Tag Archives: chocolate

Dodging The Bullet

dodging the bulletWell it seems the draggy, schleppy foot is here to stay for a little while longer.

It’s surprising how quickly I’ve got used to it, the exaggerated lifting of the offending foot. Apart from The Teenager mimicking the Kennedy Space Center voice – ‘One giant leap for woman….’

Anyway, I’ve been thinking. It could be an old symptom coming back in a sneaky, evolved form, or it could be a new symptom. I could tie myself up in knots about it. Like most of us with MS, I spend my days inwardly saying, ‘there goes the foot drop, oh, that’ll be the heat intolerance and yup, some loss of balance for good measure.’ And, ‘can I go to sleep now?’

Maybe I spend so much time in fear of a new symptom, a relapse, a further loss, that I forget to concentrate on the here and now. The MS symptoms will go their own way regardless. The way my mind goes is of my own choosing. Over that, at least, I have a modicum of control.

So maybe I should stop worrying about dodging the bullet. If it happens, it happens. I was utterly paralysed by fear last week. And what good did it do me? I came down with a stomach bug.

In a way, it was a relief to concentrate on a non-MS symptom for once. All thoughts of MS were pushed out my mind as I put my much-diminished energy in to becoming better. As quickly as possible. I crawled back into bed, the monotony of it only relieved by my friend delivering me all the Saturday newspapers, a McDonalds burger and Coke (I know, I know, but it helped) and a big bag of chocolate buttons.

If this last week has taught me anything at all, it is that MS is part of who I am. The more I try to side-swerve and ignore what is happening, the more I suffer when a symptom comes to the fore. It’s not about giving in, but accepting that it happens.

The meltdown I went through was probably far worse than the symptom itself. And what does that show me? It is my mind, not my body that is out of control. A sobering thought.

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Don’t Mention The ‘V’ Word

happy valentine's dayDuring the first week of January (when I went to stock up on Creme Eggs), I briefly thought about boycotting my local newsagent.

On leaving the store I was brutally confronted with a huge display under the banner ‘Winter Essentials’.

Alongside the de-icer, Arctic-proof gloves and those grip things you attach to your shoes, was a stand full of Valentine’s cards, plastic red roses and cheap teddies holding sateen hearts. Pah.

So having a significant other is now a Winter Essential? Double pah.

Not long after, I had an email offering me and my significant other a ‘truly romantic experience on that most romantic day of the year’ at my local gastro-pub. A glass of cheap sparkling wine on arrival, a wilted red rose for ‘the lady’ and a three course lovingly-prepared meal to ‘tingle the palate’. And all for only £42 a head. Are they having a laugh?

The evil-singleton side of me toyed with the idea of schlepping along on that most romantic of days, sitting in the bar and watching awkward couples crammed into the restaurant. But that’s a bit mean. Isn’t it?

Maybe I should launch myself back onto the dating scene? There’s a few problems with that though:

  • MS
  • I still dress like a student and don’t wear strappy heels. And I haven’t mastered the art of a sophisticated up-do.
  • I would yawn my way though dates, and not solely because my companion is regaling me with tales of his pot-holing.
  • MS
  • I still need to lose a few stone pounds.
  • MS

My friends and family are very encouraging though. ‘It’s not about the MS, it’s about you, who you are.’ ‘You have lovely eyes.’ (what they say to fat people). And my ever-adoring son, ‘Have you sent off your application for the next series of The Undateables yet?’

Well I reckon we should scrap Valentine’s Day. Let’s have a new celebration, Singleton Day. This would involve buying an M&S meal-deal for a tenner (including a bottle of wine) and scoffing/quaffing the whole lot on our own, with ‘I Will Survive’ playing on a loop in the background. We could encourage our friends to send us boxes of chocolates to help us ease the pain. Three layers of mascara would be an essential, all the better to show our tears with.

So spare a thought for us sad, lonely, slipper-wearing, talking-to-the-cat peeps. And all donations of recycled men gratefully received…..

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Life Sure Ain’t Like The Movies…

popcornA funny thing happened the other day.

I was lying on the sofa reading a book, plucking Maltesers from a box I’d craftily hidden from The Teenager.

The next thing I knew I had woken with a start, the book (and Maltesers) having crashed to the floor.

This may sound boringly insignificant, but I thought stuff like that only happened in movies for dramatic effect – just like you can see the Eiffel Tower from any window in Paris.

I ranted to the cat after she’d stopped chasing the Maltesers round the floor – how could anyone fall asleep so quickly that they couldn’t put their book down first?

Either explanation is most unpalatable:

a) old age creeping up on me

b) worsening MS fatigue

Mind you, if my life were a movie, there would be a conveniently-placed handsome man who would gently prise the book from my fingers, wrap me in a cashmere blanket and gaze upon my slumbering face before dimming the lights and nestling another log on the open fire.

