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Friday, December 31, 2010

Youth and MS

Yesterday I got a comment from a reader stating that she was diagnosed at age 13. I just checked out her blog and was impressed by her mission to create an MS forum for the increasing, juvenile MS population. Please check out her site and send her your support.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Post by Keith Hoffeild

Those who have MS can find it difficult to have hope in their lives. Suffering from a disease which has no known cure is something that is incredibly difficult, but it is always important to have have hope for the future. A new year is fast approaching and with it, there are promising new drugs and treatments being introduced which will make life far easier for those who are suffering with MS. 2011 shows signs of being an excellent year, as two new forms of MS treatment are being released at some point in the coming year.

The first MS treatment to consist of a ingested pill is due to become available at some point in 2011. There are two versions of the pill, developed by competing pharmaceutical companies. Fingolimod is the name of the pill developed by the company Novartis. This pill is taken once a day. Cladribine, developed by the company Merck, is another treatment of MS in the form of a pill. The pill is taken in a course, with typically forty pills taken through the year. Cladribine already sees use in cancer treatment, but only recently have researchers discovered the treatment can be used for sufferers of intermittent MS.

Each of the two drugs have been subjected to studies at the University of London, and have both shown promising results. The current treatments for multiple sclerosis are injected into the body. These injections can be painful and produce undesirable side effects. Also, these injections are expensive and time consuming, as many injections are needed throughout the year. Cladribine was used in a study involving 1,300 MS patients, and the results showed that those who received the pill were approximately 56% less likely to have a relapse than those who did not. Fingolimod was used in a study which involved 1,033 patients, and the rate of relapse occurrences in those who received the pill was reduced by about 60%. The professor who oversaw the cladribine study did concede that not much was known about the long term effects of these medications, which may be a future issue.

Both of these drugs were able to reduce MS progress in a third of all patients, effectively stalling the disease. Unlike the intravenous treatments such as betaseron, and avonex, patients treated with these pills experienced no negative side effects whatsoever. The MS Society claims to be trying its utmost in making these pills available to MS sufferers as soon as possible. With such promising steps being made in the treatment of MS, and other diseases which plague mankind, online schools for medical are available for those who want to help the fight against these dreadful illnesses, but cannot find the time to attend classes.

Studies are currently being undergone to determine if vitamin D can be used as a method of MS prevention. It is believed vitamin D plays a role in the pathogenesis of MS, which is why there is a possibility it may lead to some form of treatment. One study has reported that low dose naltrexone has shown positive effects on MS patients, but no further evidence has been released since then.

Not only are new methods of treatment being developed and introduced, but new forms of diagnosis are being researched for implementation. Multiple sclerosis is very difficult to diagnose due to the many symptoms that the disease can cause. Some patients present completely different symptoms, making clinical diagnosis nearly impossible. Anti-myelin anti-bodies are being studied in order to determine if they can be used as biomarkers of the disease, but little success has been reported from the studies thus far.

Bio: Keith Hoffield has a degree in biology a a minor in creative writing. He loves to share his knowledge by working with

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What a Difference a Year Can Make

I was just reading over the blog entry I wrote for my birthday last year as I reflect on where I am today (on my birthday again). While most of my physical circumstances (job/s, domicile, relationship status etc) are the same, I feel very different.

At this time last year I was physically and mentally exhausted. My life felt bleak and lonely and I was almost always anxious. I was in a really bad place.

Things have really changed. True, I'm still tired and I still work all the time but I don't feel overcome by my life. When I wake up every day, I don't feel like I can't face the day. I don't dread my job or even the work I have to do on the weekend. I am not lonely anymore and I am not worried about my finances. For the first time in several years, I don't feel an urge to look for a new job.

I still don't get out all the much, but now when I do, it's because I want to and not out of a sense of obligation. My life at home is much better too. I have a roommate and my cats to keep me company, and my new kitten is like the child I never had (much less work but tons of love and companionship).

To sum it all up, I feel good. Now, off to enjoy the day :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


My roommate is currently doing some research on a couple of issues related to MS and I am seeking my reader's help to complete her study. Please post a response to the following questions ASAP if you can and/or are willing.

1) What age were you diagnosed at?
2) What state were you living in at the time your were diagnosed?

Thanks so much,


Monday, October 4, 2010

My little star

Well the kitten is a hit.

She is now about ten weeks old.

My nephew named her Anabeth before I met her so that's her name at the vet. My sister calls her "Baby Racoon." I have named her Teacup "TC" because she was teacup-size when I got her. In the picture she is in front of my roommate's bunny cage with my other cat Apollo. The bunny in the picture is named "Friendly."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

After a long hiatus...

I thought I would swing by my own blog to see what was happening. Apparently some people are still reading this thing (LOL).

Life's good but I have been very busy for quite some time. I would like to say that I have been off writing the next Great American Novel or travelling around the world but I have just been working all the time.

Luckily, I am enjoying the school year. I am teaching fun classes and creating new curriculum. I have a new boss and generally better (or at least nicer) students this year.

