Category Archives: MS and Exercise

Star Wars is Coming Back!

The return of an MS smoothie master

ID-10034952

When I first started bloggin,g one of Montel William’s peeps sent me a free Healthmaster Elite in the hopes that I would blog about using it.  I did and the result was this blog post from July of 2012.  I’m reposting now because I have vowed to get back to making healthy smoothies a regular part of my routine.   

And because I’m not above using the current Star Wars craze to promote my own writing. ID-10079450

So the Banana Peanut Smoothie was actually pretty good.   It wasn’t as incredibly super delicious as say, a Cookie Dough Nor’easter (the Cape Cod version of a DQ Blizzard), but it wasn’t bad.   Strangely, the recipe said it made four servings when it actually made ten.  Why is that?

I think people who put together recipes and serving sizes have no idea that they are doing.  It’s like when you open a container of something really good and the label says the container contains eight servings when it barely contains three, maybe four.   Somebody is doing something wrong.

ID-100112083

So while I did like the Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was a little too banana-ie/peanut-ie for me and I moved on to the next recipe I was bravely going to check out.  But first, I noticed something really cool.

Before I tell you what that was, allow me to say that I truly appreciate the Healthmaster Elite way more than the Ancient Warrior blender thingy I had tried before.  The Healthmaster comes in cool colors, is easier to use and much easier to clean.  There is no removing of the blades in the Healthmaster so it is likely I will keep all of my fingers while using it.

As I gathered the ingredients for my next smoothie, the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie (I chose this one as I still had some of the ingredients hanging around and those bananas were just crying out to be used again), I really looked at my Healthmaster.r2dr2

I noticed how much it resembled a robot.  Then I grabbed this cool tool that comes with the Healthmaster Elite (and was badly needed and DID NOT come with the Ancient Warrior) called the tamper.   I don’t know why it’s called the tamper as it’s really a smoothie maker’s lightsaber, used to duel the ingredients of healthy stuff into an actual smoothie.Picture 10

Since I was really impressed with this tool, I couldn’t help noticing that the Healthmaster Elite kind of looked like one of R2-D2’s cousins.  I don’t know why everything in that day’s smoothie making experiment was making me think of Star Wars.  Perhaps it was because the last time I didn’t have to worry about my weight was when I saw the original Star Wars in 1977.

r2d21

Oh Obi-Wan, I could use your wisdom on my ‘get fit’ plan.  Yes, I am fortunate to have Montel’s recipes but Obi-Wan could send in the force.

The lightsaber fascination lead to actual exercise as I dashed around my living room fighting off imaginary Stormtroopers.  Then it lead to even more exercise as I moved around the room again, this time cleaning Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie off the walls.

Perhaps next time I should play pretend Star Wars BEFORE actually using the lightsaber to make the smoothie.

Admit it- you want to do this-you’re making the lightsaber sound right now.

The point is, as silly as it might have been, I had fun and enjoyed my Star Wars smoothie maker more than ever.  As for the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was really good.   I know because the recipe said it made eight servings and I only came up with five and a half, the half being on my walls.

Picture 17

So my ‘get fit’ friends, take it from me.  If it works for you as you’re trying to get healthy, do it.  If childhood memories cause you to fly around your house like an idiot, at least you’re moving.

If you, like me, have a plan I can only say to you, “may the force be with you!”

ID-10036313

Friends- are you so excited about the upcoming release of the latest Star Wars movie that you want even more Star Wars humor?  If so, I suggest checking out My Odd Sock’s (another funny MS blog-can never have too many of those) latest post.  My Odd Sock and I will have you Star Wars ready in no time!

My Odd Sock

ID-100180741 

Both star images courtesy of bulldogza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Banana smoothie image courtesy of justingun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bananas image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Laughing dude image courtesy of MisterGC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Other images courtesy of my own private webcam

MS Legs a Walking

Multiple Sclerosis checks out a nature trailID-100105023

Lest you think that this blog hiatus has been solely for resting and being a sofa bum, I offer the following experience.

(Yes I know most people use the term couch potato but due to my issues with veggies, I offer sofa bum instead; which is silly as potatoes are a veggie I actually like.  You can turn them into French fries and chips.)

Anyway, I truly did mean it when I said I was going to use this time to better balance my life and better take care of myself.

I’ve been better at drinking water and better at making myself a salad every day; a good salad with dark leafy greens including spinach, tomatoes, red kidney beans and olives. Olives are a veggie too right?  Of course I pair this salad with delicious, high carb pasta but I’m getting there.Picture 94

As fall has progressed the serving size of salad has grown and the serving size of pasta has shrunk.  Maybe by Christmas I will be ready to incorporate other vegetables?

Then there was the exercise issue, or should I say no exercise issue, which I knew I needed to change. I read an article about several lesser known nature walks within a half hour drive from me and I vowed to explore each one.  Some day.

One sunny, warm autumn afternoon I decided that was the day. I would start easy by walking the trail closest to me, one I had walked before but only partially and not for a very, very long time.  I had lunch, took my lunch meds with water and then tied my sneakers.

As I headed out, it got cloudy.  Spooky cloudy. It occurred to me that since it was the off season the trail might be deserted.  That could be creepy.  Halloween was coming up and thoughts of slasher films and true crime dramas filled my mind.Picture 93

But I wasn’t to be deterred.  I remembered the toy laser gun key chain I found outside my apartment.  I had let it lie on the sidewalk for days so the child who lost it could claim it.  When no child did I scooped it up intending to give it to one of my young friends.  But I hadn’t yet and it made a nice hideous sound. I decided to take it with me as an alarm to scare away any possible scary people I might meet.