Furthermore, kindly neighbours would have left a pile of casseroles and lasagnas outside my door during my worst relapses two years ago. They would also have surprised me by putting up my Christmas tree and arranging for an angelic choir to sing carols outside my door, snow falling softly.

On recovery, I would magically spring the money to spend a month somewhere exotic to ‘find myself’. There would be shots of me wandering sadly down golden-sand beaches. Towards the end however, I would be laughing and learning important, life-affirming lessons from the wise natives, arriving back home with a new-found sense of purpose in life.

But life isn’t like the movies. When I woke and found my book and chocolates on the floor, I was cold, I hadn’t started dinner and I found The Teenager hanging off an open fridge door bemoaning the lack of junk food (‘everyone else in school gets to have it, why not me, you meanie? What am I supposed to do with a tangerine?’).

I explained to him what had happened. He was unperturbed (‘mum, you’re, like, old, you know? It’s what old people do, my grandad does it all the time’).

Out of interest, I asked him what he would like to see come true from the movies. He didn’t hesitate – ‘one of those huuuuuuuge American fridges crammed with junk food and my own den in the basement  and……(I stopped listening after five minutes)……

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Christmas CtI am one present away from completing my Christmas shopping.

Before you start pelting me with mince pies (or Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – yes please), I can explain, honestly.

Organising Christmas for the last couple of years has been a bit of a nightmare, so this year I was determined to be calm, cool and collected.

I drew up lists, scoured the internet then decided it’d be far easier just to give everyone a onesie. Present list – big tick. The Teenager could have a Superman one, The Boss could have a Homer Simpson one and I’m guessing they make them for cats now too.

After running the idea past The Teenager (who looked at me in horror, told me he wouldn’t be seen dead in an oversized babygro and turned his music up even louder) it was back to the drawing board.

So now I have a whole stack of carefully-chosen presents, reams of wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags. All waiting for that advert-inspired magical evening where I will settle myself down with a glass of mulled wine, Christmas carols playing in the soft-focus background and fight with the sticky tape and try to catch the cat when she runs off with the ribbon.

The internet has been a blessing, although I’m not sure my postman sees it that way, as he struggles up the path day after day. I’ve ordered everything from it – right down to a reel of invisible thread to hang my home-made stars with. Yup, getting the shopping out the way has given me time to pick up my glue gun. I’m going to get crafty this year. My Christmas wreath was a bit of a disaster (Pinterest made it look so easy, bah), but you can’t go wrong with stars. Can you?

So this year I won’t be barging my way through crowds. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’d slip unnoticed to the ground, trampled by hordes of eager shoppers poking each other in the eye with jumbo rolls of wrapping paper.

For people with MS, Christmas is a society-endorsed period of doing what I am an expert at – dozing off on the sofa in front of rubbish telly – and I intend to make the most of it.

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…

The shops are full of chocolate and cakes, magazines are stuffed with recipes, we’ve got two bank holidays and the kids are bouncing off the walls with excitement and e-numbers. Easter is rapidly turning into Christmas Mark II.

I’m not complaining. I love Easter. So much so that I put up my Easter branches (in lieu of a tree) weeks and weeks ago. I’m looking forward to lazing on my sofa watching ‘Gone With The Wind’ for the 27th time, pausing the telly only to hunt out more chocolate.

(Handy hint for MSers – don’t bother buying those teeny-weeny chocolate eggs wrapped in foil. If your hands are dodgy, like mine, the teeth-gnashing frustration really isn’t worth the effort. Just buy several large ones instead).

Anyway, The Teenager is away for a week, so it’s just me and the cat rattling around the house. The laundry basket is empty, the fridge is fully-stocked and I am going to use this time as a period of quiet reflection. I have decided to re-hash my New Year’s resolutions, giving myself another chance to fail at unlocking my true potential.

My resolutions, in no particular order, are: eat less, exercise more, try new things and learn how to make a decent Hollandaise sauce. My emotional resolution is to stop being so hard on myself. I get frustrated and angry when MS fatigue drives me to the sofa yet again, when I bale out on friends or have to go to bed early. I still raise my son, study, work and run a house, so maybe I should cut myself some slack.

It’s strange, but sometimes I forget I have MS. I just think, oh, that’s the feet buzzing again or here comes the fatigue and whoops, nearly fell over there. It’s become such a part of my life and it brings me up with a sharp shock when I think, ‘oh yeah, I’ve got multiple sclerosis.’

So this Easter, with The Teenager away, I am going to indulge myself. I will be meeting up with friends (fingers crossed), reading trashy novels and magazines, trying out new recipes and chilling. I am going to be kind to myself, something I have really neglected to do recently.

Happy Easter!

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