A few weeks ago I got a reminder to slow down because I had my first exacerbation in over a year. I had to do a large dose of Prednisone (500 mg a day for 4 days). When I was done my vision cleared up but the steroid withdrawal also made me sick. Between the exacerbation and the steroids I had about two weeks of skull pain, vertigo and nausea but I was able to keep up with my life by just resting more. Now I feel good again!

This was a good learning experience. It reminded me not to push too hard and to draw some boundaries with work. I am coming home sooner after work to rest. I am still doing some work at home but I'm not spending as much time under florescent light and that really helps. I have noticed that the lights make me feel much worse. I have also been creating systems so I can work more quickly and efficiently. Best of all, I am just slowing myself down by pausing to breath and meditate.

I have fallen madly in love (with my kitten). She gives me a reason to come home and a reason to lay around in bed so we can play. She makes me smile.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taking a quick break from work

Life is A-Ok but I have been working an insane amount. At the moment, I'm taking five minutes out to let anyone who reads this know that I'm healthy and well. I hope to be back soon for a more in-depth update.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Personal Wellness Plan

I do not think there is a one size fits all plan for dealing with injury, chronic illness or disease. This is merely the humble opinion of one person diagnosed with a chronic illness but it makes sense to me. My own experience is purely in the realm of living with MS, but I still think that each individual has to find their own formula to health, a sort of a personal wellness plan.

It has taken me a few years to get my own plan figured out. The process was one of trial and error. The first year after my diagnosis, I felt ill and exhausted a lot of the time. About a year and a half into things, the MS seemed to be progressing as evidenced by my MRI. The results of last summer's MRI motivated me to take some action. Until that point, I had not stuck to any drastic diet changes and I had not committed to a medication. I wanted to make some more informed choices so I did two things. First, I researched DMDs (Disease Modifying Drugs) a bit more, and then I also ordered extensive genetic testing to see if food allergies might be contributing to my symptoms.

I won't claim that my DMD research was particularly scientific, but it fit my personal style. I put a set of queries on this blog and out through emails to other people with MS where I asked about personal experiences with the drugs. Frankly, I was most interested in the unique experiences of the users. I wanted to hear about side-effects and how taking the DMDs effected people's day-to-day life. After looking through all the responses to my questions, I chose Copaxone because I felt it fit my lifestyle best. I wanted a drug with minimal side-effects that would hopefully allow me to make it to work every day. This proved to be a good choice for me because my only issue has been site reactions, and these have not had a major effect on my daily life. My most recent MRI showed no new lesions and a small decrease in activity on the left side of my brain.

The genetic testing involved a few steps. I ordered some of the tests online from a place called Entero Lab. I had to send in a cheek swab and a stool sample for this. They tested for soy, gluten, yeast, egg and dairy allergies. I also went to my acupuncturist and he did a blood test that we sent in.

The results from my genetic testing indicated an allergy to gluten and possible sensitivity to soy and yeast. The lab also suggested that I give up eggs and dairy because of my autoimmune disorder. This suggestion was later amended by my acupuncturist because I did not show a significant allergy to these things but rather, I was on the high end of normal. My acupuncturist said to eat these things in minimal amounts. I have tried to do this. One thing I did was switching to mainly goat cheese.

My blood tests indicated some other additional areas to watch. I was cautioned to stay away from most beans. I was also allergic to tuna and garlic.

Both sets of tests seemed to indicate that gluten was my biggest problem. At the time, I was vegetarian and relied heavily on gluten, soy, dairy and beans for my protein. I decided to cut all of these items out of my diet and to try eating meat again. It was hard at first, but now I am accustomed to my new diet. I think the hardest thing to give up was the gluten.

I cannot say for sure what changes have made the difference, but about a month after I started Copaxone, and a few weeks after I changed my diet, my daily migraines began to taper. This year I have felt much better then last year, so I am sticking to a few simple things.

My personal wellness plan is pretty simple. I get plenty of sleep. I try to carve time out of every day to meditate, do yoga or take a little mental break. I get regular exercise through my yoga practice. I try not to eat foods with soy or gluten, and now I eat some meat. I take my copaxone and I try not to take many other medications. This summer, I am mostly staying away from caffeine. During the school year, I will have some to help me keep going instead of relying on other medications. I am hoping to keep my caffeine intake down this year as well. I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on my diagnosis and for the most part, I don't worry about what direction the MS will take. I try to make healthy choices but MS takes the back seat to living my life.

I won't claim that my plan will work for everyone but I will claim that everyone has to engage in some trial and error to find a plan that works for them. I think a good plan has to be flexible because circumstances change. Just because I have a plan that works for me today, I do not delude myself that this plan is set in stone. I will keep adjusting as things come up. I think that is all anyone can do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Other things on my mind

I used to be such a dedicated blog author and follower but lately my attention has fallen off. I have been writing, but mostly in my journal because I'm often even sick of hearing myself talk and write about the same things. As soon as I have something interesting to say, I am sure I will post something about it, but in the meantime...

I'm still trying to sell the house. I'm still job hunting. I did finally have an interview, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I have another interview next week but I'm not sure I am all that interested in the job so I'm hoping the first opportunity pans out.

I'm still doing and teaching a ton of yoga and on Sunday, I also got to teach an aerial yoga class again. Other than that, not much to report, but I'm glad to still have more summer break in front of me.

