Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Arm Seizures With MS

One of the first symptoms my wife experienced at age 21 was arm seizures. Her arm would seize and flail about until it passed. This was one of the symptoms that originally spurred on the doctors to find what was causing her issues. The last few days have brought back unwanted memories from those seizures because her arm has been cramping very painfully. The cramp starts in the front of the shoulder where her arm meets the shoulder. The cramps strike with no warning and become severe very quickly. The pain was severe enough earlier to make her cry. She has had cramps quite a few times in her legs and back, but not in this way since she was in her early years of diagnosis.

We know we have been pushing her body lately. Over the past few weeks she has had cramps in her arms, legs, back and tingling in multiple areas. We are currently living where it isn't convenient to see a Pro Adjuster Chiropractor and we can tell that this lack of preventive care has really affected her everyday living. We know what has worked for my wife in the past and we know that we are not taking the preventive measures we normally do just because of living so far from that type of care. We have been discussing that we are going to have to start finding out what other options we have locally. We both feel like the arm issues are from the stress, both physically and mentally, my wife has been under for the past month and a half. She will be done with this project next week and then she will rest, rest, rest.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Muscle Cramps In Strange Places

Over the last few days my wife has had the oddest muscle cramps. After long days of standing and entertaining over the holidays, my wife had extreme cramps one night in her bicep and two nights in her shin area. Both were extremely painful and came in waves. They would hurt for a short time then stop, then hurt again. After about 4-5 minutes the cramps would quit and then wouldn't come back. The cramps in her shins were the ones that really were strange. They were in the same leg both nights, and at the top of the shin right below the knee. I have never seen a cramp in this particular area and we couldn't get it to stop. She just had to wait until it quit cramping to get relief.

My wife has had plenty of cramping in other areas of her legs, like her thighs, but never in the top of her shins. She has had shin splints before and her calves have cramped, especially after a lot of walking and standing. I know there are others out there that have cramps with Multiple Sclerosis, and I know that my wife has had low potassium in the past which we feel like has made for more issues with the cramping. My wife's body continues to baffle us with the odd issues, and so far she has not had any cramping tonight.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Is Clumsiness A Symptom Of MS?

For the last 15 years of knowing my wife she has been one of the clumsiest people I know. A day rarely goes by when she doesn't hurt herself somehow. She will misjudge the distance to something and hit it or trip and hurt herself. She has lost her balance and fell off of steps and beds and even lodged herself between two beds at a hotel. She was laughing so hard she couldn't get out. It makes for interesting times when she does some of these things. One time she thought she shut the shower glass on the tub and went to sneeze while in the bathtub. What she didn't realize is that the glass was closed on her side too, and she slammed her head straight into the glass as she tried to sneeze outside the tub. She laughed for hours about that one.

I know that clumsiness isn't a symptom of MS, but many of the symptoms of MS seem to affect her abilities to balance, walk, judge distance and a host of other things. As a teen she competed as a gymnast for 12 years so she had awesome balance and grace, but as an adult with MS, that grace is lost in translation. Sometimes the clumsiness is funny, sometimes it is scary and other times it is just frustrating for both of us. Rarely do we take a trip somewhere that she doesn't hurt herself in some way and then have a bump or bruise or headache or some other malady. There are a few things like her always poking me with her nails or not being able to see when she enters a dark room that we have just gotten used to, and there are other things that come out of nowhere and hit us. Multiple Sclerosis has taken a lot of her balance and a lot of her dignity at times, and most of the time she just laughs and goes on with life. I guess that is why I love her so much, it is never dull when she is around!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hand And Arm Tingling With MS

A few nights ago I was massaging my wife's back and started working her shoulder blade area. She has been holding a lot of tension in her shoulders and after a lot of stress, her shoulders were aching. So, I was trying to relieve some of that stress when I started to work the outside of her shoulder blade. My wife immediately commented how sore that area was from the bottom of the shoulder blade up into the armpit area. After working that area for a few minutes she started to notice that her hand and arm started to "wake up". She knew that her arm and hand had been heavy with some tingling, but hadn't known the extent of it.

A few years ago my hand started to go numb. I would feel pain up the back of my arm and all the way down to my fingers. I tried all sorts of treatments and only found relief from a massage therapist that worked the same area that I massaged on my wife. The pain that I felt was intense, but my hand and arm quit hurting and the numbness went away. I had been that way for months and had come to the point where I was adjusting to the pain and numb feeling. The massage therapist knew her job well and was able to immediatley identify what the problem was and how to fix it. She had me hold my arm in different positions while she put pressure on key areas on the outside of my shoulder blade and up around the back of my armpit area. I understood very quickly why they called her massage room the torture chamber.

With my wife, massage has to be gentle and within her pain parameters. Her Multiple Sclerosis definately affects her feelings of pain and causes her to be more sensative. I think it really surprised her that the feeling in her hand and arm was affected as much as it was by the massage. After seeing the affects of MS on my wife for the last 14+ years, it never ceases to amaze me how her numbness and pain can be helped or alleviated with bodywork and chiropractic. MS has caused numb hands, numb arms and numbness in almost every other bodypart at one time or another in my wife's life, but she has always been able to recover the feeling after the issues. We continue to find ways to help her body recoup from the nerve and muscle issues and are always open to learning more about how her body works and how it can heal itself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Cold Has Lost It's Bite So Far This Season

It has been snowing and sleeting and just plain cold in Eastern New Mexico. Yesterday morning it was 19 degrees with a stiff wind that brought the temp down in a hurry. Normally this time of year really causes a lot of pain and frustration for my wife. What is really strange is that she hasn't had those issues with all the cold so far. Who knows if it will hit later, but she hasn't even been wearing her thermals with the cold and she is still not having any major issues. Usually this time of year her internal thermostat is out of whack and she is constantly trying to stay warm and comfortable. Last night she commented that she has been pleasantly surprised so far this season.

I have always suspected that hormones were the culprit with my wife's issues with the cold. Hormones seem to control so much from water retention to stress chemicals to sleeping chemicals, and the more in balance she is, the better she seems to be all around. In the past we have done hormone testing and my wife has used specialized creams to balance her hormones, but we are not doing anything right now to control this issue. What does that mean? I honestly have no idea, which is where I am most of the time with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is such an odd disease that always seems to be shifting and changing without any warning. This time we have been very fortunate that whatever is going on in her body, it is helping keep her from having the pain and aching that usually comes with the cold.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can't Eat Without Becoming Sick

My wife is going through another period of stomach issues. For the last three days she has become ill after almost every meal. Timing couldn't have been worse the last few days and it has been very frustrating when these spells have hit. This morning we had a staff party that my wife had to leave because she became ill from the snacks provided. She missed the majority of the party stuck at the house sick. The same thing happened yesterday while we were at a banquet. Everything was OK until she ate, then within minutes she started having stomach cramps. We needed to leave immediately after the banquet and it took a good hour for her to feel better.

We are still not sure what causes this reaction to food. It doesn't matter what she eats or when she eats it, she gets sick without rhyme or reason. Tonight she was going to wait to eat until after a Christmas program our daughter was in, but made a plate and ate anyways. She expected to be sick within minutes, but was fine for the rest of the evening. It would seem like there would be some logic to all of this, but we have not been able to piece any of it together yet. We have tried different foods, eating at different times, resting and other things but have not had any luck yet with any of our attempts at controlling this issue. I would love to hear if anyone else has had any luck figuring out what triggers this problem. Hopefully this spell of the issue is over and my wife will be back to normal, but until then we have to be aware that our schedule may be changed based on her stomach.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holidays And Multiple Sclerosis

Thanksgiving is over and we have Christmas done with one side of our family. Every year I am amazed at the stress that the holidays cause for my family, and especially my wife. With the family visits come emotional stress, physical stress and mental stress. Trying to figure out what to buy and how much to spend, and then trying to make sure you don't upset anyone can become overwhelming. On top of that are all the normal family stressors. My wife and I are both people pleasers so this can be a very frustrating time if we aren't aware of our tendencies going into the holidays.

With my wife's MS, we have to be careful we don't overdo and try to "please" everyone for the holidays. We have to have a plan for the visits to our families and make sure she has a place to rest and recoup from all of the activity. We have to think through snacks and food items to take with us and have to choose what we are going to participate in while we are there. We can't be at everything and my wife can't stay up late the whole time there or we will be asking for problems. So, we miss some stuff and that's OK because she can enjoy the time she does spend with the family.

We have found that it is easier for us to set budgets so that we are not stressed about money. The more prepared we are with the gifts, money etc., the less stress we feel and the more we both enjoy our holidays. My wife also watches what she eats during this time because she knows there are some things that she cannot eat without consequences. She is also good about preparing for the stresses that come along with being around family. We have some family members that can stress both us out so we limit time around those family members and are aware when we start to "feel" the stress. It takes some effort to really plan out our holidays, but we have enjoyed them so much more when we take the time and really become proactive about eliminating stress the best we can.

