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Another MS Lesson: Pay Attention

In my head, I’ve a myriad of abilities that I am capable of doing. For example, in my head, I can get up and walk across the room effortlessly and with no assistance from anything or anyone. In my head, I can stay up until two or three o’clock in the morning  reading a novel that I just CANNOT put down because it’s so good. And in my head, waking up to a little burning in my legs, tingling or aching arms doesn’t have to stop me from that fun outing I’ve been anxiously anticipating since it’s at least bearable. MS says those thoughts in my head can be acknowledged but warns I must pay attention to my body and my reality because otherwise, the consequences can be detrimental.

Use that walker

In my head, I can get up and walk across the room effortlessly and with no assistance from anything or anyone. That is SO not the case and it was made perfectly clear when I made an attempt to independently get to my commode once. Going into the second step, I fell. Thankfully, I didn’t hurt myself, but (after patting myself on the back for even that unassisted one step!), I learned my lesson – there really are limits. Use that walker!

Fatigue affects the simplest activities

One of my favorite pastimes is getting ‘lost’ in a good book. In days of yore, it was nothing for me to stay up until two or three o’clock in the morning reading a novel that was so good I just could NOT put it down yet still head to work in the morning. Albeit, I was a bit tired, but otherwise fully functionable. In my head, this is something I can still do and be alright. And I have tried… especially since I no longer work. Until ‘tomorrow’ comes and fatigue reminds me that whether out or at home, it can recess functionality to affect even the simplest of activities. The effects can last for a day or two depending on how much MS wants to ‘charge’ for such an offense.

Ignoring the warning signs

Awakening to a little burning in my legs, tingling or aching arms should be enough to make me cancel plans for that fun outing I’ve been anxiously anticipating, but in my head, I can handle it. So I did it. Went to church like that and the day went awry because I ignored those warning signs to stay home. I didn’t pay attention to what my body was saying and returned home in a full flare.

Facing my new normal

I believe it’s the feeling that I can still do some things I used to do, but having to face that my new normal is different that’s bothersome to me. However, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to lead to feelings of angst. There’s simply a lesson to be learned: Pressing on can be okay, but only if I pay attention to my body and acknowledge my limitations. Both are necessary in order to be safe and preserve my quality of life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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