It is getting hot here now and I'm trying to keep cool but I can feel the heat sucking up my energy. I have been getting headaches again but so far, no more migraines (knock on wood). The heat does have adverse effects on me, but so far this has been nothing compared to last summer. My goal is to take it easy and stay relapse-free.

Today I am grateful for my generally good health.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Latest MRI and general update

Great health news. My latest MRI came back and I have no new lesions and the ones on my left side are smaller. I guess something is working for me. Since I'm not sure what, I'll just stick with my new routine. I will continue with Copaxone. I will also stick with the diet I have been following since September. I now eat meat again but do not eat gluten or soy and I watch my dairy intake. Rest is a priority and I continue to get regular excercise with my yoga teaching and practice. Lately I have also been taking some vitamin D and a multi-vitamin but that is a new thing.

My summer has been pretty mellow but I have been teaching a ton of yoga. I am also still trying to sell my house. Yesterday we entered a new chapter of this process. I met with my ex and real estate team to start working toward a short sale. I am hoping the process goes smoothly and resolves in a timely matter. The whole sale thing has been stressful physically and financially and I am ready to wrap it up. I had intended to move and get a place with a friend but my ex wants us to keep paying for the house so I think my friend is going to move in. This is something I am looking forward to. Today I am grateful for the positive results of my MRI.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Update 6/15/10

Settling in also brought on the lazy... It has been hard to get motivated to do much beyond what I have already committed to but I guess that is the good part of vacation, you do what you do, and then you save the rest for another day.

I have been writing a little bit for my yoga book and it's nice to be ahead of my classes and have something prepared. Ordinarily, I am scrambling at the last moment to pull my thoughts together, but now I am planning ahead a bit more.

I have been sorting through things in my house and trying to get motivated to finish packing up for when I can finally move. I am hoping to wrap things up with my house sale soon and to be out by, or before, the end of summer. I am also searching for a deal on a new computer because mine is hardly functioning anymore and is threatening to give up the ghost soon. I have my fingers crossed that it makes it.

Today I finally downloaded the pictures I took on a recent trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I am also entertaining ideas of doing some sketching or painting. The rest of my time I have spent searching and applying for jobs, cleaning house, gardening, lounging around and doing yoga. I have been practicing more yoga this summer than I have in a while which creates a nice balance between teaching and my own yoga. Overall, things have been pretty mellow. I notice that the idea of doing much makes me rather anxious and discontent so I guess I really need to value this break and to become as relaxed as possible before I need to move and/or start work again.

I am grateful for my summer vacation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Settling In

I am beginning to adjust. Today I was driving to work at the yoga studio and I found myself smiling for no reason. I felt happy and it was not because I was forcing myself to think positive or trying to tell myself I should be happy. I just was!

I think I may be relaxing. I have been focusing my yoga teaching on balance. I'm trying to bring some of that balance into my own life-- a healthy balance of taking care of a few things every day and just enjoying myself and chilling out. It feels good.

Today I am grateful to just feel good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Now that vacation is finally here, I notice that I am still adjusting. I am finding it a bit hard to just relax after being continually on the go and I am feeling a bit agitated. I hope a few more days of vacation will help me just start to chill out.

I have started a journal and I am hoping that it will be a useful tool for sorting out the millions of thoughts spinning through my mind. I am hoping if I can just purge some of the excess in my head that I can calm down a bit, and find a way to be present.

So far the break has been pretty mellow. It is only me that has not slowed down. I have had some nice time with friends and family and I hope to continue in that vein in the next few weeks. I also am getting to do a bit of reading just for fun and that is really nice.

I have been feeling a bit fatigued and the heat is bothering me a little, but overall, my health remains good. Today I am grateful for this chance to kick back and rest. Tomorrow will actually be the first day where I do not have to work at all because I have still been at one of my yoga jobs every day since school ended.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Summer Bring the Change

Today was my last day with students. Tomorrow is my last day of this school year. I'm working on my own mental crap and I'm hoping that summer vacation gives me just the boost I need.

We create our own suffering a good deal of the time. I am ready to let mine go and to just start feeling good.

I am grateful for the break. May this time heal all within me that needs healing so that I can begin looking out rather than always at my own survival.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adult Growing Pains

Friends, family and even near strangers keep reassuring me that a great deal of learning and growth can come from tough times. I sure hope so. I'm trying to pay attention to things that come my way and to learn from them but it is hard not to feel impatient. I keep dreaming of my own magic wand that I can just wave to give me all the answers I need and to make everything clear and right. I know this is not going to happen but it has not stopped me from wishing...

I have been struggling a lot with poor self-confidence. I feel directionless in uncharted seas, and I long for something or someone to hang onto, but I know this is a journey I must chart alone. It is clear to me that I can hardly stand to be without a master plan, but I dare not create one without knowing what I really want. Honestly, I don't know what I want. I have been feeling so tired. I can't tell if this is MS or just all my attempts to figure things out. I feel scattered too, so my fatigue and seeming inability to focus is driving me a little nuts. I would love to just lie down and sleep for a few days. Maybe I could even have some really illuminating dreams. Will I figure some stuff out once I hit my summer break and rest a little? I keep hoping that will take care of things but think it may take more.

