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A few of my blog friends have inquired about my life living with MS and how I have felt lately so I thought I would tell the world. For those of you who are not aware I was diagnosed with MS in 2013, but have lived with the symptoms since 2007.
Life is good right now and I can say that my symptoms are manageable, but not absent. It is a good thing that the brain gets accustomed to some of the pain. My legs are still numb and burn daily. My hands hurt and I still get the stinging flash pains in my joints. I can say I am currently off of most of the meds while I try to deal with the pain through will power.
As most of you know I am no longer operating my business and have taken a job at a local newspaper as the digital specialist. The job is going well and gives me the freedom to move a bit. One of the most annoying things about my MS is I cannot sit for too long nor can I stand for too long so I am constantly moving or shifting to offset the discomfort.
For the most part life is going well for Evelina and I and I appreciate the emails inquiring about my health. It does mean a lot to us to know that so many of my blog followers think about me and take the time to ask. And for that I say a hearty THANK YOU!!
As most of you know I live each day of my life with multiple sclerosis. My type of MS is secondary progressive which means that I have symptoms present daily with no remittance. I take it in stride understanding that there are many people worse off than I, therefore, I focus to stay thankful. With that said, the daily effort required to deal with this disease is great and the attention and love my wife shows me is even greater.
In my post My Life Living With MS, I talked about the fact that Evelina is my angel, my support and my strength. I am not sure what I have done in life to have her at my side, but I am greatly appreciative!!
Each day my wife assists me with a few simple tasks with which I struggle, tends to my medications and vitamins, prepares meals and reminds me of all the things that I forget. The job is truly a never-ending burden and she simply goes about her day with no complaints, which I find amazing.
Now that I am working a new job Evelina makes sure I have clean clothes and new ties. She keeps me organized and focused to take things with me that I will need throughout the day. Any success I find in the future at my job at the newspaper will be because of her. And for that I will be forever grateful.
So to my wife I say I love you, I appreciate your burden of love and you will always be my beautiful. My words will always fall short of expressing my feelings, but I hope you always know what you mean to me. Thank you for making my Dreams come true, I love you to the moon!
I had a question posed to me this week: how are you always so positive considering you have secondary progressive MS? Well the truth is I don’t live my life in a continuous state of positivity. I write a blog that focuses on learning how to transform oneself from an under-achiever, non-doer into a person of organization, purpose, plan and action; full of desire and ambition. It takes a lot of work to remain positive.
Honestly, I am more positive now in life because the alternative is not acceptable. I will not allow myself to go to the dark side and focus on how crappy life can be, how crappy people can be, how I hate my job, how life just keeps putting it to me. I just refuse to allow my mind to think it those terms.
Why? Because I choose to focus very little on the negative, while focusing heavily on the positive as I work toward achieving my goals.
This does not mean I am not aware of the negatives. I do not live my life with my head buried in the sand. I simply will not allow myself to use valuable life energy to focus on negatives. It is not productive, thus I find productive things on which to focus.
It is not easy and takes much effort to live a life focusing on the positive. Part of me wants to give in and just become negative. I do not talk about my MS, too often. I do not complain about my MS pain, too often. I do not complain about not playing golf anymore, too often. I do not complain about having to take my Copaxone shot 3 times per week, too often.
I think many people would understand if I did complain. AND I know a lot of chronic sufferers that complain incessantly, most of whom I give a hall pass because I know what it feels like to hurt. But I will not give in. I will not relent. I choose to fight. I choose to stay positive. I choose my mentality. I choose my future!
I am positive because it is the one thing I get to control.
To those that live a life of negativity I say: suck it up buttercup. I bet there’s a kid in a third-world country that would give a limb to switch places with you and do it without hesitation. We have it easy in civilized societies; we are so incredibly spoiled. Most of us suffer from first-world problems and act as if the world is coming to an end.
We don’t have to walk 5 miles one way to carry back dirty water to our families. Water that will kill millions of kids each year. We don’t have to worry about polio, AIDS, diphtheria, measles, deadly enfluenza, lions, tigers or bears! Seriously, the next time you start complaining, stop and listen to yourself. What are you complaining about? Take action, change your position, change your future. You have the freedom to do so.
You ARE the answer to your own problems; start acting like it.
Why do I choose to remain positive? Because I live in a country that allows me to write a blog to help others. I live in a country where I can speak to MS patients and let them know someone cares. I live in a country that allows me to turn my life into whatever I want it to be.
Why do I choose to remain positive? Because when all is said and done, my life ain’t that bad!
I love banging the drum of things I believe will help people feel better about themselves. Integrated medicine is one of those causes. If you suffer from disease, then I highly recommend you adopt a whole-person treatment regimen: mind, body and spirit. To simply treat the body with one narrow treatment is not as effective in my humble opinion. Check out this article I found this morning on US News & World Report:
When I was first diagnosed with MS I followed every direction my doctor gave me. He was and is a conventional medical doctor and sticks with prescribing medication and monitoring symptom developments. As I have educated myself I have found that treating any disease requires treating the entire person with more than only using traditional medical practices. Physical exercise, meditation, prayer, eating healthier, acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc. can all help tremendously!
This practice as I understand it is called integrative medicine and I have befriended Mat Silverman, a doctor who practices this full-form (mind, body and spirit) of medicine and writes at Peaceful Practice here on WordPress! The methods that he espouses can help so many people find a more complete treatment regimen instead of relying solely on prescribed medication. One can seek out massage, acupuncture or meditation in conjunction with traditional medicine.