The walk was beautiful.  Why didn’t I spend more time here?  From the bluff at the start of the trail you could see the marsh, the ocean, sand bars, sand dunes, birds and all kinds of cool nature like things.  Even without the sun the view was bright.

I needn’t have feared being alone; there were many other normal looking people walking the trail as well.  I followed the path trying to ignore the fact that water would have been a good thing to bring with me.  I still wouldn’t be deterred and kept walking.ID-100283659

But soon the water I had drunk before leaving started to catch up with me and I increasingly needed to pee.  This trail is so well kept that there was even a public restroom at one of the parking lots; a restroom that was closed in the off season.

I’m ashamed to admit this but I’ve never been a pee outside kind of girl.  Growing up attending constant beach parties I should have been.  But back then I just got good at holding it.  It was why I switched from beer to wine- wine isn’t as bladder obnoxious as beer.  I could go for long stretches of time with no problems.

Ahhh, but back then I was young and strong and so was my bladder.  We used to get along pretty well.

No worries, I thought. It looks like I’m almost to the end of the trail. That was good as my legs, much better at walking than standing even at this particular MS stage, were starting to ache.  I thought having a walking stick would make it easier for me but there were none to be found; I had been looking. Every branch was either too big, too small or too attached to a really old tree.ID-100146491

At one point I passed a woman also walking.  She had a bottle of water AND a cane.  She had prepared much better than I did but I bet she wasn’t carrying a toy laser gun key chain that makes a really loud noise.  Hey lady- how prepared are you??  Do you really think that large group you are walking with will protect you when Jason or Leatherface come running towards you?

I was just about at the parking lot where I could get in my car and get home to a real bathroom, more water and rest.   But then I saw a sign that said Red Maple Swamp. I was intrigued.  I had never heard of this before.  Maple made me think of maple syrup which made me think of pancakes which made me wonder if perhaps there was an IHOP hidden somewhere off this path.

ID-100256388

So what if “swamp” made me think of the show Swamp Murders that produces a dead body at every swamp imaginable.  There was just something about this path that made me want to explore it further.

I walked on.  I heard a spooky, creaking noise.  I kept walking.  I thought I saw a bear.  I grabbed my laser gun.  That would protect me.

Then I remembered that there aren’t really bears in my area.  Coyotes sure, but coyotes aren’t big and super furry are they?

It was enough to make a normal person turn around. Yet, I didn’t.  What was the draw that the Red Maple Swamp had on me?ID-100120550

Was it just the fact that this particular trail had a boardwalk with bridges and benches and even a fallen tree that I had to crawl under?  A tree blocking a path should be another sign that “your walk is over.”  But weirdly, I kept on.

I thought of resting my now hurting legs by sitting on a bench but I knew my bladder would revolt.  Luckily, it didn’t know that I was unnecessarily extending our time away from the nearest toilet.  If it had its way it would have done its thing on the side of a tree.

The trail ended on the other side of the swamp and I didn’t see any bodies or breakfast diners anywhere.    I walked back as fast as I could and miraculously managed to make it home before any attacks or accidents could take place.

ID-100139559

Here is what I learned from this exercise venture.  Water is good.  A cane is not bad.  A toy may not be necessary.  Plan well.  And perhaps, stay focused.  Just because a sign makes you think of breakfast and TV does not mean it will lead you to pancakes and your sofa.

Still- it was a beautiful walk and after taking two Aleve I felt good.  Perhaps I am getting somewhere with this exercise thing…..

PS  For my MS friends who require wheelchairs, walkers or scooters, I’ve discovered that several walking trails in my area are accessible.  While the Red Maple Swamp trail was not, many are.  This fact is not only good to know, but good to help keep me inspired to get outside and get moving.  Now if I can just keep it up!!!ID-10087362 (2)

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kayak Yak Yak Yak

Multiple Sclerosis on the waterID-10098500

WOW!  Time really flies when you’re resting.

When I took a break from my blog I had no idea it would take me almost two months to find the umph to write something new!  Trust me, it was not for a lack of MS ideas.  When something weird in my life would combine with MS I would write the incident down on a sticky note, intending to write about it eventually.

Now, weeks later, the weather is beautiful, I’m feeling good but am sick of sticky notes.   They’re not going to go away by themselves and so sticky note 1 (a pink one) translates into my latest blog.ID-100236758 (1)

Sometime last fall my elderly landlords gave me a prize they won in a raffle. It was a free all day kayak rental from a nearby surf shop.

When winter ended I took the prize to the surf shop to get the scoop on how the rental worked.  My thought was that since I had no way to transport a kayak, I would probably pass this prize on to someone else.

The business was owned by a couple in their 30’s who looked like the ultimate beach bums.  I say this in a loving, appreciative way.  They were tan and athletic looking and were wearing cut offs and shell jewelry.  They might even have had dreadlocks too but I can’t say for sure.

They were also very nice and very excited for me and my free rental.  They told me that they actually deliver the kayak to your kayak location of choice!!  How cool is that?  It was then that I decided I would use this prize myself.

ID-100331497

But then the heat, humidity, crowds, mosquitoes and greenheads of summer showed up and I put off using my prize.  But when fall arrived, my friend Carly and I decided it was paddle time.  We set the day and I headed to the surf shop to make the kayak drop off plans.  This time the nice couple was not so nice.  They were suspicious and even grouchy.

“You’ve already gotten your free kayak.”

“What?”

“Back in July you came in and reserved a kayak for a busy Saturday and said you would pick it up and you never showed.  We lost a ton of money that day holding it for you.”ID-100207033

Ok, I know that multiple sclerosis causes some strange cognitive issues.  I whine about them pretty regularly here in my blog.  But would MS dare to go that far?  Would MS cause me to venture out of my air conditioned, darkened cave through the crowds and bugs and take myself to a surf shop to reserve a kayak I couldn’t transport?

