Let’s go to the store – Day 3

I must say that today was much better than yesterday.  I didn’t wake up with much more energy than the day before, in fact I almost overslept,  but my mind has a way of over-riding my body when something needs to be done.  We got out of bed at 8:50AM with my cooking club members due to arrive in an hour.  No problem you might say, except the kitchen and bathroom still needed to be cleaned, trash and recycling taken out, and various other details that were asking to be taken care of.  After about a half hour of running around I was already done and told my poor husband the rest was all his as I went to lay down in a very cool room and wait for everyone to arrive.

When they started to arrive all I can say is that happiness took over and I felt good to go.  It really makes me think more about the often alluded to mind/body connection.  These seven women and one man are truly some of the nicest and most interesting people I know.  We meet once a month and for the past 5-6 years I can honestly say that cooking club, some of the people have come and gone, is one of the greatest joys in my life!  Today was no exception.  We had wonderful food and great conversation.  However, all too soon, most were off to other activities for the day.  A few stayed and we played a game or two and had awesome girl talk.  That too, though, came to an end.

As I looked back over the day I saw a beautiful experience but I couldn’t see any gift I had given.  Ed started asking about dinner and then it came to me.  This was my opportunity!  Lately I always make Ed go to the store and do the shopping.  Today I would go and not only would I go but I would invite the young lady who lives with us downstairs to go with me and let her drive the car.  You should have seen her happiness!  She is still learning and has no car of her own to practice in.  I also invited her to join us for dinner as her boyfriend had gone out for the evening and she was alone with the baby.  We went to the store, she only scared me a couple of times, had a good talk, and then when we got back home Ed and I showed her how to cook the food.  Once again she was very excited.  She seems to really want to learn to cook and eat more healthily.

To top the night off I asked G., my 3-year-old, if he wanted to play a game.  You might not think this is much but I almost always refuse when he asks to play a game.  I don’t have the patience needed when he won’t wait for his turn or doesn’t follow the rules.  I know he is only 3 but it is still really trying to me.  Then you add E., who is 19m, to the mix and I am almost ready to scream.  Tonight  I did it because I knew how happy it would make him.  It was completely worth it!

O~R~A~N~G~E, O~R~A~N~G~E, O~R~A~N~G~E GOOOOO ORANGE!!!!!

I never was a cheerleader, not really my personality, but in this case I will cheer as long and hard as I need to.  As it happens I really do like orange, and not just the fruit, in fact it is one of my favorite colors.  I have many orange clothes and I own two pair of orange eyeglasses.  So, as you can guess, I was very happy when I realized that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society was starting a campaign to associate their organization with the color orange.  Color and logo recognition are both very strong branding tactics that both for-profit and non-profits have used to great success.  One just has to look at the Susan G. Komen foundation to see an excellent example of how well this strategy can work.

This year the NMSS starting handing out orange shirts to all event participants who raised a minimum amount of money and asking the participants to do what they could to “Paint the Town Orange”.  Many participants took this as a challenge and everything from the orange shirts, pins, headbands, beads, bracelets, earrings, orange hair spray, to even completely dyed bright orange hair was seen.  It was such a wonderful and inspiring start to this new awareness campaign.  Move over Pink, Orange is on the scene!

Look around and see what you can do on a daily basis to help get MS the awareness and recognition it deserves.  See what you have around you that you could use to start getting people to ask questions, and please don’t be afraid or embarrassed to answer those questions! You have nothing to be ashamed of and until the general public is aware of what MS stands for and what Multiple Sclerosis is, we will always be fighting an uphill battle.

I am leaving you now with a ribbon of hope and in recognition of this new campaign from now all my posts will be in orange.  I hope you like the color as much as I do!!!

Who is this girl in the mirror?

This morning is the first time that I had looked at my blog in quite awhile. You could have colored me orange when I realized that it had been more than two and a half months since I had last updated you.  I feel like I should introduce myself again and direct any newcomers to the short version of my story up till now.

When I last left you I had just signed up for an Instructor II class and had formed my first ever MS Walk team called Next Steps. I made the decision to sign up for the class in the beginning of January, during a refresher class I was attending to keep my certification as a paramedic. Shortly after  I decided to start the team Next Steps to participate in  MS Walk:Columbia 2010. The class would have given me the ability to teach a subject matter I really enjoyed and also bring in some extra money for the family. The Walk team was something I have been feeling that I should be doing for years.  I must have been in a very good place mentally for me to believe I could tackle both endeavors with my usual obsessive/compulsive need to totally involve my self in a project and be happy with nothing short of perfection.

On the way to the first class  I tripped and fell twice, talk about a confidence destroyer when you are depending on strength to get you through. I sat in class, only slightly bruised, and listened to all the requirements and projects that needed to be completed in the next six weeks and found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  I drove home almost in tears.  For one of the first times in my life I was realizing that I just might not be able to do it all.  It was time to take a long look in the mirror and see who it was that was actually looking back at me.

The face that I saw was incredibly familiar, maybe a bit heavier, some who don’t mind their manners might say a little older, but otherwise there I was.  That is until I looked past the surface and into the hazel eyes that showed me my real reflection.  I was no longer the young, physically strong, single, independent, conquer the world, would take on anything, me that I still found myself often imagining that I was.  Instead I saw a middle-aged wife and mother of three, often housebound, who had a chronic disease, which whether I liked it or not, left me chronically tired, could shroud me in depression, take away my strength, and make me dependent whenever it so chose with no input from me.  However when I looked a little deeper there it was, a glimmer of my old self in a new form.  A self transplanted into a new situation  and a body with physical limitations, but a self that still dreamed of participating in live, raising intelligent and happy kids, helping those in need, and being a productive member of society.  That self was just going to have to fight a little harder and accept the new reality in which it existed including the limitations that came with it.

Three days later I withdrew from the Instructor II class.  When you can no longer, or should no longer, try to do it all one must decide were their priorities are.  I have a wonderful husband who already works himself to exhaustion every day to help me.  He had given me his blessing to take this class because, I believe, that he often feels desperate to find something that will make me happy, draw me out of my depression, allow me to feel connected to something, feel alive.  However this all comes at his, and the rest of the family’s, expense.  This class or I as an individual, was not going to, and never should, be something that leads to the collapse of the rest of the family.

I had already become very involved in team Next Steps and to be honest, at that point, that is where my passion laid.  It fulfilled all my needs to be alive, connected, a productive member of society, and I was helping myself and my family at the same time.  If I can only significantly involve myself in one thing at a time it’s going to take some time to get use to but it’s the new face in the mirror, the new me, and all things considered I really don’t have much to complain about.