Category Archives: MS and Aging

MS Shuffle and Shake

Music for multiple sclerosis to move to

So this spring ushered in a blizzard and some company. With gale force winds and several inches of snow predicted for 3/26, my mom came to stay. For the record, these previous two statements are not complaints; neither about the weather or about my mom visiting. All is well.

And even though the lateness in the season of this storm is odd, I, the woman who loves winter, am still good with it. By stating this fact I reserve the right to start complaining when the heat and humidity strike. And believe me, I will be complaining.

 

The reason I bring this up is because I learned something new during my mom’s visit and I really want to ponder it with all of you to see if it’s MS related. As I walked across the living room my mom said, “Why don’t you pick your feet up more? Do you know you are shuffling? You’re going to wear a path across the carpet.”

My mom’s statement lead to three main questions-

1. So what? This is a rental. It’s not my carpet. Wait, will my security deposit cover a path in the carpet?

2. I do? I never realized that before. Is this an MS thing?

3. I feel like listening to the Stones version of Harlem Shuffle– where’s my Dirty Work CD?

 

I couldn’t sort out the answer to number 1 without checking with my landlord’s which might make them super obsessive about examining the carpet when I do move out, whenever that will be.

So, I moved on to number’s 2 and 3. I started to notice and my mom was right- I do shuffle.

Since the beautiful spring weather was actually 28 degrees, I was wearing heavy cotton socks and my super warm, super comfy slippers. And I was shuffling across my apartment. When did I start doing that?

 

I proceeded to walk normally and I was able to, but not without consciously trying to! Do I shuffle when I’m out in public? Is this shuffling simple laziness? Does my shuffling have anything to do with wearing slippers?

Suddenly I pictured an old man shuffling around his house in his worn slippers. Actually, I noticed, my slippers kind of look like an old man’s. Was this more rapidly advanced aging courtesy of multiple sclerosis?

My sister Laurie who also has MS suffers from foot drop but this seemed different. This seemed more like too tired to bother to walk like a normal person.

 

Worrying about what this shuffling means to my age, the status of my MS, and my pocketbook (as in- will I have to actually replace this carpet?) started to overwhelm me. When that happens, the way I cope is by turning to one of my favorite things, the Rolling Stones.

And this link was a direct link as opposed to other indirect links my brain makes courtesy of multiple sclerosis. I went searching for the Dirty Works CD and played Harlem Shuffle, performed like only the Stones can perform it. Yes, 9 other people recorded it but of course the Stones did it best.

“Weird Al” Yankovic even did a version-weird.

 

As I listened I began to realize that this is another song the Stones sing about multiple sclerosis (see prior blog-Like an MS Rolling Stone.) I mean, see how MS perfect the lyrics are-

 “You move it to the left, yeah, and you go for yourself

You move it to the right, yeah, if it takes all night

Now take it kinda slow

With a whole lot of soul

Don’t move it too fast…“

The song even works if two people in the same household both have MS

“Don’t fall down on me now.”

Pondering upsetting thoughts by using the Rolling Stones as metaphors is another way that I deal with MS. There’s using God to help deal. There’s using my God given sense of humor to help deal. And then there’s using the Rolling Stones.

 

Technically Harlem Shuffle was a song written in the 60’s about a popular dance. That doesn’t mean the Stones weren’t thinking about multiple sclerosis when they recorded it.

So while I am shuffling along I automatically feel better humming Harlem Shuffle.

As I was humming and dancing away my hands and fingers began to shake. The shaking got me thinking. Harlem Shake is a whole different thing.

And not at all comforting as the Stones don’t cover it!

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Check it out here!

Race to Erase MS Online Store

 

Making it up as I Go

Multiple Sclerosis attempts to pretty up a bit

I am terrified of my foundation. Ahhh, dear sympathetic readers, I must be psychic as I can hear your concern across the internet.

“Yvonne must have fallen again and she is worried about her safety- that is what she means by foundation. She needs a more stable floor.”

