming quite the deal-breaker for me lately. Cramps worse than when I was a teen. Fatigue like a sledge hammer. Brain fog galor.  Is this normal for someone with MS, or for anyone?? I really don’t know. Doctors don’t like to say anything for sure, though some websites do mention that hormonal changes can affect MS symtoms. I am here to say that when my period comes these days, it is like I have been hit with the Fatigue Hammer of the Gods! Holy crap! I can’t think straight; my pain levels skyrocket; and my fatigue takes me down to the ground. So…seeing as I am my own science experiment…I would say that my observations are telling me that my peri-menopausal menses and symptoms are prone to exacerbating my MS symptoms greatly. And I don’t like it!!!

But – no matter what, crushing pain or no, I have a family to take care of…so I gotta push through the pain, fatigue and brain fog and just keep tryin’. When I came across the song and video by Pink, it resonated with me…and to me, it inspires the will we need to keep trying.

“But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try”
~Pink

So that’s what’s been going on with me. I am getting up. I am trying. Period.

So what’s going on with you?

Namaste.

Carolyne

When Ego interferes with Maintaining Balance in Chronic Health Management

The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose.”  ~Richard Grant

Sometimes, I have an ego problem. My ego sometimes fools me into thinking I “am” my job. It fools me into thinking that all the responsibility rests on my shoulders and that it would be selfish or irresponsible of me to say “no” to anything. It fools me into thinking that I am handling everything just fine, when in reality, maybe – just maybe – I am not handling things as fine as I thought. Maybe – just maybe – I am pushing myself too hard to please everyone, trying to maintain some standard level of effort, with a perceived or imposed criteria. Maybe – just maybe – I am not seeing the forest for the tress, and not recognizing that I need to let go of a few things at some point in order to re-establish a healthy personal balance.

For me, part of this issue stems from my training as a meteorologist. We are trained to intake significant amounts of data, make sense of it, and issue a report (i.e. forecasts and warnings) about that information within a certain time frame at set deadlines. Because of my health situation, I no longer work the operational desk, and have moved into management positions…but my training still applies. I still give it my all to make deadlines. My ego as a scientific professional will allow me to do no less than my very best. Therein lies the very problem with my ego.

You see, my ego doesn’t always align with my ability to maintain the balance in managing my chronic health. When there are urgent deadlines at work, and requests coming my way for “just one more thing”, my ego always rears its head and has me hopping to the task…even though my body is simultaneously giving me strong signals to slow down soon, or it will take me down. Part of this also stems from a form of “survivor’s guilt“, in that my directors accommodate my health so willingly, that I can often feel awkward/guilty/wrong not pushing myself to the limit when we have important deadlines – even though I know it is dangerous to my health. WTF?!?!?! Why do I do this??

One of the signs for me that I am reaching the critical breaking point is when I find myself so exhausted that life becomes a blur of falling out of bed in the morning, trudging to my workstation in my home office, logging in to work …and sitting in a fog, staring at the screen in a fugue, paralyzed as to what to tackle next. By the end of the day, I feel like my to-do list has grown significantly, and my ability to tackle it has shrunk. I then get through dinner in a fog, with no energy to do much but lie in my darling Mike’s lap while he strokes my hair. Then I go to bed (usually by 9 PM) and sleep like the dead, dreading that I have to start the whole thing again the next day. Basically – I only exist, as opposed to live, when I am pushed too far out of balance. I become irritable, and my patience shrinks considerably. I find myself less able to be around people as my energy drains to zero in seconds – and as an extrovert, that is telling! (Sometimes I even tell my cat to leave me alone…all that loud meowing! I swear, the more out of balance I become, the more he meows for attention – like he knows I need to take a break and rest! LOL!)

Once I recognized (yet again) the dangerous slippery slope I was sliding down, I took steps to combat it by letting colleagues know that my limits are reached and that I cannot handle more than I have on my plate. It can become tiresome and increasingly stressful though, always advocating for yourself and trying to enforce your balance boundaries when people in your life and work around you operate at a faster pace…often verbally nodding heads in understanding, but expectations of output not jiving with that verbal agreement. And living up to my own “high achiever” reputation does not help that balance battle! (See – ego again!)

Recently, someone sent me a link to the Lazy Song video by Bruno Mars…and it hit a chord. The Lazy Song (with Leonard Nimoy) is very funny. And, sometimes it is simply the best advice for when your balance has taken a hike!

