MS, the stress chronicles…

I visited a friend at his new house as he moved and wanted to show his new digs. When I was there, he had to take an urgent phone call. After he was put on hold, he looked up and asked me to feed his bird. “I’m sorry, what,” I asked. He told me to put some fresh seeds in the bird food holder. “His bowl has food in it” I clarified. He explained that the food dish has bird feed that is stale and needs mixing with fresh feed. He saw me hesitate and said, “The bird will not bite.”

He began explaining the proper procedures for feeding this pet of his. First, open the cage and remove the food bowl. I followed his directions to the letter, and the bird quickly escaped. I apologized for the next hour as we tried to capture the creature and put it back into its cage. I felt terrible even after we finally caught and re-caged this flying creature of his. I went home and slept for the better part of the afternoon as the stress was significant.

This is an example of mental stress and since we jumped around physical stress too. Stress and multiple sclerosis go together like oil and water. Keep in mind that every MSer is impacted differently by all forms of stress. I personally have flare-ups of several of my manifestations all at once. The exacerbation of my symptoms is the reason that I run from pressure. I avoid stress like a squirrel avoids the neighborhood dog.

Also, think about physical stress. When I began heavy weight lifting with my buddy, the goal was to lift a lot of weight eight to ten times. If we could lift twelve times then moving up in weight was the next step. I remember that when I was lifting weights, I dropped my body weight faster than an Indy 500 racecar.

A car accident is another example of this physical stress. The wear and tear in the few seconds of a traffic collision can do significant damage to a non-MS body. That same destruction can do untold damage to an MS body in various ways by causing severe flare-ups. Many times the stress of a car crash can awaken someone’s dormant Multiple Sclerosis.

Lifting heavy weight, dropping pounds very quickly and even car accidents are examples of physical stress. This corporeal pain can be just as detrimental to the MS body as the psychological stress. I believe that the physical stress may be overlooked because many MSers sit on the couch and naturally deteriorate. This occurs while other MS patients, rightfully so, are leery of crossing the line. This line that is not to be crossed can put them out of commission for days. Since this line can jump around like a kid playing Double Dutch, there is deeply seated trepidation.

It is entirely correct that we are all superheroes in our own way. The problem is that some of us carry kryptonite called MS with us at all times. We must decide how our bodies may handle every movement that we make. It is imperative that we choose which actions will likely put us in a long recovery and avoid them.

The truth is that I currently live alone making avoiding stress a simple endeavor. I realize and look forward to the day that I can tell my significant other that everything is ok. I am eager to show her that we can handle everything with some essential communication. There is nothing as bad as losing your cool and losing your stance just before a possible ER visit. When you are aware of the possibilities, everything becomes extremely clear.

On a different topic: The magazine that I will be blogging for is the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. My first blog for the MSAA will be published in August or September. I have a due date of August 25th, so I will keep you up to date as to the posting. A heads up: the title is dissolution confusion. Just like when I had a book report to do in school, I will start writing it on Aug 24th. I am kidding of course as it is done! Like Gomer Pyle used to say: surprise, surprise, surprise! Any younger readers will have to look up Gomer Pyle and his catchphrase.

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