This year we even purchased a smoked turkey and a cooked ham instead of worrying about cooking them. We eliminated as much cooking as possible and tried to prepare easy side dishes so that everyone could enjoy the fellowship instead of being stuck in the kitchen the whole time. We decided to make "movie" kits for our gifts for each family instead of individual gifts for all the kids and adults. This eliminated a lot of shopping and other issues and made the gift purchasing a quick and painless task. They loved the gifts and we loved putting them together. Overall this was an enjoyable Thanksgiving that had limited stress and my wife came through it without any issues.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Headache With MS

This last week my wife had two evenings where she had headaches so extreme that she couldn't eat and began to be physically ill. After a few stressful weeks and some very long days, my wife's body began to fight back last week. We both knew she needed extra rest, and we both know she is eating poorly, but life has just taken over. We didn't force the issue and she paid for it with two evenings of headaches. We can tie some of the issue to blood sugar and missing a meal, but she has struggled with headaches for years.

I think the real issue this last week was the severity of the headaches. They started pretty minor, but built up steam quickly. She even had issues eating those nights, which just made her headache worse. By evening time she was vomiting and trying anything for the pain to subside. She went to bed early those nights and by the morning the headaches were gone. She dealt with that for two evenings and finally resigned to the fact that she needed more rest and better eating. She goes through spells where this happens and she will have severe headaches for sometimes days or even weeks. This time she only dealt with it for a few days, and it just reminded us one more time how important it is to build rest and healthy habits into our schedule.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Work Related Stress Affecting MS

Last night my wife was almost in tears. She had been working on a project for weeks that she just can't seem to find an end to. The project has shifted and changed since she started and every time she thinks she has a handle on it, it seems to fight back and she becomes frustrated. Last night she found herself struggling with emotions from weeks of work. When I went by to get her she was so tense that her stomach hurt, her head was beginning to hurt and her shoulders were so tense she physically hurt. We went out to eat and she wasn't even able to eat because her stomach was so upset from the stress. During these moments we have to really take a deep breath and realize that an MS attack will soon follow if we don't alleviate the stress of it all.

By the time we arrived at our house last night, she knew that it was only a matter of time before an attack. We have been through this sooooo many times in the past 15 years we have known each other. A stressor, which can be physical, mental or emotional, impacts my wife and within a matter of time she begins to have symptoms of MS. The symptoms may be pain, numbness, eyesight issues, sleep issues, fatigue, mood swings and many other issues that can come out within minutes, hours or days of the stressor. Last night we took the time to use heat, massage and rest to relieve the tension and this morning she is feeling pretty good. She took off this morning to try and finish the project, and we will continue to use stress relievers to help with the issue.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I Really Losing My Mind?

I read an article recently that really stirred up some concerns about my wife. The article was published in the InforMS magazine written by the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center. In the article, Dr. Tim Vollmer is being interviewed about a new study that shows how inflammation affects MS and how MS patients can lose gray matter in their brain which affects their physical state. He spends time explaining how inflammation can cause damage to the neural component of the body. In turn, this neural damage can lead to disability and many other issues in the body. He states that the brain is capable of re-wiring itself to compensate for the gray matter loss during the inflammation, but over time the brain will run out of ways to compensate, thus leading to disabilities.

This article really got my attention. Over the last 7-8 years we have been on a course of natural health and focusing on overcoming MS with diet, rest and other natural therapies. We learned quite a few years ago that my wife had spirochetes in her blood and when we treated the spirochetes, her MS became better. We weren't able to completely treat the spirochetes to the point we would have liked, but a main issue they cause is inflammation. These same spirochetes were found in my father's blood who has Rheumatoid Arthritis. We know that inflammation is a major issue for arthritis, and I wonder how much of this is tied together. If our bodies are stressed from spirochetes, poor dietary habits, life and any number of other factors, is it any surprise that inflammation is the culprit of many of the issues.

The reason this article bothered me was that Dr. Vollmer states that at some point the brain is not able to compensate for the issues. He says in the article that he feels many times in remission that there is inflammation, issues and damage being done, it just isn't showing itself in the life of the MS sufferer. He ends the article with the thought that we should be trying to limit the amount of damage done by the inflammation and to try to reduce the neural tissue loss, with the later years of the MS patient in mind. I wonder at this point how much gray matter damage has been done to my wife's brain. This week has been an example of her struggling to keep a clear head and to stay on a train of thought. It really concerns me about how the damage done now will affect her in her 50's, 60's and 70's. This article brings a whole new meaning to taking care of yourself now to have a better life later. This just reinforces how important it is to make wise choices now about health and life. So, I guess I have to ask the question, "Is my wife really losing her mind?" According to Dr. Vollmer, she may be literally losing her mind, and the only way to stop the loss is to stop the inflammation.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Night Blindness With MS

After going blind 4 times with Multiple Sclerosis, it is no surprise to me that my wife's eyesight has some issues. She has one eye that is half the brightness and often has issues with reading signs and making out words at a distance. The other issue she has is seeing well at night. Her eyes don't seem to adjust very quickly and when headlights are coming at her, she has a hard time seeing after the car passes. It is worse when she doesn't feel good or is tired, and this last week she had both issues. I know it really concerns her during those few seconds when she has a hard time seeing, and she will almost always choose to not drive at night unless she just has to.

The other issue she was having this week was twitching in her eye. Her eye started twitching the other night and she finally just gave up and went to bed because it was annoying her so bad. Even though she hasn't gone blind in years, the effects of her losing and regaining her eyesight is still causing her grief. We are able to trace all the previous times she went blind to specific circumstances, and we have learned things that she can and can't do. We know that eye strain and stress on her body can cause issues, so we have to make hard choices sometimes and choose not to participate in certain things and make sure she rests. We are very thankful that her eyesight has always returned, and we will take all the precautions we have to so that she never has to worry about going blind again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Multiple Sclerosis Issue - Laziness

This past week we took our daughter to the doctor with concerns about Hypoglycemia. I have had issues with low blood sugar most of my life, and I feel like our daughter inherited the issue from me. After hearing the symptoms and some of the issues that the doctor informed us about, I wonder how much blood sugar plays a role in Multiple Sclerosis. Over the years I have noticed that sleep seems to affect my wife more than eating. What I mean by that is if I don't eat, I am pretty much a grouch and unbearable. If my wife eats late or skips a meal, it doesn't seem to bother her much. Now, if she misses sleep then you better watch out. :) Without sleep, she can become irritable in a hurry and has problems concentrating and focusing on anything.

What we have began to notice the past few years is that my wife is affected more and more by diet and food. When she eats poorly it begins to show up a lot quicker and more pronounced. She can become irritable, frustrated, unfocused and have the shakes if she misses a meal, especially if she hasn't drank enough water for the day. She starts to notice many issues if she misses her daily water intake, and has become light headed and had other issues because of it. All of this seems to really wreak havoc on her MS since stress and other issues seem to bring on her MS problems. When she doesn't eat properly, and doesn't eat on time, you can almost count on some MS symptoms showing up. Some of this may be related to gut issues since we know that she had a leaky gut when she had a bad attack years ago.

Diet is so important with any disease, and Multiple Sclerosis is no exception. Too much sugar and bad foods, and you begin to feed the bad "bugs" of the gut and can have candida issues, which I know my wife has had. Candida issues along with other "bugs" of the gut seem to shut down the natural processes that feed our bodies and detoxify our bodies. We are going to see a dietitian for my daughter and I have a feeling that our whole family will soon start to become much more serious about our daily eating habits. We know we should be doing this anyway, but to be honest, we have been lazy. It is much easier to eat out, eat junk and justify it by saying it saves time and energy, but in the end, we are just making excuses. We tried a little experiment with our daughter last week and noticed that her grades, friendships and our interaction with her became so much better when she ate regularly and healthy.

I know that Dr. Swank used diet to control MS, and every book ever published on MS talks about food and how it affects our bodies. When we have disease in the body, how much does it affect our assimilation of food etc.? I have studied the affects of water on the body and all of the books I have read on it say that we are living in a state of dehydration. We don't drink enough water and our hormones that control the water in our body are so messed up, that our bodies are running inefficiently, stressed out. I know that we already have enough stress in our lives without making the issue worse by not feeding our body properly and hydrating it. I guess the question is, would my wife live more fully, with more energy, and feel better about herself and her MS if she ate properly and hydrated? I know the answer is a resounding YES, then I know for us it is a matter of not making excuses and breaking the laziness cycle.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shingles With MS

My wife had a familiar pain this past week during our trip. One morning she was raising her arm awkwardly and telling me about the sharp pain in her armpit area. She said it felt like needles poking her and anything touching it made it worse. She has dealt with this type of pain before when she had shingles. She even had the shingles in the same area as this pain, which really worried her. I remember that the pain she felt the last time this happened was extreme. She would walk around with her arm raised so that there wasn't anything touching the sensitive areas. She was able to recover from it after a week or so, but it was not a pleasant experience.

This past week it seemed to move on her. The pain started in the armpit area and then moved to her arm. After about an hour, the pain went away and she only had one other short episode all week. This is not a common problem for her, so it took her by surprise when it started hurting. I am very glad it came and went, and I really hope that it doesn't start hurting again. This type of pain is very different from the "normal" MS pain that she feels, and I could see the nervous look on her face when it started. We know she pushed too hard this last week and the stress is taking it's toll on her body. I know she didn't have any sensitive areas this morning, so hopefully this was an isolated problem.

