Friday, July 13, 2012

MS and Overall Health

Yes, I have been away awhile, but for good reason.  I bought a house for the kids and I this spring so I've been spending lots of time getting everything just how we want it.  I've also been learning how to do simple home projects and the fine art of lawn care.  Ok I kinda suck at lawn care, but hey, at least I'm trying!

Simply put, I've been busy living and enjoying my life.  This is easily the happiest I've ever been in my adult life.  My life is parasite idiot free (yay for divorce!), my kids are thriving and happy, we have a beautiful home we love, and my health is doing better than it has in years.  I mean, really, what more could I possibly want or need?

Speaking of my health, that alone has been a journey in itself.  It's pretty shocking when I look back at far I've come over the past year.  A year ago I was a smoker, grossly obese, and living on a diet of junk and fat.  Not to mention, of course, there's the ongoing battle with MS.  In a nutshell, I was scarily unhealthy and pretty darn miserable.  I am convinced if I had stayed on the same path I was on, I would've been exceptionally lucky to even make it to 50 years old.  That was unacceptable, so I decided to make drastic changes.

Today, I am a non smoker and have been for a year, my diet is healthy high protein and low fat, and I am almost 120 pounds lighter.  It hasn't been easy but it has been so incredibly worth it.  My greatest prayer is that with all these changes to improve my health I will be here long enough to spoil my great grandchildren someday.

Here is the most interesting part of all this.  We all know things like weight and diet can't change or cure Multiple Sclerosis.  But, what I have discovered on my journey to health is how much overall health truly does effect MS.  I still have symptoms all the time.  I still get dizzy many times throughout the day.  My eyes still act up sometimes.  I have weird random pains.  My cognitive function still seriously suffers at time.  MS is still constant part of my life, but the healthier I get, the more manageable some aspects of the MS also gets.  For instance, my walking ability and speed have improved dramatically.  I have gone from being unable to walk from handicapped parking space to the front door of a store to being able to walk the mall many times over while taking my daughter shopping.  I still have heat intolerance, but that threshold has raised a good ten degrees, allowing me to enjoy more outdoor activities like spending days by the pool with my son.  Overall, despite the MS, I feel better than I have in at least a decade.

The way I see it is this:  I can't cure the MS but I can take control of my health and make the rest of me as healthy as I possibly can.  Having MS is bad enough, don't you think?  I mean, it downright sucks!  So why in the world would I want to continue to neglect my overall health and end up with other preventable illnesses to go along with it?  Heart disease?  High blood pressure?  Diabetes?  High cholesterol?  Not to mention studies have proven that smoking makes MS progress faster.

Obviously, I don't need any more to deal with than the MS.  None of us do.  I know it's not easy to do things like quit smoking or giving up fatty comfort food, but if you are reading this and have MS, I am here to tell you taking care of your overall health is absolute best thing you can do for yourself.  We need all the power we can get to fight this horrible disease, and that power comes from a healthy body and lifestyle.  We owe it to ourselves to give ourselves the best chance we can to beat this crap disease.

Be good to yourself.
Mis