The Power of Positive Thinking with Multiple Sclerosis

Before you read this blog, I recommend you read the lyrics of this song. If you need a pick me up, some motivation this is the song for you.

Alternatively, you could click here and it will take you to the lyrics.

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Here we go lads, prepare to have your spirits lifted and be granted a new lease on life! No. Don’t be silly. On a serious note, this entry isn’t entirely aimed at people with MS, but, instead everyone can benefit from positive thinking. Changing one negative thing into a positive a day can make a massive difference to you and your perception on life.

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Now, anyone who knows me can vouch for me when I say I was never a happy bunny. Smiling wasn’t my forte (still isn’t..but moving on!). I can safely say that MS has changed my outlook on life. Changed for the best, might I add. Some people were under the impression that I should have been down in the dumps, isolating myself from “life”. Nah, effort. Don’t misunderstand me, I get bad days. Who doesn’t? I pity myself, feel sorry for myself and just feel absolutely fed up. I can’t stress how often I feel sick and tired of always being sick and tired. The most important thing after having days like this, don’t give up. Hop back on your noble steed and keep riding into the sunset.

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Why should you think positively about MS? That’s not the question. Its, why should we think negatively about MS? Look, it’s a crap disease; some people are worse off than others. The way I see it; my Relapsing-Remitting MS is not a death sentence.  I am not dying from this diagnosis. My lifespan is not affected either. So, why be all depressed? I can’t do anything about it. It’s out of my hands. So, take a deep breath and relax!

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“When life hands you lemons..” and all of that jazz. Make the most of what you have. Find something to cling on to and to give you a reason to be positive. It could be as simple as yourself, your mother, your father, a sister or a brother, a teddy bear for all I care! Find that anchor, and don’t leave go.

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The way I see thing is; I could be at home sulking and still thinking; “why me, what did I do to deserve this?” But, let’s face it; being negative is tiring. I’m lazy enough as it is, I don’t need negativity and depressing thoughts to hold me back too. It takes more energy and effort to be negative. When you’re in a negative state of mind you begin to dwell on the bad things. You become blind to all of the good experiences and things that are going on around you, whereas if you think positively you can enjoy the good stuff. You can soak up the “good energy” and that kind of thing.

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Yes, I experience weird ass symptoms, yes I am tired, yes it is hard, frustrating and upsetting, but, let it go. Cry if you have to, scream if you need to, but, don’t do anything stupid like giving up. Wipe away your tears, breath after you scream. Stop. Remind yourself that you are still here! Remind yourself of how lucky you are to be living. Be grateful for what you have.

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It’s very easy to give up. For some reason, finding a purpose to hold on, to keep going and not to give up can be difficult. Think of a reason to be strong. Whatever is it that makes you feel like you can keep going, grasp that purpose and never let go of it. You’ll be surprised how easy life will get after this little step. A little goes a long way, one step at a time and for feck sake, STAY POSITIVE!

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Didn’t I tell you that you’d be inspired and uplifted after reading this? Positivity is easy. Just do it. You’ll thank me when you see the results and differences it will make to your daily life.

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How I Feel About Multiple Sclerosis

How do I really feel about my diagnosis? “FUCK YOU MS!” Does that suffice? I’m not going to butter it up!

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You know how they say “don’t look that up online”? I did it anyway.

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When I first searched for MS on the web I saw so many different perceptions, opinions, memes and the like towards the disease. Silly things like “MonSter”, “Must Stop”.

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You know, negative imagery. What do these do for the attitude of people, like me, who have MS? These are just damaging people’s views on themselves. For me, there was no sense of help or positive unity through these images, posts and such. These phrases cause more harm than good, in my opinion. I just didn’t feel this way about my diagnosis. I didn’t want to have such a negative view and outlook on my Multiple Sclerosis.

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I started to think “where are the phrases like “My Strength”, “My Success”, “My Support”? Why were these slogans not spread all over the internet like the rest?” Yes, it sounds like I’m a life-loving hippie, dancing around loving the earth, but, by God am I not! I just simply have decided not to be one of those people who have been totally affected by my diagnosis. 

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tumblr_lkxrcoHjTv1qdi47rMS is a stupid disease whereby my own body is attacking itself, how ridiculous is that? It’s completely annoying, but, also laughable. Multiple Sclerosis is the cause of these weird symptoms that I feel. It’s the cause of my sudden loss of control over my own body. My muscles start to spasm, my limbs go numb, they tingle, they burn, and they itch. The worst part about all of this; I can’t do anything about it.

images (1)It makes me feel pretty helpless. My own body, my physical being temporarily stops taking orders from me; the so-called boss. Like a rebellious teenager. I would love to clatter it and lock it into its bedroom. No TV, no phone and worst of all, no internet! Oh, life would be too easy. That is the major thing I find about this illness; control, authority and the final word are not mine. Not physically anyway. Mentally, I am the boss, I am in control and I do have power.