So kind of you all but no, that is not the foundation I mean.

“Hmmm… Yvonne must be facing a moral dilemma, struggling with some principle between right and wrong. It must be serious if she’s actually terrified. I wonder what that foundation is.”

Sorry friends, that is wrong too. My actual fear is far shallower.

The foundation I am talking about is the new makeup I just bought. I have no idea what to do with it and the very tired me is overwhelmed with the thought of trying it out.

 

See, it’s been years since I’ve worn makeup with any regularity. Four to be exact, stopping a few months after MS came into my life. Basically, I was just too fatigued to care.

When your energy level is already at the bottom of the barrel, putting makeup on is just too exhausting. Taking it off again in the evening is near debilitating.

If you think I’m exaggerating then you either a. do not have MS, b. are a non cross dressing male, c. are a compulsive liar or d. are taking some really good meds.

Add to the fatigue my clumsiness and tingling fingers and cosmetics easily became one of the early casualties of my MS life. And folks wonder why I’m single.

Back in the day, I wouldn’t dream of stepping outside my front door without a little makeup on. But back then it also didn’t take much. A little blush, a little mascara and eye liner, maybe some lip gloss and out the door I would go.

 

Since I was young (or at least much, much younger) and a friend had told me I had beautiful skin, I never bothered with foundation. It seemed a waste to me and too often I would see people wearing it with crazy smudges all over their face and clothes and looking like their faces had melted.

No, foundation was not for me.

Part of being a writer is going off to various places to sell your books. It became apparent that maybe I should give makeup a try again. Not for the beauty aspect per se, as my book is about a super tired MSer so why not look like a super tired MSer when I talk about it?

The concern was the pictures that get taken. Those pictures can stick around forever! Bad enough that the camera already adds forty pounds!

And so I decided I should put on makeup the way I used to four years ago. Problem is, I guess I’ve aged a lot in those four years. Even with makeup, I still look like a zombie. And not just any old zombie, but a washed out fatigued zombie at that.

 

This realization combined with my “I can’t sleep because of my bladder so I will watch late night miracle beauty infomercials” status and combined with my “CVS messing up my online $3 rewards and giving me $5 rewards and a 20% off coupon to apologize-I love CVS” status.

So now I had pharmacy money to burn, makeup on my mind and late night commercials telling me how important a base coat was. I went to the store and stood forever in the cosmetics aisle.

So much to choose from just in foundation alone! Powder or cream? What skin tone? My skin tone is MS fatigued winter pale but they didn’t have that one. They had ivory and classic ivory. I like ivory soap but I wasn’t sure if that had anything to do with the choices.

Add coupons, sale prices and other customers trying to get around me to the mix and I panicked. I grabbed something and got out of the store. I’m not even sure if what I got is foundation.

 

It has color and is supposed to go on my face, I think, but it has two names-Age Rewind and The Lifter. What does it lift? Is it meant to lift the floor, as in that type of foundation? But then what was it doing in the makeup aisle?

I brought it home and now I don’t know what to do with it. I know most people would say I should try it out, practice a bit before I actually wear it in public. I tried that. I put some on the back of my hand and suddenly my hand looked perfect-blemish free.

Which was totally depressing as I didn’t realize that my hand had blemishes in the first place…

And now I am stuck. Testing my hand and then washing all that base coat off of the back of my hand has worn me out. I can’t imagine practicing with my whole face.

What about my neck? Do I use the stuff to hide the blemishes on my neck? What about my hands again? Won’t it look weird to have a flawless face and neck and then wrinkly blemish filled hands?

 

Oh how I wish I still had my Barbie head doll. You know the one where there was no body, just a huge Barbie head that you could put make up on and style her hair. I was remembering this toy of my childhood and stressing over my new purchase when somewhere through the MS brain fog came a reminder.

My friend is having a Mary Kay party this weekend! Mary Kay is the makeup company where they tell you all the amazing things you can do with their cosmetics and make you all gorgeous so you’ll spend a ton of money.

