The Weather Channel just showed a picture of Hurricane Isaac and likened it to an MRI, circling the eye of the storm the way an MS lesion would be circled. So, here I am writing about Hurricane Isaac, Multiple Sclerosis and stress. Isaac has me very stressed. My son just moved to New Orleans Wednesday to start his freshman year of college. At midnight he will be in lock-down in his dorm. From what I am hearing, they will most likely lose power and there will be flooding. I’ve been glued to the TV all day, checking email and facebook for updates from the university and receiving and making necessary phone calls. He is hundreds of miles away. Piling on top of this is the fact that my son is fighting his own immune system and has been dealing with horrible symptoms. He has Rheumatoid Arthritis. The day before he left he struggled to pick up a glass. Stormy weather for him is what stormy weather is for me- horrible. All my symptoms return or worsen. He has debilitating pain and muscle weakness. He takes multiple medications to fight his disease, two of them suppress his immune system. He is sick and coughing and that worries me because it’s easy for his body to develop an infection, especially now that he won’t have access to doctors and medicine. This stress has my body numb and my muscles tight. It also has me thinking about how MS is like a hurricane, even when you know they are coming, they never let you know what they’re going to do once they have fully arrived and they always leave damage behind.
I think it’s safe to say that people with MS are always looking for ways to feel better. Pain, numbness, memory problems and especially fatigue can be debilitating at times and always annoying. There are several medications to help with MS symptoms and they can be quite effective but, before I take that leap, I’m going to try the hard way first…..I’m saying goodbye to sugar. This is going to be extremely difficult for me because sugar is highly addicting and I am a self-proclaimed, hard-core sugar junkie. I not only love the stuff and all the pretty, fluffy, decadent ways it whores itself out to me, I crave it daily. I’ve been told and have read several times that sugar can increase MS symptoms, especially fatigue. I want to feel better than I do now so I’ve decided to take the plunge. I’ve started with only a little sweet creamer in my morning coffee and a little agave in my oatmeal. I’m sure to a lot of people this is still a lot of sugar, especially to someone who has taken “the plunge”. Well, for me, this is a huge change! Next week, I’m going to be completely sugar-free with my coffee. Harder, will be eating my oatmeal plain. I don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners and don’t think they’re very healthy so that’s not an option for me. My hope is to get to the point where sugar is a rare indulgence. So, here I am, saying/writing it out loud, putting myself in the spotlight and hoping that this will help me to stay the course. Wish me luck and I’ll share this part of my journey in case it’s something someone else is either considering, doing or has already done.