Weird Week Of MS

This last week was a roller coaster for my wife's MS. One day she is having leg issues and is wondering if her legs will go completely numb, and another day she feels great and has no issues. Multiple Sclerosis has to be one of the most confusing diseases. Symptoms come and go and then come back again. Sometimes it can all happen in the matter of a few hours. This past week my wife dealt with numbness, tingling, fatigue, pain, headaches, memory issues and frustration from all of the above. She is at home now trying to rest and recover and we feel like she may be coming down with a head cold. She has had a very hard time recovering completely since we made our last move, which has only caused more MS issues. This week we will make time for her to rest and recoup, even though I know she will try to continue to push herself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Legs Tingling, Bladder Problems And Feet Numb

This morning we woke up to a few issues. My wife found that her feet were completely numb, her legs were tingling and she was running to the bathroom way more often than she would have liked. We knew that we needed to act or it could become bad fast so we decided to plan a quick trip to Dr Atchley in Albuquerque, which is about three hours from where we were going to be. It's in these moments that I really miss living in a large city where you have resources available within minutes. We made our way to our first stop of the day, thinking that we would then need to head down the road to the Chiropractor. My wife turned on the seat warmers in the car and we drove about 30 minutes when my wife said that her legs were feeling better. By the time we made it to our first stop, her feet and legs were feeling OK. She still had some tingling in her feet but it wasn't bad and it was going away.

We know we have been walking a fine line lately with how much we are pushing my wife's body. My wife has been standing and walking a lot with our work. This week we have been at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair where we have been walking and standing most of the day. She knew her legs were becoming tired yesterday and had commented that they were sore from so much physical exertion. This morning was a wake up call that she needed to rest more. I could see the stress on her face this morning when she knew something was not right. I know it frustrates her to not be able to push through things like this and that she has to manage her life with her MS. I also know she is really struggling right now trying to make some decisions about how to better handle the work and personal loads she has placed on her.

Multiple Sclerosis doesn't care if you're busy or don't have time, it just attacks. Sometimes MS attacks without warning, but most of our experience has been with some specific trigger like stress, toxins, exercise or traumatic event. We know why she is having issues right now. We have been stressed lately, both physically and emotionally. She has pushed her legs everyday, and has been struggling with short bouts of insomnia. Just a few days of poor rest really seems to wreck her body and the MS just takes over. I know she didn't sleep well last night and when you add that to the physical stress of working long hours on her feet, it really shouldn't surprise either one of us that she is having leg and feet issues. We made the decision today to put off the 6 hour round trip to the Chiropractor, but we realize that she will have to rest and we will need to plan that trip later. Tonight her legs are back to normal and her feet have all the feeling back, but we both know that everything could change by morning. So goes life with MS.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Change Of Season Brings On The Pain

The weather in Eastern New Mexico has been changing and fall seems to be here. We have had cool days and nights and lots of moisture. Usually this time of year plays havoc with my wife's MS. When the weather starts to change it seems to stir up her leg issues and pain issues in her body. It is almost like arthritis that hurts when a storm is coming. She will be doing great then a big weather change will come and the pain starts in the joints and other areas of her body. With the rapid changes lately it has been interesting to see how her body has reacted.

One way my wife has helped with this issue is to wear thermals on cold days. This seems to keep her body temp more level and her body doesn't become so cold that she begins to hurt. If the weather changes and then stays cool, then there aren't as many issues. It makes it worse when it keeps changing hot to cold and then back to hot. I know my dad has the same problems with his Rheumatoid Arthritis. Strange how these two diseases have some of the same issues and how they can both be "stirred" up by many of the same things. I know my wife will be happy when the weather decides what it's going to do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tingling Comes And Goes With MS

Toes tingling, feet tingling, leg tingling, arm tingling and that's just been in the last few days. My wife's MS seems to be acting up since she has completely worn herself out the last few weeks. Even with extra sleep during the mornings, she is still struggling to finish the day without having some tingling or pain in her legs or feet. Tonight she even had an odd pain in her ankle area right above the ankle bone. By the end of the day she has been limping and dragging one of her legs most of this last week. Tonight was no different, she came home dragging her left leg and having pain issues up and down her thigh. She just took a hot bath to relax her legs and it seems to have helped.

The tingling has come and gone with the amount of stress she has put on herself this last week. The more rest she gets, the less tingling and issues. The more stress, whether it is physical or emotional, the more tingling and issues she has. Yesterday was probably the worst I have seen her in a while. Her eyes showed it all. I have always been able to look at her eyes and tell how she is doing. Yesterday they looked bad and I immediately setup and appointment for a massage to try and relax her to see if that would help. It did help, and she was doing better last night. We have noticed that after a massage she can have some odd reactions. We are not sure if it the toxins that are stirred up during the massage or something else, but last night she was having chest pain which is usually a sign of low Potassium. By this morning she felt really great and her eyes looked much better.

One difference my wife commented about tonight was that her eyesight was very good when we were driving home. Normally she has problems seeing clearly at night and making out things in the distance. Tonight she was very excited about how well she could see and commented that she wishes it was like that all the time. I guess we will see if it is the same tomorrow. We feel like some of this may be from the massage and just relaxing. Yesterday was the first time we tried this particular massage therapist and we both feel like her massage technique has really helped. Her massage style was different than anything we have done, so we are very excited to find a method that seems to help. For tonight my wife is dealing with a little bit of pain and some tingling, but nothing major. After a good night's sleep I am sure she will be off to another day of overdoing and stress. I wouldn't expect anything else from her after fourteen years of marriage.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Legs Tingling With MS

This last week has been pretty tough on my wife. Lots of emotional stress and physical stress just wore her body out. She has had fatigue, overheating, headaches, pain in different parts of her body and tingling in her legs and feet. Last night she told me that her legs were tingling in a different place than normal. They were tingling along the outsides of her thighs, which she has had before but it is usually in conjunction with the top of her thighs. She said it felt very funny for just the outside of her thighs to tingle. She knew she needed to rest so she took a bath to relax and went to bed early.

Leg issues and Multiple Sclerosis seem to go hand in hand. It seems like most people I meet with MS have experienced tingling, pain and other issues with their legs. My wife's legs have always been a part of her MS symptoms, and we have always been able to reverse the problem with rest, chiropractic and nutrition. She just walked into my office a moment ago and the tingling is gone for now. She is walking and moving fine today, but it is another reminder that stress can bring about an MS issue. We have already had to change our plans this weekend so that we don't stress her body anymore than we have to. For now we will both have to be aware of what all she is doing and how much walking etc. she has to do. She will have to rest this coming week because she is going to be on her feet the following week at a Display for our Children's Home. Just another "normal" week with MS.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tingling Feet With Multiple Sclerosis

Today my wife came home with tingling feet. She wore herself out earlier this week and her legs have felt "tired". She has also had some tingling on and off in her feet, but today it seemed to be aggravated by her shoes as much as anything else. She came home earlier and immediately took off her tennis shoes and explained that they felt tight today and were making her feet tingle. Once the shoes were off, her feet weren't tingling so much and felt better. The tightness of the shoes rubbing on her feet seemed to make the issue worse. After sitting for awhile her feet felt better and she knew she needed to rest or have more issues.

After overheating earlier this week my wife slept and tried to rest and stay off her feet and legs. Her legs seem to be the first thing to have issues when she is tired and over exerting herself. We felt like it was important to see a chiropractor quickly so we went and visited a new chiropractor that we have been trying since we moved. This new Dr. has been practicing for awhile but has no experience with MS patients and uses a little different technique than we are used to. After the adjustment my wife was very sleepy and felt OK, but still wasn't doing great. It showed us once again that not all chiropractors are equal even if they use similar techniques. We are on the hunt for another chiropractor and will continue to make sure she rests. Through experience we know that it is very important for her to rest as much as possible over the next few days or this will become worse. There's never a dull moment when dealing with Multiple Sclerosis.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Overheated With MS

My wife hasn't struggled with heat like many MS patients, but this week the heat got the best of her. One morning this week my wife started out working outside helping in the sheep barn on our campus. It wasn't very hot, but she was having to hold the sheep while someone else worked with the animal. When she finished she was pretty tired, and she could tell that her legs were already worn out from the physical exertion. After she finished that, she was helping stock groceries in the grocery room on our campus which has no A/C. After a few hours of working in the heat her body finally decided it had enough. She began to feel "funny" and couldn't explain what was going on with her body.

She called me about that time and asked if I could go back and finish the work for her that she started. She was very sorry for not being able to finish and would have tried to go and do it if I wouldn't have insisted that she lay down and rest. She explained to me that one of the main issues she was having was that she overheated through all that she did that morning. Once she becomes overheated, it seems to take forever for her to cool down. She called me after about an hour and was doing better but was still not feeling well. She rested most of that day, and slept much of the next day. She was feeling better after the sleep but still didn't feel like everything was OK. I think the hard thing to understand with her is that it bothered her more that she was letting the others down by not finishing the job than concern about her actual health. She never wants to feel like her MS causes anyone to be inconvenienced.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is MS As Common As It Seems?

Multiple Sclerosis seems to be everywhere. It doesn't matter where we are, what we are doing or who we talk to, it seems like there is always someone around us that is personally affected by Multiple Sclerosis. We have met individuals on vacation, in the airport, at the grocery store, at businesses and all sorts of other places that after talking to them, they either have MS or know someone personally that has MS. I don't remember the disease being this common when I first met my wife and was trying to figure out what Multiple Sclerosis was and how it affected people. Now, it seems like we run into people constantly that are in the diagnosis process or have been diagnosed with MS.

