Well, here we are…April already. I have just had my 42nd birthday, and I took it back as My Day, since the specialness of the day was ruined last year when my ex-husband had decided that my birthday was a good day to tell me he was leaving me. This time last year I remember feeling only pain, shock, and fear – now, I feel strong, self-assured, and empowered, and so much lighter in so many ways! So much change a year makes, eh?

Reflections on single parenting: One thing that I reflected on at this time was the situation a single person with MS finds themselves in – it is different than that for a person with MS who has a spouse or significant other. Not necessarily in a bad way, but the difference is notable: when you have MS, you rely on your spouse/significant other to help pick up the pieces and support you when you have struggles with your health. When there is no spouse or significant other, you have to rely on yourself, and pick up the pieces yourself once you get back on your feet. No matter that there is family around you, and good friends that help at a moments notice – the dynamic is different. Children (if you have any) tend to try to fill in for the missing spouse/significant other…and this becomes a delicate balance to try to navigate…because though it is a given that children, with a parent who has MS, do indeed have a different role than their friends, we as parents do not want to burden them with the fallout of our disease. Despite this, they do have to deal with some fallout, simply because of the nature of the disease we call MS. Catch-22.

Reflections on dating with MS: Dating…now there is a very interesting topic. Surprisingly enough, I have been out on a few dates now, some good, some not as good. It ain’t the dating I remember! Whether you have MS or not, it can be quite the challenge to try to juggle kids, shiftwork, and fitting in time for a date with another adult! Throw in the fatigue from MS that can set in from all the daily juggling and stresses…well, that’s quite an interesting mix – “Nice to see you. No, really I’m not yawning because I am bored, I am simply very tired. Do you mind if I just curl up and take a nap?” Yeah…that always goes over well on a date! But, I still fully believe love and companionship are possible for those of us with MS. It will just take a very special and strong person to fill that roll for each of us. (I’ll fill you in later! πŸ˜‰

Reflections on springtime: One thing I have noted over the years is that many of us with MS truly struggle in the spring season months. Whether it is the depletion of Vitamin D stores from lack of sufficient sunlight over the winter months, or simply seasonal fatigue that hits us harder than most – March and April can be months that are truly difficult, health-wise. Personally, every March-April, my health has taken a down-turn, with increased symptom flare-up and devastating fatigue. This year’s “slump” was so bad for me that I have finally arranged for outside help in taking care of the house cleaning and lawn care, hopeful that it will help since when I try to do it all, I end up in bed for 2 days! I can’t necessarily afford it – but I can’t afford NOT to! I have had enough of an exacerbation, with the MS Hugs coming back hard, despite my exercise regime, that I have also returned to a strict following of non-gluten, and low fat, foods. (Over time, I had been feeling so good with my weightloss and better overall stamina that I let some things slide in terms of dietary restrictions. Bad move…always is…as my sister says, I need a brick to fall on my head for me to have an “Aha” moment! πŸ˜‰ But coming to terms with realising that you can’t do it all by yourself can be very difficult – especially when you are a type “A” over-achiever like me! LOL! (Geez…haven’t I been here before? Maybe I need more than one brick, eh? πŸ˜‰

Reflections on the MS Walk: I am looking forward to the MS walk in May – and will walk again this year, no matter the weather, no matter what! Last year it rained and rained and rained…then rained some more, making for a very wet Walk. This year, I hope the Weather Gods take pity on us, and bring some sun! (You’d think with my connections in that regard, I’d have some pull, eh? Nope!) Join me in the walk in whatever city you are in, won’t you? Or you can sponsor me by going to the secure website at Carolyne’s MS Walk page . Yes…that is my shameless plug for pledges! πŸ˜‰

The spring has sprung, the grass is riz…time for us MS’ers to take in some much-needed sun…before we have to take measures to escape the coming heat!

Happy Easter!