I know that MS does some pretty bizarre things and nothing about life with MS surprises me anymore. But seriously?

Fact was, I had started to look forward to this prize and had recently stopped my blog, telling my readers I was going to get out more and get exercise.  I needed this kayak!

I proclaimed my innocence and swore that the person they met in July wasn’t me and I must have appeared honest enough because eventually they believed me.  They admitted it might have been another woman who looked like me.   To that woman I say, “Lady who looks like me, cease and desist! Stop looking like me and when you reserve a kayak pick up the kayak.  You are giving me a bad rap!”

Anyway, the couple grew nice again and we set a time and a meeting spot at a beautiful lake.

The September day dawned gloriously- sunny, not at all hot, light breezes and perfect for a day on a lake.  Carly and I packed lunch, bug spray and bottled water and headed to the meeting spot.   I was keeping my ‘take better care of myself’ promise to my blog readers; I packed fruit.  And not just because chocolate and ice cream melt on warm days.ID-100345494

Carly and I waited for our boat.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Did I mess up the time?  Now THAT is something MS would totally do.

Was I at the wrong lake?  MS would totally do that too.

What if I messed up the time and the surf shop people thought I had kayak scammed them again???

What if they thought I was a twisted individual who enjoyed going from place to place requesting kayaks and then disappearing?  I don’t have a lot of excitement in my life but they can’t possibly think that’s how I get my kicks, could they?

I called the cell phone number they had given me.  No answer and so I left a message.  I called the store.   No answer and so I left a message.  I repeated this again, half an hour later.

Now even Carly was convinced I was the crazy lady who never had any intention of actually using a kayak; I just liked to reserve them.

An hour and half later Carly and I were about to give up when the surf folks called.  Of course they had dropped off the kayak- didn’t I see it?

ID-100322108

They had decided to show up earlier than the meet time and just left it for me next to the rack with all the privately owned, padlocked kayaks.  My reserved kayak was there waiting for me.  It was orange.

I walked over and sure enough, there was one lone, unchained kayak with a paddle and a life jacket inside.  Didn’t I know that was for me?

Is it just me or is that not crazy? Did MS keep me from psychically knowing a kayak was there with my name on it?

Well, it didn’t have my name on it but it WAS orange, the official MS color.  Should that have been enough to let me know that kayak was waiting for me?ID-10031395

Carly thought it was weird too and assured me that on this particular issue, and only on this issue, the confusion was not due to MS but due to the quirkiness that comes from my little area of the world.  She said something like “of all the Cape Cod stories I have ever heard, this is the Cape Coddiest.”

By the way, at the end of the call the surf people told me that I would really enjoy my kayaking experience that day as it was so beautiful out.  They knew; they had been out kayaking all morning!

Anyway, once we straightened the details out, it was an awesome afternoon.  We took turns taking the boat out and even invited other friends to join us for their own paddle around the lake.

When they were done with their turns I offered them grapes- they needed to be healthy after all and Carly and I had finished the potato chips while we were waiting for the boat that was right next to us.ID-100231894

My arms have never been strong to begin with and so it was quite the site watching me hoist my butt in and out of the little boat.  But once on the quiet lake there was nothing like the soft sound the paddle made as it gently stroked the water.  I was at total peace, soaking up some natural Vitamin D and exercising!

I knew I would pay for it the next day; that my arms would be throbbing with pain from this exertion they weren’t used to.  But MS surprised me yet again.  The next morning my arms were fine.  My legs however, were on fire.

How does that work?  All my legs did was rest in the boat while my wimpy arms moved them around a beautiful lake.  Go figure.

So in the end, it was a great day.  And an MS story wouldn’t be an MS story without a little confusion to add some intrigue.

I wonder how MS will handle the next exercise adventure?????

ID-10088213

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of wiangya at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalImages.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalImages.net

 

Still Unbalanced Cycle

More multiple sclerosis NO balance issues

ID-100287617

 

After a year of turmoil and strife, my Wii Fit and I are back in sync!  In honor of this happy, healthy reunion, I thought I would re-post this blog from last year.  

I hope you enjoy it friends….

My last blog discussed how I had failed the heel to toe test at my neurologist’s office and how that caused drunken memories and great concern.  It concerned many of my readers too, which made me analyze this over and over.  Then I decided to take some action!

Naturally klutzy my whole life, until the heel to toe test incident, I hadn’t given my balance much thought.    I did fall this past summer but that was only because Fido, my pet portable ac unit, tripped me.

Picture 13

I fell again a couple of months later but that was only because I was packing up my home after needing to move and I was incredibly grouchy about it-the move and the packing.

But on a visit with family recently, I fell again.  Not wanting to admit MS was the problem, I decided to make it a crime of assault instead.  The sidewalk attacked me.

There is even a crime scene photo-

16120011

These goldfish didn’t survive the crime.  They landed on the ground when my two year nephew dropped them and quickly reached for the doorbell.  No, he wasn’t reaching for the doorbell to get me needed help.  He just loves pushing the doorbell.  And with me on the ground, there was no adult to stop him.

I did get my first black eye from the incident which I tried to take a picture of, my first selfie.  But it didn’t come out; proving that I should not take selfies, ever.  But you totally should have seen what the sidewalk looked like when I was done defending myself.  The crack I gave it looked something like this-

ID-100143137

But what if these falls have more to do with balance than assault charges or klutziness?  Maybe, they are a combination of both.