I have no idea why this is, but it does concern me that MS seems to be more common and more a part of the general public today. I know that studies have been done that show demographics and research where and why people have MS, but I wonder how accurate any of that is today. With our current genetics, diet and general health issues, is it any wonder that it seems like more and more friends I know have diseases ranging from MS to Cancer to Rheumatoid Arthritis to Alzheimer's. My own family has a hodge-podge of diseases that are slowly taking away their ability to move, think and just live. What really worries me is the lack of medical help with many of these diseases. My wife and I often wonder why there isn't more help with all of the technology and money being poured into the research of these diseases. I know for my wife and I that we will continue to research and learn about MS and make decisions based on our experience and the knowledge we can glean from all of the voices that supposedly have the "answers".

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Struggling With Multiple Sclerosis

Why is it so hard to do the things that we know will help with our health? We struggle daily to make good food choices and take care of ourselves, and more often than not, we make poor choices. My wife and I have a decent enough understanding of Multiple Sclerosis to know what to do make life better and easier. We know how to help her have more energy, have less attacks, feel better in general and yet we find ourselves slipping into the rut of bad choices and poor habits. Good intentions and great planning only works if you have follow through and make it a daily habit.

Our lives are so out of sync with what we know right now and we almost laugh at the craziness of it all. My wife is having bladder issues again, which we can always trace to lack of care and lots of stress. She is also having some fatigue and memory issues, which are also signs of high stress and lack of care. Again, we know what to do to help and yet we don't do it. What a basic human struggle to find ourselves battling against our own selfishness and will, and choosing the feelings of the moment instead of seeing the full picture and winning the war. This is nothing new, and we will continue to struggle, but I guess that is the way to victory. When we quit struggling is when we know we have lost the fight.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gotta Go Right Now

This last week has been very tough on my wife. She found out her father was sick last week and then she caught a stomach bug herself. Our daughter then had the stomach bug and all the while my wife was stressed about her father's sickness. A few more hard days and a lot of stress and now she is having bladder issues again. The stress seems to have triggered the MS bladder issue, and we know that we need to take the time this week to have a chiropractic visit and for her to get some rest. This time has started the same as most, where she has to immediately go to the restroom when she has the urge to go. She can't wait or she may have an accident.

She has gone through this before but luckily we have stopped the problem previously with Bowen therapy, chiropractic and rest. She usually will start with the urgency issue then she will start to have less and less control. We know the progression so we will make sure she takes care of herself this week and begin the other protocols. For my wife it is as much an annoyance as anything because we have found a way for her to stop it and reverse the problem. Today was the perfect example with the bladder issue because she felt the need and had to run in as soon as we made it home or she would have had an accident. It was a "gotta go right now" issue.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cold Wet Day With Multiple Sclerosis

My wife and I live in a part of New Mexico that doesn't get much rain. It is usually hot during the summer and many days it is very windy. Today was not one of those days. Today was cold, wet and dreary and we really enjoyed the change. My wife normally doesn't do well when the weather changes drastically and she did pretty well today until it started cooling off this evening. As the day became cooler, her bones started aching and she started hurting. She had to leave class at church tonight and go sit in the suburban with the seat heaters on so that she could get some relief.

One thing my wife regrets doing during her diagnosis was having a spinal tap. The doctor convinced her that the spinal tap would help diagnose her MS so she went along with the procedure. The doctor must have messed something up because ever since this procedure, my wife has had low back pain where the needle was placed. This has been a major frustration for her since the procedure was not done properly, then her health insurance didn't cover it. The doctor was worried about my wife's family suing him because of this, but that is just not the way her family does things. We were still paying medical bills in the first years of our marriage that the insurance company wouldn't pay during the diagnosis.

Tonight my wife's back began to hurt very badly where the spinal tap was done. She used the heated seats until we made it home then she took a hot bath to warm up. After the bath I could tell that the cold had sapped her of energy so she went to bed early tonight. It is so strange how she becomes so cold to the bone that it takes a hot bath or heated blanket to warm her body back to normal. Once she is warm, the pain subsides and she is ok. Today the cold and wet was just too drastic from the dry heat we have been having. The rain was great but the transition was just too much for her body to take.

MSG Makes Me Feel Funny

We have heard all the chatter on MSG for the past few years and when we were helping the Naturopath, there were a lot of patients that had problems with them. We heard everything from headaches to sickness to allergic reactions. There are articles all over the net that talk about Multiple Sclerosis and MSG. Tonight my wife and I ate at a local restaurant that serves a homemade teriyaki sauce. My wife and I have both eaten this sauce many times and haven't noticed any issues before tonight. While my wife was eating her food tonight, she began to feel "funny". She couldn't explain how it felt but she knew that it just didn't feel right. After sitting and not eating for a few minutes the feeling passed and she wasn't sure if it was the food or something else. As soon as she ate another bite she began to get that "funny" feeling again.

We asked if they knew whether the sauce had MSG in it, but they were not sure. I know that my wife has had some issues before with some foods that contain MSG but not with all foods that contain MSG. Even foods like Hot Cheetos makes her mouth itch and the top of her mouth physically hurt, not from the hot but from something in the flavoring. There are certain foods she stays away from for these weird reactions. Lately my wife has been going through another one of the times where almost every meal she becomes sick. Tonight was no different, and her stomach became upset about 45 minutes after we ate. I am not sure what the connection between MS and MSG is but I know that it is better for us to stay away from it. We are usually very aware of MSG in the foods we eat and have thrown out all spices etc. that contain it in our home. Tonight was just another friendly reminder that we need to be careful about what we eat and how it affects our bodies.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Much Stress Does MS Put On Our Daughter

My wife and I chatted awhile today about how much our daughter has dealt with concerning my wife's Multiple Sclerosis. My wife was diagnosed with MS over 20 years ago and always wanted four children. We were blessed with one beautiful young lady who is twelve now, and has dealt with her mom's MS since birth. We have come to realize that my wife's MS has had a part in shaping the way my daughter views disease, the world and life in general. Even at twelve, she still doesn't understand all of it, but she is affected by it almost daily.

Right after we were married my wife and I spoke with Dr. Roy L Swank about how Multiple Sclerosis would affect pregnancy and us having a child. Dr. Swank explained that my wife could have a child and that we just needed to plan well for the birth, and for my wife to follow the Plasma protocol. The pregnancy went smoothly and the birth went without complications. We followed the Plasma protocol and my wife felt great during the first few months of having a newborn baby. She breastfed our daughter and went through all of the sleepless nights without any issues. I tried to give her time to rest as much as possible and she had limited issues during the first few years of our daughter's life.

The few issues she did have could be traced to specific circumstances. I don't know that our daughter experienced the first few years of her life any differently than any other family. Just like we do now, my wife tries to rest often, eat right and de-stress as much as possible. As our daughter moved into the third and fourth years of her life she probably noticed that mommy needed rest often and that we didn't participate in everything because it wasn't always the best timing. As I write this I can't think of anything in particular that would have left a large memory of the disease during those first years.

At five, our daughter had her first major experience with my wife's MS. My wife went numb from her chest down for over a month and our daughter actually remembers her mommy not being able to come to some of the school functions during that time. My wife couldn't walk or really even hold her during this time, so I was taking care of our daughter and her. I know that there were moments that my daughter was scared and didn't understand why mommy wasn't able to do normal things. She would ask some hard questions and I did my best to explain, but it never felt adequate. When my wife did get better and could walk again, you could tell a difference in our daughter. She had been holding stress through this whole time and that stress showed itself in all sorts of ways.

Since age five, our daughter has learned more about the disease and how it affects her mommy. She has expressed fear, anger, sadness, hurt, disappointment, hate and a range of other emotions concerning how MS has affected our family. There have been activities we have not participated in due to the disease and she knows it. Sometimes she becomes angry or jealous of her friends when we can't participate and sometimes it is hard for her to accept. She and I have had many daughter/daddy talks about how our attitude affects her mommy's health and sometimes I feel really bad about how much pressure that puts on her.

She is an AWESOME daughter and she has had to deal with some major struggles over the years. I can't imagine having to deal with those issues as a young man like she has. She has her moments when the stress of it all comes out and sometimes she will lash out at my wife. It is hard to watch, and it pains me to see the hurt on my wife's face when my daughter blows up on her, but she handles it so well. I asked my daughter to write a blog a little while back and she started writing about MS from her perspective. It was interesting to see how her young mind processes the disease. Not too long ago she asked the question I have dreaded from the beginning - "Will I have MS since mommy has MS?". That was a day full of a lot of praying that I would have the right words for her. Being a dad is hard enough, but try to explain a disease that no-one understands to a young girl that is worried she will also have it. It can make for some sleepless nights. I know that my wife's MS has caused some stress for our daughter and I pray that she will come to view MS as I do, a chance to bless our family and others.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Can't Remember With MS

This weekend we were able to travel to Ruidoso, NM, to enjoy a weekend away. The trip was great, but I am seeing signs of fatigue and emotional stress in my wife. Over the weekend I noticed my wife was not able to recall conversations we have had recently and had forgotten other details. This is not like her and has only happened a few times in our marriage. She normally has a rock solid memory and can recall details about events or activities that happened years ago. These moments of memory loss are far and few between, but when they do happen, it is frustrating and unpredictable.

