Tag Archives: newspaper

Miss Non-Opportunity

idiotStory of my life.

I let the (potential)  man of my dreams slip through my fingers. Perhaps.

I was having one of those Sunday mornings, when you think, ‘ah, I’ll wear those really baggy jeans and a really old top with holes in it and some ancient shoes, but for some reason I’ll spray myself in perfume.’

You know – you just want to feel a little feminine despite the clothes? Touch of mascara and tinted lip-balm. Sorted.

In my defence, and with hindsight, I’d had an awful MS Saturday and MS sleep. No matter. It was too late.

Anyway. There I was, in my local corner store, buying up a pile of papers and one of those huge chocolate bars on offer.

A man appeared in my peripheral vision. I didn’t look – playing it cool. He leaned a little closer. I moved a little away (honestly – I have learnt nothing from reading all those ‘how to meet a man in your local store’ articles).

He spoke. ‘I love your perfume!’

Reader, I garbled. I cast a quick glance at the very tall, very handsome, very without-a-wedding-ring man standing next to me with a takeaway coffee in his hand. From my favourite coffee shop.

‘Ah. Ta, mate. Got it from Aldi.’

Did I just say that? Mate?

I did.

It got worse. I rummaged in my bag and actually pulled out the bottle to show him.

I even said, ‘Under a fiver! How’s that for a bargain!’

He looked a little scared, paid for his  newspaper and left.

I went home and had a very serious talk with myself.

Story of my life.

p.s. If you see this man – over six feet, black coat, Observer newpaper, bit of a stubble, nice boots – let me know …

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Brain Fog? Pass The Champers …

ChampagneAccording to a newspaper report last week, now that I am Middle Aged/8 Years Away From a Saga Cruise, I am prone to brain fog.

No, really?

MS got there before – my brain is well and truly fogged up.

But help is at hand – a practical list of things I can do to slow down ‘the inevitable decline‘. I chortled and read on, forgetting I had a casserole in the oven (it was fine after I scraped off the top layer and threw out the burnt pot).

If I want to hang on to the rest of my brain cells, I should consider:

Turning off my phone – apparently Twitter gives me a hit of dopamine, just like a gambler in Vegas. And the problem is ..?

Switching off the TV – watching it increases my risk of brain fog by 20%. Reading, on the other hand, reduces it by 5%. What if I put the telly on silent and read the subtitles instead? Clever, eh?

Drink a glass of champagne – enough said. A most excellent idea, no studies needed.

Spice it up – add turmeric to just about everything, as it’s been dubbed ‘Miracle Gro’ for the brain’. I should add it to tea, salads, curries, casseroles (when I buy a new pot), shampoo, the air-con in my car. The list is endless.

Change your thinking – I must aim to do something new every day; something that gives me pleasure, power, pride, passion, and every other word beginning with ‘p’. I am currently Productively Pondering Possibilities.

Enjoy coffee – hooray! Ah. Without milk. Hmm. I drank black coffee for over 20 years in a vain hope of appearing semi-intellectual and interesting. It didn’t work (neither did the beret or prescription-less glasses) so I started adding milk when I hit 37.

Go to bed by 11pm – at this point, I gave up. 11pm. 11pm? The last time I was awake at 11pm, I was woken by the pesky cat yowling at my bedroom window with a recently-deceased mouse at her side. My idea of cognitive improvement is remembering to put the electric blanket on by 8pm.

Perhaps I have to face facts. MS has mushed up my brain. At times it’s funny – there’s a whole host of anecdotes about my inability to remember conversations, diary dates, shopping lists. Sometimes though, it’s a little sad.

Time to crack open the bubbly?

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Positively Confusing?

RubenesqueI have been fortunate enough to be interviewed recently about my book.

Half-way through, still being recorded, I asked, ‘Gah, am I sounding too positive about MS?’

A conundrum.

Rewind two years and the interviewer would have discovered me flat on the floor, holding up a wine glass, chomping on a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk. And no doubt crying. I was in a dark, shadowy and very different place.

How best to portray life with MS, almost three years after being diagnosed? I don’t want to be labelled a ‘survivor’, ‘a sufferer’ or to be hailed as ‘fighting back, despite all the odds (TM).’ I am just me, who has forged an entirely new and unexpected path through the maze that is MS. I’m still eating far too much chocolate, I’m still fat Rubenesque and I’m now officially over the hill at 41.

Is there such a thing as being positively ok with MS? Hmm. It depends.

If I’m honest, 90% of the time I think I am now used to the vile intruder that is MS. I love my home life, I love my work and I love being in Uni. Life is looking rosy and positive. It’s the other 10% that can be problematic, as anyone living with MS knows.

It’s the relentless fears, the creeping spectre of progression that haunts our darkest moments and I’m not immune to this.

But. In the meantime, as I said to the reporter, I have achieved a lot more since MS than I could ever have dreamed of. Being sacked unceremoniously from work simply for the crime of having MS was merely the start. Being bullied into submission by the very same colleagues, who just before diagnosis treated me with respect, ignited a passion to ‘live well with MS’.

So I am now living a life I love, in spite of MS. MS is with me every step of the way, excuse the pun, and it still continues to trip me up when I least expect it. The dark days are still with me and I doubt they will ever leave, but I am learning to live with them.

The article comes out tomorrow in the national newspaper of Wales. My only fear is the photograph. I am quite possibly the most un-photogenic person ever. The word ‘chubby’ springs to mind, as does ‘Paleo’, meh.

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