Staying Ahead of the Bully Called MS
One of the biggest goals people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have is avoiding disease progression. The fewer relapses the better, right? We want to keep moving! We don’t want MS to stop us from doing the things we want to do!
An exacerabtion out of nowhere
Like many others with this horrible disease, I have struggled for years to find the right disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for me, by which I mean, a DMT that actually reduces the number of relapses I have and slows down the progression of my MS. During the times that my MS is silent and not wreaking havoc on my central nervous system (CNS), I work to improve my health and try to repair some of the damage that MS has done to me by eating well, exercising, doing things to try to stimulate my brain and practicing doing the things that MS has made difficult so that I will eventually be able to do them with some ease again (that’s the goal at least). After some time passes by, I can actually see some progress! Things are improving! I finally feel like I am ahead of MS! But too often it seems that whenever I start to think this, MS decides it needs to pop up out of the blue and whack my brain with a sledgehammer - exacerbation.
Struggling with hopelessness and despression
When this happens, I often feel greatly discouraged, hopeless even. I tend to feel like everything I accomplished while MS was leaving me alone was completely undone! Like I have to start all over again! This then leads to depression, which sucks every bit of motivation out of me – or do I have these thoughts because I am depressed? What came first -- the chicken or the egg? Well, either way, now I am (mentally) in a bad place and the idea of ever getting myself back ahead of MS to where I was right before my relapse seems totally unrealistic to me.
Manaing MS and relapses
But that is obviously not true or else I would not even be writing this right now. There was a time that I was sitting in a wheelchair struggling to type with one finger, one key at a time and since then I have traveled abroad and seen many things that most people will never see in their lives. Am I anywhere near where I want to be in life right now? No, but I am much closer to those goals than I was all those years ago when I could barely stand on my own two feet without someone helping me. Why was I able to do those things? Because somehow I managed to pull myself out of that dark place in my head and just push MS back (probably because I am more stubborn than I am tired). I didn’t give in and give up! Keep on keep’n on!
When MS pushes you, get up and push back
That is the key -- always move forward! When MS pushes you down, get back up and push back! Of course, take some time to rest and allow your MS to wear itself out. If your doctor decides to give you a round of steroids think of it like the steroids are your alley and are causing your MS to tire out faster while you are resting (or at least taking it easy since the steroids might have you wired). When you feel like your MS is down for the count take a deep breath, stand back up and start pushing!
We are stronger than multiple sclerosis
Did you ever see the movie Captain America? When it looks like MS is winning the fight, wipe the blood from your lip, raise your fist and say to it, “I can do this all day,” because what do they say? “I may have MS but MS does not have me!” We are stronger than multiple sclerosis!
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