The Inspiration Behind My Health And Wellness

We all have something….and illness, and injury, a social disorder.  We all have a story to tell.  This part of my story is about my illness.  I have Multiple Sclerosis, but it does NOT have me!

What Is MS?

MS is a long-lasting disease that causes damage to the nerve endings in your brain, spinal cord and/or optic nerve.  Web MD has this to say about MS, “MS happens when your immune system attacks a fatty material called myelin, which wraps around your nerve fibers to protect them. Without this outer shell, your nerves become damaged. Scar tissue may form.”  It affects everyone differently.  It can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities, vision impairment, nausea and dizziness, paralysis, weakness, extreme fatigue, memory loss….among other various issues.

My Diagnosis

One Saturday in June of 2009, I was getting ready to head to work in my retail management career.  Out of the blue I felt a tightness in my chest, could not catch my breath, and was crying uncontrollably without even realizing it.  My sister was in from out of town and came to my rescue.  She drove me to a nearby hospital.  On the ride, I lost feeling in my left arm.  Of course we thought I was having a heart attack.  The ER exam and testing ruled out a heart attack and they kept me for observation.

That evening as I awaited my dinner tray, I lost feeling and function in the left side of my face.  When I rolled over to look at my sister, she was as white as a ghost.  They put me in an ambulance and rushed me to a different hospital where they had Neurological specialists.  In the ambulance I lost the feeling in my left leg.  Now we were all thinking stroke.  MRI’s and other testing ruled out a stroke, Lupus, Lyme’s Disease and other possibilities.  The Neurologist on call refused to give up.  She ordered a spinal tap for Monday morning.  She had a strong feeling about my prognosis….you see, my mother has MS as well.  She was diagnosed at the age of 19, in 1963.

During my spinal tap I had two seizures and my heart rate dropped below 30.  All I remember is thrashing around and waking up drenched in sweat.  The rapid testing revealed that my “O Bands” were 99% positive for MS.  I began 5 days worth of IV steroids and the doctor ordered for me to start daily injections of Copaxone which is one of many DMD’s (disease modifying drugs).  The next few weeks were a blur….Occupational and Physical Therapy, nurses coming and going from my house, and learning a “new normal”.  How do you put your hair in a pony tail?  How do you walk with a normal gait?  How do you pick up a penny?

Eventually I regained most of it with the help of many people.  I returned to the gym very slowly and hired a personal trainer who helped to change my life.  I was in the early stages of a divorce, and also lost the career I had worked so hard at developing.  But for the first time I was slowing down.  I was enjoying my daughters.  They were 3 and 9 at the time.

My Future

Here I am 9 years later.  I have gone through so many life changes that I will tell you all about in the future.  I am happy to say that I have only progressed to RRMS (Remitting-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis). My symptoms are extreme fatigue, numbness and tingling in my left hand, arm and side of my face.  Some cognitive function hurdles are present along with the occasional bout of vertigo.

My daughters are now 12 and 18.  They are my drive.  I am so blessed to have them.  I workout regularly to maintain strength.  I have built a life that has contributed to my happiness and inner peace.  I may have to do things slower or in a different way, but I still live my life.  I tell anyone and everyone who asks me about my disease.  I will educate people and have helped quite a few newly diagnosed patients deal with their “new normal”.

Turmeric…Can it heal you?

Where to begin?  After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (an auto-immune and inflammatory disease), I tried numerous medications and treatments at my doctors’ instruction.  In early 2018 I decided to research more natural methods to heal my body.  One of the things I stumbled upon was Turmeric.

 

Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory power of turmeric comes from one specific compound called curcumin.  Turmeric slows the body’s production of inflammatory signaling properties.  This helps to bring the body back to normal and decreases inflammation in the system dramatically.

Believe it or not, ALL of our bodies have some level of inflammation in them.  Reducing inflammation in our bodies should be a top priority.  Inflammation affects cognitive function, energy levels and overall health.  Reducing inflammation can also ease pain and discomfort from joint pain.

 

Curcumin boosts brain activity

The neurons in the brain are capable of increasing in number and forming new connections.  Curcumin can help eliminate or reverse brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s by clearing plaques in the brain.

It is also beneficial in treating depression and anxiety, resulting in a more balanced mood.  Curcumin can boost serotonin and has been shown to lead to improvements similar to Prozac.

 

My personal experience

I began adding turmeric to my daily routine in February of 2018.  Since then I have had more clear cognitive function at work.  The joint pain in my hip has also disappeared.  I have been able to discontinue the use of depression and pain medications.  I am not a doctor, but can certainly testify what this natural “wonder herb” has done for my health and well-being.