Power and control are big things for me. It always has been and always will be. It can be hard, certainly frustrating and most of all; disheartening. I feel like I’ve lost a part of my sense of self. This disease has made me feel incapable, incompetent and vulnerable. Ironically though, I’ve come out of the past 12 months stronger. Mentally anyway, because physically I’ve always been fucked!

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Being Diagnosed

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I sat down, watched as my neurologist opened my chart and then I waited. I felt my heart jumping out of my chest; “be good news, let it be good news.” That’s all I remember going through my head. He looked down at the papers in front of him; drawing his hands together he linked his fingers and took a deep breath in. Before looking me straight in the eyes, his expression changed. His face dropped. “Shit.” I thought to myself.  I knew by the look on his face that he didn’t want to tell me the news as much as I didn’t want to hear it.

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He began to explain to me that the protein they were looking for in the lumber puncture was positive for the one commonly found with Multiple Sclerosis. I froze; my sense of time was non-existent. My mind went completely blank. I remember these thoughts rushing through my mind; “What do I do now?” “What would happen to me?” I can recall a strange “play” dramatize in my mind. I was like the damsel in distress, sitting on a chair in the middle of the room. The room started to get smaller and smaller, fear and uncertainty began to set in. Can you say “overwhelmed”?

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After what seemed like decades, I felt my head begin to nod. I could feel a soft smile wipe across my face and next thing I know I’m hearing my voice, its saying; “okay. It could be worse.” I wasn’t thinking; these words were just coming out of my mouth. It was like an automatic reaction. Who was saying this? Why are my lips moving and where is the sound of my voice coming from?

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Next thing I know my neurologist began to explain the different types of treatment that were available to me. His mouth was moving, but, at that time I remember thinking “I’ll just walk out of the door and when I come back in we’ll try this again.” Yeah, good logic, Karolyn! Don’t be stupid!

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Suddenly, I’m sitting in the car, texting and calling people while being totally absent minded.  “I have MS.” I didn’t even know what it was. Now I’ve just been told that I have it, this was surely just a dream? From then on the day just blended together. Time still had no meaning to me. I recall repeating to myself; “everything will be okay”, just for reassurance and a sense of calm, I think. The last thing that I remember from that day is going upstairs to my room and crying for what felt like hours. Tears rolled out of my eyes until I had no more tears to shed. My whole world had just crumbled and started to suffocate me. “How am I supposed to deal with this?” “What will MS do to me?”

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It’s pretty safe to say that my initial reactions was denial, shock, fear, uncertainty and most importantly, un-fucking-lucky!

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Over the next few days I started to feel a lot of hatred towards myself. What was wrong with me? Had I done something to deserve this? Was Karma just giving me the finger? Then it clicked. There was a voice inside my head that shouted “shut the fuck up and grow a pair!” You know what? I’m damn well glad that I came to that assumption! What in the world was I thinking? Was I a depressing bitch or what? Feeling all sorry for myself was only making things worse! For some unknown reason I was chosen to carry the burden of Multiple Sclerosis. So, I decided, I’ll carry it with pride and by no means was it going to change who I was! I am me NOT Multiple Sclerosis.

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I could have been given 6 months, that’s what I’d tell myself. Don’t get me wrong, it could have been a hell of a lot better too! But, what was this negative attitude doing to me? What was it doing for me? Sweet fuck all, that’s what! From then on, I changed how I felt about my diagnosis. It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t life or death. It was just something that I had to adapt to. Humans are experts at that, after all. So, I caught my upset, denial, uncertainty and hatred, locked it into an imaginary box and replaced those feelings with unicorns, rainbows and marshmallows! Ha..yeah..no. I just took MS in my stride. I wanted to show everyone that I could do it. Multiple Sclerosis was NOT going to defeat me. I would show people that I am stronger than my diagnosis and something as little as MS would not stop me!

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I still get bad days, we all do. With or without MS. I just get back on my noble steed and continue towards the sunset! Laugh and be merry! And all of that shit.