Taking a cue from that video, and steeling my own personal balance backbone once again, I dove into strengthening my balance by reconnecting more deeply and singularly into my yoga practice. I began doing restorative yoga alone, with native american shamanic drumming as background music, going with the flow my body wants…taking my ego completely out of the equation. I gotta say – I am loving my time alone and with my ego as silenced as I can get it!

What about you? Does your ego sometimes get in the way of maintaining balance in your health management? (Or is it just me??? ;)

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another-and ourselves.” -Jack Kornfield

Namaste

Carolyne

Lifestyle Changes due to Chronic Illness and How to Deal with it

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~Kenji Miyazawa

Image Source: nickomargolies.com

A chronic disease like Multiple Sclerosis (and many others) comes with a lifestyle change. It may be a noticeable lifestyle change – like going from walking to rolling; or from seeing to not seeing. But, it may not be immediately noticeable, as it may mean little tweaks here or there to diet, new or adjusted medication(s), accommodating fatigue, etc. It may be immediate, or it may change slowly as the disease progresses. No matter the pace…lifestyle changes due to MS or other chronic illness are usually faced at some stage.

One of the biggest fears is the uncertainty associated with a chronic illness such as MS or seizure disorder or other chronic illness. The condition may be sporadic (such as in a seizure event, in my own case), lasting only a short while. Or, it could be permanent, gradually worsening over time, such as in most of us dealing with MS.

Chronic illness can force us to face and deal with many potentially stressful lifestyle changes, such as giving up favorite activities, limiting social engagements, adapting to new physical limitations and special needs, and paying for what can be expensive medications and treatment services – or even choosing not to pay for these services due to resulting  financial changes. Even simple day-to-day living may be difficult. It can hit you like a sledge hammer, or creep up slowly over time. Over time, the stresses and anxious or even negative feelings can suck you dry of the emotional energy necessary to move forward. Lack of progress in your recovery or worsening symptoms can trigger negative thoughts that heighten feelings of anxiety and sadness and even anger, often leading to depression.

For me, the biggest sledge hammer was the loss of my driver’s license as a result of uncontrolled seizures. It was a huge lifestyle change – not only for me, but for my family, and even my ex husband! It necessitated a move, and a new working lifestyle and accommodation. It forced me to look at my lifestyle from a completely different perspective, and figure out how to accept all the change and move forward.

So how do we deal with it all? Well, for sure I can say that coping is highly individual. Adapting to your condition or feeling good about the future may seem impossible at first, but it can be done. (Seriously! And the good part? It gets easier over time as you develop your “happiness muscles”!) I wish I could say that there was a special techique, or a good recipe that always works. My own experience as shown me that even as an individual, one has to learn to roll with the changing changes…and that the look of that “coping” changes depending on the situation at hand. Does that mean it’s a hopeless cause trying to cope with lifestyle changes due to chronic illness? Nope – it just means there may be more interesting challenges than previously anticipated!

Here are some suggestions for coping with chronic illness:

  • Stay connected socially. It is so very important not to “turtle” for too long, leading to self-isolation. Establish and maintain quality relationships with friends and family. Join or form a community of positive support. Join a positive self-help group – and recognise that one size does NOT fit all. You may have to search around a bit. These groups will not only aid your own well-being, but also provide rewarding opportunities to help others.
  • Take care of yourself first. Don’t allow worries about your illness to get in the way of eating property, getting rest and exercise, and having fun. And don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first and saying “non” if there is too much on your plate or you simply need rest.
  • Maintain a daily routine of work, errands, household chores, and hobbies as much as possible. Include 15 minutes of daily meditation and/or yoga. These will help you sustain a feeling of stability amid the chaos and uncertainty of your illness.

(Reference: The American Psychological Association )

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.” -Unknown

Namaste

Carolyne

What do Sidney Crosby and I have in Common?

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down”  – Lily Tomlin

Quite the title, eh? Sounds like I have delusions of grandeur! Just call me Sid! (That came about because a colleague teased me about being on a project team with me and having to deal with my days “out of the game”! )

So, what do I have in common with Sidney Crosby? Besides a good ol’ Canadian love of hockey (his love would be much stronger than mine), we both contend with lingering effects of concussion damage. Concussion effects are more serious than previously understood – and thankfully, Sidney Crosby’s situation is shedding more light (and money) on the subject.

