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MS Life from My Perspective

As I view my kitchen floor I realize that it's very different from that of the bathroom. Both constructed of ceramic tile, I offer silent appreciation to the previous owner of my cozy home. He did a wonderful job of installing the floors in the two main rooms of the house. While the bathroom floor is white, the kitchen tile is a gorgeous hunter green, which is perfect for the French wine country theme that I have developed since purchasing the home. I am proud of my kitchen design: stainless steel appliances, wine colored paint on the walls, new granite design counter tops, and this beautiful dark green ceramic that I accented with two complimentary area rugs. No, I am not a designer nor can I lay claim to the Martha Stewart Movement of crafting the perfect home staging.

I'm just on the floor again.

At least this time it was an easy fall. More like I just kinda folded to the ground. Sometimes I don't even realize I am falling until some body part has made contact with solid ground. As long as that body part is not my head (that has happened more than once in the past) I am relatively fine with the fall. I have accepted that falling is just another element of the MonSter. I don't like it, but if I can thumb my nose at it, I know I'm still in the race....just at a different vantage point.

Do I sound wildly upbeat and nauseatingly positive? Sorry. That's just the way I roll.

According to Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies  (I have probably sold more copies of this book than any of my own!): "Sometimes attitudes - your own or other people's - get in the way..." (p. 278). But, we know that, right? If you have a relationship with Common Sense, then this is old news. Whether it's in the work place, with family members, or those so-called friends, there is always attitude running interference with every well planned play of the game. Beginning on page 279 of the Dummies guide, we as Warriors must first deal with our personal attitude toward the MonSter before taking on the attitudes of  others. And face it, folks, personal attitude requires every ounce of our positive being to combat.

There is no guide out there, for Dummies or not, that can dictate personal attitude. I can take up space providing inspirational titles for you avid readers out there (The Gathering Table: Defying Multiple Sclerosis With a Year of Pasta, Wine, and Friends by Ronda Giagreco; I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? by yours truly; King James Holy Bible), but no one else's words or experiences can force you into a positive state of mind if you are fraught with any type of resistance. And no one can offer the sure-fire solution.

But I can pass on some suggestions.

1. Exercise!!! "Living with MS requires planning and careful decision making. We do not simply leap into an activity, even if that activity is as simple as preparing breakfast. We MSers must take time and thought into consideration for every single thing we do...My advice: Find an activity yo enjoy and just MOVE!" (p. 46, I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?) When you read my book, you will discover my devotion to Yoga. I'm no where near a master yogi nor do I plan to be. The stretching is the key. Keeping muscles lengthened and toned is essential to my walking regime. Yoga doesn't require an abundance of physical exertion and is totally portable. Even the National Multiple Sclerosis Society condones Yoga as a MS warrior's friend. Check out MYMSYOGA with Baron Baptiste and Dr. Eliot Frohman on And DO NOT WORRY about messing up. Those instructors cannot see you. They cannot judge your progress. They simply provide the guidance you might need to KEEP MOVING.

2. Read, read, read...everything from nonfiction and research material to that soft porn novel I know you have tucked away under your mattress. As a retired reading teacher and current book reviewer, I can tell you that there is no better escape than the written word. Give it a try. Let a good story line or riveting research document be that passport to another focus in your life.

3. Volunteer. Whether it be on the phone or door-to-door, if you are able. Hospital gift shops are always in need of volunteer clerks. Churches will not turn away anyone wishing to assist in stuffing envelopes, answering the office phone, organizing newsletters or scheduling group meetings. Community centers, food pantries, even local elementary schools welcome servers,  classroom readers, or just an  extra hand. Nursing home residents love visitors. There are plenty of opportunities out there.

4. Take up a new hobby. I learned how to knit last fall and am surprised at how soothing the activity can be once I figured out the basic stitches. When my bestest friend and I began beginning knitting classes, I had my reservations as to how well I would progress; but I have found an activity that I absolutely love. I used to play the piano and even entertained the thought of one day doing so professionally. Stiff fingers and unpredictable muscle spasms do not allow me to enjoy my piano much any more, but that's okay. (It's a lovely piece of furniture on which I display an array of treasured photographs.)  I can accomplish more with my knitting needles. Hope all of my family and friends are as excited about those knitted dish cloths they will be receive next Christmas as I am!

5. Keep a journal or write a blog. If I can do it, ABSOLUTELY anyone can. I finally figured out that consistency in blog posting is the key. I VOW to post every Tuesday and Friday, no matter what my readership may be. The activity is more for me than anyone else; but I would love to think that my rantings are helpful to someone else out there.

6. Netflix! It's awesome! Okay, maybe this is really stretching the KEEP MOVING button. It's just that I have never been much of a television watcher and since my retirement from the pubic school  system last June, I have discovered the allure of trending broadcasts. Before Christmas I spent an entire week binging on Orange is the New Black and am anxiously awaiting the new season. Recently I pledged my alliances to  Rick and the gang that comprise The Walking Dead. It's addictive. Being the rather impatient TV viewer that I am, though, I still have to keep moving while watching. So I almost always employ a few yoga moves or pick up the knitting needles while my eyes take in the ridiculousness of zombie-ville.

There is no end to the possibilities of how to brighten the spirits and lighten the attitude. But it has to be up to you.

MS is a personal journey and leaves its unique stamp on each of us.

I am not always so upbeat, but it is useless to turn the other cheek and allow MS to dictate who and what I am. The sooner we realize that it is what it is, the sooner we can get on with our lives to adopt a more positive attitude.

Recently an acquaintance approached me with questions about dealing with a friend who suspects she has multiple sclerosis. The friend is frantic with concern and anxious to find some answers. She has researched MS and is convinced that she exhibits a large number of MS related symptoms. I sincerely pray that the MonSter has not knocked on her door, but I also hope that she is successful in including positive research to her findings.

MS is not pretty. It's not fun. But with a positive outlook we can allow it to sit in the corner (face to the wall) while we work for a cure.

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. This year I am in the position to monetarily to my part in the funding of said cure. Beginning Friday (three days from now!), for every copy of my book I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? and for every copy of my young adult novel Abby, that I personally sell, I will donate a dollar to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

These need to be personal sales for me to control the donations. I will pay the postage for every book ordered directly from me. I am not much of a business person, so I hope this little project doesn't go belly up. I just want to do my part. I am in no way discouraging you from ordering from; but if you order from me, I will include a FREE autograph!

Just give a shout and I will promptly respond with book(s) in the mail. Or if you just want to chat, I am thrilled to meet you.

Have an AWESOME week!

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