The Power of Positive Action
Well as precisely nobody will have noticed, I’ve been a wee bit quiet on here recently. I’ve had a few MS-related incidents which have knocked me back a bit – but I’m sure you’ll know all about that sort of thing!
Firstly in a cold snap at the start of the year I learnt a valuable lesson (which is so obvious I’m still slapping my head at my idiocy): temperature sensitivity goes both ways, and symptoms can flare up in the cold as well as the heat. In my case it was a full-on 24-hour pseudo-relapse – a bit of rest and a good night’s sleep and I was sorted.
Then we went on a short break as a family but I found myself slipping back into bad habits – ‘just in case’ trips to the toilet, bad fatigue management, an inability to ask for help. This was annoying and frustrating for my wife – I know the things which help me, but I just wasn’t doing them.
On top of all that, after about five years I seem to have stopped tolerating my Rebif Beta Interferon injections – not just the act of doing injections but the drugs themselves. As I have to inject three-times-a-week, the side-effects have been lasting for the whole week in some cases.
So far, so humdrum.
But in the last couple of weeks I’ve thrown myself (gently) into doing things which are going to help me. And being proactive and trying to take charge of my health has – on its own – made me feel a lot better.
And on top of all that, I’ve been in touch with a local chapter of the UK MS Society.
10 years ago when I was initially diagnosed, the first Neurologist I saw told me to stay away from any local MS support group “unless you want to get really depressed”.
So with these words still ringing in my ears, I recently went along to an open day at my local MS Activity Centre. And it was great.
AN ASIDE: I know I’m extremely lucky to have MS Specialist Nurses on my doorstep with an activity centre down the road. This is not necessarily the case throughout the UK.
Since then, I’ve returned for a lunchtime Chair Yoga session, which was pretty hardcore, especially when we concentrated on my weaker leg.
My favourite quote was from the particularly sparky lady next to me who said she was glad I’d turned up [I was the only man there], as "if there's one thing I can't abide it's a roomful of women"!
The point of all this is that, after a shaky start to the year when I was letting my MS get the better of me, I’ve started to wrestle back a bit more control. And since then, I’ve been feeling physically and mentally stronger.
MS can take so much from us, but I know that being proactive, asking for help, and seeking a change to my medication have already had benefits for me and my family, regardless of the outcome.
How well do people around you understand MS?