I did decide to find a new therapist since I have not had one in some time, but I could not even get an appointment until late June. Being the impatient sort I am, I want help now.

I do feel a bit better than I have the last few months, but I still feel unsettled. Angst about the future is pacing the corners of my mind. I am not in constant anxiety, but I can't help remembering that I can't put off decisions about my house and my job forever. I recognize that avoidance can be a good temporary coping mechanism, but it is not getting to the root of what is troubling me. Thank God for the present. Being present helps keep me sane but I want to be able to think beyond today without fear and fear is controlling me far more than I would like.

Today I am grateful for everything that I have-- my comforts, my loved ones and my health.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Right now,
Only right now,
At this second I can breath--

Sometimes I just can step back for an instant,
And for that instant,
Things are simple.

I wonder that I ever panic,
Yet I often awake,
My heart racing, with dread I cannot explain.

Wondering how I entered the nightmare
Wondering how to escape
Struggling to see the other side of realities I want to deny.

Then I seperate from that reality for a moment,
Like now
And I wonder what all the fuss was.

How do I retain this vantage point?
This glimpse outside
Crushing, consuming darkness--

I don't feel like I have a disease
But I feel diseased
Longing to always have perspective.

I Long to remember,
That soon
Even this current phase will pass.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick update 4-29

I just got home after another very long day so I must keep this brief. Sadly, I go to bed around 7:30 or 8:00 when I can so that I have enough steam to get through my day...

The house deal fell through so I'm back to square one. Fortunately, I did not sign a lease so there were no major financial losses and hopefully a better deal, with better timing will come my way soon. Right now, I just want to get through this school year and start looking ahead. Also for now, one day at a time. I have much to reflect on and I am going to try to be patient and to have compassion on myself.

Today I am grateful for the health and finances to take my time deciding what to do next...

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'll be back

I have not been in blogland for a while and I am only going to stay a moment. I am ok and things may be looking up a little. Seems like the house is sold and I'll go sign a lease on a new place tomorrow. The move is a little stressful but I'm also getting kind of excited. Maybe there is some good, new thing close on the horizon. Vaction is only a little over a month away!

Oh, the 23rd was the two year anniversay of my diagnoses. I actually forgot until today. I can't complain.

Today I am thankful that after two years my health seems good (knock on wood).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Favorite Things

I have been neglecting the blog. Working out my mental crap here is a bit of an indulgence, perhpas an indulgence better denied, but still alluring.

I got out of town for a week. I would like to claim I have learned the meaning of life and that I feel rejuvenated, but I think the opposite may be true in many ways. Vacation had its moments (don't get me wrong) but it also revealed to me that I have a lot of work to do in my current situation. I need to find ways to feel happy living the life I have in front of me, not in a temporary escape. A hard lesson, but a good one.

So here I am, back at home, trying to unearth my mind from the fog I have allowed to claim it. It's not easy. I have been trying to find a way free from my own discontent for some time, but I have had little success. I keep waiting for external things to change, instead of addressing the internal things that allow me to react adversely to my circumstances. Sometimes I feel like I'm wading through thick mud. I don't think this is one of those things that's just going to fix itself, rather, transformation is something I need to give some active effort, so right now I'm trying to remember my favorite things. Ok, I'm doing that, but I'm also just trying to work things out in my head.

I love music. Yoga brings me a joy that little else does. The spring inspires me. Writing fulfills and inspires me. Dance is an amazing gift. My current good health is also an amazing gift. Here I am, two years with MS, and I can get my body to do just about everything I might dream of doing. That is something never to be taken for granted.

I enjoy connecting with others, when it feels really genuine and meaningful. I still love teaching ( the way it feels when I actually touch a student's life and make a difference). Loneliness sometimes haunts me, but I love my independence. Sometimes home ownership is a burden, but I love my home, caring for my home and knowing that I can take care of myself. I love to feel strong: physically, emotionally and mentally.

I love sunshine, but I also love the sound of rain outside my window. I love art, film and my own creative pursuits. My blogs also bring me joy. I love my family, my friends and my cat. Perhaps oddly, I am comforted by routine and somewhat scared by change. I may cry and moan about it constantly, but I also think I am a little addicted to work. Does that make it one of my favorite things?

I like solitude. I like time to just sit and think but I feel guilty about doing nothing. I love free time, but I am sometimes tortured about how to use it. I write all this and see that this is not simple but I would like to believe that happiness itself is. I do, now to just let it claim me.

Dear blog, thanks for indulging this rather confused rant. Today I am grateful for life itself, challenges and all.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vacation around the corner

I cannot report that everything is suddenly peachy, but I'm feeling a little better at the moment than I have in a while. There are only two more days until vacation and my formal observation at work is over. I think it went ok but either way, I'm just relieved to have put it behind me.

I realized that part of why I have been feeling down a lot lately, is because I feel inadequate at my job. I also realize that I think about it constantly and try to think of ways to do things better. It may be time for me to ease off on myself a little. I wouldn't give my job all this thought if I didn't care about doing a good job for the kids.