The other part of her losing memories is her mind not functioning as normal. She goes through moments when she doesn't process information at the speed she normally would and I have to repeat myself for her to understand. Again, this is not everytime or everything, but sporadic and unpredictable. One conversation we had over the past few days I have had to repeat three or four times and I know it is driving my wife nuts to have to ask over and over again. She also has delayed hearing during these times. I will say something and she will ask me to repeat the information. By the time I start repeating the information, she has processed it and carries on the conversation. This can lead to some frustration on both of our parts.

We both know exactly why she is having the memory issues and the mental fatigue. When we moved, our whole lives were turned upside down. Everything from our finances to our schedule is unorganized. We have learned through the years that the more organized we are the more consistent my wife's health. When we are out of sorts like right now, she has more extreme emotions and more MS issues. Multiple Sclerosis is a strange disease in the way it attacks and affects the mind, but we do have some choices. From the beginning we have been told by Dr Swank to minimize our lives and de-stress them to help live a more normal life. We know this works, and after this weekend we realize that we are going to have to take some action quick or the problems are going to become worse.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Struggling To Lose Weight With MS

You would think that with all the times my wife is sick from eating that she would not have any problems losing weight. She has struggled her whole life to lose weight, and her Multiple Sclerosis only seems to make it more difficult. She was at her slimmest when on the Swank MS diet and is the biggest she has been right now. She has tried different things through the years to lose weight, and is struggling now to shed a few pounds. As a man, it seems to be pretty easy to lose weight but for her, it is a slow, frustrating process.

A few years ago she began a workout program and was lifting and running 3-4 times per week. My wife was a gymnast as a teen so she can build muscle without any problem. When she started working out she was feeling great, but after a few months she started having MS problems. Even more frustrating for her was that she was not losing weight or size. She was doing all of the right things but she was not seeing a difference in the mirror or on the scale. She eventually worked her body into an MS attack and went numb for a month. That is when our search for a naturopathic treatment for MS began.

I know other MS patients that workout regularly and take breaks as their MS flairs or has problems. I know other MS patients that will immediately have issues from short physical exertions, and Multiple Sclerosis is so strange how it affects no two people the same. I know that Dr Swank didn't recommend any physical exercise for years after my wife started the diet, so that her body could use all of it's resources to regain health. After she had shown a good track record, he recommended short workouts and lots of rest. She has done some of that through the years, but after the big attack a few years ago, she has been very nervous about working out too much and over exerting herself.

My wife is an all or nothing person. MS has not stopped her from being all or nothing, just caused her more frustration when it starts to give her problems. It doesn't make a lot of sense that she becomes sick so often after meals, and she still gains weight, but we are going to try something a little different this time. The Naturopath told us one time that women will gain weight in their stomach areas due to poor digestion and parasite problems. So, we are going to go about this totally different than we have before and see if she has better luck losing weight this time. We are going to start with a cleansing process and then work our way into stretching, yoga and other low impact workouts until she can start to handle more.

We need to get her gut clean first though, because we feel like a lot of the weight gain is from poor digestion and her body not utilizing nutrition properly. This seems to be common among patients with auto immune diseases, so we are going to try and document more about how this process works for her. My wife has a huge desire to help other MS patients lose weight, gain strength and flexibility and just gain overall health. As we have in the past, we are going to begin to listen to her body, try different things, and find a way for her to live life the way she wants, not the way Multiple Sclerosis would have her live.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Feeling Exhausted With Multiple Sclerosis

This past week we enjoyed a family encampment at Red River, NM. The air was clean, the temperature was great and the mountains were beautiful, but my wife was exhausted from the moment we arrived. This was one of those times when my wife was truly frustrated. We were at the encampment to work and tell others about the programs we offer at the Children's Home, but she found herself resting more than working. She was able to fulfill her work obligations, but she wasn't able to participate in a lot of the fun activities.

We arrived at Red River Sunday afternoon and she was already tired after a full day of me preaching and then driving six hours. I could tell she needed some good rest then, but we participated in the evening activities before we were able to rest. The next day she found herself exhausted and she knew she needed to rest or have MS problems. She was able to sleep some, then do a few things, but she never fully recovered. She also developed a severe headache which complicated things. She hasn't had a headache that severe in months, and the pain put her in bed for the evening. The headache had let up by the next morning, but would linger for most of the next day.

It seems like all it takes is a night or two of poor sleep for her to really be affected. She didn't sleep very well in Red River so we know that didn't help her recoup. She could also tell that she needed a chiropractic adjustment. It is amazing how important it is to have a good bed to sleep on when we take trips and how important it is to stay in some kind of a routine. Poor sleep, a lack of routine and already being tired before we went on the trip made for a long first few days but she was able to enjoy the trip after some much needed rest.

Living In Conflict

We are moved but not moved in. The last few weeks have been crazy and the chaos has taken it's toll on my wife. The move was tough and we are in a small apartment temporarily so we are cramped and have boxes everywhere. On top of that my wifen has been offered multiple jobs but feels a lot of conflict about whether she should take the job and provide a big jump for us in pay or spend the time with our daughter. I know she feels pulled in all directions right now, and I can see the effects of the stress in her emotional state. She feels like laughing one moment and crying the next.

Life with Multiple Sclerosis can create some very difficult decisions. I know that we have had to make decisions about my wife working, having a child, participating in activities she loves and sometimes just what to do during any one of the days she is feeling tired and down. Her heart sometimes will get her in trouble because she wants to do so much more than her body will allow. She has worked herself into sickness many times through the years because of the drive she has to help people. Even activities with our daughter can overwhelm her and cause her to over work her body.

Some of these decisions have been made for us because her body will just shut down with fatigue, numbness or pain. I know that this is so frustrating for her because she wants to participate in something but can't, due to MS. Even though she was diagnosed over 20 years ago with MS, she still becomes frustrated regularly with the decisions Multiple Sclerosis forces her to make. I have watched her walk herself numb due to the desire to spend a day with our daughter or become so fatigued that she will need to sleep multiple days to regain her strength from helping others. Sometimes I will try to stop her and other times I know that it is more important for her to listen to her heart than to listen to the voice of reason concerning her MS.

I realize that my wife's MS will continue to cause conflict in our lives, but we do have choices. I run into others with MS all the time, and many of them have adjusted and are living life to the fullest and others seem defeated and depressed. Multiple Sclerosis is ruthless and very rarely takes the day off with my wife, but I am always astounded at what she can accomplish and what she is able to do. It is also amazing to watch the looks we get when we share with others that she has MS. Most people seem to expect her to have limited mobility and not be able to do much, but she amazes them when they see her living life normally. We will always live with some conflict in our lives, but it doesn't have to rule our lives.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Moving Closer To Our Goal

This last weekend I loaded a 24' truck and moved our family to Portales, NM to take a new position that would allow me to continue my education. My wife and I are exhausted but very excited about the new adventures we are going to have and the new opportunities. We had a crazy few weeks leading up to the actual move, and now we are surrounded by boxes and living in chaos. That's OK though, because we have positioned ourselves to pursue more education to help Multiple Sclerosis patients. My wife has done great through the move and has had limited MS complications even though it has been physically and emotionally exhausting the last few weeks.

Now that we are moved and my wife is not working full time as a houseparent, she will be pursuing a degree in nutrition to better understand how food is affecting her MS. She is so excited to learn and educate herself more on the intricacies of diet and MS. We know from experience that diet affects Multiple Sclerosis in crazy ways and can help or hinder a healthy life. So after the boxes are unpacked and summer comes to an end, we will begin to study and learn and make more sense out of our experiences and life lessons. Today we will embrace the philosophy of living life to the full and MS won't have a chance to rear it's ugly head.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not All Chiropractic Is Equal

A few weeks ago a friend of ours tried chiropractic for the first time. She was manually adjusted due to some issues she was having with her neck. She had such a horrible experience getting adjusted that I don't think she will ever try Chiropractic again. I shared this experience with our Chiropractor, Dr. Kevin Atchley, and we discussed how not all Chiropractors are equal. Dr. Atchley has been our Chiropractor for the last year in Albuquerque and uses the Pro Adjuster to make any adjustments to our body. He and I talked about the fact that some people will try a particular chiropractor once and then write off all chiropractic based on that one experience. It would be the same as not taking any other medication if one did not work.

After talking with Dr. Atchley I wanted to make sure and explain our position on Chiropractic and how we have used it to affect my wife's MS. I have been using Chiropractic since I was a young teen due to a bad dive into the swimming pool. For years I would be adjusted to help with a stiff back and breathing issues. All of my adjustments were manual adjustments, meaning that the Chiropractor physically popped and cracked me to adjust me. I continued to use Chiropractic to help with headaches, back issues and other issues as I grew older. When I met my wife I had read and learned everything that I could about Multiple Sclerosis and I never even thought about using Chiropractic to help with her MS.

In 2000, my wife had never been to a Chiropractor and didn't know how it would affect her physically. When we began to see a Naturopath after my wife was numb for a month, he recommended her see a Chiropractor to help allow her body to heal. She first saw a Chiropractor in Del Rio, Texas and he was great. He helped her with digestion issues she was having and with the numbness. He manually adjusted her neck and back a few times while we were in town then we returned to San Angelo and setup an appointment with Dr. Darci Stotts. Dr. Stotts took x-rays and did an initial consult with us about the Atlas Orthogonal adjustment that she used for all treatments.