I encourage everyone to check out his page and introduce yourself to Mat as he is eager to help people, which as you all know, is one of my favorite traits in people.
See the power of the reblogging? I have met and read his work through the reblogging practice and if not, then I might have never read his page and/or been exposed to his integrative medical practice. His page is now one I love to visit and wait for posts and you will too!
I can speak to the use of a chiropractor and massage therapy and strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves as to their benefits. I say this sometimes when I am speaking to groups about MS: pay attention because you never know when disease will touch your life! You might need a doctor like Mat one day and if you educate yourself now, you will be 10 steps ahead in the future!
This article provides an extensive description of integrative medicine. I strongly encourage everyone to actually read this article as medical treatment may be very important to you one day:
I am a fan of integrative medicine as it treats the entire person: mind, body and spirit. I practice this method to treat my MS along with some standard conventional medical treatments. Here is a great introductory article to the practice:
I spent the better part of today at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Huntersville, NC speaking with the store associates about MS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, my personal experience and the Dream Big community. I was surprised by the number of employees who’s lives had been touched by MS. This was my first engagement booked through the National
Society and I am honored to have taken part.
You never know where life my lead so you must keep an open mind and rarely ever say no without first hearing all details of an opportunity. If I had said no to writing I would not be where I am today! I picked up a few new clients for life coaching and added a few folks to the email list for encouragement and support.
Of all the things I believe, this one I believe more and more: ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!
It feels as though everything I have learned in life, all my experiences, have led to this place. A place that provides me the opportunity to meet and help so many people. One by one the Dream Big community will change the world. I implore each of my readers to take a moment and find an organization to volunteer. There is no greater experience than giving your time to help others. I promise it will change your life!
I must say that today has been a great day!
As some might know, I live with MS. I have never thought of myself as a MS advocate, but more of a guy trying to accomplish his goals that happens to live with Multiple Sclerosis. But it is a part of my life and I thought I would write a little about it.
First, here are a couple links describing MS:
I am not sure why I am talking about this so openly here as I rarely speak about the Monster to anyone but my wife. I guess I thought it might shed a little light on awareness and let you see a little more about me as the person telling you to change your life, get healthy, pay down debt, etc.
So in 2007 I was on vacation in Ft Myers for Red Sox spring training baseball. Go Sox!! Anyway, while sitting on the beach I noticed a small, quarter sized numb spot on the bottom of my right foot. When I returned to Charlotte I went to a neurologist, went through the testing and eventually was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. Within a couple months of noticing the numb spot, I had numbness to my shins on both legs. Eventually, the numbness would move to my fingers and other locations on my legs. Numbness as it relates to my MS also brings nerve pain that I can only describe as a burning in my feet and hands that feels like fire!
My symptoms are as follows: nerve pain, numbness, blurry vision, headaches, severe fatigue, lightning flash nerve pain in my hips to my feet and my shoulders to my hands, wrist and general leg pain, hyper-sensitive reflexes, sensitive skin spots, sensitivity to loud noises/places and chest banding (aka MS hug). I have dealt with other effects such as social anxiety, depression, strain on my marriage, loss of employment, etc.
The side effect of MS that I find difficult to deal with is the sensitivity to loud places and noises. I find it difficult to be in loud places such as restaurants or bars where lots of people are talking or places with loud music. I can tolerate it for about an hour, but then the noise combined with focusing on conversations drains my energy and I must go home. Because of this lots of MS suffers learn to be home-bodies. I am by nature a social butterfly and have had to make serious lifestyle changes to accommodate my situation.
Oh and these symptoms do not include the side effects associated with the ever-changing prescription medications! Lyrica, hydrocodone, tramadol, Baclofen, Carbamezipine, tizanidine, Betaseron, Solumedrol, Copaxone….jeez! And trust me these side effects are far worse than the symptoms sometimes!
With all this said, I have a great life! I have the greatest support system ever; my parents, sister and brother-in-law, friends and wife are the best. I lean on my wife and she holds me up with her strength, courage and patience. She tolerates my ever-changing mood swings, helps me with some of the simple tasks with which I struggle, nurtures and loves. I have said and will continue to say she is my angel!
I am not in a wheelchair like many living with MS and do not require any assistance walking. Although I am no longer able to actively participate in physical activities like P90X, Insanity, basketball and golf, I have turned my life in new directions. I love writing and I love the research required to provide an educated opinion on the topics that I write about. I have reignited my love affair with first century Christian history, a passion that amazes and provokes my intellect. And I focus lots of energy on living a healthy lifestyle.
Living with MS has given me a new perspective on life. I have very little sympathy for those that complain about life while living a life of neglect. I find it irresponsible to watch people filling their bodies with tons of fatty foods, lying around and getting fat when their bodies are fully capable of doing better. If you have read my strong opinions on this topic maybe this post puts that in perspective. If you are capable of more you should expect more of yourself. Period. No excuses. Stop being so lazy. Get up off your butt and do something other than eating crap food, getting more complacent and less active!!! I cannot and will not relent on this subject. If you are able, then DO. There is no excuse you can give me that will validate or justify an irresponsible lifestyle. In the end I say “I battle a disease daily that is trying to destroy my body, yet I still DO. What’s your excuse?”
I will always advocate that people manage their lives with the responsibility that will allow them to live the life they want to live. Whatever that dream should be, live it: moving to a mountain lifestyle, changing jobs, traveling, entrepreneurship, paying off debt, living a healthy lifestyle, etc. You can have what you want, if you want it bad enough.