Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Well, yesterday was weird. I had a heat reaction while I was at work yesterday. I wore a sweater (cotton, not incredibly heavy), and I decided to drink some herbal tea during the afternoon. The next thing I knew, I felt flushed and worn out. I quickly switched to cold water instead of tea, but I still felt tired. When I went to my Pilates class, I did not feel completely up to par. I'm proud of myself, though, because I did finish the class without wearing myself out. I recognized my limits and stopped when I needed to - at one point, I even got up and grabbed a cup of water.

One of my biggest fears about exercising is not being able to recognize my limits and pushing myself to where I was wearing myself out instead of building myself up. Last night was a prime example of not doing that. After the exercise. a shower, and dinner, I felt loads better.

Another cool thing about the exercise class is that I'm really starting to notice some progress. Whether it's more control over a Pilates move (I can do Rolling Like a Ball and actually roll when I want to instead of just flopping around spastically) or going deeper into a hamstring stretch, I'm seeing my body capable of doing some things it couldn't do at the beginning of the year.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This is a weird week for me, because it marks an anniversary of sorts. Last year this time, I had optic neuritis, my major attack that led to the diagnosis of my MS. Strange to think how much has happened in a year.

Monday, February 24, 2003

MS Conference

I wasn't all that enthused about going, because it was foggy, it was early on a Saturday morning, and I had partied hard on Friday night. But my indifference quickly vanished, because the conference was quite informative. I had heard some of the stuff before, but as I pointed out to one of the company reps, you hear different things at different points in your illness, so some repetition can be good. I took some good notes and brought home some research updates to read later.

An MS advocate also spoke, and she talked about her ritual before taking her shots. Apparently, her crush on Chuck Norris is big enough to dull the pain of the shot, so she watches "Walker, Texas Ranger" before her shot. I immediately knew who I would substitute for Chuck Norris and decided that I need to start taping "Alias" to watch before my shot, since I'm a big Michael Vartan fan. We rented a movie on Saturday night, One Hour Photo. Robin Williams stars in it, but guess who else is in it? Yup. So I got to see if my variation of her ritual would work. I have to say, the shot didn't hurt that night.

Get With the Program

I mentioned in my last entry that I'm reading this book and following the plan. I successfully completed a week at Phase 1, drinking at least 6 glasses of water every day, completing my written exercises, and doing the exercises at least 3 days (I did 4 days). The book suggests staying in Phase 1 for 1-3 weeks before proceeding to the second phase. In Phase 2, I add one more glass of water per day, and I do the functional exercises 4 days a week. I also start to add cardio exercise and limit my alcohol consumption.

I guess I consider myself in Phase 1 1/2 right now. I'm going to start integrating the next phase stuff this week, but I'll consider it a successful week if I complete the Phase 1 requirements again. Anything on top of that will just be gravy. I've had a tendency in the past to try and do too much too fast, so I don't want to set myself up for failure.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Oops. It's been a while since I've updated this, hasn't it?

Publicity? for my blog

I was so excited. Our local paper was doing an article on local webloggers, and they contacted me about an interview. We had a 10-minute phone interview, and she talked to me about the possibility of getting my picture taken. Well, the article appeared, and the only thing they used from my interview age. I'm sure that the lives of my fellow Raleighites are so much richer now that they know I'm 35. I've gotten one email based on that article, from a guy who wanted me to read his book. The book has nothing to do with MS, he just wanted someone to read it. Nope.

Upcoming MS Events

Tomorrow, I'm heading to Durham for a half-day conference on clinical trials. Should be an interesting update on the ongoing research.

The MS Walk is April 5. I haven't signed up yet, because I heard there was a chance that the Pooch Parade would be held on the same weekend. The doggies had so much fun that I have to make sure to participate again this year. I don't think that's going to happen, though, so I can sign up for the walk. Time to start training! My friend Donna mentioned putting together a team, so we're trying to think of a cool name. After all, I was one of the top individual fundraisers for the Pooch Parade (thanks to y'all!!!!), so if our team name gets published, we don't want it to be something stupid. Once I do sign up, I'll include a link here, so people can donate if they choose.

The new medicine

I've been on my new medicine (in addition to the Avonex) for the past two weeks, and things are going well. I've had some insomnia, but otherwise no bad side effects. The neurologist told me that my hip pain would probably lessen, and it has. Sleeping had been so difficult due to the pain, but it's subsided to only occasional twinges.


I'm starting to get a more regular exercise program going. The Pilates class is going so well that I'm going to sign up for the Mat 2 class starting in March. Both Tim and I agree that I've been getting a lot of benefits from it and should continue. I've also been reading Get With the Program by Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer), and have started to follow that program as well. Right now, I'm in Phase 1. I've completed some journaling exercises, and I'm making sure I drink at least 6 glasses of water each day. Most days, I drink more than that. He also has a series of "functional exercises" that I've completed three days this week. The fourth day, I went to a makeup Pilates class.

I had let my weight go after getting my diagnosis, but I'm working on getting back to a healthy weight. More importantly, I'm just working on being healthier in general. If I exercise, I can cut down on the fatigue and pain and be better prepared to get through each day.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Well, I got through the business trip just fine, only to turn around and head right back out of town for a funeral. And then when I got back to town, another funeral. Needless to say, I was exhausted by all of that. Tim gave me my shot right before we left town. I vegged out in the car, but I wasn't myself the whole day. I just laid in the guest room and tried to nap. I felt like a new person the next day. Everyone was quite understanding of my situation, and that helped me a lot.

Since I've been back, I've been trying to get back into some routine and take care of myself. I did have a follow-up appointment with the neurologist. MS-wise, I'm doing fine and not showing any active symptoms at this point. I've just got some other health issues that I need to be addressing right now. Like most folks who make New Year's Resolutions, I put "losing weight" on the list. The doctor ordered blood work, and we know that my thyroid is not causing my weight gain or fatigue.

This weekend was much calmer. I did have to work on Saturday, but I didn't get up early. On Sunday, I decided not to set an alarm, and I woke up at 11am! My body needed the rest.

So I'll be starting some new medicine in the next week that will hopefully alleviate some of the other health stuff. On the downside, I might have trouble sleeping on this new drug. Oh, great. I woke up at 4:45 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so the last thing I need is a drug that could cause even more nights like that. We'll see how things work out. On the plus side, my doctor thinks it could help with some of the hip pain I've been having. That would be a welcome relief, since my yoga tapes and Pilates mat classes aren't getting it done on their own.

Another plus doctor is quite optimistic when it comes to my future mobility. I know he can't say with certainty that I'll never have problems, but it's sure nice to know that he thinks it's going to be less likely in my case. After all, each case of MS is different, and there are such a variety of symptoms.

I'm working on getting some routines in place to help me chip away at my long "To Do" list. There's a cool website called FlyLady that talks about creating order out of chaos. I've been reading for a long while and doing things haphazardly, but now I'm going to be more diligent. I'm starting off by creating simple morning and evening routines, and I'll also try to spend at least 15 minutes per day decluttering.

I'm also getting my "To Do" list better organized, thanks to the computer. We had to get a new one earlier this month, and I've tried to take advantage of it. Our old one was so slow that it didn't help me out to try and use software, spreadsheets, etc. to get organized. This one is much faster, and has been quite useful already. Once I finish setting up our finances and some other stuff on it, I'll be ready for some major computer-geek fun. Yeah, I know, not everyone thinks that sort of stuff is fun. But I enjoy it.