I often find myself musing about a kid and wondering how I can help them be more successful. I may not always manage to make everything better, but I sure do try hard. I think I need to give myself a bit more credit. Sometimes I feel bad taking any breaks from work, but I think I actually do a better job when I find some balance, and it is not my every waking thought. I know I will work a lot during vacation, but I also hope to take a much-needed physical and mental break.

April and May promise to be very busy, but after break, there is only about seven weeks until the school year ends. I plan to spend my summer recharging a bit. I am going to teach some yoga for kids and hopefully get back to some creative pursuits like painting, writing poetry and refashioning. I am still hoping for some big life changes but if they don't come quickly, hopefully these breaks will give me the juice to approach things with new energy.

Today I am grateful for this moment of relaxation and contentment.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A sigh of relief

I am just breathing a small sigh of relief because I decided to take this feed off facebook. Not that anyone can't read it here, but now they have to seek it out. I looked and saw I had 96 "friends" on facebook but the truth is, I hardly know many of those people and some of them are professional contacts. I have been having a rough time lately and I don't really feel like posting my innermost thoughts to facebook. At the same time, I also wanted to keep the integrity of this blog which has always been almost brutally hones.

It seems like lately, I need to force the right look onto my face and the right sort of state into my mind before I can leave home. I don't want to have to fake it, even in my own home. There are good moments. Sometimes I can unearth my mind from my anxieties about work and honestly, just survival, but that is not all the time and the pretending is exhausting.

Today is a "snow day," so I don't have to go to work, yet I find myself tortured still. Really, a day off is just a chance to do more work and I can't even bring myself to do it. I am just counting the days until spring break, but it is still over a week away. I know I should be finding a way to enjoy today but instead I just feel sad.

I know I should work, hunt for jobs or maybe even do something nice for myself but mostly, I am just fantasizing about going back to bed. My problem is not MS and not even real depression, but I feel buried. I can hardly slog myself to the surface and every day I just get through, I feel relieved for.

I am waiting to feel a shift but I feel too bogged down to create it myself. I don't pray, but I'm praying for relief right about now. Something has got to give right?

I always try to end my entries in gratitude but I just don't have today's thought. Maybe that says something about where I am at. I guess I am grateful that not all days seem quite as hard, so maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Creative Visualization

Lately my focus has been almost entirely on working, and not really in a good way... While I struggle against the time constraints, and my own discontent, my mind is not idle. I'm trying not to dwell I want to look beyond this point in time which I find so challenging.

Now that I can feel the spring, I am trying to pull myself out of the mire and visual creative solutions to my problems. So far I am not having much success, but I am remembering how to visualize things that make me feel good. Call it escapism, but it does help a little.

There were a few moments today where I actually did visualize a different future for myself. It felt good. I think that I need to simplify my life. Now I just need to figure out exactly how to do this. I am not sure if I will make the changes myself, or if they will come to me, but my eyes are open and I'm going to continue to dream.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not enough time or spoons

I have been away from home for the last twelve hours for the third day in a row. Lately I feel so tired I would like to lay down on the hard floor at work and go to sleep but there is always something that needs to be done.

I don't socialize. I don't even get to things on facebook. I know people are sending me messages but I just don't have the time or energy to get there. It's 6:30and I will go to bed by 7:30 or 8:00 so I can stay awake at work all day. I just sat down about ten minutes ago and dinner still needs to be made. Where are my spoons?

I just want to sit here and stare into space but I know I need to eat. I'm wishing to postpone all other chores or even personal grooming until the morning but dragging myself out of bed early enough is a risky business too. I'm just so tired...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Update 2-22-10

Not too much to report here. I'm back from a long weekend break. Aside from Spring Break, this may be my last one until the school year ends. I have my fingers crossed that I have a sick day or two saved, but I'm not sure. I am trying to wrap myself around the idea of working hard from here on out and staying healthy. My plan is to try for as much balance in my life as possible. I realize I have alot of stuff to do, but I am trying to find ways to break it all into manageable chunks so that I won't get sick or overwhelmed.

I think I am going to try doing just a bit of each extra task every day so that I don't get bored, frustrated or burnt out. Keeping my house clean for all the showings, as I try to sell it, is a major task unto itself. I'm going to try doing just a few minutes a day instead of large chunks here and there. I am also gearing up for the job hunt. So far, I have found several positions that look interesting, so my plan is to try just sending one application a day. Of course right now, the server on the site where I wanted to work is down, so I took the time to blog instead.

I am hoping that if I really plan and manage my time in this way, I will get less overwhelmed than I have been lately. It has been a bit of a rough winter. I'm not so much depressed, as I am discontented and overwhelmed. I have been having a lot of little melt downs. I think this is ok but I really don't want it to effect the times where I have to be out in public. A few tears at home when I'm tired is one thing, letting my students see me upset is another.

I am trying to look toward my future and decide what I most want, but I am very bogged down in my day-to-day survival at this point. I guess the good news is that I am surviving:) I felt a little sick over the weekend and I slept a ton but I have my fingers crossed that I am out of the woods now. Part of my balancing act means making sure that I continue to get plenty of sleep. I think that is key to staying physically and mentally healthy, so as I continue to take on a few more things and maintain what is already before me, I plan to still prioritize sleep above almost all else. I also continue to hope that as spring comes, the increase in light will perk me up and give me the energy to take care of the little extras I need to start slipping into my day.