When my wife was adjusted in Del Rio, she was adjusted using the Diversified technique. The first time her neck was popped, she cried and hurt from the adjustment. Her back adjustment caused some pain but wasn't too bad. She was not crazy about how this felt and didn't want to see another Chiropractor that used this technique. We were not completely informed at the time and didn't understand that there were other methods of adjustment that weren't so physical. That's what we learned from Dr. Stotts. The Atlas Orthogonal method she used didn't hurt at all and my wife saw immediate results from the adjustments. I also saw Dr. Stotts and had great results with back issues that had plagued me for years.

Since the first adjustments, my wife and I have become more informed and now understand that not all Chiropractors are equal. There are many techniques and methods with some involving separate tools used to adjust and some using physical pressure. With my wife, we have found that some work better than others. Dr. Stotts also introduced us to the Pro Adjuster machine which is what we use now. The adjustments are painless and have provided help for everything from numbness to vertigo. Dr. Atchley used the Pro Adjuster to adjust my wife and I today. My wife and I both feel that Chiropractic is a key component that allows my wife to live a more normal life.

There are many individuals that search the web for information on Multiple Sclerosis and Chiropractic that find this blog. I would be curious to know how many MS patients actually go on to try Chiropractic and what results they have. Many of the treatment books I have read include Chiropractic as a main part of their MS treatment. We have suggested many times that our MS friends go to a Chiropractor but I can't think of one example where one actually went and was treated. I guess my wife and I look at this process differently than our MS friends and have taken the initiative to explore alternative treatments. Some of those treatments have worked and others have shown few if little results, but Chiropractic has had almost miraculous results when MS attacks my wife.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Body Not Cooperating

Today we went on a hike at Tent Rock in New Mexico. We headed up the trail that is about 1.5 miles and has some fairly steep grades. With all of the stress in our lives right now I wondered how my wife's body would hold up in the heat and with the stress on her legs. Within a short time we realized how truly tired her body is right now. One of the first things that happens when her legs become tired is that she starts to trip often. She doesn't fall or come close to falling, but it can become dangerous depending on the terrain we are on. Today she chose not to climb to the top of the canyon due to the chance she would be taking if she did trip on the steep parts of the trail. She was very disappointed but wasn't willing to chance anything since she had made the climb before and stood on top of the rim.

The main issue today was her hip. Her hip will hurt right where her hip socket is and her leg bends. The pain comes and goes and after a visit to the chiropractor we learned that the pain is actually coming from her back to the front of her hip. Her lower back has been way out of alignment and once she is adjusted, the pain stops and her hip loosens up. Since we have been on vacation and very busy, my wife hasn't been proactive and didn't see the chiropractor when she first started having the hip issue. So now she is having to deal with a little pain and more frustration than anything. Multiple Sclerosis seems to cause a lot of frustration for my wife which is hard to watch when I don't feel like I can help. Today was one of those days, when her body wasn't cooperating and the frustration was alive and well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MS Mood Swings

Crying, laughing, anger and joy are just part of our lives right now. We have recently taken a new position at a different Children's Home to allow for more time with our daughter, so our life is a little bit of a mess. To top it off, our daughter has been away from us for over a week now and it is killing my wife. They have an awesome relationship so it has been extremely hard for both of them to be apart. So we are trying to pack, watch our children's home kiddos, and keep our sanity without pushing ourselves too hard and trying to take care of my wife's health.

With all of the stress my wife's mood swings are full bore. She is laughing and joking one minute and about the blow up the next. Being away from our daughter has only stressed her out more, and when our daughter is struggling and crying on the phone, my wife just falls apart. I know it is bad when my wife starts crying uncontrollably from watching TV shows and having sympathy for the families that are struggling. The other night she watched the new John and Kate Plus 8 episode and was weepy for about any hour after it was over. She has watched this show from the beginning and she has such a huge heart for people that are hurting.

I don't know if Multiple Sclerosis causes mood swings or just how much it affects your emotions, but I know that when my wife is stressed and struggling, she has a very hard time controlling her emotions. That lack of control seems to be amplified when she is having MS issues. Today she visited the chiropractor because she knew she was out of alignment and was not sleeping very well. Her lower back was way out and the chiropractor used the Pro Adjuster to realign the places that were causing the issues. Many times after an adjustment my wife will feel very tired and need rest. Tonight she has been better emotionally but she laid down early to try and catch up on her sleep. It never ceases to amaze me how important it is to control stress, rest and keep her body aligned so that it can function properly. Once we get moved things will slow down for us, but for now we have to be vigilant about taking care of the things that are in our control, and mood swings seem to be a side effect of life being a mess.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Living Strong With Multiple Sclerosis

For the last year my wife and I have been working 24/7 with children. We work long hours and run hard every day. With all of the emotional stress, physical stress and mental stress, it has been a concern that my wife's health would cause issues over the past year. We have ran into some small concerns that we have been able to handle with a few natural treatments, but have not had any major exacerbation's. Not only has she done well, but her stamina has increased and she has more energy. We found out how much energy and how well she was doing on our vacation last week.

We started our vacation by painting and repairing a rental property we have that needed some work. We worked two days straight in hot Texas weather. My wife worked extremely hard without any issues. Her energy level and stamina shocked her family because they haven't been able to see the progress she has made over the last year. She had no problems with the hot weather and was able to stay working the whole day. After working for two days we headed on a 2000 mile trip that would take us to Nashville and back.

On the trip we didn't get much sleep and almost all of the attractions we visited required a lot of walking. I was even sore from the amount of walking we did on the trip. Even with all of the riding, walking and lack of sleep, my wife had no problems. I was amazed that she didn't have any stomach issues or numbness or even fatigue on the trip. She actually held up better than some of my family that went with us. Over about 9 days, we covered a total of 3000 miles, stopped at everything from Graceland to the Grand Ole Opry and walked until our legs ached.

We are now back at home and working with kids 24/7 again. It wasn't too many years ago that my wife would have had to sleep for days to recover from a trip like we took. When we came home, my wife slept the same amount that I did and she is still ready to go everyday. I have been amazed at her progress and am so excited that the treatments we have done and the choices we have made have led us to my wife growing healthier and stronger. Sometimes it is slow going but I am so proud of my wife for working through the hard times and continuing to live strong in the face of MS.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Knuckle Pain

My wife has popped her knuckles as long as I have known her. She even pops them in her sleep! I will wake up in the middle of the night to the loud cracking sound of her fingers being bent in ways they probably shouldn't. Yesterday we were sitting on the couch and she made the comment that she wonders how many years she will have use of her hands. Her knuckles have been hurting lately and she is worried about the future. She says that she can't even knock on doors without it being very painful. Her knuckles do look a little swollen, and she has tried to quit cracking her knuckles, but I think a lot of the damage is already done.

My dad also has hand issues, but it is from Rheumatoid Arthritis. His hands hurt everyday and his grip comes and goes depending on how his body is doing that day. He has tried different things but the only thing that has really helped is a diet free of sugar and wheat, and supplements. The pain seems to come from the joints being inflamed. Where the inflammation comes from is the million dollar question. When we were treating my dad's RA at the ND clinic he had immediate relief from the pain with the Potassium and Magnesium IVs. While he is taking his supplements regularly and following the diet, his hands become less painful and his grip strengthens, but when he eats poorly the pain comes on full blast.

I am not sure if this is a temporary thing with my wife's hands or not, but I feel like much of the problem she is having is from toxicity in her body. When we worked with the Naturopath, he taught us about toxicity in the blood and how neurotoxins can affect joints and general well being. A true indicator of this is the herxheimer reaction. If you take certain supplements with certain conditions in your body, it can cause you to feel like you have the flu and are sick. We had this reaction when we started taking TOA free Cat's Claw. My daughter wasn't able to take but a few drops before she would start feeling horrible. The Cat's Claw is supposed to kill off parasites and critters in the blood which in turn releases the toxins and waste from them. The waste and toxins that are released affects your body in crazy ways. Once we started to detox my dad's body he started feeling better, and the same went for my wife. Once she began to detox and rid her body of parasites and other toxins, she began to feel better. We have become lazy with our diet and supplements and will begin a detox again to see if that will relieve my wife of the pain in her hands. Over the years we have seen the importance of taking care of diet and supplements because eventually it catches up with you. Right now is probably one of those times, and her knuckles are the precursor to what is coming if we don't start doing what we know to do.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Does MS Ever Take A Day Off?

Sometimes it would be nice if my wife's MS just took a day off. Don't get me wrong, we have a great life and her health has done really well, but there are some days that it would be nice to not have to worry about resting, eating certain foods and being proactive. For example, working at a Children's Home my wife and I don't have a whole lot of opportunities to date or spend time together. When we do have an opportunity we really need to take it so that we can nurture our marriage and keep our sanity with all of the kiddos running around. The struggle comes in when we finally have some time but my wife is not feeling well due to her MS. The past few times this has happened, she is having stomach issues or is just so worn out that she really needs the rest. Once she rests, she is fine, but by that point we have missed one of the few opportunities we have to spend together.

