Flooded with Memories

~June 12, 1999~

Sometimes it seems like time flies by us, while other times it feels as though it is standing still. I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I did not enjoy my high school years and some reasons I will not go into. June 12th makes 22 years since I graduated high school and even though I did not go directly to college, I never looked back. I graduated high school at 17 years old because of where my birthday falls in the school year. The choices that I made when I finished high school probably were not the best, but I was young and could not wait to get as far away from the small town I grew up in as possible.

The funny thing is, I was always a dreamer and had thoughts of what I wanted my life to be like after those miserable four years in high school. Of course, there were many dreams I had that might not have come to fruition, but I have always thought that everything in life happens for a reason even if we do not know what those reasons are right away.

One thing I never dreamed of after I got out of high school was to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis only two years later. To be honest, I did not know much about this disease all those years ago and only knew one other person that had it, which is my father’s wife. It took me many years to realize that having MS was nothing to be ashamed of and I did not have to hide it from anyone. I do think that this disease has made me a stronger person and of course, I promised my late grandfather that I would never allow it to control me. I also promised that I would never let MS win the fight because I would win the war my body was having within itself.

A dream I had 22 years ago was to be a Broadcast Journalist, which as you know did not happen for me and I do not have any regrets. The reason I do not have regrets about not being in Broadcast Journalism I know I would be able to deal with lies from politicians and would probably get myself in trouble calling them out on their deceitful ways. It does not matter if a politician is a Republican or a Democrat because the truth seems to be a little challenging for all of them to provide. Plus, I also strongly believe that people deserve honesty, especially with issues that impact our lives.

Once I had given up on my Journalism dreams, I thought being a Pediatric Nurse would be an amazing career. Unfortunately, not too long after I decided nursing would be a great option, I had an awful relapse and was worried that it would be a little too challenging to be a nurse if I had mobility struggles. I was a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for a few years on a Pediatric unit and I learned fast that mobility issues would be far less challenging for me than the emotional impact this had on me. There were a few patients I will always remember, but one little girl that even to this day sends chills down my spine. She was a sweet six-old little girl that had been brutally raped by her uncle. Due to the legal issues, her mother was not allowed to be with her in the room, which was for good reason. Part of the job for the nurses and CNAs was to help the little girl with her bath, but she would not allow anyone but me to help her. I would also sit with her and read her the book of her choice. There were a few other children that weighed heavily on my mind and would put me in tears at the end of the day. This emotional struggle caused me to have a lot of stress, which created issues with the MS.

I am an overly emotional and strong-willed person. I am the type that will fight hard for what I believe in and defend anyone unable to defend themselves. I have never and never will allow anyone to change my mind on something I am passionate about, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the issue. I think it is safe to say I would have made one hell of an attorney if I had wanted to be in school that long and have that amount of student loan debt.

Again, as I have already said I do believe strongly that everything in life happens for a reason. We may never know what the reasons are for the things that happen in our life but should try believing there are reasons for everything. The best and most we can all do is be happy in life and be thankful for what life has provided us, no matter what.

It does not matter what I have gone through in life because I know I am who I am from all of it. I have a quiet and happy life with my husband and three cats. Y’all may remember that in early February we lost our cat we had for almost 16 years, which was a painful loss for both me and my husband. There are still times today that I think of Chloe and what could have been done differently. I might be an emotional person, but logically I know nothing could have changed that day she took her last breath on my lap. The only good thing about this was she did not have to suffer, and she was able to pass away peacefully in her home.

First, I want to thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I wrote today. For some reason, it had taken me several days to think of what I wanted to write about, which might be because I had a lot of ideas on my mind. Plus, it was a long week for me, and I was feeling very fatigued. Second, I hope you are having a great and safe weekend. Our weekends should be spent doing what makes us happy and helps us to relax to recuperate from the week we just had. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

The Perfect Day

Sometimes life gets extremely challenging, and we might just need a mental break from the normal, but toxic events in life. Have you ever taken a quiet moment alone to consider what a “perfect day” would look like for you? If you have, that is wonderful and what would this day look like? If you have not thought about this, now might be a great time to try it out. I am going to ask you to take 10 to 15 minutes to take this journey with me because it might be rather fun and exciting. Considering I am requesting your input, I will share what my “perfect day” would be for me.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine a “perfect day”, especially after this past year being a combination of chaos, sadness, stress, consistent challenges, and anything else that could describe negative. I guess with everything 2020 and some of 2021 provoked, I thought it would be a relief and fun to daydream because some daydreams can become our reality if we want it bad enough and try a little harder.

