I bid you adieu, MS! Are you listening?!?




I’m having an exacerbation…

15ef5-bed
Photo: Edie Beale

It started a week or two ago, I think.  This is the first flare-up I’ve had in years.  It feels a bit foreign to me since I’ve been flare-up “free” for such a long time.  On a positive note, this seems to be a minor attack – weird numbness, in weird places – nerve pain across my shoulders – bladder games – emotional swings for no reason.  AND, as usual, all are invisible symptoms which are frustrating as HELL to explain to family and others.  Based on facial expressions and comments, I’m not sure who’s the more frustrated…me or them?  Hmm, this behavior is such an energy buster…something I must let go of and fast!  I’ll start my steroid “dose-pack” this week.  My attitude is actually positive regarding the Methylprednisolone, as my sinuses will thank me for it too…kill two birds with one stone? I hope.

I’m slowly trying to get back into blogging these days, but it’s been difficult to find the energy.  In fact, I’m missing out on a #bloggab chat on twitter right now because I felt compelled to write this little entry.  I think I made the right choice – I needed this writing “therapy” session!

I’ve somewhat pinpointed the trigger responsible for this latest exacerbation.  It all points back to stress, and too much of it lately.  Stress is my worst enemy.  To me, it’s a “disease” all in it’s own which can intensify problems of the always present cog fog and fatigue issues I possess.  When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2001, researchers and doctors continued to debunk the connection of stress and exacerbations or how it affects those of us with MS.  Thankfully, opinions have now changed about this via continuous study, and most importantly, MS patients began to speak up – LOUDLY!  Stress means different things to different people.  Stress affects us in different ways too.  It can temporarily intensify existing symptoms, or it can cause a full blown MS attack.  I have learned some wonderful tools to help me cope over the years, but stress still happens – because, life happens.  I’m now trying to “practice what I preach” to others when stress, set-backs and emotional issues take hold.  I must remind myself to be kinder to ME – to rest – to let go of guilty thoughts, things that I “shoulda, coulda, woulda” done to possibly prevent this set-back – remind myself that I’m human, and repeat a reassuring mantra… “this too shall pass”.

MS is different for us all.  MS is unpredictable and somewhat uncontrollable in it’s nature – which makes it difficult to “manage”.  Stress can be managed…sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s possible. Therefore, as I put my turbulent winter/spring of 2014 behind me, I will breathe.  I will focus on managing the things in life that I have control over and am CAPABLE of managing.  For the remainder of this year and years to come, I will embark on realistic journeys…calm and serene, infused with healing thoughts of wellness and joy.

In conclusion, I submit this request to my MS pals and to others who know me:  
If you catch me falling, ignoring my own written words and promises, remind me.  Call me out, will you?

compassion

Author: Mary

ABOUT MARY ~ Mary is a patient advocate for MS, chronic illness & disabilities. She is a freelance writer from Texas who enjoys exploring a variety of different styles & genres, however her deep passion for creative writing (poetry, essay, narrative interview & non-fiction) remains unwavering & purposeful. Mary's personal & professional background is an eclectic compilation consisting of the fine arts, civil rights advocacy, fundraising with 15 years in sales/marketing & event planning in the private club industry. Mary is a 1990 graduate from The University of North Texas with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. In 2001, Mary was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Within a few years, health issues forced her to resign from the career she loved. As her marriage began to crumble, Mary was keenly aware of the emotional & mental crisis firmly taking hold. Eventually, she sought the help of a professional therapist which helped her learn the important coping skills needed to tame/calm mood disorders & to encourage healthy ways in which to purge the noisy chaos inside the brain. This loss of reality, normalcy, & PURPOSE needed to be reinvented, renewed & rewritten...NOW! The divorce & all related proceedings lasted an unfathomable six years, yet it was the therapy, communities & her writing which kept her most grounded. Each poem a cathartic purge, each word a therapeutic tool meant for healing & to inspire resilience. Blindsided by this newfound purpose & passion, Mary continues writing & exploring a plethora of multimedia outlets to this day. Her writing, networking & advocacy projects target the MS, chronic illness & disability communities. Her interactive presence can be seen throughout social media. Although MS is the primary community in which she advocates, Mary enjoys playing an active role in other patient communities (bloggers, writers, music, live chats, special events, & many more. One of the key messages Mary continues to emphasize is how chronic illness can affect everyone differently. MS is a prime example in that we are not a "one size fits all." This disease called MS is a conundrum in every which way. To this day, research continues, yet we still don't know the root cause for MS, yet current findings now show "risk factors" for the disease. MS can morph as it sees fit to do so. Unpredictably, silently, sometimes relentlessly this MS becomes an uninvited, unwanted "internal room-mate." Mary's overall background & her desire to discover herself & new creative outlets was a plus. A renewed student for life, Mary continues to explore the unknown - Once you switch off your "auto pilot" it's amazing what you can see & do. Place focus on learning, consume new information & participate in activities uncharted or foreign (The science of Neuroplasticity). All of this is most DEFINITELY a work in progress, but remember to focus most on the important things in life. Laugh out loud & live selflessly with compassion, purpose & unbridled passion. Connect with Mary at: 🔸Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals 🔸Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mary.patriciapettigrew 🔸LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maryppettigrew 🔸Instagram: 🔸https://www.mspals.wordpress.com Acknowledgments and Press ~ UPDATES TO COME * Creator & Co-founder of MSpals: A Global Organization (2014 - present) * Administrator & contributing author of content, posts, & interviews: MSpals blog: https:/:www.mspals.wordpress.com ~ The Summer of Sport: Forward Poetry 2012 ~ Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 ~ Something On Our Minds Vol.III ~ Something On Our Minds Vol IV. Interviews: National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Momentum Magazine" ~ 2013 = Art Therapy & MS ~ 2015 = Connecting Via Social Media Other works also featured on a variety of blogs, websites, videos, as well as other multimedia platforms including: www.pajamadaze.com www.disabled-world.com www.HealthCentral.com www.MyCounterpane.com www.MS&MeRadio/TBI Network iConquerMS/The Accelerated Cure Project WEGO Health - Patient Leader HealtheVoices - Patient Leader MS Focus - Monthly contributor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s