Suddenly I realized I can do something about this!  I don’t have to be content with being a Fido/sidewalk victim, at their mercy whenever they decide to be obnoxious.  My Wii Fit has balance exercises I can do.

I went looking for the Wii Fit.  It’s not that I have been neglecting it exactly.  It’s just that I only moved a few days ago and the Wii Fit board got pushed aside during the move. I hadn’t unpacked it yet.

ID-100174833

Ok, ok, the move was actually five months ago, but that is a few days in MS terms.

I pulled it out, took the batteries from the TV remotes and put them in the Wii Fit board, after removing the old ones and cleaning up battery acid in the compartment-guess it had been a long time since I used my Wii Fit, and then checked out the exercises.

I discovered a new balance exercise I hadn’t tried before- ski jumping!  Aren’t female ski jumpers entering the Olympics for the first time this winter?  I need a goal.  I will practice and practice and then enter the Olympics!!!

No, I’m not crazy.  I know I would never get good enough in time for this year’s team. But the next Winter Olympics, I’m in!

ID-10032460

Ahhh, but the Wii Fit is a cruel and bitter trainer.   It refused to cooperate.   When I would do the ski jump game, it would tell me I failed.  Over and over I would try, eager to improve and become Olympic ready.  And over and over my TV would flash the word unbalanced at me.

Unbalanced, like a washing machine stuck in a wet useless cycle, unbalanced.   This was almost more upsetting than the heel to toe test.

Luckily, I found other balance exercises that I did pretty well at.

Ski slalom for one.  I aced the ski slalom game.

ID-10023448

And tightrope walking.  I was actually pretty good at that.  And, the tightrope on the game is between two tall skyscrapers.  Yet, I didn’t fall once!

Ok, new goal- Nik Wallenda watch out!

I am training to be famous tightrope walker!

ID-100174584

For more on my on again/off again dysfunctional relationship with my Wii Fit.including the unethical way we met, check out my book, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis

cover-half

Get Fit Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Concrete Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Olympics Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bear Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tightrope Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Seal of Approval

Multiple Sclerosis inspiration of the aquatic kind

 

In last week’s blog, I talked about whales.  Today’s blog is about seals.  Well, a seal, one seal in particular.  Who knows, maybe next week I will blog about sharks.

Or dolphins.

Or maybe crabs.

Let’s hope that if I ever feel the need to blog about crabs is will be of the marine kind, not the cooties kind.

 

But before I blog about a seal, (a gray harbor seal to be exact like the guy above and not a singer like the guy below,) I must first digress just a bit.

 

I wouldn’t be much of an MS blogger if I didn’t enjoy MS blogs.  In the links section of my website I list some of the ones I regularly follow.  I highly recommend you check them out as long as you promise not to like any of them more than you like mine!

LOL!

(Not really LOL but I didn’t want to come off as too possessive so I hope the LOL tames that envious side.)

 

On a couple of occasions I have had the chance to meet Rick Conti, a fellow blogger who blogs about MS, his faith and Haiti.  Rick really loves to write about Haiti.

His blog is called Limping into the Light.

It was his blog of last week however, that lead me to flop on my bed and hide my head under the pillows in deep shame.  His blog and the fact that I was really, really tired.

He blogged about the importance of exercise.  Read his post here-Step across the Line.

While I rested his blog stayed in my head, maybe because he was right.

Technically, I know about the importance of exercise.

 

I know that supposedly it will help me have more energy, (maybe if I exercised more often I could confirm that.)  When I started my own blog I talked a lot about my own ‘get fit’ plan that involved veggies, more water and exercise.

I have made more progress on the first two tasks than the last.

The thing is, there are exercises I enjoy, specifically beach walks and using my Wii Fit.

But in addition to the ‘being tired’ excuse there is the old and tired excuse of no time.

Which is exacerbated by MS robbing MS’er’s of precious time in the day.

See what I did there-using the word exacerbated?

Rick’s post continued to haunt me and began to destroy my excuses.

It was my favorite time of year.

It was a beautiful day.

I live only minutes away from one of the ten best beaches in the country.

(I’m not making that up- I’ve read it in travel magazines and on Dr. Beach’s website.)

It was time to get my butt and legs moving again and get back on the exercise bandwagon.

I headed to the beach, parked and used the stairway to walk down the sandy cliff.  That was a ton of exercise right there and I wasn’t even on the beach yet!

As I got down to the shore a seal popped up in front of me, very close-maybe only in water waist deep.

The surf was rocky and there are sharks in them waters so I wasn’t going in to splash around with the little guy. But I started walking to the left along the shore and the seal swam alongside me.

 

He was doing most of his swimming beneath the surface but at least 5 different times he popped his head up, looked directly at me and then dived again.  Was it my imagination or was he following me?

It was definitely the same seal as he had distinct markings on his back. Maybe he was checking me out because he thought I was following him?  But since I’m drastically out of shape I was not keeping a steady pace and was stopping to rest a time or two (or three or four.)

Yet each time he popped up, he was right beside me.

Since I was enjoying this I walked pretty far.  (I always forget about the walk back.)   When I realized my seal friend wasn’t about to give me a ride to my car I knew I had to turn back.  But I didn’t want to lose him either.

As I was trying to decide what to do, my friend popped up again, looked right at me again and turned around himself. We started heading back together.

 

After a couple of feet, he reversed direction and I didn’t follow.  I just figured our visit was over and kept on my way.

As I walked I realized we had gotten pretty far from any other beach goers.  It was then that I saw a guy heading in the opposite direction, walking towards the isolated part of the beach. Was my seal friend trying to warn me to not be alone in that area with this strange guy or have I just watched too many crime shows?

Luckily, I may never know.

