Multiple Sclerosis Advice
You may think today’s blog is another one that has me whining about my obnoxious bladder.
Well, it’s not.
Although, to paraphrase my sister Laurie, “my bladder issues do still piss me off!”
When you tell people you have a chronic illness you find yourself on the receiving end of a ton of unsolicited advice. Most of that advice comes from well meaning people. Because they are well meaning, the polite you grins and bears it even when it’s useless, clueless and ridiculous.
“Just tell yourself, ‘I won’t get stressed, I won’t get stressed…’”
“You need to get more sleep. Oh, you got nine and a half hours? You must be sleeping too much…”
“You may not have MS, it could just be an allergy…”
The thing is, sometimes you may actually get something helpful out of the advice so it’s worth listening too. (Yes, that advice could be construed as unsolicited advice directly from me.)
Imagine my shock when years after someone told me I should eat bee pollen, I discovered that bees are actually helpful and if we don’t take better care of them, they are going to go away and then the world could end.
As someone who has written a book about multiple sclerosis that I am desperately trying to sell to the masses, (MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis in case you’ve missed it the 10, 000 times I have mentioned it before-more unsolicted advice-buy, buy, buy…) I am even more open to advice. I travel my area talking about my book and people want to tell me things that they have heard might possibly be helpful. And again, that is a great thing. I appreciate it, I really do.
But every once in a while, not so much.
Please allow me to briefly digress. I swear there will be a point to this digression; I think.
I am very proud that after many people suggested that maybe I didn’t have MS but actually had aspartame poisoning, I looked into it and discovered that they were right. Well, not really.
My excellent neurologist says I still have MS and I believe him. But I looked up aspartame and discovered it really is bad for you and sure wasn’t helping things. I switched from artificial sweetener to Truvia, an expensive alternate, and completely gave up my beloved fountain diet cokes in favor of water.
I drink water all the time now. Plain water; no enhanced sugary flavors. I tried diet coke again once and didn’t even like it anymore. I thought I was doing great.
At one speaking event I foolishly forgot to pick up some bottled water. A friend offered to get me some and came back with SmartWater which I hadn’t seen before but thought would be great as maybe it would help me be smart.
After the presentations by many authors, a woman to approached me. She asked if she could tell me something and of course, I agreed, hoping she was going to tell me that my book looked amazing and she couldn’t wait to buy it. Instead she informed me that the SmartWater I was drinking really wasn’t smart at all. I was quick to appease.
“Oh really? I’ve never drunk it before. My friend got it. Is it filled with sugary additives or something?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said.
It was a chilly day in May and she was wearing socks with sandals. I know it’s not right to stereotype but my first thought was the bottle; she must be Earthy Crunchy green and worried about the planet.
“Oh, don’t worry, I recycle- I won’t throw away the bottle.”
That wasn’t a lie. I really do recycle but turns out that isn’t enough anymore. Don’t even get me started about the dangers of water bottles, that’s a whole other blog post.
“That’s not it either,” she replied.
Turns out, what she was referring too was the alkaline content in bottled water and how it does something really bad that could be making my MS worse or does something really good that could make my MS go away. I couldn’t figure out which. The only thing I know about alkaline has to do with batteries.
Maybe I should ask the Energizer bunny what this woman was talking about.
Then she mentioned something about acid levels, which was really upsetting as I’ve never done acid in my life-not even in college.
Here I thought I was being so healthy!!!! No diet coke for me! No juice at this event-too much sugar. No milk- now some say milk is bad. No lemonade or even iced tea. No beer or margaritas either. No chemicals, poisons, GMO’s, alcohol or aspartame. I was drinking what I thought I was supposed to be drinking, what everyone told me I was supposed to be drinking.
This woman then went on a 20 minute scientific diatribe while I stood there dumbly watching the custodian fold the chairs and empty the sods cups. I couldn’t figure out science even before MS attacked my brain. I heard the word alkaline a lot and acidic. And inflammation, that one was kind of familiar. But I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about.
I’m all about good advice and being polite though so I stopped trying to figure her theory out and just figured when she was done, she would tell me what I should do stop the water epidemic. She finally stopped talking and so I asked her what I should do? How do I solve this problem of bottled water that I didn’t know I had.
I was eager for a solution that would circumvent me going back to school to take a science class. I didn’t even know what kind of science this was. Biology? Chemistry? Earth Science? Yes, water lives on the earth so it must be an Earth Sciences class I should take to sort this out.
Her response to my question of what should I do now that I know bottled water can be bad, was straightforward.
“Oh, I don’t know.”
See friends, I swear this is all true; you can’t make this stuff up with or without an MS brain.
I pressed her a little and she told me that she had just moved to the area from California which had the best water in the world and where she knew which bottled water was safe to drink. Now that she was in MA, she had no idea.
I pressed her more and she then told me her best advice was to buy litmus strips (what?) and then take them to all of the Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and health food stores in my area where I should buy up all the bottled water they had and then bring it home to test each of them with the Litmus strips and then only drink the bottled water that tested well.
For one month.
Then, as companies can change their manufacturing processes and their water sources, I should repeat this test every month for infinity to make sure I was constantly getting the best water.
It was at this point that I began to peek around the corner of the empty room looking for the Candid Camera dude. He never showed up.
I was more confused than ever.
About the only thing that seemed clear after the woman and I finally said goodbye was that there must have been something in her water.
There just had to be…