In a recent post, I lamented about my vertigo and lingering effects after meeting some turbulence on a trip back from Ottawa just before the holiday season. I recently was sent by my neuro team to a specialist in treating concussion effects. Boy – did I learn a lot of fascinating information about the brain and how it recovers, or doesn’t recover, from concussion damage!!

It turns out that the concussion I had back in March 2007, as a result of a tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure, is still causing me grief to this day, and likely for a long time to come. In my own case, I had a severe enough seizure to cause permanent damage to my left ear in the form of hearing loss at high and low levels (for example – I cannot hear crickets out of my left ear).

After my concussion in 2007, I was sent home from emergency and told to “take it easy” over the weekend. That was pretty much the full extent of my medical advice – “Ms. Marshall, take it easy this weekend, and don’t work your night shifts. Go back to work next week”. I suffered from serious vertigo for 6 months or so after that (no driving, walking with a cane, etc)…and finally got sent for more testing when my neuro team, after complaints from me, realized that there may be another cause for my vertigo besides my MS alone. So they then confirmed that I had had a pretty severe concussion, and pretty significant damage as a result. But no one told me what that meant to my life and managing my health.

I am still learning what that meant to my life and managing my health. For example, I now know that traveling by air will be an on-going issue for me, as turbulence will affect me each time…even the cabin pressure changes alone will be enough to cause some issues. I have learned that proper hydration is even more important for someone that has brain damage such as a concussion. I learned that even diet can affect concussion effect  – and that repeated concussions are really NOT a good thing! I learned that I have to plan for MORE rest before, during, and after travel in order to mitigate any effects. And I am sure I will learn even more as my personal journey continues to unroll.

I am so grateful that I have my yoga practice to help me further understand my “complicated yet fascinating” body! LOL!

“Your body has the amazing ability to naturally realign and heal itself, if you’d just give it some basic attention!” – Diane McLaren

Namaste

Carolyne

When the Best-Laid Plans Fall…

“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.” -Unknown

Isn’t it just the way that when you think you have planned for everything, accommodated your health in all forseeable ways, something changes your best-laid plans?

This December, I did my best to make sure my life was as balanced as possible as I wanted to maximize my ability to enjoy the season and keep active. I kept my workload (while high) manageable by setting boundaries and “rules” regarding my cellphone, email, and travel. I planned very carefully around a late December business trip to Ottawa-Gatineau, fully determined to ensure maximum health accommodation so that there would be minimal health fall-out. I used my cane in the airports as docs suggested, exercised at the hotel every evening (cardio then yoga) and took the mornings a bit slower before my meetings, ensuring maximum stress management. I made sure my holiday prep and shopping was done slowly over the course of December. I ensured minimal commitment to functions in order to give my health the play it might need. But even so, by Boxing Day, I found myself pretty well bed-ridden, dealing with some of the worst days of “brain bursts of sensation and light” and spinning vertigo in a long time.

So – what happened? Well, for one thing, turbulence happened. Turbulence in the air, specifically. I am rapidly discovering that flying during winter months can throw a significant wrench into things for me. I don’t really know if it is as a result of the severe concussion damage I still have from my first seizure episode a few years age, or from the temporal lobe (same one) lesion/tumour which triggers my seizures, or if it simply a matter of medication and/or menopause that just does not function well in a pressurized cabin with turbulence. Or – was it a case of seizures trying to happen, but meds not letting it? I dunno…No matter what the cause – it blind-sided me and changed my plans.

My plans to come home from my business in Ottawa and write a personal pre-holiday season blog were blown away – replaced by a foggy and slightly woozy brain. My plans to do yoga and get some extra cardio in so I could indulge were blown away – replaced by the need to ensure my own personal safety by not jumping on a moving treadmill nor moving my body into yoga positions that put my balance and spinal safety at risk. (Even simply moving forward at a rate faster than a tortoise sends my brain spinning!)

After a sufficient period of self-pity, where I whined and bemoaned my plight of being, for all intents and purposes, physically immobilized by my brain, I flipped into my usually optimism and looked at it for what it was – another learning opportunity.

I learned that winter air travel can really sucker-punch my brain by making things a bit woozy and “squishy” in there. I learned that sometimes it can be a blessing to lie in bed with a TV remote and watch Discovery Channel marathons, or Ancient Aliens, or other fun things. I learned that deadlines can be missed and the world keeps on trucking. And I learned that I really hate being foggy and dizzy! (Well, I already knew that one.)

I learned that the best laid plans can go awry, no matter how well laid out, but that the world continues to move forward, and it usually all turns out just fine.