I got to the end of my walk, the area where there were lots of people and the stairs back to the parking lot.  Right before I turned to walk off the beach. my seal popped up again!!!! He looked at me, seemed to nod his approval and then started swimming off into deeper water, as if saying he would be on his way now.

 

It was an awesome experience.  So much so that I came home, sat my butt down and wrote about it on Facebook.  Many people commented, calling my friend things like a guardian seal, a gift from the universe, an angel, a muse, a visit from beyond and lots of other cool things.

Perhaps my seal was none of those things.  Perhaps he was all of them.  Perhaps he was just a cool fluke-not the flounder fluke, I think my seal friend would eat that fluke, but fluke as in a chance occurrence.

I guess I can’t really be sure what the seal’s true intent was in keeping me company in my attempt to exercise and ‘get fit.’

But I know I enjoyed him.

And, if I’m being honest, no matter what, I need to look at his visit as something even bigger than me.  Something, or someone, besides Rick, saying “Get some damn exercise girl!”

And, unfortunately for my tired, busy self, there probably aren’t many excuses to get around that…

 

 

Unbalanced Cycle

More multiple sclerosis NO balance issues and a contest winner

ID-10044009

My last blog discussed how I had failed the heel to toe test at my neurologist’s office and how that caused drunken memories and great concern. It concerned many of my readers too, which made me analyze this over and over. Then I decided to take some action!

Naturally klutzy my whole life, until the heel to toe test incident, I hadn’t given my balance much thought. I did fall this past summer but that was only because Fido, my pet portable ac unit, tripped me. I fell again a couple of months later but that was only because I was packing up my home after needing to move and I was incredibly grouchy about it-the move and the packing.

But on a visit with family recently, I fell again. Not wanting to admit MS was the problem, I decided to make it a crime of assault instead. The sidewalk attacked me.

There is even a crime scene photo-

16120011

These goldfish didn’t survive the crime. They landed on the ground when my two year nephew dropped them to quickly reach for the doorbell.

No, he wasn’t reaching for the doorbell to get me needed help. He just loves pushing the doorbell. And with me on the ground, there was no adult to stop him.

I did get my first black eye from the incident which I tried to take a picture of, my first selfie. But it didn’t come out; proving that I should not take selfies, ever. But you totally should have seen what the sidewalk looked like when I was done defending myself. The crack I gave it looked something like this-

16120012

But what if these falls have more to do with balance than assault charges or klutziness? Maybe, they are a combination of both.

Suddenly I realized I can do something about this! I don’t have to be content with being a Fido/sidewalk victim, at their mercy whenever they decide to be obnoxious. My Wii Fit has balance exercises I can do.

I went looking for the Wii Fit. It’s not that I have been neglecting it exactly. It’s just that I only moved a few days ago and the Wii Fit board got pushed aside during the move. I hadn’t unpacked it yet.

Ok, ok, the move was actually five months ago, but that is a few days in MS terms.

I pulled it out, took the batteries from the TV remotes and put them in the Wii Fit board, after removing the old ones and cleaning up battery acid in the compartment-guess it had been a long time since I used my Wii Fit, and then checked out the exercises.

ID-100215263

I discovered a new balance exercise I hadn’t tried before- ski jumping! Aren’t female ski jumpers entering the Olympics for the first time this winter? I need a goal. I will practice and practice and then enter the Olympics!!!

No, I’m not crazy. I know I would never get good enough in time for this year’s team. But the next Winter Olympics, I’m in!

Ahhh, but the Wii Fit is a cruel and bitter trainer. It refused to cooperate. When I would do the ski jump game, it would tell me I failed. Over and over I would try, eager to improve and become Olympic ready. And over and over my TV would flash the word unbalanced at me.

ID-10048051

Unbalanced, like a washing machine stuck in a wet useless cycle, unbalanced. This was almost more upsetting than the heel to toe test.

Luckily, I found other balance exercises that I did pretty well at.

Ski slalom for one. I aced the ski slalom game.

And tightrope walking. I was actually pretty good at that. And, the tightrope on the game is between two tall skyscrapers. Yet, I didn’t fall once!

Ok, new goal- Nik Wallenda watch out!

I’m training to be famous tightrope walker!

 

Contest Winner!

Only a few more weeks until the release of MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less Story” of Multiple Sclerosis!

My publisher won’t give me an actual release date for fear that I will stalk them if it is late, which of course, I would. But they have said that mid- February is likely!

Please keep an eye on this site and my FB page for updates.

One person who doesn’t need to watch for updates as she will be getting an autographed free copy along with a $10 gift card is reader Kym B from NJ! Her name for the MS monster on my cover won my most recent contest.

The name she entered is Myron. Myron just seemed to fit. I think I will refer to him as Myron, the myelin munching monster.

Congratulations Kym!

And thank you to all for entering and for supporting my writing!

ID-10079330

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bees and Bears and Sharks, Oh My!

Multiple Sclerosis goes wild

 

I say wild not in the wild parties of my youth kind of way. But in the real wild, like nature and forests and stuff. Neither wild is very conducive to my multiple sclerosis life now. I find myself with a lack of energy for chugging from a keg at an all nighter, or camping in the woods. Unless there is a fancy, luxury resort in the middle of the woods with turn down service and quiet hours after nine pm.

But spring on Cape Cod has arrived and with it, the creatures of the wild are determined to visit and I am trying to deal. First the bees; kids, go see your parents if you want the true story of the Birds AND Bees.

 

As I have complained about in the past, the pollen in my neighborhood is out of control. It arrived around the same day that I came home and found two bumble bees throwing a party in my house. I wouldn’t have mind if they were related to the cute little bee from the Cheerios commercials. But no, these were the noisy type that can sting and drive you crazy in a matter of minutes.