A “perfect day” for me would start by waking up in an ocean-front hotel room and witnessing the sun start to rise before providing a beautiful blue-sky day with the sun shining bright. The beach has always been the happiest place for me because there is nothing the ocean breeze and waves crashing down cannot make better. I do not think there is anything better than walking out on a balcony that overlooks the ocean first thing in the morning. It is something between the sun radiating over the gleaming ocean, while the seagulls dance with each other overhead that clears the mind and cleanses the soul.

After spending time rejuvenating and admiring the ocean scenery with my husband, enjoying a nice breakfast or lunch depending on the time near the ocean would be the next step in the day. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but on my “perfect day”, I would not want to be forced to rush to make it anywhere before breakfast is over. One great thing about being at the beach is nothing should ever be rushed or forced as it is a time to just relax and enjoy life.

Once either breakfast or lunch is finished, I would want to spend several hours relaxing on the beach. I am terrified of sharks and jellyfish, but still love to kick my feet around in the ocean water. It is always so hot during the summer months in the south, so refreshing in the water helps to not become too overheated, especially considering the heat can cause some awful MS issues that I do not want to deal with on my “perfect day”.

As the daytime turns to evening, I would want to return to the hotel room to get cleaned up and wash away the summer heat. It is always nice to take a break from the sun and take a cool shower and get ready for a nice dinner at a restaurant on the ocean. There is always an amazing breeze near the ocean, so worrying too much about my hair is never a factor because it does not matter at all. It is always fun to get dressed up in a pretty summer dress to enjoy dinner with my husband.

After dinner, I enjoy taking a short walk down the beach and watching the sun as it sets for the day and the moon make its way up in the sky. I find the ocean sky peaceful and full of wonder. It is a great feeling to have watched the sun start to rise, then watch it set as and the moon begins to rise above. I am fascinated by the colors of the sky and love seeing as many colors as I can in one day!

Now that I have explained what my “perfect day” would look like, what would your “perfect day” be? This can be anything your heart desires! I am looking forward to reading about your “perfect day” because I think this will be interesting to learn. Some ideas might be the same or like others, but some might be vastly different, which is where things can get interesting.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed this change of pace in this post and that it helped you to find enjoyment again. We have all been through a lot over the past year and a half or so, so it is the little things that can bring us the most joy. Of course, I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Ways To Cope With Stress

~Happy Friday Y’all~

Unfortunately, I was not able to do as much as I would have liked to have done about stress awareness month because of my tooth issues, but I am going to try not to stress about it. Stress is honestly an issue that plagues my life, but I am trying to get better with it. Logically, I do completely understand that stress causes more harm than it does good, but I have always been a worrier. We have all heard that old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I am trying to teach my brain to stop!

Chronic stress creates a great deal of physical damage. Stress is also known to accelerate the aging process, raise blood pressure, and the risk of a stroke. This is not to increase your stress, but to bring this issue to a brighter light that cannot be ignored. The good news is there are ways we can train our brain to cope and handle stress better we are faced with it. I hope you will find the following three tips helpful with dealing with stress.

Savor the moment:

Our brain is influenced and absorbs negative experiences far more than positive experiences. With that said, we need to find ways to extend our positive experiences. A few ways you can savor the moment are to take a few extra minutes to enjoy your favorite meal or the snack you love but try avoiding it because of those extra calories. In time we will learn to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, instead of dwelling or focusing on our thoughts and or worries.

Reevaluate your thoughts-

One successful way to combat negative thoughts that arise from an unpleasant experience is to knowingly challenge them by considering alternative causes for the event that occurred. Consider one particular and troubling issue that has been stressing you lately. Instead of dwelling on this issue, reevaluate it by determining a few ways it could benefit you in some way. Maybe this issue has the potential of making you stronger and wiser.

