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

I’m having an exacerbation…

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?


Author: Mary

ABOUT MARY ~ Mary is a "late-blooming" 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 & most purposeful. Mary's personal & professional background is filled with an eclectic combination of business & art (e.g., music, performing arts, 15 years sales/marketing & special events 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, life as she knew it would be dramatically & forever altered by the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at age 35. Several years passed, searching for answers to unknown questions. This loss of reality, normalcy, & PURPOSE needed to be reinvented - renewed - rewritten. This disease is not a "one size firs all." MS affects everyone differently & can morph unpredictably, silently, relentlessly... day to day. It's not easy to figure out how to deal with disease & this vile invasion of an uninvited, unwanted "internal room-mate." Eventually, Mary also sought the help of a professional therapist which helped her learn important coping skills needed to tame/calm mood disorders & to encourage healthy ways in which to purge the noisy chaos inside the brain. And so the writing began... as did a newfound passion & purpose. This journey of reinvention became plausible via Mary's background & her desire to discover new creative outlets. As a student for life, Mary continues to explore & study the health benefits from turning off our "auto pilot switch" & instead focus on learning - consume new information & participate in new activities (Neuroplasticity). The gift of "resilience" is a glorious, powerful tool which stems from the endurance of life & it's many challenges. Resilience forces us to rise up & learn face issues (new & old) head on. Focus on the important things in life. Laugh & live selflessly with compassion, purose & passion. Connect with Mary at: 🔸Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals 🔸Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaryPettigrew48 🔸LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maryppettigrew 🔸Instagram: 🔸http://www.mspals.org Acknowledgments and Press ~ * 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 HealtheVoices MS Focus - Monthly contributor

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