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Getting Older: A Good Thing?

A multiple sclerosis guest blog by Jennifer Digmann

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Ahhh friends, autumn is here and I couldn’t be more thrilled!   The weather has been just perfect and I am so happy that I have been outside a bit, picking up some natural vitamin D.

I have been enjoying this time of year so much that I didn’t leave much time this week to write a new blog.  I was just going to offer up an oldie when new friends, Dan and Jennifer Digmann came to the rescue.

 

I met Dan and Jennifer on Twitter recently, a social media site that I only moderately know how to use.  Luckily, Dan knows how to use it and he tweeted me about my blog and then I tweeted back and tweet by little tweet, I got to know him, his wife Jennifer and their awesome work.

 

Dan and Jennifer have been married for 9 years and both are living with multiple sclerosis.

And while that seems like a huge cosmic cruelty to have both a husband and wife struck with this sucky illness, it was actually MS that brought them together.  They met at an MS event titled “Finding Your Buried Treasure.”

 

How cool is that?  I bet neither expected their buried treasure to be a spouse.  I am officially making more of an effort to get to more of these events!

I have been to a few and have met many wonderful people but I have yet to find a husband at one- perhaps I am not looking hard enough?

Anyway, Dan and Jennifer totally rock!   They regularly write about their experiences on their blog on their own website       www.danandJenniferdigmann.com and on the website Healthline where they also blog.

Thank you so much Jennifer and Dan- so glad to have made your acquaintance.

For your reading pleasure, dear readers, please check out Jennifer’s thoughts on an upcoming birthday.

Yum-cake!

Yum-cake!

 Getting older: A good thing?

by Jennifer Digmann

I turn the big 4-0 in less than forty days and there has been a doom-filled cloud following me for, oh let’s say, the last 320 days or so.

There is a daily countdown to the big day, November 6, on my refrigerator. This age has been hanging over my head because up until now, getting older always has been followed by a great life-altering event.

Think about it: you start driving when you turn 16; vote at 18; and drink (legally) at 21.

Even turning 30 was fantastic because that was the age when Dan and I got married, and it seemed my life really began.

 

But I am a little more than a month away from turning 40, and I can’t stop thinking that it’s just downhill from here. Forty is just plain O-L-D, and so am I.

I posted this #TBT picture of Dan and me on Facebook a few weeks ago, and my aging was noticed. Our friend Michelle commented, “Look at those fresh, young faces!”

Ouch!

Normally, I probably just would have smiled and forgot about it, but being close to turning 40, the comment stuck with me. I’m not ready to get old.

Recently as Dan and I drove to our Multiple Sclerosis (http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/multiple-sclerosis) support group meeting, we talked about that subject. I was lamenting about getting older when he asked about my 30s.

 

“Ah, such good times,” I waxed nostalgically. “We were married, moved into our house, I finished graduate school.”

“Yes, Jennifer, but what else?”

Whether intentional or not, I began seeing what Dan was getting at and began looking at my 30s through less rose-colored glasses.

“Well,” I thought, “39 hasn’t been all that great, especially with Trigeminal Neuralgia and my Gamma-Knife surgery not working as well as I hoped. And I haven’t driven or walked in this decade.”

With all the good stuff, this decade also kind of sucked.

 

And maybe that’s what Dan was getting at: in life you always have to take the good with the bad.

Perhaps it was just his sage wisdom that comes with age. After all, he just turned 42!

This conversation got me thinking about the promise of the new decade and the opportunities it has in store for me. But these opportunities won’t happen on their own. I need to take control of what I can. (link to http://www.healthline.com/video/managing-multiple-sclerosis).

I’m realizing I’m finishing my 30s to position myself for greatness in these once-feared 40s. I have started aggressive physical therapy that is focused on building my core strength and increasing my range of motion. I also took the necessary steps to begin Rituxin, a more-advanced treatment to control my MS.

All of this is very empowering and fills me with hope.

Maybe turning 40 will be better than I thought.

 Happy pre-Birthday Jennifer!!!

80s kids

 

 

 

Lots and Lots of March Stuff

Happy first week of March everyone!

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Healthline

So much to share with you friends!

First up, and in no particular order, other than the order that I finally learned how to post this badge on my blog and am afraid to move it around for fear of losing it, order-  my blog was nominated a top MS Blog by Healthline!!!

I didn’t even know I was nominated!

Thank you to whoever nominated and voted for my blog!

And to be honest, I didn’t know much about this website either.  So now I’ve checked it out, love it, and have added it to my website.   Talk about MS awareness!

