Bottom line, Multiple Sclerosis is a game changer; at least it was for me. I didn’t know a whole lot about it and what to expect; I didn’t know how it would impact my day-to-day life. Usually when speaking about MS, or reading about MS… you hear a lot of the worst case scenarios, or you see all the pictures of people using assistive devices, and think that is going to be you. Yes, there are people with MS that are in wheelchairs, etc. But there are also large amounts of people that have a more ‘invisible illness’ aspect of it; where you can feel it, but others can’t see it. I’ve dealt with both spectrums of this, BTW.
Due to MS, I have trouble with fatigue, spasms, etc. What you don’t hear a lot about is what you CAN DO despite having Multiple Sclerosis. So I wanted to take this time to share some things that MS cannot take away from me.
I can still go outdoors, in the heat… (Mind you I live in Central Texas). It may not be like I used to or as long, but I CAN DO it still. Making small modifications and just being self aware of when it is too much. Making sure I stay hydrated and have cooling equipment near by, or a place to go inside with A/C. To see a blog of mine about dealing w/ heat & MS – click here.
I can still enjoy outings with my kids. As a parent, you don’t want to be the reason your kids cannot go out and do fun things, especially something that requires a lot of walking. I CAN DO this, just with modifications. Making sure I rest before the outing. Plan to take breaks, have someone with me to help out if needed. Knowing my limit… I feel like that is the most important thing I learned. As long as I don’t push myself past my ‘limit’, I feel like I can still do things that I did pre-MS. I also take with me a water bottle, which I put ice water in. The water bottle has a mister & fan on it as well.
I CAN DO whatever I set my mind to. It doesn’t have to be a physical task that I’m speaking about either. I can still read books… it might take me a bit longer than it used to, but I CAN DO it. It’s something I enjoy and helps me get away from my worries and current issues that I might be going through.
I’ve learned that I can at least try to do things; and if I fail… at least I tried. I am a very stubborn person and I don’t like being told that I can’t do certain things, or that I need to sit down and watch people have fun. Don’t get me wrong, people watching can be pretty amusing… but I don’t want to miss out.
I’ve come to realize that if I’m doing something I enjoy, that my stress level decreases. I don’t focus on the possibility of failure, but focus on succeeding. From personal experience, it seems as if I would ‘psych’ myself out of doing things that I enjoy doing; the fear of the unknown, so to say.
I am aware that if I decide to go to the lake with friends that I might be super tired the following day(s). I’d rather be prepared for what was to come, rather than it coming out of nowhere, in regards to fatigue, etc.
FYI – For outdoor activities, I always make sure to have options available to cool off/rest. I’m in no way saying I go out there and push myself beyond my limit in 100+ degree weather. I’ve done that before, did not end well.
Don’t let someone tell you that you CAN’T do something; because you CAN DO anything you want to. It might be modified a little bit ever since being diagnosed with MS, but it’s better than nothing.
I CAN still have fun playing games online, video game system, etc. Chat with others on online communities for Multiple Sclerosis, Snap Chat friends, go on Facebook… you get my drift.
I #KickMS by doing everything that I once thought I couldn’t do.
To read more info about the CAN DO MS mission, as well as the #KickMS initiative, visit MSCanDo.org or click here.
You can submit your own photos, stories, etc. for the “#KICKMS” campaign for the month of September!
Some of you may have heard the MS quote before… something along the lines of, “I have Multiple Sclerosis, but it does not have me.” Or something along the lines of that… I understand what people mean when they say that. However, for me, I would not be the person I am today, had I not been diagnosed. It changed a lot in my life, and that includes my personality and way of thinking.
I am stronger because of it, it has brought me down numerous times and I continuously fight against it. I once saw this on a quote – and it stuck with me. “The only thing strong enough to kick my butt, is ME.” (Mind you it used a different word for butt, you get the idea.) It’s a daily battle… one many of us go through. I can also tell you that I have met some of the most AMAZING people BECAUSE of my MS.
“My MS & I go hand in hand; it does not define who I am but I wear it like a badge because I continuously fight against it and not let it hold me down. It just goes to show you that the only thing strong enough to bring us down, is our own body. Fighting against it like we do is a show of our strength and fight to never give up.”
– Ashley Ringstaff
Blogger @ MultipleSclerosis.net
Diagnosed w/ MS since 8/30/10