Hello, everyone! My name is Nicole and I am new to Shift. MS. This is my first post. I was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS in December of 2015. For me, it was a quick diagnosis. One July evening I went to bed and awoke the next morning with my left hand numb. I, of course, went through the typical thoughts of thinking that I slept on my arm too long or that I must have had it in an awkward position all night, but throughout the day the numbness only increased and soon the numbness began to engulf my arm moving up to my shoulder. I went to the GP, then to a Neurologist then to a Rheumatologist and had all the blood tests to rule out this and that, on to a new Neurologist where I had the pleasure of partaking in a lumbar puncture, and further MRIs which revealed multiple small brain lesions and a cervical spine lesion.
On some level the diagnosis wasn’t too much of a shock, I kind of already had a deep sense that I had MS. I had been struggling since my late 20s with bouts of this and that. Things like double vision, joint pain or that burning leg pain, hip pain, cramping in my arches of my feet, tingling in my hands every so often, fatigue. Yet the symptoms would come and go. I sought out doctors over the years only to be told I looked good, everything checked out ok, it must be stress so here are some anti-depressants. What! No, I knew it wasn’t just stress. Ugh! Embarrassed I was done looking. I figured at that point if something was wrong with me it would make itself known and then I would have the last laugh! I’d prove I was right all along and have one of those funny tombstones that read “I Told You I Was Sick”. Of course rethinking that idea I thought I wouldn’t really be the winner in that situation so I tried my best to overcome what had become constant health issues by involving myself with mindfulness and meditation, clean eating and exercise.
I did well for awhile with long bouts of finding my center so to speak before becoming frequently derailed due to feeling the need to tend more attentively to my family. I am the kind of person who is a very responsible, likes everything to be in its place, I think ahead, prepare and go out of my way to make sure everyone is comfortable and provided for. I take great pride in tending to my family, my two girls 10- 14, my husband and home. But I have lost the motivation it seems to really step back and take care of me in the way I once was which I know could help heal me in terms of stress. I do small things like write and draw and I love photography but it isn’t consistent. Every day I tell myself I should exercise but I don’t even though I have a treadmill, stationary bike, weights and DVD workout videos at the ready here at home. I get caught up in keeping up. And I can’t keep up.
Before I know it, its late in the day and my kids are coming home from school and then it’s off and running to their dance classes and piano class, driving them here and there, homework assistance, dinner, dishes, etc. I know its life but it’s exhausting. My kids do help out, as does my husband so I am grateful. I have talked to all of them about my fatigue or certain limitations but they can’t truly understand especially when one day my actions demonstrate that I am energized and the next day I feel like I need to be on the couch every 30 minutes. They can’t fully understand that on the days it appears I am easily running around, in reality, I am just pushing myself. I get it, I know they have compassion, but I still am frustrated, I think I am frustrated with myself.
My husband works late hours so by the time he arrives home it’s near 10 pm and then I feel I need to sit up and talk with him so we can connect when really I should be asleep. I want to tell him my concerns and I do, but I don’t want that to be the source of our conversations, stress, illness and worries. So I feel a bit isolated with my feelings. Add to this my parents have temporarily moved in while their new home is being built for them. They sold their two-story house for a new single level home which will make it easier for my father who has Parkinson’s safer to walk around. But of course, I am feeling overly protective of him too as he is here. And finally my brother and sister in law’s 6-month-old son is being brought over to my house since both of them work and my mother watches him on Mondays and Tuesdays. I (apparently having taken crazy pills) agreed to watch him every Wednesday. He is adorable and I love him. But it’s a lot. Now I find myself staying up even later in the evening once everyone is asleep because the house is quiet and I can have my time which is, on one hand good, but not so much for feeling energized by the morning.
So I am struggling to get back to that place I once was, calmer, less anxious, allowing myself to focus on me more. I find myself becoming resentful a bit, at who I don’t know. I am struggling to workout, and just feel overwhelmed in general. I know you all have been there, so I don’t know what I am really asking for by this post other than a place to rant. I worry about my future and I worry a bit about wasting time not doing the things I want to do while I can because I am so preoccupied with doing for others. I think on some level I have been in denial about my MS and I am just keeping myself overly busy.
I know I have to make time for me there is nothing else to say, I am after all blessed to be able to get around very well. You wouldn’t know anything is wrong with me by looking at me. My family loves me and I know I have their support, I just have a hard time letting go and stepping back and I think my family feels helpless sometimes with knowing how to help. So sometimes I feel stuck and that creates stress. How do you handle stress? Thanks for reading my post and feel free to friend request me. 🙂
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