I have yet to ascertain what they were doing in my house, how they got in or what they wanted. I also have no idea what they have to do with the disgusting pollen, but both showing up at the same time can’t be a coincidence.

 

I tried to research where pollen comes from but it was like studying plant porn- the words sperm and ovule were in the description and kind of freaked me out. I swear this is true- take a look.

When I was first diagnosed, it was recommended that I eat bee pollen as it would be healthy for me. Seriously? There is only so much one can handle.

The bees belonged in the wild, not in my living room. So with clever and deft movements, I tricked them into leaving through the slider and survived unscathed, albeit sneezing and yellow green from all the pollen that came in the door while the bees were being kicked out.

If I had my way, that would be the end of my dalliance with creatures from the wild, wild as in, outside. But since it is spring and I am committed to exercise, beach walks are in order. But, it seems, the beach is no longer safe.

 

Jaws has arrived and he is hungry! Last year, he and his sharp toothed posse didn’t show up until July. But like many tourists, they have discovered the benefits of the Cape in the early season. Once he was spotted, swimming was banned for two hours.

Why is that? What makes it safe to go in the water after two hours? Do the rangers and lifeguards feel that in two hours or so the sharks might be napping? I try to nap after two hours but who’s to say that great whites do?

 

It is very dangerous to hang out when the sharks are here. I personally know of over 15 people locally who have killed by sharks. And those are just the people in the movies! Imagine how many others have been attacked and killed and didn’t it make it to the final cut.

Ok, “cut” is a bad word choice.

 

Other people in the know say that the bay beaches are safe. The great whites are only in the ocean water. But I am forced to ask, how do they know? Don’t they realize that sharks can swim? It’s not like the great whites are chatting in the deep and saying, “oh, those bay beaches are lousy. No point going over there. Let’s just hang in this water. Hey Mac, stay out of that current- that is a direct wave into the bay.”

So, getting my exercise by swimming is out. Technically, I could still walk the beach but everyone knows that if a shark is really hungry, he can jump out of the water and grab you. I’m not dumb. I saw the Land Shark segments on Saturday Night Live. It’s just too terrifying.

 

Then, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, I mean, go out of my house, bears started hanging around. Last year, one lone bear mysteriously found his way onto the spit of land that is Cape Cod and nobody could figure out how he did it.

The Cape is separated from the mainland by a canal and two bridges. It was thought that the bear wouldn’t willingly try to swim the deep canal so he must have walked himself across a bridge, likely in the middle of the night to avoid the nasty Cape traffic. Once here, he made his way through each town, visiting historic and beautiful sites like all tourists do.

 

Eventually, for safety’s sake, he was drugged and driven to the deep, deep woods of Western, MA. He didn’t like it, and twice tried to come back. Apparently the Cape IS the place to be in June. But he was turned around.

As far as we know, he has not come back this year. I think I heard he went to Block Island instead.

Yet, I have still been surrounded by bears. These bears love the cool weather of winter. They hang out on ice. They also like to travel. They are entertaining and only dangerous to leafs, rangers, fish and birds.

These bears demand attention; attention I can provide while safely lounging on my sofa, eating veggies and drinking water.

 

Yes, bears are begging me to enter the wild kingdom. Which I look forward to doing immensely by watching the Boston Bruins in their Stanley Cup series! And, if I am still feeling wild when the game is over, I can always put on Animal Planet.

Go B’s!

 

 

The Star Wars Way is Back

Another installment in the multiple sclerosis ‘get fit’ plan updates

ID-10063002

Ahhh, spring is here.  A time when your internal core body temperature thermometer competes with your indoor thermometer and your outdoor thermometer all at once.  A time when you don’t know whether you want to put on a second pair of wool socks or jump into the nearest swimming pool.  A time when you can’t decide if you want your h20 and your caffeine hot or iced.

Whatever the weather and MS are throwing at your hot/cold sensitivities, you can count on one thing; ice cream weather is on its way!

ID-10094471

But if you have a ‘get fit’ plan like me, you may want to avoid ice cream.  You can try to do this with smoothies, but it won’t work.  Still, they are a healthy alternative and better for you than hot fudge.

I have learned a lot about healthy eating in the last year, (no Mounds bars still do not count as fruit,) but I can always use a refresher course.   So as I dust off my Healthmaster Elite, I thought I would re-visit an old blog about some of the things I learned when I was just starting out….

 

So the Banana Peanut Smoothie was actually pretty good. It wasn’t as incredibly super delicious as say, a Cookie Dough Nor’easter (the Cape Cod version of a DQ Blizzard), but it was ok. Strangely, the recipe said it made four servings when it actually made ten. Why is that?

I think people who put together recipes and serving sizes have no idea that they are doing. It’s like when you open a container of something really good and the label says the container contains eight servings when it barely contains three, maybe four. Somebody is doing something wrong.

So while I did like the Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was a little too banana-ie/peanut-ie for me and I moved on to the next recipe I was bravely going to check out. But first, I noticed something really cool.

 

Before I tell you what that was, allow me to say that I truly appreciate Montel William’s Healthmaster Elite way more than the Ancient Warrior blender thingy I had tried before. The Healthmaster comes in cool colors, is easier to use and much easier to clean. There is no removing of the blades in the Healthmaster so it is likely I will keep all of my fingers while using it.

As I gathered the ingredients for my next smoothie, the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie (I chose this one as I still had some of the ingredients hanging around and those bananas were just crying out to be used again), I really looked at my Healthmaster.

