Once I heard the words “Yes, this is a confirmed diagnosis of MS.” I am not sure what I felt first, confused, anger or overwhelm. I knew what I was feeling physically, I felt extremely fatigued, my migraines were off the charts in frequency and pain levels, I tingled down the entire left side of my body; top of my head to the bottoms of my foot, and I had this crazy annoying pinching feeling in the back of my left arm and the same feeling wrapped halfway around my ribs; spine to sternum — lovingly known as a MS hug — feels nothing like a hug by the way!! I knew my life was about to change for sure, but I didn’t know how.
They let me know I probably had this disease for years, starting in my mid-20s by virtue of my lesions and some “possible symptoms” I had on and off over the years. I literally blew them off, because they were sporadic and didn’t last very long. I use to trip over my left foot, just walking on flat surfaces. Jokingly I’d say to myself “I wonder if that is MS” Since my sister was diagnosed, it was always in the back of my mind. Everyone in my family had some kind of ailment or illness except me so my mind always wondered. I also had some muscle spasms and this funny fluttering in my ribs. I just ignored it and chalked it up to nerves, or something else. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 40 years old, June, 2012. How did I hold it at bay for so long?
My doctors told me it was more likely than not due to how I took care of myself. While I always had a weight issue, I worked out regularly and took supplements and that is what probably kept me normalized for the most part. They cannot say 100% for sure if that is the case, but I will have to agree with them on this one. Why, you ask? Six months before my diagnosis my mother passed away. I was devastated and went into a depression of sorts 😞. Not the typical depressing most people think of. I didn’t pull away from everyone, hide in my room, stop talking to everyone and cry all the time. However, I was tired A LOT , and I had no desire for my workouts and couldn’t care less about cooking healthy, fast food was just fine with me! I forgot to take my supplements all the time, so I just stop taking them all together, because it was a chore to get them ready. In those six months I gained about 10 pounds. And almost five months after her death my symptoms kicked in and little by little they increased. Then, basically six month to almost the date, my symptoms were full blown and out of control and I had my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
Now I am not going to lie, I couldn’t get my life together for about two years as far as working out and eating healthy. Mostly because the doctors told me I couldn’t do most of the things I use to do before workout-wise and I felt crazy going to the gyms. They were worried I’d hurt myself, falling or something of the like so I was discouraged to say the least not to mention I had put on a total 30 extra pounds within three months after the diagnosis. I could no longer distinguish between what was MS and what was me being in pain because of my weight.
FINALLY I found a workout program I could do at home, completely modified along with a all natural nutritional shake that MADE MY LIFE. A program I could start from ground zero with lots of accountability and support. If you’d like to know more about that program Click Here And Check It Out! It made all the difference and within only 42 days I had lost approximately 13 lbs and I can’t even remember how many inches, but this is what it looked like~
Click the pics if you’d like to know more about my fitness journey! 🤗
And my symptoms were starting to fade. I wasn’t cured and NO! I didn’t stop taking my preventative meds. Over time I noticed I didn’t have to modify as much and I could do the workouts just like the people I was watching on TV. Even better I could out do my 6’3″, physically fit Hubbinator (that is my husband, for those who don’t know..😂) And he was still in the Army at that point.🏋🏼♀️
It’s been approximately three years since I started this journey and there are days when my MS still gets MSessy 🤷♀️and I have a bad day, but it doesn’t last long and I usually know what’s triggering it. I didn’t drink enough water, or eat enough vegetables. I ate too much white bread. I didn’t drink my shake for a few days (I NEVER DO THAT… ANYMORE 😳) but I did in the beginning, because I didn’t realize how much of an impact it had on me. Now my workouts are very intense, I still use some modifications, because I have some bad knees. Being 5’ and 225 pounds at one point in my life, did some damage that I can’t be fixed with weight loss alone and require surgery and I’d rather not do that at this point, so I prefer to modify when needed and wear knee braces. I don’t let ANYTHING hold me back. I push harder than ever, but I do know my limits. When I first started, my limit was working out no longer than 30 minutes MAX. Now I can do 45 minutes and few days and 60 a few days, but I can’t do 60 minutes every day or I will fatigue out. I can workout 6 days a week, but I HAVE to have a rest day. I need self-care. Massage and chiropractic care from time to time, because I have slight scoliosis. I listen to my body. I take a week off about once every three months. I also have cheat meals from time to time and enjoy the food I eat without guilt. I just don’t indulge to the point of getting over stuffed. I hate feeling that full; makes me feel sick.
