Yes, there is a new updated look for MS Means…and it only took me about 8-10 weeks to do! (Yeesh.)

Over the past couple of months or so, I have been slowly pecking away at upgrading and updating the MS Means website. My energy levels and cognitive issues have slowed me down considerably, but I am happy to say that I finally got the bulk of it upgraded and published today! The site is newer, slicker – with a black background and the ability to change text size. (There remain a few pages that need upgrading to the new look, but these I will continue to peck away at until the entire site is fully updated.)

The past few months have been quite the challenge as I adjust both mentally and emotionally to a new and more restrictive lifestyle (in terms of ensuring I am as fully rested as possible). I must say that I am finding it easier to put on the “breaks” now, but I can still get caught up in the moment and push myself beyond the breaking point before I am even aware of it. Thankfully, I have family, friends, and co-workers who have no qualms about helping me put on those same breaks. (My boss has a virtual Brick he tosses my way when he sees the need!) And I joined a car-pool in order to reduce my levels of stress and fatigue due to driving, and it also has the added benefit of keeping me on track in terms of beginning and ending my day. Now that I am working 2 days from home out of 5, I am hoping to see my fatigue levels stabilize or improve over time.

One of the struggles has been trying not to isolate myself as I deal emotionally with all the changes as a result of the cognitive issues. I just don’t feel like myself – and am not really sure who I am anymore. My self-esteem has taken a hit, as I second guess myself, forget things, search for words, and fatigue diminishes my coherence and understanding of issues (especially late in the day). I am learning to put everything outside: white boards around the house, using bathroom mirrors as white boards, writing everything down in a notebook that I bring with me, using my Outlook software to maximize my abilities with task lists, reminders, and the like. For someone who had always had everything up-front and centre in her mind, this is a huge change. I am becoming uber-organized – clearing out anything and everything that clutters my home, my office, and my mind.

I recently saw a new neurologist, and he is sending me for an urgent MRI in order to determine if the concussion I suffered back in March 2007 has done more damage than previously know. This may be the contributing factor in part of my recent struggles. From what he told me, concussions and MS do not mix! So, they need to get into my head to see what’s going on in there. (My initial response was to quip “Not much – seems to be getting very empty in there lately!”) I don’t know what this will mean later…but it will be good to find out more information.

On the physical front, I continue to push myself to be as physically fit as possible. Natalie (my trainer) is working with me to build my core strength in order to help my balance. Swimming with the Master’s swim team is a lifesaver for me – it’s the time where I can meditate and listen to the sloshing of the water in my ears as I do lap after lap. I am also working with Natalie to adjust my diet – given my gluten intolerance and peri-menopausal state, trying to keep trim and even lose 10-15 pounds is proving a constant struggle.

Well, I have always believed that life is not about finding yourself, but about creating yourself. I am creating a new “me” as I go through this process – but I am well assured that the basics of who I am are still intact.

Carolyne
www.msmeans.ca

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