Get out into nature-

Science has shown proof that getting out into nature reduces stress and helps people feel more energetic. This does not mean you need to go find the closest national forest to gain the benefits but could be just adding some “green” time to your day. Maybe get up a little earlier to take a short walk or meditate, or you could take your lunch outside.

I hope you found this information helpful, and it assists in reduces your stress. If you are anything like me, I have lived with stress for almost 40 years and I know it is causing severe issues to my body and health. The only thing stress does for us is create many more problems, which will, in turn, cause additional stress. This will be my last post talking about stress, so I am looking forward to reading your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as I can! This picture is one I printed out so I can see it daily and it makes me laugh! It is the simple things in life!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you had a great week, and you have a lovely, and safe weekend! Whatever you decide to do this weekend please do all you can to stay safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

~Let’s Start This Week With A HUGE Smile~

Happy Monday y’all! I hope you had a nice and safe weekend. My weekend did not go exactly the way I had planned because I did want to complete a post I started about Multiple Sclerosis but honestly did not have the energy needed. I think I might have been a little overly exhausted from the week and did not want to halfway write a post, especially one so meaningful to me. What I will say is, I will finish this post early this week and will not rush through it because I want to provide you with the best information I possibly can. It is amazing how one week can take so much out of us.

I was pretty stressed about a power issue we have in our house. Last week, on Thursday, the power in our basement only stopped working and our home offices are set up in the finished part of the basement. It did not make sense because the power in the upstairs was fine. My husband did check the several breaker boxes in the basement and one outside but did not see what the issue was. Thankfully, my mother-in-law gave me the number to the place we had a contract with before, which covers electricity and plumbing. The company is coming out today between the hours of 11-2, and I just hope the issue is not big and can be fixed easily today! I am a little nervous about having people in the house because of COVID, but I will wear a mask while they are here.

As we are beginning another long week, I think we could all benefit from a little motivation. My hopes are that the quote I am sharing with y’all today will provide you the motivation and encouragement needed to start this week on the right foot! We can all agree that the weekends are far too short and the weeks are way too long, but we are strong enough to make it. I hope you have a great day and your days only continue to get better with each day that passes. I would love the opportunity to read what you thought about the quote I shared with y’all today because your opinions matter to me.

My husband and I did not do anything for Easter because he had to work, but my mother and her boyfriend did send me a beautiful bouquet of my favorite flowers. The funny thing was, the flower shopped messed up a little and sent me two bouquets. Now I have one in the living room and one on my work desk! My favorite flowers are stargazer’s lilies. They smell so amazing and now the upstairs smell like them and my work area smells like the lilies as well! The flowers on the left are the ones I have in the living room and the ones on the right are on my work desk!

I do want to thank you for visiting my site today. I also want to apologize for not finishing the post I told you I was going to try doing this weekend. Fatigue and life really does create challenges way too much and I do not enjoy it at all. I can say that it was nice to relax over the weekend and try to eliminate my stressful thoughts. I hope you never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Let It Go Friday

~Congratulations! It Is Finally Friday~

Happy Friday y’all! How was your week? I hope you had a great week and you are looking forward to the weekend! I am so happy the weekend is finally here and I have two days of not waking up early and then staring at a computer screen for eight LONG hours! I sometimes think that the computer ends up causing some nasty headaches or maybe it is “some” of the people I have to deal with. You will not be surprised that I do not have any plans for the weekend. I even already did my grocery store delivery, so I do not have to do that. I know I told you the other day that there were a few more posts I wanted to do about Multiple Sclerosis, which I hope to complete this weekend!

Now that the weekend is almost here and the weekend is upon us, it is time to let go of any negative feelings the week may have caused. Our weekends are so short and the work-week is so long, we need to be able to enjoy our weekends to the fullest, but please do so safely. I hope the quote I am sharing with y’all today will provide you with the means to let go of the negative and embrace the positives in life! For all the things we may regret we did during our life, we should use them as learning experiences, not do them again, and let them go. It is important to live, learn, grow, and move on!