I don’t have a ton of money to spend and already have makeup. But if I bring lots and lots of notepaper I can get some good foundation pointers.

And maybe some hand cream….

 

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Not too late to purchase your copy of MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis and donate to an awesome cause! Purchase through this link below and 50% of the proceeds of the sale go to Race to Erase MS!

Race to Erase MS Online Store

 

The Curious Case of Multiple Sclerosis Part 1

MS and the aging process

How is it even possible that an illness can make you feel like a little old lady and a little girl at the same time?    It seems only multiple sclerosis has the insanity to do just that.

The old lady part isn’t surprising; I have felt older than my actual years for some time now.   It started even before my MS diagnosis with innocuous signs such as: this former party girl no longer interested in well, partying, my not being able to stay awake until the end of a movie, having trouble getting myself up when sitting on the floor, my aches, and, of course my pains.

My MS diagnosis coincided with additional signs such as; choosing to no longer sit on the floor, engrossing conversations regarding boring medical stuff, a super size portable pill container filled with a wide assortment of needed medications, a written list of all my medications tucked securely in my purse in case I need it but never in a place where I would remember it, and my extreme forgetfulness.

What were we talking about?  Oh yes, my dose of thyroid medication is much higher than your dose, dear.

MS making me feel older than I want to feel comes with the MS territory.  But recently, this illness had me feeling like a little girl as well.  It was during a road trip my dad and I were taking to visit a sick relative.  Going back to the old lady thing for a bit, my dad and I have taken a lot of road trips lately as he has (thankfully as city driving is just too much for me,) appointed himself my designated driver to all my appointments.  We have turned Driving Miss Daisy into Driving Miss Yvonne.  But at least my dad and I have a common taste in rock music to listen to along the drive- take that Morgan Freeman!

Usually half way through the drive to the big city my dad stops for coffee and while he chats with the counter girl, I slip into the ladies room.   This time however, we drove right past our regular stopping place.  I didn’t panic.  I had to go but not too badly and I was a grownup, I could hold it.

Forty-five minutes later though the city traffic was at a stop and go crawl.  I had forgotten about city traffic, old lady again. I tried to hold it, I really did.  I wasn’t five years old, this was silly.  But as the next exit approached, I broke down.  I was a child again.

I think I said, “sorry Dad, but can you take the next exit, I have to use the bathroom and don’t think I can wait til we get there.”

But it came out sounding like “Daddy, I have to go potty right NOW!  Really, really bad!”

I waited for the response my dad would give me back when I was five, “be a big girl and hold it Yvonne- we’re almost there.”

Or, “didn’t I tell you to go before we left?”

I worried that he would go back to being the dad he was at that time and just pull over expecting to me go on the side of the road.  Thankfully, the seventies were over and my dad decided maybe coffee wouldn’t be so bad after all and he took the exit.

Back on the road and listening to Elvis, the side trip to a bathroom made me think of my childhood.   Not for the first time I wondered if I had jinxed myself with an illness that made me feel older than my years.  As much as I love babies now, when I was a little girl my go to comfort doll was Mrs. Beasley (who in my family thought that giving me an old lady doll would be a good idea?)   You remember her, the grandmotherly looking doll Buffy on Family Affair dragged around.

My dad drank his coffee and started to sing to Elvis.  It again reminded me of being five when he would sing Elvis songs into a hairbrush for me as he got ready for work, making up lyrics when appropriate or when he forgot the real ones.

So, maybe the movie of this time in my life isn’t Driving Miss Daisy.  Maybe it is actually The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.   Maybe MS has just screwed up the natural order of the aging process, accelerating to elderly stage and then going back to being a kid.  Hopefully, this time I will be cuter.

 

Would anyone like to play a quick game of Candyland?  No, not on the floor, let’s use the kitchen table like the grownups do.

And then it will be time for my nap….

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net