Happy Holidays!

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

Namaste

Carolyne

To Sleep or Not to Sleep – that is the Question!

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” -Kahlil Gibran

Sleep. Such a simple thing. Or so one would think, eh?

I recently did a sleep study, and my results proved to be somewhat of a surprise. Apparently, I don’t sleep well at all. I move an average of 55 times per hour, and wake up and average of 3-4 times per hour. Apparently – that is not good. Huh. (And more astonishing, the night I did the sleep study, I thought I’d had a really good night’s sleep!)

On the positive side, it helps me understand why I wake up every morning feeling utterly exhausted.

So – what am I going to do about it? I don’t know yet. That remains to be seen once I see another specialist. (Yumpin’ Yiminee – I have a lot of specialists!) What does it mean for me? Well – it means naps are a big time tool for me to manage my fatigue levels…so I will continue napping! (Mike and I love a good nap – nothing better than snuggling together and drifting off for an afternoon nap whenever we can grab one! Added bonus: regular snuggling keeps us close and deeply connected!)

On the curious side, I wonder – why? Why do I not sleep? Why am I not aware that I am not sleeping? Is it because of the brain lesion? MS? Medications? Perimenopause? Stress? Childhood trauma? Brain damage from concussions or seizures? All or none of the above? Would increasing my yoga to ensure some YIN Yoga just before bed make a difference in actual sleep? Does diet affect it? (Caffeine, yes – for me.) Time to start tracking my sleep patterns more closely, and seeing if I can discover more about myself. Oh goodie – I can be my own science project again!

Curiouser and curiouser, as they say. (Well, after all I am considered “utterly fascinating and complicated” by my diverse medical team!)

“Open minds lead to open doors.” -Unknown

Namaste

Carolyne

Balance in all Things – even your Passions!

“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Balance. It’s all about finding the right balance even in the weirdest circumstances.

I have recently been giving a lot of thought to what exactly defines my personal balance, especially in appreciating the hilarity of my “new” medical status: fascinating, complicated, and unusual and confounding.

I saw my new seizure specialist, who works with my MS specialist, and they ran my case file in front of their monthly hospital specialists case presentation (House team equivalents). They are all stumped by my medical situation – I likely do have MS, but on the other hand my “brain mass” is deeply embedded in my left temporal lobe and hasn’t changed so it may be mild or benign MS. My spinal tap shows MS signatures – but even that test is not a specific test to “prove” MS. The brain mass may or may not have been in there all my life, but it’s too dangerous to biopsy so we’ll likely never know. Even with all the tests I’ve had, apparently it could have been “missed” by earlier technology. My seizures have epilepsy signatures and the placement of my “brain mass” in my temporal lobe is often a typical cause of seizures, but I also have signatures of something called non-elliptical attack seizures disorder (NEAD – which medical science does not understand at all right now). I endured severe childhood abuse, which is a factor lending to NEAD. They want to keep monitoring me until they can figure out what my diagnosis “should” be. Is it MS? MS and Seizure? MS, seizure and something else? All or none of the above?

My doc’s recommendation: stay the current path of MS & seizure disorder balance. In other words – keep doing what I am doing with teleworking etc; avoid stress as much as humanly possible; keep doing yoga; stay on the seizure meds – and keep an open mind! Because I have no warning he said I will likely never be able to drive again (unless they can actually diagnose me or discover an actual trigger). He also recommended I do not take baths (showers only) and that I do not handle power tools (WTF??).

That is the part that made me laugh until tears poured down my cheeks – My son already says “Mom, step away from the drill”. Now he has a doctor’s recommendation: his mom is not allowed to use power tools! (Hmmm…that could be a really good thing… do “power tools” include a stove for cooking dinner? :)

There is always humour to be found – even in the seemingly darkest parts!

One of my seizure triggers may be a delayed reaction to overwhelming stress – overload of either positive or negative stressors. So for me – I really need to stay aware of my personal balance. The people who know me, generally see me as a very positive person who takes on life with enthusiastic passion. Sometimes, in my enthusiasm and passion, I take on too much. I push myself to accomplish more, keep commitments that I made despite my personal energy levels: do, Do, DO. Even if the endeavors are completely personal and fully enjoyable – it can lead to a seizure if I do not monitor my fatigue levels.

Balance. It’s all about finding the right balance even in the weirdest circumstances.

“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” -Anais Nin

Namaste

Carolyne