I noticed how much it resembled a robot. Then I grabbed this cool tool that comes with the Healthmaster Elite (and was badly needed and DID NOT come with the Ancient Warrior) called the Tamper. I don’t know why it is called the Tamper as it is really a smoothie maker’s lightsaber, used to duel the indredients of a smoothie into an actual smoothie.

 

Since I was really impressed with this tool, I couldn’t help noticing that the Healthmaster Elite kind of looked like one of R2-D2’s cousins. I don’t know why everything in that day’s smoothie making experiment was making me think of Star Wars. Perhaps it was because the last time I didn’t have to worry about my weight was when I saw the original Star Wars in 1977. Oh Obi-Wan, I could use your wisdom on my ‘get fit’ plan. Yes, I am fortunate to have Montel’s recipes but Obi-Wan could send in the Force.

The lightsaber fascination lead to actual exercise as I dashed around my living room fighting off imaginary Stormtroopers. Then it lead to even more exercise as I moved around the room again cleaning Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie off the walls. Perhaps next time I will play pretend Star Wars BEFORE actually using the lightsaber to make the smoothie.

Admit it- you want to do this. You are making the lightsaber sound right now.

ID-100162214

The point is, as silly as it might have been, I had fun and enjoyed my Star Wars smoothie maker more than ever. As for the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was really good. I know because the recipe said it made eight servings and I only came up with five and a half, the half being on my walls.

So my ‘get fit’ friends, take it from me. If it works for you as you are trying to get healthy, do it. If childhood memories cause you to fly around your house like an idiot, at least you are moving.

If you, like me, have a plan I can only say to you, “may the force be with you!’

 

 

Image courtesy of [digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [debspoons] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [praisaeng] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Updates, Tidbits, and Smidgets

A multiple sclerosis recap

ID-10095012

Don’t ask me what a smidget is because my foggy brain is too tired to explain it to you. Or, if you want the truth, I have no idea. It just sounded good so I added it to the title.

Speaking of titles, thank you for the title suggestions, comments, words of encouragement and promises to buy my book. For preorders and/or to lock your promise in, just send a blank check to me at the address listed in the contact page. Kidding. I don’t have an address listed in my contact page.

Seriously, I appreciate the support of all of you and that support is what led to me actually publishing my book. But coming up with the title is still stressing me out. It is hard!

ID-10069183

Apparently all of you think so to because I received more encouragement in my What’s in a Name contest than title ideas. But I am grateful for all of it! Unfortunately, none of the titles I did receive work quite right, and thus there is no official winner. I am still planning on donating a portion of the proceeds to agencies that help people with MS so I guess you could say we are all winners here.

In the meantime, I am working away on edits and will keep you posted as soon as I get a title that I can post about. But since I wanted to update you on the status of the contest, it occurred to me that some other updates on the blog are in order as well. Let’s check in on how some things have turned out.

In MS Sucks I wrote about how multiple sclerosis was doing its damnedest to keep me away from seeing my favorite band, the Rolling Stones. Well MS, you still suck BUT you lost! My Rolling Stones fairy godmother is stronger than you and she helped me get a ticket and a ride to the show!

 

I will likely be in pain and a fatigued zombie for a while afterwards but it will be worth it to the see the icons of classic rock. (Mick would agree with that description of his band. Keith and Charlie are pretty humble so they would disagree and name other musicians they feel are more worthy. Ronnie would just take another shot of whiskey and toss off a lick or two.)

Many fellow MS’ers and readers agreed with my nomination of Forget-me-nots as the official flower of multiple sclerosis. But when I reminded them about it so that they could sign the petition, they forgot. So much for that idea….

 

And speaking of flowers, the day after I posted The Evil Curse of the Yellow Green Demon Dust, it rained and temperatures dropped to the point where many people were forced to put on their heat. This week the demon dust was back and they are predicting a heat wave by the weekend! Oh well, at least the cold weather gave me the break I needed to pull out my air conditioner.

My last ‘get fit’ plan update was in early April with the Not Working It Out post, followed by a brief commentary on the plan in early May with Once Bitten. It is time for some new information.

My ‘get fit’ plan is totally coming together! I have lost 6 lbs since the first of the year. Add to that the 5 lbs I had lost previously when I was chasing my great nephews around the hot, yucky state they live in, and that makes (hold on, let me grab my calculator,) 11 lbs!

I admit that that is not even close to where I hoped to be when I see my neuro in July. And with the arrival soon of my hometown’s annual Portuguese Festival filled with linguica, Portuguese bread, wine and sitting on a bench watching Portuguese dancers, I may not make my goal..

 

But I have accomplished some things. For example, I have completely given up diet coke and have pretty much given up bread. (Unless I am at a restaurant then I will eat bread, but none at home. Unless I am having a sandwich, but almost none at home.)

Recently I was planning for company and needed to make some snacks. I saw a recipe for incredibly delicious looking cookies that I made but messed up the recipe and they turned into a crumbly mess. So I didn’t eat the cookies. I just used the crumbles to top ice cream.

I still needed a snack for my group and had the ingredients left over and so I made them again. This time they came out the way they were supposed to but I have to say, they were too sweet for me!!!

ID-10024166

How is that even possible? Before my ‘get fit’ plan I was the queen of sweet! Honestly, I really didn’t like them. The dough was much tastier.

I insisted that my group divide the leftover cookies between themselves and take them home. But, I refused to share the leftover grapes and put the grape bowl in my fridge next to the delicious strawberries I had bought the day before. One of my friends commented on all the produce I also had in there. She found swiss chard and the berries, and mint and lime that I also bought for a cleanse I was doing.

Speaking of a cleanse, I have become addicted to water. I drink so much water I could be a fish. Wouldn’t that be fun? I so wish, I wish I were a fish….