Right now this is my plan for living, if not Living! Today I am grateful for the little things that make life worth living.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thanks for your loyalty

A quick apology to all my awesome "followers..." Sorry I have been so scarce lately. Life has a way of catching up with us at times and leaving us absolutely spun around. That certainly describes my life lately. I am finally taking a little R&R this weekend before I blow my health and my mind. I promise to be back soon with something witty, or at least something (LOL).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New MS Blog

Debbie asked if I would add her blog to my page and her story intrigued me. Please check out her page and read her story.

Support Walk MS!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The unexpected

Just a few moments to indulge in a guilty pleasure: blogging, before I get back to working. I have been working like a dog. The job is haunting my every waking hour and even some of my sleeping ones. This afternoon I took time out for a nap and had dreams that I was still checking on kids progress in my classroom. Ugh!

I got to the yoga studio and graded stack after stack of disheartening papers. Despite my best efforts, all my 10th graders completely flunked the test. Of course, passing did require actually reading the book... It was another hard day on the front lines and their work did not cheer me up. I kept asking, "Is it me?" Just when I was really down, I had a nice, unexpected surprise.

One of my yoga students walked in and said to me, "Don't doubt that every day you make a difference."

"I sure don't feel like it," I said.

She told me, "You should listen to your own words of wisdom. I was repeating what you said in class the other day on my way here. You said, 'You can either stress, or transistion with grace."

I guess I did say that. "I guess sometimes people are listening," I told her, "But I'm still a crappy classroom teacher."

"Hey, you also told me to "Doubt my doubts," she reminded me.

I did do that, didn't I? I'm glad to know that at least someone is listening when I teach:) My student is right. I really should take my own advice.

There are two things that really do help me. Since it seems at least someone listens, I will share. First, when I feel reluctance to face the next thing before me I remind myself. "You are ok right now and that is all that matters. Take things as they come, and you will be fine." The second thing I do is remind myself, "You can always try again tomorrow." That really helps too because then I can feel ok about whatever I think went poorly today. So as I near the end of another long day, I think, "I will try again tomorrow." All we can ever do is our best. I think I can live with that.

Today I am grateful to be fine right here and now, and to have the gift of tomorrow to try again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Color me a different shade

Sadly, I'm not even interesting to me anymore. I'm sick of sameness, sick of listening to myself mull over the same crap, sick of the job, sick of the routine and I'm still seeing little change on the horizon. I want to do something different, create something beautiful, but I seem stuck in blah. When I get a break from working, I feel either too physically, or too mentally drained, to do anything remotely exciting. I'm trying to accept that-- for now. I'm completely discontent thinking that this stagnation will last for long. I'm determined to claw my way out, do something that isn't work, sleep, or escape from thoughts of work.

I want to find something to look forward to besides my next nap (LOL). Maybe this is just winter blues. I can't say I'm trying hard to find it, but I'm looking for new opportunities to come my way. In the meantime, I'm trying for patience and something better than a tolerable existence. I see glimmers at times.

I did get out a few times this weekend. I went to aerial dance to practice on the fabric and hoop. That was cool. Yesterday, I actually went to a yoga class I didn't teach. Now, I hunger for the time and energy for greater adventure. My eyes are open. I just need some inspiration.

Today I am grateful that my largest complaint is lack of inspiration. I am truly grateful for the comfort of my existence:)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Work, Sleep, Repeat again

Lately this is just about it... Work, sleep, repeat-- it does not leave much time for blogging either. Right now,I'm actually still working but I'm just watching the desk at the yoga studio, so it's pretty mellow. The last two days, I stayed at school late. Yesterday, I made parent calls for conferences this week until 5:00, then I drove home, ate and slept. Today I worked, went to a union meeting, worked some more and then came to the studio to work some more. Tomorrow I plan to go in early to meet with a student and then to work a bit more before the day officially starts. The hardest part, honestly, is getting myself out of bed. I can't seem to stop hitting snooze. Tomorrow I'll try to stop doing that and just get up. Maybe there will even be a nap in my afternoon forecast if I'm lucky. Maybe I won't even take work home.

Thursday, I'll spend all day in the salt mines from about 6:30 am until 8:30 pm, because we have parent/teacher conferences. I am dreading that long haul. Ever since my diagnosis, I have yet to make it through the day after conferences without being ill from fatigue. I am going to think positive since it seems I have been training for long days lately (LOL). I also just met another co-worker with MS, so I feel like I might have someone to commiserate with during tough times. She has had the disease for nine years and seems to be doing great. I think she is even busier than me, so I have a good model.

The good news is, I get a three day weekend. Of course, I'm working on Saturday. I am hoping it will be fun. I am presenting a yoga class at a diversity conference for teens. I'm not sure what to expect, but I have my fingers crossed that it will go well.

Sunday will be mostly about sleep. If I can get anything done during conferences, maybe I will work less this weekend. Last weekend, I worked at least eight hours on stuff for school, taught two yoga classes, and cleaned my house. I did watch about four episodes of "Dexter" while I worked. This made it all a little less painful. The rest of my time, I slept. I slept about twelve hours between Friday and Saturday, napped three hours on Saturday, slept another nine hours Saturday night and then took a two hour nap on Sunday. Many people with MS may be asking how I have been managing to do so much. Look how much I slept :) I admit that when I am working or commuting, I spend a lot of time fantasizing about my next nap.