I hope your weekend is full of nothing but happiness and enjoyment. Y’all already know that we are not completely out of the water yet with the fears of COVID, so please be sure to stay safe. I would love to know how your week went and any plans you have for the weekend. Unfortunately, I still believe the United States is still going through many difficult and tragic times, but during times like these, we need to do our best to be understanding, compassionate, empathetic, and kind to others. The truth is, we never know what someone else is going throughand their troubled times may alter their personality. I do believe in that old saying “Kill them with kindness”.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed the quote I shared with y’all and do look forward to reading what you thought. I do promise to try responding to all comments as quickly as I possibly can. Also, please know that I will be working on the posts to share a little more information about Multiple Sclerosis. I know March is over and it was Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, but just because the month is over does not mean those living with MS are free of it! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Curiosity Is Exciting

~Ways Curiosity Can Enhance Our Well-Being~

How many times have you heard the saying “Curiosity killed the Cat?” Of course, the levels of uncertainty can be high, but we should hold onto the thoughts of scrutinizing. This is something that could hold many benefits and gratifications. Our curiosity may include an opportunity to reveal great new information, but also taking a journey into the obscure territory. The unknown can create a momentarily feeling of apprehension and discomfort, but the risks may be outweighed by the benefits. Giving in to your curiosity could help you gain a chance to expand your horizons and the fulfillment that comes along with personal growth. Challenging yourself to search for new experiences and different outlooks provides deeper insights about yourself and the world.

What exactly does “curiosity” mean? Curiosity means having a strong desire to know or learn something new. Entering the area of curious exploration shows the desire to learn and you are choosing to accept the challenge, instead of accepting the current situation as the end all be all.

What makes a highly curious person different from someone who is not very curious? Those who are extremely curious tend to:

1. Search and track down new and unknown experiences.

2. Question the views of others, oneself, ad the world with an unavoidable unbendable knowledge and/or awareness.

3. Behave more receptive to circumstances offering growth, competence, and stimulation.

A curious min can offer numerous benefits and promotes a sense of well-being. Curiosity positively relates to gaining satisfaction in life and the true meaning of life. Activities that require carrying out curious behavior can increase the amount of satisfaction you gain from life. Curiosity can ignite creativity, which may invigorate deeper exploration and combined other ideas with the creative-thinking process.

We have all been told that negativity and positivity can be contagious, but curiosity can also be contagious. Many will end up being curious regarding the answers to questions asked, especially when there is evidence that others are interested as well.

Curiosity can be profoundly important in developing social connections, empathy, and understanding. The vastly contrast views, experiences, and values of others offer unfamiliar areas to investigate, which may lead to immense benefits.

Nourishing an understanding and recognizing other cultures, customs, values, and ideas is a type of “social curiosity”. Empathetic curiosity is being curious about the thoughts and feelings of others, as well as the reasoning behind these thoughts and feelings. This curiosity regarding others’ experiences and being intrigued by others without any judgments.

Of course, empathetic curiosity requires us to ignore any need for being familiar and admit our opinions, and beliefs are not the only ones that matter. When we have an opportunity to become enlightened by the experiences of someone else and can respect the difference in views and ways of doing things are not any less important than anyone else’s. Everyone’s views are meaningful and deserve to be respected.

The feelings of enjoyment and pleasure are typically related to doing things that are known and comfortable. However, curiosity forces us to search for things that are new and/or unknown. This does not need to be a huge change but can be something as simple as trying new food, book, or even taking the time to talk with a colleague you have not spoken to before. This new food, book, or the new colleague you spoke with may provoke even more curiosity and delight in your life.

I am going to share a few ways to help trigger your curiosity.

1. Walk away from the TV and read instead. This is something that sets extraordinarily successful people apart from others. 85% of those that are successful read 2 or more self-improvement books per month.

2. Utilize social media platforms and podcasts for greater benefits. Fill what you are listening to with inspirational and life-giving materials. Things that provide you with life and reminds you that your possibilities are endless.

3. Engage with people that have different viewpoints than your own. Be open-minded with the views others have and remain honest, and respectful with your own thoughts/views. Collaborative thinking is an astonishing way to gain deeper insight and learn new ideas.

