Just One Breath

An American girl in Scotland, figuring things out one step at a time

NUME Update 1… Lady Lazarus

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So the new year and my intentions started off with a bang as all new years go for those with resolutions. I have to say my resolve hasn’t faltered but my body has a bit. I am still mentally on track but working on a few injuries that need to shift so that I can make real progress. So as followthrough with my goals, one is to be held accountable for what I am doing so here is an overdue update. Feel free to tell me off or encourage me as you see fit. I am not going to touch on all the goals because really only a few matter at the moment and they are all linked heavily.

I started woking on my health goals with a vengeance. I was working out 5-6 days a week with gym and home alternating. I was doing great and I have lost several inches and a few pounds but then my arm and ankles started to tell me I was doing too much. I have been fighting tennis elbow since November and my ankles always flare up a few times a year so I wasn’t surprised. All of this takes a toll on the drive though. I still went to my classes with regularity but I was flagging at home and the scale showed. I gained a few pounds back and then lost a few and so on. I am still down but my drive is a bit all over the place. Honestly I think it is a mental thing. As my health goal is so closely linked to my MS, when I started to have to deal with that on a weekly basis it took its toll and that was all I really had time for.

I will be starting on MS medication this coming weekend. I have had what seemed like hundreds of vials of blood taken to check me for everything and have had my MRI too. I also had some very very tearful chats with Jamie, friends and my family about why going on medication seemed a hard choice. So although my fitness goals flagged my mental goals were going strong. I was building on my relationships and getting encouragement and support on this journey.

Along with trying to be bodily fit I believed that I needed to work on my mind too so I started a mindfullness course and am loving it. I honestly believe without my few weeks of training before my MRI I would not have been able to do it. I had a horrible time with my MRI in 2015. A lot of things happened to make it stressful and I barely made it through. That experience planted a huge seed of doubt and dread about any future scans.

As I drove to the hospital I couldn’t push aside the anxiety that was building up. When I put my car into park I sobbed from the stress and called my Dad. A chat and a pre-appointment prayer with him helped ease my mind and as I entered the hospital I had hope that I could handle the tube better this time. When I was asked how I was I spoke up and had plenty of time to relax unlike last time. When I entered the MRI room I was met with bright lights and a totally different feel. I did make the mistake of opening my eyes once the cage was fitted over my face, as a rule once that goes on I don’t open my eyes. If I can pretend it isn’t there then I am better off. When the bed shifted and I was going into the tube my heart sank and I began to feel a bit overwhelmed but I paused, took a few deep breathes and started doing my mindfullness counting, which is not at all dissimilar to my hypnobirthing counting, and I made it to the end. I was overjoyed and hugged the technician. My mind was on track and my body will follow.

After the MRI I was still having some lingering doubts about going on medication because see… for some reason I had it in my head that I could fight this bastard of a disease on my own. Since 99% of my issues are sensory when I have a relapse I thought keep fit, keep healthy, eat right and manage my stress and I can do it on my own. I have been doing really well for nearly 5 years and have only had one major relapse since 2012 when I was seriously struggling for sleep with a baby being transitioned into her own bed. I think about my MS daily in passing if my arm is tingling or my back is sore but I was scanned after that bad relapse and it showed I was in full remission so I thought I was doing something right. When I got upset, stressed or tired the scars on my brain and spinal cord grumbled at me and I listened. It is a good system that I have with my damaged brain. It talks, I listen and we make up so I thought that I could continue to do it alone. Even though I desperately want to be here for my children and my husband (we will talk about my babies later) I didn’t have it in my heart to understand why I needed medication.

When I spoke to anyone about going on medication I always said I was doing it for my kids and Jamie, everyone said I need to do it for myself. “I am doing it for me” including my nurse and neurologist, but I never thought of it like that, I thought I was doing everything for me but the medication was for them. I couldn’t think of it like that at all no matter how hard I tried. But then I got the push I needed to set me straight. I got the kick up the butt that I needed, the results of my MRI.

Although mostly positive I did get a reality check. I have no new lesions in two years, yay! I have an increase in size of one lesion, not a surprise since my hand and back have been bothering me a lot since October 2016 and… I am no longer in remission. I have at least one lesion that is active. Then it hit me, I can’t fight this with diet and exercise because it isn’t my body I am battling against, it is a disease destroying my BRAIN! If I had diabetes, heart problems, liver problems etc I would be on medication. This is my BRAIN!! It is a vital organ and I need to take care of it. I need to do it for ME. My dear friend hit the nail on the head when we spoke recently and she said “Heather, you haven’t lost control. You are taking control by choosing to take the pills and keeping healthy. You are doing it for your family but you are also doing it for yourself.” I loved her before this and I love her more now because that was exactly what I needed to hear that no one had put like that before. I am taking control, I am doing it and I will be here for my babies as the best possible form of me that I can be and if that is a few pounds heavier than I want to be at the moment then it doesn’t matter.

This year has begun a new chapter of my life. I won’t be thinking of my MS in passing, I will be swallowing it 2 times a day and kicking it’s ass in a new way. My relationships with friends and family are strong. My life in general is good. So in spite of outward appearances, my goals are on track in the best way that I can tackle them, my way the way that is right for me. I have risen from the ashes of the old me with new found perspective and hope for the future. I will be strong, I will be fierce and I will be doing it for me.  x heather


One Comment

  1. I’m so proud of you, Heather!

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