I do have to say that this last year has been tough. My wife's MS hasn't progressed any, but it has been a nuisance. I think that is where the rub comes in. Even with healthy spouses, it takes work to keep a marriage healthy and growing. It takes time and energy to nurture your spouse, and when you give the leftovers to your marriage, it begins to show. We have many responsibilities at the home, and this week is no different. We have kids to tutor, counsel, play with and just spend time with, and then we need to nurture our own child and marriage. Multiple Sclerosis complicates all of this. It seems like when things are running smooth, that is when MS hits. It may just be a sour stomach, or a headache, or fatigue, but it affects life. It affects the raising of your child, it affects your marriage, it affects your job, and it affects your everyday life.

Sometimes it is the icing on the cake. Life is already pressing in from all sides and then BAM! MS attacks and pushes you over the edge. Maybe it is time you can't spend with your child or energy you don't have for your favorite activity, and the frustration hits. Many MS patients we speak to have major bouts of depression that can really sideline them from life. As a spouse, it is hard to watch your wife go into a depressed state from MS. My wife hasn't had to struggle too much with depression, but when it does hit, it can really cause issues. In those moments, I sometimes feel helpless. I think that is one of the hardest parts of being a spouse of someone with MS, the helplessness I so often feel. As a man, I want to "fix" things and MS doesn't work that way. So often I just have to play a support role with the understanding that what I am doing may not help the MS symptoms at all.

All of this frustrates me as a spouse, but I know it drives my wife nuts. She has to deal with her body not functioning properly and responding or her stomach disagreeing with everything she eats. My daughter also has to deal with the frustration of all of this. There have been missed activities at school, missed opportunities to spend time with her and broken promises due to MS. All of this is really hard to swallow at times, but I wouldn't change anything about the choices I have made. I have a beautiful wife, a beautiful daughter and a life that is always changing and evolving and even though there are times I want to scream, I would do it all over again. Multiple Sclerosis doesn't seem to take a day off in our lives, but we always have choices. We will continue to do what we know and learn more ways to take back control of our lives, and live as fully as we can everyday. Multiple Sclerosis is a nuisance, but it doesn't have to be our life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pain In The Hip

Have you ever had one of those days? A day where it seemed like things became progressively worse and completely overwhelmed and stressed you out. Today was definately one of those days. The last month has been a rollercoaster of emotions with our work, personal life and our future desires. My wife's MS is always playing a role in what we do and how we do it, and today is no different. We received a phone call from an apartment complex that was needing a reference for our renters. What? Why would our renters need a reference? They haven't turned in a notice or even said anything about moving. So, we called them and sure enough, they are moving out next month.

We live over 9 hours from our rental property so this added a ton of stress to an already stressful time in our lives. We have had to change our Easter plans, try to figure out how to get our house rented again, and hope that we will not have to figure out a way to pay our mortgage if we can't find a renter quickly. While my wife was on the phone with our renters, I could see her body stiffen and her demeanor change. As soon as she was off the phone, the emotions came gushing. We were already at a hightened state of emotions, so this just topped off the stressed out feeling. She began to physically hurt immediately after the call. Her whole body ached and she couldn't help but cry from the overflow of emotions and pain.

After a few minutes she started to gain more control over her emotions and we talked through what we were going to do and she began to explain the pain. During the first 30 minutes or so, her whole body was hurting. After that time she said it started to move out of the upper body and just hurt in her lower body. Her arms stopped hurting and her chest and torso stopped hurting, but her lower body was feeling even more pain now. After another hour or so her lower body stopped hurting all over and settled into her hip. Her left hip started hurting so bad that she was having a hard time standing or walking. If she shifted her left leg wrong, I could see the pain almost take her breath. Her left hip hurt like this the rest of the day and only lessened after some pain meds and laying down. She was OK by bed time, but it amazes me how one stressful phone call can cause such pain in her body.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stopping Chest Pain In Multiple Sclerosis

Chest pain for my wife can be very painful. It can take her breath away and cause her to wince when she moves wrong or takes deep breaths. I saw her eating a banana the other night and asked her if she was having chest pain again. She said she had been having chest pain off and on for a few days but it wasn't severe yet. I have written other posts about past chest pain and even emergency room visits for what felt like a heart attack. She has learned from those experiences to do a few things immediately when she starts having pain.

We have learned that for my wife, the chest pain comes from a lack of pottasium. Our understanding is that her lack of pottasium is a combination of things, but can be caused from too much salt in her diet and a lack of the vitamin itself in her diet. By eating bananas and other pottasium rich foods, she can stop the chest pain almost immediately and relieve future issues. All of this has shown us how important it is to have a balanced diet when dealing with disease. It seems so simple that pottasium could be the fix for my wife, but I think that is why it gets overlooked so often. Multiple Sclerosis can cause so many complications but this is one thing we feel like we have control over. I hope others with MS can have the same results and maybe next time a little potassium can help relieve their pain.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weak Grip With MS

This morning my wife needed to open a bottle of juice and just didn't have the strength to do it. She normally doesn't have a problem, but there are days when her strength is just not there. She doesn't feel any MS pain or numbness in her hands, they are just weak. She doesn't have this issue very often, but does have weakness when she is tired and doesn't sleep well. The last couple of nights she has struggled to sleep after she had a late night over the weekend. Her sleep rhythms are thrown off very easily, so she will spend the next few nights trying to get back on a regular schedule.

Many times over the years my wife has squeezed my hand so that I can have a base point to work from when she experiences weakness. It is amazing how much weaker her body can become from just one day to the next. The only thing we have found to bring the strength back is rest. Once she is rested, the strength comes back and everything is back to a normal state. Many years ago we went to visit a Alternative Doctor and one of the things that I thought was really odd was he checked the area between her thumb and first finger. He said that when someone was having major Multiple Sclerosis problems the muscle in between those fingers would be almost gone and there wouldn't be any strength in their grip. My wife has good muscle tone in her hands, so he was very happy about that and gave her a good report based on many different parameters. I know that my wife's mom's hands are curled up now after years of MS working on her body. She has very little use of her hands, and they only continue to become worse. For my wife the weakness is just a temporary annoyance, but I know for others it is an everyday problem.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How Can I Tell If My Daughter Has Multiple Sclerosis?

Our little girl is growing up and is 11 now. It is amazing how much she is like us and what habits and personality traits she has picked up from us. I guess my concern lately is how do we know if she will one day be diagnosed with MS. The doctors for years said that MS is not hereditary, and now I am hearing that they think it might be. As I have written before, my wife's biological mom has MS, so maybe it could be passed down or maybe you are more predisposed to it if your family member has it. I don't know, but I do worry that some of the things we have seen in our daughter might manifest itself later as Multiple Sclerosis.

From what I have read, juvenile MS is becoming more common. Since we don't know what exactly causes it, I guess no one really knows why it is affecting more children. With my daughter, I have been watching some of her issues like stomach problems, her need for sleep, huge mood swings and other odd issues that seem common for my wife. She has the same motion sickness issues and can't tolerate certain foods just like my wife. Now, some of her issues have to do with her being 11 and all of the changes her body is going through. I guess I am worried though when I see so many similarities in some of the health complaints that she has.

For the most part, she is a health young lady that is athletic and energetic. I will do more studying on this, but I know there are others concerned out there about their children having MS. This blog has lots of hits from parents asking the question about whether MS is hereditary or not. I wish there was a clear cut answer, and I pray that my daughter never has to deal with the struggles of MS. As a dad, it does concern me though when she displays so many characteristics that my wife shows. I know my wife's MS didn't start really showing until her late teens, early twenties, but I know there were "symptoms" she talks about that may have been precursors to her MS back in her childhood. I will try to write about those later and give some background to the early stages of her MS. For now, I will keep a very close eye on our daughter and pray that she never has Multiple Sclerosis.

Pink Hair, Kids Everywhere, Multiple Sclerosis

There has been a lady volunteering time to cut our children's hair at the Children's Home for free. She owns a salon in town and comes out once a month and spends about 4 hours cutting hair. A few of the ladies decided to go and get highlights put in their hair since she was going to give them a discount. Now, my wife has had highlights before, and usually has blonde or auburn highlights added to her brown hair. This time the hair dresser used a ruby red with violet color and her hair is an iridescent pinkie purple, if there is such a thing. She describes it as an Easter egg color just in time for Easter. So she calls me when they are done and asks me if I am going to be OK if her hair is a little brighter and "redder" than she first expected. I couldn't believe how bright and wild her hair looked, with hot pink stripes all through it. We joke now that we have a punk rocker on campus!

She had all of this done last Friday, knowing that we were supposed to take our kids over the weekend to a new church to promote the home. What a sight! We come walking into this conservative church with a bunch of kids and her punk rock, pink hair just glowing. It was great! Everyone was looking at her hair wondering if that was for real and some people would just smile and others would give her a "you should know better" look. It has actually been fun with her hair like this, especially when she forgets it looks that way. She will be out doing something and will forget, and then someone will be smiling at her for no reason or one of the kids will comment on how much they like it. Who knew that a mistake in hair highlighting could bring so many smiles to so many faces. So for now, I am married to a punk rocker with MS. How cool is that!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Motion Sickness Playing Rock Band

My wife and I have learned to connect with our children's home kids on all sorts of levels. One of those is playing video games with them. The other night my wife sat on the couch and played the guitar on Rock Band for an hour or so. When you play Rock Band the notes for the buttons you press roll up onto the screen at a pace equal to the level you play the game, ie easy, hard etc. Now, my wife has had motion sickness problems since she was a kiddo so I have become used to her turning the A/C on in the middle of winter in the car when she starts to become sick. It can make trips quite interesting. What neither one of us expected was her to feel sick playing Rock Band.

