What I’ve Done and Still Do For My MS

During the time if doctors couldn’t figure out what was the problem, I would try myself. I started keeping track of EVERYTHING I ate or drank for about 2 weeks. The only things consistent were soda pop and chocolate. I took a can of soda pop and a chocolate candy bar to work every day, when I worked off the farm. About 2 weeks later I would have minor symptoms and be on the couch for a week, not working. If I would have a strawberry daiquiri or an alcoholic drink it would affect me the next day. That was enough to tell me that I was somehow affected by 3 things, caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol. UUUggghhh! I even tried caffeine-free soda pop and it screwed up my vision, too. I made the decision if that would help me by doing without them, that’s what I’d do! Giving up BOTH soda pop and chocolate at the same time was the hardest thing I ever had to do! The alternative was WORSE! The reason I started doing this was because I had read articles that different people have different “trigger” foods that effect them. For some it was meat, others citrus fruit, but it made sense to me because our bodies are made up of chemicals. Besides MS effects everyone differently.

I use as close to organic food when I use our own canned foods to cook because I know they’ve only been sprayed for bugs if anything. I don’t buy “organic” food for 2 reasons. 1. Price and 2. How do I know someone didn’t make a mistake stocking the shelves. That’s why we wash vegetables thoroughly several times before canning! And wash boughten fruits and vegetables thoroughly.

We raise a lot of our own meat and vegetables, but it’s a personal choice. All meat has a trace amount of hormones, naturally, so don’t think you can buy hormone-free meat. Hormone-free means there’s no other hormones added when raised. That I learned from our friend whose family owns our local meat processing plant.

I did get to thinking that people didn’t have these problems 100 years ago, why now? I thought maybe it was something that was added to foods today, I don’t know, just a thought. I do limit myself on bologna, salami, hot dogs and boxed quick meal meals. I do use them for convenience, but not all the time. I do know how to cook. This was my thoughts during the pre-internet age.

I do want to tell you 1 tip I’ve found on my own. When my legs feel like they can’t take another step (especially after preparing and cleaning up from a meal or sitting for long periods of time. I take a frozen bag of peas and lay down on the couch with the sack under my lower back about waist level. When the peas are thawed I feel like getting up and moving again (about 45 minutes-1 hour). We have kept a bag of frozen peas in our freezer for about 12 years. We have no intention of eating them because we don’t like them! A doctor recommended them for something that happened 12 years ago! Remember, I told you my MRI of my spine showed that’s where MY concentration of MS lesions were? Sitting is good, but it’s just something about laying on ice that helps! During the week I might lay down on the floor for a minute or 2, like if I’m doing laundry or bending over a lot. If ice isn’t available I just lay flat on my back for a couple of minutes. Then I can pull myself up with my walker and continue on.

I thank my family’s sense of humor for keeping me looking at the funny things about my situation! I do what I can finding humor in things I can’t do anymore. They will help by pushing my wheelchair when we go places. I keep the chair in the van and REFUSE to use it in the house. My walker is what I use. I feel bad because I can’t go get my son or take him to be with friends, but he understands (not saying he’s not a little disappointed).

I notice the biggest hindrance of MS is HEAT. Living in the middle of the U.S. we get plenty of heat. I stay indoors, but my body just seems harder to move. If we have an appointment or someplace to go, my walker gets left in the garage when I get to the van, and my wheelchair gets used. It’s best for all involved!

​Thes​e are my tips for living with MS. It’s worked for 23 years for me. That’s over half of my life.

  • ​​Positive attitude​!

  • ​​​​Ability to laugh at yourself

  • ​A brief moment of frustration, sparingly

  • ​​​​A little anger at something you’re doing that’s not as easy anymore, sparingly

  • Get the idea that YOU have to do it–but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

  • Don’t be mad at others because of your situation–it’s not their fault.

  • Be kind and polite when you get unsolicited help.

  • If it doesn’t work 1 way, try another way–Remember there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat!

  • If it doesn’t get done–shrug it off.

  • Be patient with yourself.

  • Don’t be afraid to question doctors or say NO–you know your body.

  • Be around others that can laugh WITH you–or un-offensively poke fun at you?

When people sincerely ask how I’m doing, this is my answer. “One foot in front of the other” with a big smile and a thanks for asking.