Christmas this year is proving to be difficult. While Christmas pasts have held some level of mental fatigue in both the years before MS and the years since, I have never been denied any of my Christmas physically…until now. The weekend after Thanksgiving is when we decorate. There are three Christmas decorations that are a part of Christmas that really matter to me and are traditions that I don’t want my family to be without – the tree, the Nativity and the mantle. I know these things are not the important parts of Christmas but, as a mother and a homemaker, they feel important to me. They are my contributions to my family’s Christmas. Unfortunately, my body is having no part of Christmas this year and decided to take it out on the tree first. Whether it was trying to balance on the ladder, keeping a breakable ornament in my hand and off of the tile floor or being able to use my arms and legs long enough to get things done without going numb I failed. After a few days, I naturally began to stress and feel guilty that it wasn’t done which only makes it worse. While it isn’t certain if stress can cause a relapse, it does worsen symptoms and can do so rather extremely. This made for a rather pathetic cycle. It took me almost two weeks to finish our tree! I still have to get the mantle done which isn’t anywhere close to the job the tree is and the Nativity is really just a matter of finding the right storage box but I know that it isn’t going to get done today and most likely tomorrow. As I was feeling pathetic getting the tree completed I kept seeing the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and every time my body failed in someway I saw Lucy pulling the football away just as Charlie Brown was going to kick it.
Pretty much everyday I am fatigued by three in the afternoon. I say fatigued instead of tired or exhausted because “fatigue” is something special for people with MS. Not special in a good way, but special in the way that if you’re not part of our club you can’t really understand it. When I say I’m fatigued I’m saying that my body isn’t functioning correctly. It’s always my arms that bother me the most. They feel kind of like rubber and have almost no strength. I’m lucky if I can fold a load of laundry with them. There’s usually some numbness, zaps and zings but that’s almost unnoticeable next to the rubberiness. My legs get rubbery too and standing too long can be difficult. It’s actually harder than walking because with walking I’ll occasionally get “drop foot” (another club term) but the way my legs feel from standing too long is almost unbearable. Still, the arms are what I’m the most frustrated with. I feel like they’re letting me down the most. It’s all about dinner. I can fold laundry a bit at a time and any time of the day I want. Dinner is always sometime between six and eight at night-well past three in the afternoon. So, we eat out and order in quite a bit at my house. I know this isn’t the healthiest way for me and my family to be eating but it’s still the way things happen. I hate this. I am a stay-at-home mom and part of my job is feeding my family. I’m failing. Tonight, a friend told me that they rarely go out to eat. I know they don’t do this for financial reasons. They do it to be healthy. I hate it all even more which I really didn’t think was possible. So, I’m looking hard at myself and wondering. Am I just Lazy? I’ve searched and found slow cooker recipes online and have bought cookbooks with easy recipes. I use to cook all the time so I have no shortage of recipes when I add my new finds to what I already have. I thought that if I had really simple recipes and slow cooker recipes that could be thrown together early in the day when I wasn’t so rubbery I’d be back to cooking most of the time. It isn’t happening. I use to not feel bad about all of this because I chose to give myself a break. I have MS and if I’m not cooking dinner it’s okay, I’m allowed to not cook dinner. Well, now I’m just feeling lazy. It’s not enough anymore for me to know that the person telling me that they rarely go out to dinner doesn’t have a clue about how MS feels and if they did they wouldn’t be telling me this. My fatigue is the worse part of MS for me right now. I’m still hoping that it will get easier but it’s getting harder to hope for it. So, all I can really hope for is to not be so lazy. I’m putting it out there- this week we will only eat out or order in three times. Even if I’m the only one who reads this, it will still be embarrassing to me if I fail. I’ll have to come back here and write that I wasn’t able to prepare four dinners for my family this week. I feel embarrassed just writing it.