Thursday, 18 April 2013

Loosening the mind trip grip

Shhhh - I don't want to say this too loud, but I feel so convinced this time that I'm going to say it.
I don't want to make too much song and dance about it but I have to share.
Ok *deep breath* here goes...
I think I might have got through the MS mind trip!
There I've said it.
And now for the disclaimer.
At least I feel like I have anyway.
I've said it before on this blog... and probably at the time I said it I meant it. And then all of a sudden a couple of weeks later I would write about how MS had got me in its mind trip grip again.
But today it feels different.

And believe it or not, it has all got to do with Northern lass, all around beauty and marathon runner Nell McAndrew.
Ever since that fateful day in June 2011 when I was diagnosed with MS, exercise has not been on top of my agenda.
But as a new year's resolution for 2013, I decided I would try and exercise a couple of times a week. And up until three and a half weeks ago, I was managing to stay on top of my resolution. I found a DVD called 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels and was managing to do one of her 20 minute work outs at least every other day.

And then I fell off the exercise wagon. It was a combination of my toddler developing a filthy habit of waking up a couple of times every night, a bit of a stressful time in work and general tiredness enhanced by not having a full night's sleep. It didn't take much for me to abandon my trainers and fall into a ball on the sofa every night rather than follow Jillian and her helpers as they tried to encourage me to tone up my midriff. Chocolate became my friend. And wine became my de-stresser.
"I'll start again tomorrow" became my mantra.
And suddenly the 30 day shred became the 30 day slob.

Enough was enough. And today I decided to give Nell's DVD a whirl.
It was great. It was hard, and I had to stop several times because my lungs felt like they were on fire and my legs had turned to stone, but it was great. Ok it did take nearly an hour for my red cheeks to return to normal colour but it felt so good to actually move again. Nell got me back into the exercise groove.

Then a few hours later, it dawned on me that despite being in an exercise void for nearly a month and feeling guilty for being so lazy, I hadn't (for the first time since becoming me with MS) blamed my inactivity on the monster.

As I reflected, I realised that unless I had been specifically asked - I hadn't even talked about having it. I hadn't spent time dwelling on it. Nor had I used it as an excuse to avoid an occasion.

So my conclusion is that after much soul searching I may actually have got through the MS mind trip.
I'm not saying it'll be the case all the time because I am sure I'll get my dark times again, but at the moment MS is at the back of the queue of everything else in my life.

Like an adolescent pup it tried to assert itself but I've shown it who is top dog and I've also made it quite clear its place in the pecking order is at the back.
And just to make it absolutely clear, I've blown a big raspberry at it and debagged it when its back was turned in a public place. Ha!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Handbag vodka and other things

I am ashamed at how long it has been since I last blogged. More so after my first 'group' meeting with some MSers last night.

I had persuaded myself that now I have admitted my MS status to myself and anyone else who wants to listen it was time to go public with the MS crowd.

And so it was that I ventured into town on a school night and was confronted by a gang of giggly, handbag-vodka swilling, funny and overall nice bunch of people in a Cuban-themed bar in the middle of Cardiff.

It was nice and strange all rolled into one. Nice because these people were friendly - each varying in degrees of gregariousness. They were welcoming and kind and just an all around nice gang.

But it was strange too because on the face of it, to a complete random person who knew no better, we were a gang of mates meeting up and loudly laughing (and laughing and laughing some more). It would have looked like there was nothing unique about us apart from being a bit tipsy (which in a couple of cases was spot on but in a couple of other cases was actually a balance issue) and we would have looked like we were all old friends instead of the reality of us being complete strangers to one another with not a great deal in common apart from fighting the MS monster which was flummoxing each and every one of us often in totally different ways.

It was humbling and interesting hearing snippets of how these people were coping with MS. Don't misunderstand me - this was not a night of soul baring about MS. Nor was it one full of 'woe is me'. It was a night meeting people with a shared interest but not one where our shared interest was dissected to within an inch of its life. Yes there was chat about MS and about treatments and everything connected but it was also a night of sharing nachos and avoiding getting photographed by the keen phone-camera snapper in the group!

In other news, I went back to work in February  It took longer than I had expected to get over round two of the Big A. For lots of reasons really including feeling the need to lick the emotional wounds MS dished out and generally not feeling physically ready to get back into full time work. But I'm back now and things are going well. My baby turned from a sweet smiling lovable little soul into a two year old with an independent streak and a determination (and a scream to go with it) to do things his own way.

My life seems normal at the moment. MS is keeping its ugly head down and so far the Big A appears to have thwarted any attempts by my monster to re-emerge.
I do get floored by fatigue by the end of the week (despite me changing from working shifts to a 9-5 day) and am often forced to spend my weekends on a big rest which is frustrating and guilt inducing but overall, things are going okay and I feel positive.
Life is good. Long may it continue.