Overall, I have been feeling decent, just tired, but I am having an irritating side-effect from my Copaxone. The lymph nodes under my arm and breast are swollen and hardened. I called Shared Solutions and they told me to call the doctor. Do you think I did? When I get a minute, I'll get right on that. Maybe tomorrow? I don't want him to suggest I try a new medication. I would like to stick with my Copaxone while I have to work all the time. It doesn't seem like too big a deal, so I am hoping the doctor will tell me to stay the course... Anybody else have this problem with their Copaxone? I know it's the drug, because when I took a few days off, the lymph nodes went back to normal and this side-effect is reported by some other folks on Copaxone.

These days, I'm trying to remain as positive and present as I can. I am truly just living one day at a time, but that keeps things more manageable.

Today I am thankful to have enough energy to maintain this schedule so far. I am also thankful to have the comforts that I am lucky enough to have.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I thought I better write this down before I forget it (LOL). All my introspection seems to have paid off.

A few months ago, my mother repeated a question to me posed by her meditation teacher. The question was, "What is your true heart's desire?" I realized that the answer to this question is much more important than having a tangible dream. It gets at the essence of what we really want without all the problems caused by expectations (our own and those of others).

I know what my heart truly desires. Above all things I desire freedom.

I want the freedom to do whatever I might dream of doing. I want freedom from the constraints of fear. All my kicking and screaming is in direct protest to things that I see as impositions on my freedom. The irony is, in order to have certain freedoms, I have to give up other ones.

If I want the freedom from financial duress, I have to work. If I want independence and the ability to care for myself, I have to work and I have to find ways to take care of myself, even if they seem like impositions. In order to have freedom from home ownership, I have to take good care of my house so it will sell. Having seen these ironies, I resent these constraints on my freedom less. At the moment, they are the key to many of my freedoms.

If I can find the energy, I have the freedom to do what I want, almost whenever I want. It makes me somewhat giddy. Here I was feeling trapped, only to realize that for almost all freedoms, there is a price. I guess the question is whether it is worthwhile. I'm tired but something tells me that if I look at things through this new lens, they look a hell of a lot more beautiful than they did yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my freedoms. I must have freed things up a little since I have been blogging again:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teenager without the pimples

I like the blog because it helps me travel light. I like the way it keeps me writing on a regular basis but at times I am unsure about it too. There are still the questions: what belongs on what blog? How much should I really say on this blog? Should I stick to the topic of MS? Does the "Living!" part in the title of the blog give me license to expand the topic? The truth is since it's my blog, I guess it can be anything I want... Hello obsessive stranger.

I'm in the midst of a round of angst. Do you ever really get over it? I suspect it's not just a teenager thing, but maybe I just spend too much time with adolescents, and it's rubbing off. My angst seems to cycle. Sometimes things just seem to flow along. I feel confident, certain of who I am and what I want. Then I flounder--

Audience awareness is stifling me here. I'm thinking, folks are sick of hearing me whine, maybe I should leave this post hidden in some drawer. I feel myself chickening out. I can't even write this here. Ok, I really can't. I'm going to hide this in the poetry blog and never speak of it again. Ok, I'm not, I prefer to be honest, critics be damned.

I feel trapped. I am always wanting change, seeking an existence that is more me but I am stuck in the same pattern of life again and again. There are bills and they must be paid. I have this almost unreasonable desire to disappear off the grid but I am mired in obligation. How will I pay for the car, the student loans, the house or even just for food? I keep dreaming of this bohemian life where I am a sort of travelling artist, performer, yoga teacher or perhaps even a circus star, but how do I reconcile these desires with being a grown up? Sometimes I really despise the life of a grown up. It's just not nearly all it was cracked up to be.

I somehow keep thinking that the older I get, the better I will have it figured out. So not true. I know less every day. I keep talking myself down with the reminder that the present is ok. This really works, try it. During the ten minutes I make myself believe this, I feel great. Too bad it isn't providing me with clues about the meaning of life--

I imagine that sooner than later, this spell will pass and I will be back to my optomistic, annoying self but I think I might take a little longer to wallow first. While this is uncomfortable, I have been spending a lot of time alone lately just thinking. Somehow, this doesn't seem like an entirely bad thing. I don't plan to be uncertain forever. I imagine that something may come of all the time I have been spending with my own thoughts. It seems hard for me to make big changes fast but when I make a change, I really make it.

Today I am grateful that my life is comfortable enough that I can waste an hour complaining (LOL). Seriously, I do feel better and I am grateful for what I have :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Julie, Julia and Me

I just finished watching the movie "Julie and Julia." It's not the kind of movie I would usually be compelled to rent, but one of my yoga students said to me, "You should really see this movie, it reminds me of you."

I was somewhat intrigued, so I finally sat down to watch the film. I think I understand now why the film was recommended to me. One, Julie (the main character) dreams of being a writer. Two, she gets her start as a blogger and three, she follows her passion as a guide to her art.