I have to say this again..I AM NOT A DOCTOR, but I KNOW everyone with Relapsing/Remitting MS and other functional autoimmune diseases should find a healthy lifestyle (actually everyone in this world, but since I’m talking to my Ninjas, you get where I am coming from right now). Incorporate exercise in your life. Just like Newtons’ First Law, a body in motion, stays in motion! Conversely, a body that stops will grow weak and more sickly (mentally and physically). You will notice that if you stay immobile and you have the ability to actually move, your muscles will begin to atrophy, meaning they will gradually deteriorate and become ineffective due to underuse or neglect! You need those active endorphins in your life that come from exercise to stimulate your muscles and your brain cells. It makes your body feel better and your spirit! Start slow, you don’t have to be fit in a day, you didn’t get unfit in a day!! You also don’t have to be the most healthy eater instantly. You didn’t start unhealthy eating habits in one day either. It’s a process and you have to give yourself a break and understand sometimes you have to take things in segments. I can teach you how to do this. If you are interested. You can schedule a clarity session with me! CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE!
So, that is my story,! It’s why you see me sweating my bunz off at what looks like workouts that may be killing me, but they aren’t. They are just challenging my mind and body to go where it hasn’t before. Even when I was doing the minimal, most modified moves ever, guess what? I was still doing more than the undiagnosed, possibly, healthy person who was sitting on the couch doing nothing! So I rock! 😝 You can too and I know it! Because we all have an inner Ninja waiting to come out!
What do I mean by never letting a day go by without happiness? I mean just that! NEVER let a day go by with you!. PERIOD! POINT BLANK! We all live in this life and for what it’s worth we walk through it day by day and we have a choice we can choose to live happy life everyday or we can choose to live the life by means of our circumstances! If you have been on this earth more than a few days, you already know the circumstances we have in life on a daily basis fluctuate from one moment to the next.
There is not a day in our life will we will not run into a circumstance that makes us us want to laugh, cry, scream, jump for joy, drive us up a wall, make us super dope angry, do back flips, hurt our feelings, or make us want to just throw in the towel and give up! This is how how life is, it’s an everyday rat race where good things, bad things, happy things and sad things all happen at some point. It’s our own little emotional roller coaster and most of the time we cannot control what the circumstance is that is going to occur, we can merely control our emotions.
Living with MS only amplifies those emotions, because OK days can become bad days and bad days can become worse days and I think you get the picture here. It can start physical with symptoms that feel awkward or painful and turn into a mental battle than feels like we are fighting a fight that cannot be won. Here is where I implement mental fortitude. I have to tell myself what I want and how I will make my day look. Don’t get it twisted, some days I don’t alway succeed at the perfect day, but what it does do it allow me to get the best out of every day, even the worse days.
Over my lifetime I’ve dealt with a lot of pain and turmoil. Unfortunately, when I was younger I didn’t deal with it very well and I hurt many people and myself in more ways that I could begin to type in this blog. Maybe I’ll share some of my stories in the future. Long story short, I was angry, sad and hurt most of my young and young adult life. I wore that pain like a badge, not necessarily of honor, but more like a warning to everyone around me…I’M DAMAGED, BACK UP. Let me tell you how heavy that badge became. OMGoooosh! It was like carrying around the entire world on my shoulders. It took me a long time to realize no matter what I was going through, LITERALLY no matter how bad the circumstance was in my life, there were a few things that would never change and once I learned them it was like I dropped that heavy CRAPTASTIC world and was toting around a feather.
- If I couldn’t control it, I couldn’t let it control me, so release it
- As bad as it seemed, I always learned something from it…ALWAYS
- 99.5% of the time, I learned there was something GOOD in EVERY circumstance
- If it involved a person treating me bad, me moving on in happiness and succeeding was icing on the cake and they couldn’t ever take that away from me
- MY LIFE…MY RULES!!! 😝(Insert nanny nanny boo boo face/dance here – – LOL) I will not dwell in negative
- When you love ❤️yourself, deeply and truly, no one person can take it from you
- The past is where it should be, walking forward is ok, looking back to teach others what not to do is the only reason to go back
- Laughter IS REAL medicine…No one can prescribe it to you but it’s available at all times
- Dancing to your favorite song/music will change your mood 💯% (even if you cannot dance)💁
- Letting go of things and people is more liberating than anyone can ever know. Remove the clutter, YES some people are clutter…they are no longer a necessary part of your world any longer to include some family members
I know, I know, I know, easier said than done! I can already hear it in your mind as you read. You probably said it out loud. How do I just CHOOSE to be happy? It’s a process. You have to train your brain to react differently when you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing for so long. Think of it like this. Ever been driving down the street and someone cuts you off or is driving super slow when you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry? Most of us immediately react with a negative response. YELLING, SCREAMING, CURSING, HONKING. How dare that person cut me off or drive so slow???? First, see how ironic this is right? We get mad in both instances! One they are driving fast and crazy and in the other way too slow. In both we have the same reaction and in both the car in front cannot hear us – Unless we honk, and yet we somehow feel vindicated in our one-sided blast of obscenities like it will change the situation. Guess what? It won’t! Now, imagine if we didn’t have that type of reaction? What if we thought, I wonder what that person is going through to make them do that? Maybe they are rushing to a hospital or to a job interview and if they don’t get the job they’ll lose their house. Maybe they are dealing with a terrible situation and don’t even realize they are driving so slow, but just in deep thought.