4. Take some time to make a list of activities that offer opportunities for you to learn and grow. Search for these and then reflect on the benefits each offer and what you will gain from these new experiences.

5. Examine your perspective in specific situations, and then ask yourself why you think or react in a certain way to some situations.

6. Always ask questions and pay close attention to the answers. Avoid passing judgment and try being curious about others’ experiences and their unique viewpoints.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and it offered you some exciting new experiences. I would love to read your thoughts on this and if you have any other advice for ways to break into curiosity. Our curious thoughts can help us to encounter exhilarating adventures!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you are having a great week and you are continuing to stay safe. Unfortunately, even though many have received the COVID vaccine, many others are still waiting, and the virus continues to spread! I do believe we are continuously dealing with difficult times, but we need to find ways to remain optimistic. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Triggers and Ways To Avoid Them

Multiple Sclerosis can be a challenging illness to live with, but there are often ways to manage the difficulties. Many things can trigger symptoms, but there are also ways to avoid many of these triggers. It takes time to understand what exactly triggers your symptoms and then to discover the best way to avoid them. Just like each person experiences MS differently, each person will have different triggers and ways to combat those triggers. Of course, please remember that I am not a doctor or medical professional, I am just another person living with MS, and have researched the topic. Today, I am going to share 10 triggers and ways to avoid these triggers.

1. Stress: We all experience stress in our life but having a chronic condition like Multiple Sclerosis can create an entirely new source of stress. Other types of stress can be a result of work, personal relationships, or financial struggles. Too much stress for anyone can cause difficult times, but too much stress for someone with MS can contribute to the worsening of symptoms.

Ways to avoid stress might include finding a relaxing, stress-reducing activity that takes your mind off stress. This activity is anything you find enjoyable because this is for YOU and YOUR health. A few things that may appeal to you are yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. These practices can help you to relax and obliterate risks for causing symptoms to worsen.

2. Heat: Any form of heat whether it be from the sun, sauna or, a hot tub can be too extreme for people with Multiple Sclerosis. This can often time lead to an exacerbation of symptoms. From my own experience, heat is the enemy which is difficult because I love the beach. I think my saving grace at the beach is the ocean breeze!

It is not always easy to avoid the heat, especially where I live in the south. The best way to avoid this is to keep your house cool and purchase extra fans. Also, on days when there is extreme heat avoid direct sunlight, wear light loose clothing, and stay in the shade as much as possible. Steer clear of saunas, hot tubs, and those hot yoga studios.

3. Childbirth: Many women with MS experience a relapse after giving birth. As a matter of fact, 20-40% of women endure a relapse in the period of time after giving birth. Thankfully, my husband and I do not have children, so I have not experienced this issue. Of course, no one can prevent a relapse after childbirth, but this would be a time to take some steps to reduce how severe the impact is. During the immediate days after childbirth, lean on family and friends to assist with your new bundle of joy so you may get rest and take care of yourself. This can help your body recover more effectively.

4. Becoming Sick: Certain types of infection can cause a relapse and MS can create certain types of other infections. Infection such as the flu or even something as simple as the common cold may cause MS symptoms to worsen.

Avoiding sickness can be challenging, especially with COVID spreading like wildfire. Even with the numerous challenges involved with avoiding getting sick, living a healthy lifestyle can help with preventing infections and other illnesses. It is also helpful to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day and distance yourself from anyone that is sick, especially if you are experiencing a relapse.

5. Some Vaccines: While most vaccines are safe and recommended for those with Multiple Sclerosis, certain vaccines contain live pathogens, which can create the risk of exacerbating symptoms. If you are experiencing a relapse or taking certain medications, consult with your neurologist before getting any vaccines because it might be in your best interest to postpone the vaccine. Your doctor will know the best way to handle this and will advise you regarding vaccines.

