Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MS Connection

That's the name of the magazine NMSS puts out. I remember subscribing to it within a few hours of my dx. I wanted to be all kinds of informed. But then it started arriving in the mail and I noticed I often felt intimidated by about page 20...so I stopped reading. I'll bet I'd gone a good 3 years without cracking it open! I recently began to read it again and now understand why it left me feeling off kilter.

Disclaimer: The following opinions are not meant to offend anyone who is completely uplifted by said magazine! I'm also encouraged by much of what it says. Truth be told, it's a very nicely done periodical. And let's face it, we all deal with our circumstances in our own ways, and I praise God for giving each of us exactly what we need exactly when we need it to successfully get through our day. In no way do I wish to impose my opinions or coping strategies on others! This is just sharing, nothing more! Now that I've covered my large...self...I'll therapeutically blog away!

Here I sit, listening to my AOL Radio - tuned to "Top Christian" - thumbing through the MS Connection I received today. The following is what I see. Like Mr. Rogers used to say, "won't you join me?"

Page 4 tells me that studies show the Epstein Barr virus is a trigger for ms. Says here "that people who are not infected with EBV do not get ms". Ok, I can accept that. I remember my junior year of high school, I had a wicked case of mono. I couldn't stay awake no matter how hard I tried. Began to doze off in English, was somehow startled, yelled out, and threw my pencil across the room. The poor teacher I had was in her 1st year and many of the boys gave her a run for her money. My "fall asleep/yell/javelin toss of pencil" was the last thing she needed! I had to miss weeks of athletic events so that like, I wouldn't rupture my extremely enlarged spleen. Good times! A couple of years ago, I had some funky tests done and they found a high level of EBV antibodies in my system. Like Hollywood Squares used to say, "X gets the square" MS Connection! What else ya got?

There are lots of fundraising efforts - people who are biking, walking, and swimming - to raise $ for research. I often pray for these extremely caring and selfless folks who endure such physical challenges to raise money for various illnesses. I have two friends from high school who take part in the bike rides and who have placed my name on their team websites. Their thoughtfulness blesses me more than they could ever know. It's overwhelming and heartwarming to be so supported...both by people who've known and loved me for years, as well as people I'll never meet, like the faces of those in this here magazine. May God bless each and every one of you!

Here's an article about a place called Nancy's House. It's for caregivers, but listen to this. They provide the following: Two solid nights of sleep, Restaurant style meals, Massage therapy, Fun classes, A low stress setting. Ok, I'm wondering if I can pass for a caregiver! Betcha I'd get tossed out by 3am on day 1. I'd be in the bathroom 12x and wide awake. I can see it now, "hey...are you a caregiver or an ms'er! Where do you keep running off to! Why are you still awake!" Yeah, I'd stick out like a sore thumb.

Healthcare reform articles, stimulus funds, study invitations, employment suggestions, ads for meds and coping stuff, yada yada.

Oh here we go. "Don't ignore incontinence symptoms". You've now got my full attention! Frequency, Hesitancy, Urgency...oh my! Yep, got all 3 of those. It says right here that I shouldn't be embarrassed and that I should avoid caffeine. I'm sorry, I think I just choked on my coffee! WHAT THE? Clearly they've lost their minds! Forego my coffee? I'd rather jump from my speeding car as I drive down the road to Dunkin' Donuts. Anyway, I recently saw a spot on the news that regular coffee intake by ms'ers was shown to be protective in nature. And now they're saying I have to steer clear of it so I don't have to pee so much? And so that, when I do try to pee, it actually comes out? Oh no you don't, NMSS. No you don't take away my beloved coffee! Continuing on. Says there are meds for this. Since you may recall...I'm "2%", let's take a peek at the side effects that I will experience from said meds.

"Other less common side effects include constipation, heartburn, blurry vision, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), urinary retention and cognitive side effects such as impaired memory and confusion."

Hmm. I think I'll stick with the current plan of drinking 1 gallon of water/day to flush out the yuckies and continue to enjoy that coffee. I'd hate to be a blurry eyed, confused, reflux suffering mother of two who's full of crap.

But here's where I start feeling a little intimidated. The next ad says "Strength comes from within, summon yours!" And most of the writings beyond this one are headlined with "self help", "I", "me", "we", "you". This is where I used to feel so inadequate. In high school and college, I prided myself on my strength. Play softball with teeth loose in mouth? Complete a field hockey game on torn cartilage in knee? Not break down and cry when something emotionally awful happens? Yes, yes, and yes. I used to think that made me strong among the strong, tough beyond tough. So when I used to see these articles about strength coming from within and summoning mine, it made me feel weak. If I was supposed to be so tough, then why was I falling apart inside? No one knew but me, because I'm a firm believer in never letting 'em see me sweat! But still...depression, emotional drama, and the like? If I was supposedly so strong, according to my own standards, why couldn't I deal with it all? Took me many years, but I know the answer to the $100,000 Pyramid.

Because it wasn't and isn't mine to deal with. It's the Lord's. My adequacy is in Him. And the Bible says His strength is made perfect in my weakness. So like, if I'm thinking I'm so strong on my own...all by my lonesome...that's pretty dangerous. In a moment, my emotions can flip upside down and leave me questioning myself! But if I'm grounded in the Word and understand that my strength isn't my own, I can stop beating myself up on those rare occasions where I begin to feel pretty weak. Truth is, weak is the new strong...like 40 is the new 20! The Bible tells me so! Well, maybe not about 40 being the new 20, but you know what I'm sayin'...

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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