Strange to think about I know! We snap to negative because we are in our own worlds, in our little bubbles, worrying about our own selves. Sadly, we have been that person before, accidently cutting someone off, or driving distracted for one reason or another. Giving the “I’m sorry or I apologetic” wave 🤚 as they pass with their middle finger waving hello to us as they pass.🤦♀️
Simply put it’s MINDSET. You have to train yourself to think about before you act, or think before you allow yourself to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity. You have to stop, literally STOP and think about what is going on and try to capture good in the moment, something you can be thankful for or something that will make you smile. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes or just take a breath and relax. It’s not easy at first, but practice makes perfect, or at least makes it easier. Because if we are real, and I know I am, we all have knee jerk reactions to circumstances, I am the worse sometimes. It is normal and that makes us human. However, it’s how we deal with it in the long term that will make us a happier human 😁😜 And trust me when I say I’d rather be happier and carry around that feather than angry and sad and carry around that weighted world any day!
As I wrap this up, I hope you take what I’ve learned and use some of these techniques below to release the negative in your world. They have helped me tremendously and I know they can help you too
- Positive Self Talk (Affirmations)
- Exercise (at least 20 minutes – dance your little hearts out)
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Let’s discuss Ninja community, shall we!! I could literally list about 10-20 different items you should stay away from with you have an auto-immune disease like Multiple Sclerosis. Today I am going to talk about one in particular. So many people use it and sometimes we don’t even realize we do. Fake Sugars. Yep, that is it, FAKE SUGARS.
DISCLAIMER!!! – – I feel the need to state here, I am not a doctor. I can only state my experience with Fake Sugars and what others have told me to validate my experiences. This may or may not be the case with you.
Her are some of the side effects that occur when consuming Fake Sugars (Sucralose and Aspartame most commonly known as Splenda and NutraSweet respectively)
- Digestive Issues
- More Seriously concerns that have not been verified but stated (MS, Lupus, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s)
A lot of research done will say no real harm can be found when ingesting these fake sugars. HOWEVER, this is what I do know. Even if they do not cause the aforementioned “more serious concerned’ diseases but you happen to have been diagnosed with one and you get any of the more common side effects, you will more likely than not, have a flair up.
Our bodies are meant to process natural foods, foods that were created of the earth and grown naturally. Over the decades we have become a society of convenience and want everything fast and in a hurry. Our children play less outside and do more on computers and video games. Over time, this has created a society of obesity. As they take away our children’s arts and physical activities from the schools and replace them with the all-powerful technology of the future, it’s becoming more evident that sitting, computing, gaming and going through a drive through has become our day-to-day.
Everyone then wants the quick fix to becoming obese. The fad diet, famous cleanses, and FAKE SUGARS seemed to be the answer. Trust me when I say, it’s not! Unfortunately, you can find these sugars in all kinds of things without even knowing it. It’s in oatmeal, yogurt, snacks, just about anything that says diet or low calorie and a lot that doesn’t advertise at all.
When I would ingest the foods with these sugars my body didn’t process it properly and it ended up confused. I never lost the weight I wanted and I would eat more than I should based on cravings and not feeling full. Those common side effects listed above, I probably had every one of them. And when I do, they trigger my symptoms and make me feel like CRAP! My migraines were so bad I had to take preventative medications just to get through a day. I had more migraines in a month than I didn’t. When I started my healthy life-style change fake sugar was one of the first things I removed from my diet. I immediately noticed a change in my migraines and in my symptoms. Now if I accidentally eat something that has fake sugar in it, without knowing it’s an ingredient, if it’s a large enough portion I will feel it immediately! Everyone may not have the same sensitivity to this as I do, but I have spoken to numerous individuals with MS and other autoimmune diseases that have made healthy life-style changes and they too have seen similar results.
When my body is not “feeling right” and I am feeling “off’ for some reason, I know I attribute it to not eating the way my body is meant to be fueled about 90% of the time. My MS will trigger very shortly afterwards and I know I have to get back on track.
This is not the holy grail of what to do when you have one of these diseases, but I would definitely try it for at least 90 days. It takes your body at least that long to gather it’s senses and start seeing a difference. What could it hurt? I mean, it could lead to a lot of good and if it absolutely does nothing you can return to your old ways!
BONUS INFO: HYDRATE…HYDRATE…HYDRATE…
Our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water. When we are dehydrated our body goes into over drive and we can cause inflammation in certain areas of the body…again causing symptoms in individuals with autoimmune diseases. If you drink a lot of caffine, increase your H2O cup per cup over the daily amount. Your daily amount of water should be approximately ½ your body weight in ounces.