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.