life

Christmas: pressures and perspective

So, I was ‘voluntold’ yesterday by my youngest that ‘we’ were providing the vegan gingerbread house kit for her and a friend for the class contest on Friday. Ummm… okay? 🤣

I love that she knows I love to bake so assumed I’d be happy to do it. Happier that it doesn’t occur to her that I’m carefully pacing myself at the moment so I can make it through the holidays without the MonSter rearing it’s ugly head too far. One of the perks of an invisible illness when it comes to your kids, at least when you can…

But it’s always smart to remind yourself, chronic illness or not, that it’s not worth pushing beyond your limits. Everyone owes it to themselves to take time for self-care, to take things off their plate when necessary and to ask for help sometimes.

The whole season should be about being cozy and spending low-key personal time with your people. Let go of the consumer, commercial side of it and focus on what matters. You can only do what you can do, and good enough is good enough. Otherwise, you…

The best thing I’ve started doing since I finally got decent running shoes is getting my butt out the door every weekday for a 20 minute walk. Sometimes it’s a few minutes more, but never too much because in the past I would get back into ballet or yoga and go too hard, setting myself back several steps. So now I’m the tortoise not the hare, and I find I look forward to my walk each day and it sets me up well for the day ahead. There are days when 20 minutes doesn’t get me too far…

But I’ve only missed one day, when the wind was too much for my sensory issues, and then the last couple of days when I needed to brave the crowds to finish the Christmas shopping. Now I will get out there every day if possible because I know it’s the single best thing I can do to make it through our busiest Christmas season ever, and enjoy it.

Finally, chronic illness or not…

Depending on how things go, I may post one more time about the vegan gingerbread house. If it’s a total fail, maybe not, so…

Wishing you all a restful, joyous holiday and a healthy, peaceful New Year.

❤️ Amanda

MS

Raw

I need to know

Do other MSers feel it too?

A sudden rawness

Burning

Tingling

In the tongue

Lips

Palms of hands

Soles of feet

Eyelids

MS?

Is it the myelin being destroyed

By my own cells?

Most uncomfortable

Anxiety-inducing

Go away now.

chronic illness, life, Poetry

Voodoo Doll: MS Awareness

Huge stakes pierce my heels

Burning red hot fire

Millions of minuscule knives

Flay the insides of my feet

A giant vegetable peeler slices off

The bottoms

*

I’m sorry to those I squashed

Those I looked down upon

From any temporary high ground

I believed I held

I am your voodoo doll

And you will have your revenge

Over and over

*

The burning piercing spreads

To hands, up legs, then forearms

Who needs to work on abs

When they stay contracted constantly

Holding in the moans

And the nausea from the pain?

*

I’m sorry to those I squashed

Those I looked down upon

From any temporary high ground

I believed I held

I am your voodoo doll

And you will have your revenge

Over and over


I don’t really believe that my chronic illness is a matter of revenge, but it’s an easy trap to fall into when I’m trying to pretend all is well but the pain is overwhelming. I think of myself as a kind person but I know in my past immature, insecure life I wasn’t always the best person I could be. However, we can only go forward and try to do better.

Kindness is the answer.

❤️ Amanda

awards, nominations, challenges, writing

50 Word Thursday #27: Friendship

Oscar coughed and shifted in his recliner. Felix checked his watch then stared out the window, dying to open it and let air into the dark room. Silence the whole two hours he’d been there. He hoped that by remaining where he was, he might do some good, even there.

(50 words)

I haven’t done one of these for a while but I’ve missed them. It’s a great writing warm-up to pare down my writing before I get some words in for Camp NaNoWriMo. I failed at Camp in April because I was M.I.A.: Lost in the Garden so I’ve lowered my word count goal in the hopes of getting my writing moving again.

So far so good, but fingers crossed…

❤️ Amanda


Kristian from Tales from the Mind of Kristian is hosting this week.

The Rules:

• Find the muse within the photo or line provided and follow where it leads. It can be a story, anecdote, poem. Anything!

• The Story must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments. (so 50, 100, 150, 200 or 250 words)

• Link back to this post with the tag 50WordThurs so that everyone can find it, or post your response in the comments on his site.

• HAVE FUN!

chronic illness, life, mental health

Milestones and Reflections

At the beginning of June, I celebrated the first year of my blog. It was a huge step for uber-private me last year but the response once I finally faced my fear and hit publish was unreal. I can’t believe I have over 500 followers. More importantly, I can’t believe the support I’ve received and the friends I’ve made in this wonderful community. I’m so grateful. Thank you all. 💕

On this day four years ago, I received my MS diagnosis in the morning before going back to school for the last afternoon with my class. I didn’t know it would be the last afternoon I would spend as a teacher at the time.

It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. The physical symptoms, especially the fatigue, stopped me teaching but the mental gymnastics associated with being chronically ill really stopped me in my tracks.

Fear, grief, anxiety, depression, guilt. Oh, the guilt! Learning to say ‘I can’t’ – especially to my children, forcing myself to stop when I ‘should’ get a little more done, unable to enjoy the good days because I ‘should’ be working.

I’ve learned to mostly maintain perspective when the anxiety and depression hit because I know it’s temporary, no matter how black. The fear hits pretty strongly when my body does it’s weird party tricks. (numbness, tingling, burning, buzzing, dizziness, tinnitus, spasms, trembling, pain and the fatigue that courses through my veins. #msawareness)

But life is scary for everybody in one way or another. Perspective.

The guilt has been the nastiest of the negatives. It comes up over and over and I’ve struggled to gain the same perspective, especially on the good days. I’d love so much to be back in the classroom that when the uglies lessen a bit, I forget how bad they are and feel I should at least try to go back to work. When they inevitably reappear, I remember why I can’t do the job I love so much.

Four years on, I’m done with the guilt on my good days. I won’t compromise the health I’ve regained since I stopped working by forcing myself to go back to work. And I won’t waste the bonus time I do get feeling guilty anymore, dammit! So there, MS. 🤗 From now on, I’m doing ‘jazz hands’ any time the guilt creeps in – haha!

This day marks a milestone for each of our younger children as well. After knocking our socks off at her Variety Show on Monday singing ‘Defying Gravity’ – (check out my instagram or facebook for the video), our youngest is finishing her last day at elementary school. It’s truly the end of an era, as we started there an unbelievable 15 years ago when our eldest was in kindergarten. Not to mention that my husband and his mother also went to the same school!

Our son is finishing his last day of high school, heading across the country to study Economics at Western University in September. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of his achievements so far and excited for him, but there will be a big hole in our family that will take getting used to. It’s all as it should be and we can’t wait to see where he goes with his life. This kid is motivated!

Finally, our eldest got her first car so now we have our own taxi 😉 she’s embarking on a whole new level of independence and financial responsibility. We have no doubt she’ll manage her shiny new car with her usual attention and responsibility, and have lots of great adventures in the years to come.

So it’s the end of June and the beginning of summer vacation. The garden’s in great shape, the kids all have exciting plans for the summer, and we have lots of camping planned in our new tent trailer. It’s going to be a great summer!

❤️ Amanda