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.


@GNN said...

These are some really good ideas to help cope - thanks - i have all the same symptoms as your wife - even bad migraines last week(never had them before) but no diagnosis of MS. I have lesions in my brain but not in an MS pattern. They say "it" is autoimmune but no idea what. There must be a similarity with some of these diseases. i appreciate your openess that is why i read your blog.

Supo said...

Please research LDN:

Patient based evidence has shown that it can slow/stop progression in MS and many other conditions. It does not affect existing damage.

Best to you and yours.