I will be completely honest with y’all with the medication I take for MS, Gilenya, I was advised years ago to not get vaccines. Of course, that was 20 years ago and so many changes with medications with additional research. I had always been leery of getting anything and it was not due to the needles, I just feared for negative interactions. However, my current neurologist told me things with the Gilenya had changed over the years and the only vaccines that were not safe were the ones that were live vaccines, and I was able to get the COVID vaccine and I can get the flu vaccine if I decide I want it. My neurologist did highly recommend I get the flu vaccine, but I am not in any rush to do this!

6. Vitamin D Deficiency: At least one study discovered that people with lower vitamin D levels have an increased risk of relapse than someone with adequate vitamin D levels. It has been suggested that Vitamin D can protect against developing MS, but even more research that revealed Vitamin D affects the disease as it is needed.

The best way to prevent the issue of Vitamin D deficiency is to make sure your doctor regularly checking your Vitamin D levels. There are supplements available, some foods have high amounts of Vitamin D, and safe sun exposure can help increase and maintain your levels. However, while supplements may seem safe and legit, it is best to discuss any supplements with your doctor before beginning them to ensure there are not any negative interactions and they will provide suitable results.

7. Inadequate Amount of Sleep: Sleep has an important role in our overall health. The body utilizes sleep to repair the brain and restore other areas that have been damaged. When we do not get sufficient sleep, our body does not get the necessary time to rest and rejuvenate. Too much fatigue can trigger symptoms and/or make symptoms worsen. With muscle spasms, pain, and tingling, MS can make sleep rather troublesome.

Considering how vital sleep is for our health, it is crucial to discuss sleep issues with your doctor. Bring the issue to your doctor’s attention can help determine if any other conditions causing the sleep struggles.

8. Poor Diet: A well-balanced and healthy diet, along with regular exercise can be beneficial for avoiding relapses and/or reduces Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. A diet considering of processed foods will not supply your body with the nutrition that is required.

To avoid developing a poor diet habit, working with a dietitian to discover the best healthy eating plan you can carry on with could be extremely helpful. Although, research is not clear as to the best diet is for people with MS, eating healthy foods can have a positive impact on everyone’s health. Concentrate on good sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates is one of the best ideas.

9. Certain Medications & Stopping Medications Too Soon: The truth is some medications that can make symptoms worse. Your neurologist will need to monitor all medications you are taking to ensure there are no interactions that can trigger symptoms to worsen. Even though some medications can have negative side effects, this does not mean you should stop any abruptly. You should always consult with your neurologist before starting or stopping all medications as to not increase your risk of a relapse.

The 10th Trigger Can Be Pushing Yourself Too Far & Too Hard: As already stated, fatigue is a common symptom for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. With that said, if you have MS and continuously push yourself to go with too little sleep and/or overwork yourself physically and/or emotionally, you might face ramifications. The combination of overexertion and fatigue can trigger a relapse or make a relapse last longer.

The best way to avoid a relapse due to pushing yourself too hard is, be easier on yourself or at least listen to the cues your body is telling you. Start slowing down when you become tired. Rest as much as possible when you can. Understand that pushing yourself to exhaustion, the recovery will take that much longer. It is important to know that our body does know when it has had enough and when it needs to rest and take a break!

I hope the information provided in this post will be beneficial whether you have MS or another chronic condition. Living with any chronic condition can be complex and I am only way too familiar with Multiple Sclerosis, and with March being Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, I wanted to be able to share as much useful information as I could.

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you have a nice and safe weekend! I am looking forward to reading your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as I possibly can! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Helpful terms to know

~Terms to know when living with Multiple Sclerosis~

Whether you are newly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or you have been living with MS for many years, you already know it is hard enough living with MS. Then adding learning and remembering an entirely new vocabulary makes things even more challenging, and confusing. I know there are times I still get a little flustered when talking to my neurologist or try explaining to someone the way I am feeling. I am going to share some useful terms to try to help make things somewhat easier to understand. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or medical professional, just a person that has lived with MS for more than twenty years.

Fatigue is one term we are probably all too aware of. This is one of the most common and important symptoms relating to MS. It has been suggested by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, that this affects about 80% of all people living with MS.