 

Speaking of which, Happy National MS Awareness Month!

Next up, have you gotten a chance to order my book, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis yet?  If you would like too and would also like to help out an amazing organization, let me tell of an exciting opportunity.

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My book is listed in the Race to Erase MS online store and if you purchase through their store during the month of March,  50% of the proceeds go to the Race to Erase MS campaign.

I’m so excited to be working with this amazing organization!   Here is the link if you would like to take a look-

Race to Erase MS Online Store/MS Madness!

So the first week of March was filled with bad news, one fall-stupid bath tub, Ash Wednesday, my first book signing, good news, lots more good news-see above and many, many hours of  pondering all of the above.  Thus, I unfortunately do not have a new blog for you today.

 

BUT, as Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, I thought I would repeat last year’s Lenten blog.    I promise a new post next Friday.

Have a great week friends!

 

When Multiple Sclerosis and Lent Collide

Adding God to the MS balance beam

Due to Lent, this blog has a spiritual tint to it. I hope though, that even my non-believing friends will enjoy it from the aspect of how it incorporates another one of the elements of living with multiple sclerosis.

And really, how can you not believe in a higher power? I mean, God is freaking awesome! The sun, the moon, the Earth, the oceans and on the eighth day he created the Rolling Stones! How can you not love the creator of all that!!

For me, Jesus is my God. Only someone that cool would be capable of creating Keith Richards and keeping him around past his over ten lives thus far. But no matter what you believe dear readers, I wish you great health and many, many laughs always….

 

I think I messed up the Lent thing. As a Christian, I was excited about the approach of this time of year. We use this time to grow closer to God with prayer, almsgiving (does trying to make people laugh count as almsgiving?) and fasting.

My goal was to take advantage of this opportunity. I saved change to put into the little cardboard box that was our church’s mission project to support a local mission. I even put in quarters. When it was time to turn the box in and it seemed a little light, I even took some change out of another jar where I had been saving for my Lions Club.

Speaking of my Lion’s Club, I also fed the crew of a local Habitat for Humanity project in our club’s name. I didn’t have time to get fellow Lion’s to help me but that was ok as it was supposed to be a small crew.

The numbers increased however and thus it was that my fatigued MS self was slapping together ham and cheese on a windy morning for hungry construction workers. And, unfortunately, as far as I could tell, not a one of them was single! Not that that had anything to do with why I was there, it was about almsgiving of course.

 

When two fellow Lions asked my tired self to help them clean the God given beach, I did put a stop to that. Really, how much almsgiving can you do???

For the prayer portion of Lent, I obtained many books about Jesus and set to grow in my relationship with Him. It worked; I have enjoyed a lot of what I read.

But here is where MS screwed me up. My brain takes much longer to process information. So, while I was reading all of these great spiritual works, I was taking up a ton of time in my already pretty crowded with exhaustion, day. That left no time for the things I should be doing for my general health.

Suffice to say, what I wound up unintentionally giving up for Lent, was working out with my Wii Fit. Officially, I gave up casual reading for Lent in favor of more involved spiritual material and was planning on curbing my sweet tooth. But before I realized it, I was fasting on getting exercise and I am not sure that counts.

 

With MS there is so much you should do and so little energy to do it in. With Lent, there was so much I wanted to do and only forty days to do it in. Ok, technically, you don’t have to stop the prayer, almsgiving, fasting routine just because Easter arrives, but having a time table sure helps to keep you focused.

That is when I figured out where I went wrong. Focus is the key word.

There are always going to be more things I want to do and more things I have to do and I will always have to walk this MS balance beam of energy supply. Some days I may do it well, other days not so much.

But if I put God first, maybe I won’t have to balance Him with other things. Not even with MS.

 

Maybe Jesus IS the balance beam of energy. With Him first in my world, everything else will fall into place, even my Wii Fit, after it gets over being mad at me. Perhaps I will bring it an Easter basket….

Here is the other thing I learned, as it says in scripture, “it’s never to late to start all over again.”

 

Wait, maybe that isn’t scripture, maybe that’s Steppenwolf. I will have to check my notes. I have also really been into 70’s music lately.

The point is, everyday you just have to give life your best shot. Wait, shot is not the right word. Jesus is all about peace and love, not violence-no shooting…

Ok, let me try a third way. We are humans and as humans we are total screw ups. But screwing up isn’t always bad if we can learn from our mistakes and keep our focus on what is right and what is good for us.

And, no matter how hard you try, you can’t use Lent as an excuse for not exercising!