Making “ME” Time

Believe it or not, one of the things that tops people’s lists when it comes to what they wish they had more of….is “me time”.  How often have you had this same thought?  Sometimes we view taking time for ourselves as a waste of time or invaluable.  We prioritize things like our children, our partner, our career….all before ourselves.  If they are all worthy of your attention and time, then so are you.

The truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup.  Stress and fatigue can have serious health consequences such as heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke.  Mentally it brings on things such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and mood swings.  Just like our bodies need nourishment and rest to function properly, so do our minds.

Ways to schedule yourself in

Decide that you need time for you every day.  It’s normal at first to feel guilty for taking time for yourself.  Once you realize that you will be happier, more rested and less irritable, the decision will be so much easier.  Your well-being sets the tone for the rest of your life.

Finding the “me” time that suits you.  We all like to unwind in different ways.  Start by making a list of different ways you would spend time alone….15 minutes alone, an hour alone, and a whole day alone.  For you it may be quietly reading, indulging in a hot cup of coffee while witting on your porch, meditation and journaling, or enjoying a hobby or past time.  For me, it’s waking at 5am to enjoy my coffee and journal alone.  It’s actually my favorite time of the day.

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Make it a habit.  Once you have decided what it is that you will do for yourself, SCHEDULE it in!  Make it a daily habit, preferably at the same time each day.  Once you have made the commitment, stick to it.  Switching up your indulgence every once in a while is good for you.  Just make “me” time a habit.

Say “no”. Learn to say no to things that do not bring value to your life or make you happy.  Just because someone asks, doesn’t mean you are obligated to say “yes”.  There is nothing selfish in turning down something that does not enrich your life.  Cross off the things in your life that take up extra time….answering emails on your day off, too much time on social media, running to the market every day for dinner instead of planning ahead and only going once a week.  You’ll be surprised how much time you free up!

 

Benefits of  “me” time

You will be more relaxed.  This characteristic can help you in all relationships.  You will be less irritated with an issue between you and your partner.  That seemingly difficult co-worker will become less of a thorn in your side.  Even your children will seem less needy at times.  Of course you enjoy caring for them, and once you have balance in your life it all becomes more joyful.

Gratitude.  Taking time to “check out” and explore your own thought helps you to become more grateful.  Lack of time alone can actually build up resentment towards other people and situations in your life.  Having time alone helps us create an attitude of gratitude for what and whom we do have.

A healthy balance. “Me” time can greatly reduce stress and anxiety…resulting in better sleep habits, better communication with those in your life, increased energy, and even lower blood pressure.  Depression and anxiety will melt away.

 

What it all boils down to is you deserve it.  Taking care of you first should be a priority. Stop wishing for more personal time, and start creating the peaceful time you need and are worthy of.  You’ll thank me for it.

 

 

 

 

Staying Positive in Any Situation

Have you ever had the kind of morning where everything started WRONG???

  • Your alarm didn’t go off.
  • The coffee maker broke.
  • You get to your car, only to have a flat tire.
  • Your child forgot his lunch.
  • You get a speeding ticket on your way to work.

 

Trust me, I have been there!  Life is 10% what happens TO you, and 90% how you REACT to it.  Just because things don’t go as planned, doesn’t mean your day is ruined.  When you have a sense of gratitude, these everyday bumps in the road will not define you.

You never know what tomorrow will bring.  Staying in an angry, frustrated state of mind is only wasting your valuable time on this earth.  Enjoy each and every day.

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5 ways to enjoy your day:

SMILE:  Something as simple as a smile can turn your whole day around.  When we smile, the whole world smiles as well.  You smile at someone, they smile back…..This releases the “feel good” chemicals in the brain.

BREATHE:  Stop and take a few deep breaths.   Breath in…..and breath out.  Do this for a few minutes with your eyes closed (if possible).  This is actually a form of meditation and can center your thoughts and calm your mind.

ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS:  Think of something small that brings you joy…a cup of coffee, a latte, a book, talking to your best friend.  DO IT!!!!  Call that friend, buy the latte, read part of the book!  These are the simple things that bring us joy.

GET SOME FRESH AIR:  Take a brisk walk, or enjoy your coffee on the front porch.  Just being in and around fresh air improves our mood and our state of mind.  Sooooo……GET OUT THERE!!!!!

COUNT YOUR MANY BLESSINGS:  Make a list of the things you are grateful for.  Your family, your job, your bed….hahaha!!!!  What ever you are grateful for, write it down.  I actually start and end each day with gratitude.  While having my morning coffee, I list 3 things I am grateful for.  Before bed, I think of 3 things that happened that day that were a blessing.