I find that I am by no means either Julie or Julia, but they did remind me of a few important things. If you love something, do it, even if you don't know where it will lead you. Making a dream reality does not necessarily happen overnight and you have to stick with the things you love, even when the reward is not immediately apparent. I guess you do the things you love, purely because you love them and not because you are seeking approval from someone else. Both ladies did seem to be working for approval, but there was also something else driving their efforts. I think that was their passion for the thing they loved; cooking.

I remember my own early blogging. I'm not entirely sure what compelled me to do it, but when I was really sick, and I was not sure what MS had in store for me, it felt like I was doing something. More importantly, blogging brought me back to one of the things I love. It brought me back to writing and it gave me a reason to write. I think I felt that I had a story worth telling. I also thought that maybe someone who needed my words would find them. I wrote for myself but I was never unaware of my audience. I guess the idea that I had an audience sometimes kept me writing when I might have stopped otherwise. Julie made some great points about following through. Maybe it does not really matter, but sometimes I feel best when I feel like I am doing something. I am still not sure why. I am learning to get over the idea that I am my accomplishments but when I have no goals in mind, I find myself adrift. Sometimes, I just feel like I need to produce in order to have a reason to get up every day. I long for free time but when it is before me, I am sometimes anxious in the not doing.

Passion does seem very important to me. I have a hard time getting excited about things I am not passionate about. Creating art and writing, inspires me. Yoga, dance and song, inspire me. It is my passions that carry me between the mundane tasks of life. While I long for free time, it is not free time I really want, it is time to pursue my passions.

I am trying to plot ways to balance my committments with my desires. It seemed to me that Julie lacked that balance, but Julia somehow had it. I'm trying to see my way to a life that is balanced, where I keep doing the things I love, but do not stress myself out trying to do too many things.

I had to remind myself earlier about having compassion on myself. It seems I can always tell a friend to take a break, but the minute I find myself under the weather or hanging out in bed, I feel guilty. I question the validity of my rest. I wonder if I am truly ill or just depressed. I find it so hard to take a break. I find it hard to justify the time I spend doing the things I want to do rather than the things I have to do. Again, I guess I am just seeking balance--

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reflection 1/16/10

It has been so long since I even had a minute to think about blogging that I almost don't know where to begin. I'll start with the facts.

I have been super-busy since the beginning of the year. Actually, I have worked every day since January 2nd but the end is in sight. Monday, I have the day off from teaching school and teaching yoga. As I mentioned in December, this month I have a number of extra committments. Little Animals (yoga for ages 3-7) has kicked off successfully but teaching such young kids, is more than I bargained for. Luckily, I now have a plan and only two weeks left to go. I have also been subbing like crazy at the yoga studio and on Sunday, I also taught aerial yoga again.

Then there is my regular teaching job... This term is nuts. I teach three yoga classes in the morning. This is great but also very demanding physically. Today it seems to have caught up to me. I am completely exhausted and my whole body is aching.

I am currently teaching "intervention classes" all afternoon to kids who got Ds and Fs last term in Language Arts. Their major commonality is that they speak English as a Second Language but in other ways, they are a bit more diverse. Some of them are special education students. Some are good kids who just need help with English. There is another group with attendance issues and last but not least, the fabulous group of "behaviorally challenged" kids who make the whole process hell for everyone. Each day is a battle to get a word in edgewise. There are a few kids who never shut up. They can't seem to control the foul language spilling from their mouths or to stop sexually harassing people. I have been called "woman" twice, to which I snapped, "I do not belong to you and I am not your woman. Don't ever speak to a teacher that way..." Yesterday I had to kick a kid out for telling a girl to "Open her legs." Dios mio, where do these children come from?

Despite the insanity, I sometimes suspect that a few kids are learning in my room but none of us have been set up for success here. I am still wondering what my boss was thinking. It seems genius to throw all the struggling kids into one room, leave no supports or time for remediation and to expect us all to succeed. Then again, who am I to judge? So I keep trying my best, working more than I have in years and reminding myself that I have a mortgage to pay.

I have determined that there is no room in my life for MS at all. Any exacerbations that planned to visit will just have to wait because time off is out of the question. I am hanging on by thinking positive thoughts about my prognosis, sleeping whenever I can, trying to follow my diet and forcing myself to take my copaxone shot even when I want to hurl it out the window.

I realize that you can't will MS away but I figure I will just keep trucking as best I can for now. I won't dwell on what ifs? even when I feel sick like I do today. I will think positive thoughts about tomorrow. I will live in the moment, one day at a time reminding myself, "I am ok right now."

Sometimes I find myself complaining or fixated on the things in my life that are not working but I try to remember that it is a good life. There will be hard times and times when I can't do everything I want to because I am so busy surviving but the truth is, I live a comfortable life. Lately, I have been thinking about the people in Haiti and trying to send good thoughts their way. My troubles seem small when I compare my life to those of others, even those in my own city. I have a great deal to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful to live in a nice house, to be able to care for myself and to have loving people in my life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'd Rather be Blogging

Perhaps some of you are wondering where I have gone. So busy, I can hardly think. January promises to be very hectic but I am still alive (LOL). I'll be back when some of the dust clears...