Vision problems tend to be the first sign of MS for many people. This was the way the doctors discovered that I had MS. I think I have told y’all before, I had gone to the eye doctor thinking I was going blind in one eye, but the doctor said as gently as he could that he thought I had MS. I was terrified and only 19 years old, so I was still a child with a naïve mind. Inflammation of the optic nerves is knowns as optic neuritis. This can cause several problems, such as blurred vision, eye pain, and/or blind spots.

Brain fog is not a medical condition, but a term that is used to explain certain symptoms affecting the ability to think. Brain fog can make thoughts seem cloudy and you are not able to think clearly. This might cause you to feel confused, disorganized, and/or find it difficult to focus or put thoughts into words. This is also sometimes referred to as MS brain, cog fog, or cotton brain.

Slurred speech is often due to the loss of coordination of the tongue, lip, cheek, and mouth muscles. This loss of coordination may also result in trouble swallowing.

Loopy, which can be best described as feeling tired and/or almost like you are drunk.

Jelly leg, which may be referred to as jell0o legs or noodle legs. When experiencing jelly legs, you are legs will not work correctly.

Hallway pinball is when your walk is weaving from side to side. With MS, your legs may sometimes feel wobbling, weak, and tired. You might lose some control of your legs and when walking down a hallway, forcing you to bounce back and forth from side to side like something you would see on a pinball machine, hence the name.  

Wooden leg or legs is a phrase that is used to describe the stiffness in the legs.

Foot drop is a term used to explain weak muscles that make it difficult to lift the front part of your foot or feet as you walk.

One major symptom of MS is chronic or acute pain. Shooting pains are typically acute, which means they come on suddenly, intensely, and then disappear. Pain is something I have battled with for the past 20 years and it does not get easier with each year that passes. However, I will not allow the pain that my life is plagued with bring me down and will always try to continue pushing through it, no matter how awful it gets. Truthfully, the pain does get worse when it rains or I am stressed. Lhermitte’s sign is a type of shooting pain. This is a sudden sensation that mirrors an electric shock passing down the back and into the spine and might radiate out into your arms and legs. This is usually triggered by bending your head forward towards your chest.

MS hug is a type of hug I never want. This term describes a constricting pressure surrounding the chest or waist area. It feels like there is a snake around you and just continues to squeeze or at least that is how it feels to me. The pain involved with the MS hug can range anywhere from mildly annoying to extremely annoying and tends to come along with a burning sensation. An MS hug is caused by spasms of the muscles between the ribs.

Spasticity, also referred to as spazzy. This is a common symptom of MS and can occur in any area of the body, but most commonly is in the legs. With this, the muscles might feel simply tight or can be extremely painful. There are two types of spasticity:

1. Flexor affects the back of the leg and upper thigh.

2. Extensor which affects the front of the upper thigh and inside of the upper leg.

Twitchy means you are experiencing twitching from spasticity.

Considering MS affects the central nervous system, the pins and needles sensation is common and most often felt in the limbs. This has been something I have dealt with for years and it is not easy to deal with. Even though I am on a high amount of Gabapentin, I do still feel this every day of my life.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found this information helpful or at least made things a little clearer. Believe me when I say, I understand how hard it is to remember every term used in the medical field and I have learned more by sharing this information with y’all. I think we can all continue to learn more, and we can help one another with this learning curve. I would love to read your comments on this post, and I will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

4 Helpful Tips

Ways to have a good day after a bad night’s sleep

There is so much focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night to be more productive and feel most energized. This tends to make people center their attention only on the night but is just as important to consider what we can do during the day to help us get a good and restful night’s sleep.

One common mistake people make after a bad night’s sleep is to take it easy or rest up. Often our energy level feels like it is a limited resource, and we try to reserve it, but this is not the best idea. We can increase our energy and reduce fatigue by doing more, instead of less. Now allow me to explain further with 4 simple key areas.

Continue with your full schedule

Whether you have work, school, or both do not call in sick and/or cancel appointments. Maintaining the same schedule, you had planned when you anticipated sleeping well can serve as a benefit. Your typical schedule might keep you busy enough so you do not have time to think about how tired you are. Another benefit is the next time you lay your head down to fall asleep, you will not have to stress about how you are going to deal with a bad night of sleep because you know you can deal with it the best way possible by staying busy.