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Navigate Between Individual Posts

Simply click on one of the underlined links and it will take you to your desired blog post.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

My Diagnosis – Before

Being Diagnosed

How I Feel About Multiple Sclerosis

Positive Thinking

Numbness in MS

Living with an Invisible Illness

Being a “Fighter”

Knowing Your Limit

My Experience With Fatigue

Sometime I Forget That I Have a Chronic Illness

Telling People Face to Face that I have MS

MS and Normality

When MS Gets the Upper Hand

Cognitive Defects

Mo Scéal – Before My Diagnosis

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The most prominent thing I remember over the past few years was always being tired. No matter how much sleep I got, no matter how I tried to relax; I would always struggle with lack of energy. Everything from yawning, lack of concentration, focus levels practically depleted and no enthusiasm whatsoever. To be honest, I never really thought that hard about it. I just thought I was lazy!

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The first time I remember feeling weird (this is the only word that aptly describes what you feel when relapsing with MS!) symptoms was in June of 2012. At the time, I had no idea that or if it was anything to do with Multiple Sclerosis. I’m not going to go into details about these symptoms yet, I’ll be saving that excitement for a separate blog! Anywho, the whole right side of my body went numb. Yes, ALL of my right side and yes; NUMB. This lasted a little over 6 weeks. I visited the ER with hopes of someone telling me what it was. The doctor there said that he was “puzzled” and thought that maybe it was “viral”. Good job, Doc. Good job.

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In December of 2012 I had my first experience with optic neuritis. This is a condition where inflammation of the optic nerve occurs and it causes a complete or partial loss of vision. Luckily enough, I only had partial loss of vision for about 4 weeks in my left eye. Can you say “annoying”? As if thinking I was going blind was bad enough, in the first 2 weeks of January 2013 I got what is known as “spasticity”. This was by far the toughest relapse I have experienced to date.

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I know what you’re thinking “wow, has she got a good memory or what?!” 😉 But, stop, you flatter me!

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So, on the 15th of January I was admitted to hospital. Suffering from severe muscle spasms on the right side of my body, I would spasm every 15 minutes. Whenever I would change posture, another spasm would “activate”. Let’s just say that it was not very pleasant. Long story short, they took blood tests, did a lumber puncture, and I had 3-4 MRI’s taken, EEG’s and ECG’s, the lot! Eventually, I was put on a 3 day dose of steroids and was released on the 21st of January 2013.

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On the 7th of February 2013 I was officially diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS.

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My next blog will focus on my diagnosis and how I felt, acted, thought etc.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

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You can search the internet for days and look for the definition of MS. Trust me, I’ve been there! Looking at so many different explanations it only confused me more. So, let me try to dumb it down for those of us who are not studying medicine!

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Multiple sclerosis or MS is a chronic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord; these are two components of the central nervous system.  What is a Chronic Illness you say? It is a long-lasting, long duration condition. Chronic diseases can be controlled, but, unfortunately there is no cure, as of yet (let’s stay positive!). Anywho! Because of the affect that MS has on the brain and spinal cord a lot of people have difficulties, such as, impaired or loss of:

–           muscle control

–          vision

–          balance

–          sensation (numbness, tingling, burning, itching etc.)

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Want to know the worst part? Our own immune system is the thing causing all of the damage to our nerves in the brain and spinal cord! As a result of this, Multiple Sclerosis is known and assumed to be an autoimmune disease.

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Are you still with me? You can do it, keep going!

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Now, an autoimmune disease is basically where your body’s immune system (which is usually our protector) targets and destroys foreign substances in your body (like bacteria and such). For those of us lucky enough to have MS (yeah..), this so-called “protector” makes a silly mistake and attacks our good/normal tissue in the brain and spinal cord.

Now, remember how I was talking about the symptoms above? This next part will explain how people get these weird symptoms.

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So, let’s talk about the central nervous system (CNS), shall we? This is made up of nerves, these nerves act like the systems messengers. For example, your brain tells your hand to grasp the handle of your cup of tea, so, you do just that. These nerves are surrounded by a type of fatty substance called myelin. This little stuff helps to protect said nerves and helps deliver the various messages to parts of our body. From A to B; the brain to parts of the body. Like text messages or emails! These little messages control muscle movements like walking, talking etc.

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Because of this, the myelin breaks down and/or becomes scarred. This distorts or even blocks the flow of messages, which results in the many symptoms of MS. Sounds fun, aye? Many people explain MS like a faulty electrical flex on a kettle, or like a faulty wire.  The nerve can be compared to an electrical cable; the axon, or nerve fibre that transmits the nerve impulse or message, is like the copper wire; and the myelin sheath is like the insulation around the wire. If the insulating flex breaks, it exposes the wires underneath making them more vulnerable to damage.

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I hope that I helped shed some light on the way Multiple Sclerosis works on the human body!