After about an hour of Rock Band my wife had to lay down and close her eyes. She felt the normal motion sickness she feels with riding in a car, flying, riding in a boat, watching 3D movies and a host of other activities. What is funny is that by playing Rock Band she was able to connect with one of our teens and he opened up to her about all sorts of things. She has continued to play in short spurts and played drums yesterday with all of us. After a few songs she decided to take a break but it was fun to watch her try to keep up with the beat. We all need distractions from life and we have found Rock Band to be one of those.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MS Leg Pain

Over the last week my wife has had leg pain off and on. The pain is specifically in her quadriceps, the muscle running along the top and side of her thigh. She describes the pain as a cramp that lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. She also says it can be dull pain to sharp pain between these cramps. She will use pressure to help with the pain and will often use heat to release the pain. I can massage her leg and that seems to help, but rest seems to be the only thing that will completely stop the pain. The pain only happens periodically, but when it does, it can be pretty intense.

I am very curious to why the muscles along the top of her leg are the only ones really affected. She has had cramps and pain in other areas, but it doesn't seem to be MS related. Most of the time the pain only comes after a long time of standing or walking, and it usually starts with her leg(s) feeling heavy and tired. The left side of her body seems to be affected more than her right but it can affect both sides at once. This past week both of her legs were cramping and in pain. Even last night she was having some heaviness and dull pain, then came the spasms. Her muscles will spasm for a few seconds and cause her leg to jerk and kick. I can squeeze the top of her thigh and it seems to help, and it is crazy how the muscle feels as it spasms.

With my wife, it seems like her legs have issues before anything else does. If she is rested she may go weeks or months without many problems, but when she gets tired her legs are usually the first thing to start hurting or having issues. A few things we have used to help with these issues are chiropractic, massage, Stress Aid (a natural vitamin), heat and ice, Aleve or Ibuprofen and mainly rest. For my wife this issue has not become an everyday problem but more of a nuisance every once in a while. I would be curious to know if others experience the same pain in the same way or if there are other similarities.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Depression And Multiple Sclerosis

The last few weeks I have sat through training on depression and had a dear friend lose his wife to depression. I have also sat in the car for hours this week and had time to discuss this topic with my wife. It amazes me how depression can take over and control your life. I know that my wife's MS has led to depressed states and moodiness. Every once in awhile she allows her MS to get to her and I can see her slip into a depressed mood. I can usually catch it and help her to handle the emotions, but there have been times that I am clueless and she is dealing with issues that come out later.

For my wife the depression seems to come from the way MS messes with her life and the unknown of the future. The "what ifs" can grow at times whether it is out of frustration with her body not cooperating, or an attack, or if life is just giving her struggles. She worries about being a great mom, great wife and being able to feel like she has something to offer the family. When you add in the unknown of what her MS will do from day to day and sometimes minute to minute, it can really stress her out. She gets overwhelmed and then begins to sink into a depressed state. I know that there have been times when she feels like she is receiving more than giving, and my daughter and I have to reassure her and love on her for who she is.

Multiple Sclerosis is so inconsistent in the way it affects my wife, and at the same time the inconsistency is always consistent. The inconsistency stresses my wife out when she is wanting to accomplish a goal or is focused on a task or her work. Right now she is nervous about going back to school because she doesn't know how her memory will affect things or if her body will hold up while trying to juggle school, work and our family. I know she can do it and hate to see her stressed when we are all here supporting her. At one point in our marriage she gained 30 lbs in 6 months due to depression from the work environment we were in. Over the years, we have learned to recognize the signs of depression for my wife and then take immediate action.

My wife has commented over the years that we are very fortunate to have a relationship where we can be raw and real with each other. More than anything else, I really think this has helped to release emotions and feelings that my wife carries with her. I know that over the last year my wife and I have grown more aware of her tendencies and as we learn more about how her body is affected by MS, we have been able to take more control over emotional highs and lows. It is hard to work through our junk, but as we work through the mess she is able to find more peace in her life which directly affects her health. Depression is serious and MS adds a whole different element to the struggle, but we will continue to press into each other and God to find peace.

Going Back To School With MS For MS

My wife and I spent 42 hours on the road this week looking at schools for our future. Over the last few years it has become clear to us that we both want to go back to school to help MS patients. Because of the doctors we have encountered and the research we have done, my wife feels like it would be best for her to become more educated on nutrition and the affects it has on the body. We have learned so much from other nutritionists and doctors, but feel like we can do so much more with the right knowledge. So, after years of trying to go back to school part-time, we have both decided to go back full-time.

While my wife is working on her nutrition degree, I am going back to chiropractic school. Chiropractic is the one thing we have found that helps my wife's MS more than anything else. And since I will be going into the doctorate program with previous knowledge of the disease, I am so excited to see how chiropractic works through the lens of MS. The first two years of the doctorate program follows the same track that medical school does, which should really help me understand the body and the affects of MS. Our ultimate goal would be to have a MS clinic where we could treat the whole person with MS. I have looked for a clinic like this, and haven't found anything quite like what we want to do. So, life is going to take a huge shift for us soon and we are excited about the possibilities. How great it will be to work with MS patients directly and be able to use our experiences and knowledge to help others.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tension In Life With MS

A few weeks ago we picked up a massage chair to see if it would help alleviate tension and stress in my wife's body. It has multiple settings and works your legs, feet, back and neck. We have used it often since acquiring it and I have seen a noticeable difference in my wife's tension in her shoulders and back. She carries a lot of her stress in her shoulder area, especially around her shoulder blades. When this tension increases, she usually will have a headache and feel tired.

A few years ago she would see a massage therapist weekly to relieve tension and stress. The massage therapist was phenomenal and helped my wife to feel better, have more energy and be able to live life more fully. We have tried to find another therapist with this skill and have not been able to do it. So we have tried other things and have been really surprised that the massage chair has helped as much as it has. We have wanted to buy one before but have not had the money. I even think that some doctors can give a prescription for the purchase of a chair to help with the costs, but we haven't been in a position to do it. We were fortunate because we didn't have to pay for the chair that we are using now.

Our family has had a very tension filled week, and we have spent a lot of time talking about where that tension is coming from and what we can do about it. Just with things that have happened this week we have been able to see that much of that tension comes from trying to control things we can't control, allowing ourselves to be controlled by outside influences, and generally allowing small things to matter more than they should. When we deal with these issues, we feel peace and feel the tension melt away. It always surprises me when I look back on stressful situations and see how much I have allowed those situations to control me. I have watched this week as my wife has let conversations roll off her back and how she hasn't allowed stress and tension to control her. She has been able to keep that tension and stress from causing her MS to flair.

As a spouse I can play a huge role in helping or hindering my wife's health. The better and stronger our relationship is, the more transparent we are and the less tension my wife feels she has to hold and keep to herself. In our marriage, I want to make sure she can talk to me about anything. For me that means that I need be an endless well of grace and mercy for her. She needs to feel safe, secure and know that I will love her no matter what. I have noticed that when I am not nurturing our relationship it can directly affect her health. We have so much to learn in our marriage and with our health, and this week has been real life experience in that journey.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Much Stress Do We Bring On Ourselves?

This week has been an extremely tough week. We had to deal with co-worker issues, kiddo issues and then our dachshund had puppies but two of them didn't make it. So, we have had highs and lows this week and then my wife became sick from the food we at last night. She was up most of the night vomiting and trying to get some sleep. This week is also our week to have the young children on campus. They woke up this morning to new puppies, but now we have to explain to them about death and how two of the new puppies had to have a funeral today. Life is just full of ups and downs and sometimes a lot of them come at you in a short time frame.

With all the stress this week, my wife has had minimal MS issues. One night her legs ached a little from the emotional stress and physical stress of the young children we are taking care of. She was able to take a bath and with a good nights sleep she didn't have any other leg pain or issues. Through everything this week I have been so proud of my wife. She had very personal attacks on her ability to do the work we do, on her integrity, on her parenting, and on just about every other aspect of her life. All of this came from one co-worker that felt compelled to blame her for their life problems.

Now, we know that stress is a major enemy of good health whether you have MS or not. She has handled it so well this week and not let any of it affect her. Many years ago Dr. Swank told her that she would need to control stress in her life and be able to let things go. This week was a real challenge for this because of the personal nature of all the stress. My wife and I have spent a lot of time this week talking about how our actions today will directly affect the stress of the future. If we choose today to not confront issues with co-workers then we have to deal with the ramifications of that as it can fester and grow in us or them. If we choose today to gossip or talk about someone else then we have to deal with the backlash of things we said.

We made a personal vow to each other when we moved to the children's home to confront issues as they come and to keep things between us instead of gossiping or sharing our frustrations. This has proven to help this week because we have clear consciences about how we handled the situations and confrontations. It is so much easier to control stress when you don't bring that stress on yourself from your own actions. Our bosses know that we will bring any complaints or issues to them which has kept our relationship solid and respect from them. When you are "parenting" kids together with two other sets of house parents, it can be very fulfilling and frustrating. This week we have learned valuable life lessons from the confrontations and from the outcomes. We have made a commitment to learn from our experiences at the home, and this has been a great teaching tool. I know that we definitely bring some stress on ourselves, but we do have a choice whether we make good choices and can feel good about our actions or we make poor choices and create issues.