Avoid low energy people

When it comes to other people, your first thought might be avoiding high-energy people because you are feeling so low energy. Of course, I know right now with COVID we are not around many people, but it is possible that spending time with others that make you feel more energized and alive will increase your energy. Whether it is due to COVID or you are more introverted, find just one friend or family member you enjoy spending time with, but do this safely. This might assist you in reducing moodiness and make your mood better.

Maintain confidence in your body and relax your mind

Throughout the day, do not dwell on how you are going to catch up on sleep. Understanding that our body can adjust to most situations and will help us sleep more soundly and restful when necessary. Our body is more resilient than we give it credit for and it knows how to take care of itself. Going to bed earlier than normal or taking naps will create problems with our internal clock and we will have more issues in the long run, which is why it is crucial to maintain our normal schedule. We need to trust our body to get the sleep we required and wasting time watching the clock and calculating the amount of sleep we will get only generates stress and irritation, which will make sleep nearly impossible.

Do not rely on caffeine or coffee

Natural methods for increasing energy are much better for our body. We should always try to avoid caffeine pills and energy drinks because they are only a short-term fix, but the crash and/or other negative side effects can be awful, and we will wish we did not consume anything. The benefits you can get from sunlight, talking with friends, or exercise, even just a short walk may be a lot more powerful for the long-term.

Over the years, I have dealt with sleep problems and mainly because my mind is always on overdrive. The nights that I struggled with sleep and then the next day felt exhausted with hardly any energy, but I did always push through the day. Normally, I can handle a lack of sleep well for a couple of days because I do trust that my body knows when it has had enough.

Something I have done without for over one year is caffeine. In the past when I was low energy due to a bad night’s sleep, I would consume a great amount of caffeine. Honestly, to me, the crash from caffeine is worst than the tired feeling because it can produce awful headaches and I already endure these so I do not need any additional headaches.

I hope you found the information I have provided helpful! I would, of course, love to know what you thought or if this was how you normally handle a bad night’s sleep. I hope you had a lovely, relaxing, and safe weekend! Daylight savings tends to throw my internal clock off, so I am still awfully tired today. I guess it is a good thing I have a day to get used to the time change before another week begins tomorrow or it would be a long week! Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope the rest of your weekend goes well! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Pick Me Up Thursday

~It Is Finally Friday Eve~

How has your week been so far? My week has been an emotional roller-coaster. I told you earlier in the week that our older cat, Chloe, had been diagnosed with early-stage kidney failure a few years ago and seemed to not be doing so well in the past few days. Initially, her doctor’s appointment was scheduled for today, but on Tuesday night I noticed what looked to be blood in the litter box, so I called the vet frantic and requested her an earlier appointment. My husband and I took her to the vet yesterday morning to have her checked out. They drew blood, sent the blood for testing, and gave her fluids, and sent her home with us. I am supposed to hear from the doctor today before noon and if I do not, believe me, I will call them! The one thing the doctor said is that Chloe is getting older and with her kidney failure, she might also have a thyroid issue, which is treatable. Waiting for answers is torture, but hopefully, we will not get awful news.

Considering, this week has been difficult for me at least, I think we could use a little pick me up to get us through one final day before the weekend begins! I am hopeful that the quote I am sharing with y’all today, will provide you with the energy and optimism to get you through to the weekend. We all go through challenging and even tragic times in our lives, but I have confidence that we can make it through just about anything. I do believe that the combination of love and peace provides us with strength.

None of you are going to be surprised, but I do not have any plans for the weekend. Do any of you have anything planned? Whatever you decide to do this weekend, please make sure you stay as safe as you possibly can! I am looking forward to a quiet and peaceful weekend giving me the time to give Chloe LOTS of love. I will also plan on trying to help my mother through the difficult news she received on Wednesday. Once we got home from Chloe’s appointment, my mother called to tell me her mother’s doctor gave her a month to live. I feel for my mother, but her mother (yes, my grandmother) and I are not and have never been close.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed the quote I shared and I look forward to reading your comments. I do promise to respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!!

Always, Alyssa