 

And speaking of fish, I have started taking walks on the beach. No, I haven’t gone in the water as I still look too scary to put on a bathing suit- don’t want to scare the great whites away! But I have come out of my cave and walk so I can exercise and soak up natural vitamin D. I like to make my walking social, so I bring my Wii Fit with me for company….

Oh, and I quit smoking!!!! Ok, I actually quit smoking several years ago but I think it still counts. And now, when I bum a cigarette off of a friend here and there, I actually feel gross afterwards…

So you see, even the babiest of baby steps eventually do get you someplace…It is taking me longer than I should to make healthy changes but I am thrilled that the changes are being made. I know that a whole lifestyle change is in order but it is unlikely that I will suddenly adapt to that. So for now, I just keep stepping along, thrilled that I have moved past crawling..

d walking

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Danilo Rizzuti] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not Working It Out

A multiple sclerosis “get fit” plan update

ID-10097447

God does work in mysterious ways. Don’t worry friends. I am not turning my regular MS humor blog into a religious blog. I say this because in spite of my accidentally fasting on exercise and nutrition during Lent, a miracle truly did happen. My scale informed me that I lost 3.5 lbs!

How could that happen without my even trying? Especially during the 40 day time period where my ‘no longer able to multi-task’ brain focused only on taking care of my spiritual health, not my physical health.

True, I did do the “no meat on Fridays” thing but that is not really a big deal, meat is not my problem. Salty snacks, sweets, processed food and carbs are my problem.

ID-10055407

My friend and I handled “no meat Fridays” by consuming white pizza. White pizza is a pie without tomato sauce and loaded with extra cheese, extra olive oil, and a little bit of spinach. Was the spinach responsible for the weight loss?

I did get some exercise during the month shoveling the seven inches of snow that showed up on the second day of spring. Even though the sun was out when I started shoveling, it was still pretty cold. Within an hour, the sun heated up and by three, all the snow had melted. What a shame. I could have exchanged 20 minutes of hard labor shoveling light fluffy snow for a nap and some sofa time.

And I did walk several miles around my grocery store when the managers decided to change the layout and not provide signs to help you negotiate the changes. Did all this exercise help me lose the 3.5 lbs?

ID-10060142

About all I did that was physically healthy these last several weeks was find flaxseeds somewhere in the mess that was the confusion of my brain and the new grocery store layout. In February, I heard a really cool neurologist speak on a better MS diet. She was so cool that I wished she could be my doctor but, unfortunately, she lives too far away. It is ok, my current neurologist is cool too AND, he is cute so I guess I am still in good hands. Not literally, of course but what can you do?

Anyway, this cool doctor recommended consuming flaxseeds and I went on a search for them. I brought a bag home, opened it and tasted some while watching hundreds of tiny flaxseeds drop to the floor. They weren’t horrible, and they must help to make you smart because my exhausted brain came up with the idea to pour what was left of the bag into a Tupperware container to make it easier to grab more seeds without creating a flaxseed lawn.

I had tuned out when the doctor said why the seeds were good for you, but good for you is good for you and so I became addicted to flaxseeds. I ate them with everything. I put flaxseeds on my cereal, in my yogurt, on my salad, in my soup, on my macaroni and cheese, in my rice pudding, on top of my ice cream, everywhere…. Are flaxseeds responsible for losing 3.5 lbs?

Now I hear that like mixing up veggies, you should mix up your seeds. Chia seeds are also good for people with MS. Seriously? The only thing I know about Chia seeds are that they are what you use to grow those funny looking pets in the shape of animals, Bart Simpson and the US President. I have nightmares of waking up one morning after consuming Chia seeds and having ugly green plants sprouting from my ears.

 

Just what I need, another weird symptom stemming from MS or trying to help myself get healthy despite MS.

I know that technically, 3.5 lbs is not a big deal. But since I wasn’t even trying, I am pretty excited! Imagine how much I could lose if I went back to trying, like I was before Lent started.

And I know that the ultimate goal should be less about weight loss, and more about being healthy. BL (before Lent) I had gotten into the habit of having salad and a piece of fruit for lunch. Ironically, once I got used to that, it became an easy habit to incorporate into my day.

And, I remember being proud of myself for passing a group of girl scouts selling cookies and not stopping. Oh, the guilt was there; I know the young scouts need my support and my not buying their delicious cookies hurt them greatly. But after several days, I forgot all about the cookies- amazing!

ID-10088618

That same day, I went into my local Dunkin Donuts to buy a cup of tea to drink on a short road trip. Dunkins featured an incredible looking, completely unhealthy donut. After much debate with my inner self and worry about the future of Dunkins stock if I didn’t purchase this donut, I walked out without it.

Again, I felt super proud. But the desire for the donut didn’t go away. A couple of weeks later I went back and purchased the delicacy. And it really wasn’t as good as expected. Frankly, it wasn’t that good at all.

I have gotten better about drinking more water. But on Easter, when I went on a long road trip to visit family, I figured I needed caffeine to keep me alert for the drive. Since it was hot, I chose my beloved diet coke with lots of ice. Thing was, that wasn’t as good as I expected either.

Is it true? Can baby steps and a “get fit” plan really change long ingrained, bad habits?

Am I super slowly taking steps to take better care of myself that may be actually turning into some weight loss and a healthier diet?

Is the old myth that once you start losing weight you get motivated to continue really true?

I don’t know, but onward and upward. Today is a new a day and I want to feel good. No more fasting on exercise. Back to the Wii.

Does anyone have any leftover jelly beans I can give it to keep it from yelling at me????

 

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Grant Cochrane] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net