As a kid, I hated sleeping. It took away from playing and just being awake. As an adult? My views have changed, I need my sleep, I love my sleep. There's nothing better than getting into a nice comfy bed and roll up like a burrito and slip into some sweet, blissful shut eye. So what's the problem?
For me, It's not that easy. I find it hard to fall asleep and with my MS, it doesn't make things any better. If anything, the 2 hours it used to take me to fall asleep has turned into 4 BUT that's okay because I have spent the last couple of months tweaking and adding things to my routine to aid in my sleep and I am going to share with you some of those things!
|| A BEDROOM MAKEOVER : Now, I know not everyone can just go and buy a bunch of new furniture with the snap of a finger but luckily we were coming around to finally getting a new bedroom set after having one that belonged to my Fiancé when he was in early high school. All our bedroom furniture was dark brown, bulky and made the room feel even smaller than it already was. I don't like to use the word hate, so I will say I strongly disliked our bedroom furniture. It never felt like ours, I never had a comfortable sleep because all I could think about is how much I disliked our bedroom set up. Yes that seems ridiculous to care so much about the aesthetics of it but it really effected my sleep. When you spend much of your day in there, you want it to be cozy, relaxing, a retreat you get to come to at the end of the day. So that is what we did, got a new bed, bedding, dresser, bedside tables and stretched and hung some art from the wall.
|| HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP : I replaced our generic side table lamps for our salt lamps. They give a much more comforting glow to them, it feels like you're always at the spa. They're a great alternative to regular side tables for some of the following reasons : Neutralizes EMF (that come from your TV and other electric appliances in your home by creating positive ions, the salt lamp produces negative ions, in turn removing it form the air. Deodorizes and cleans the air we breathe, great for those with asthma or allergies. It also Increases your mood and helps you sleep by improving the blood and oxygen that has to travel to the brain. Plus it's an environmentally friendly source of light! What's not to love?!
|| ADD SOME PLANTS : This is important because it is nice to have some greenery in your room but it's great for your health. I'm still working on more plants to be brought in the bedroom but a great one that is at the top of my list is the Aloe Vera Plant. Why? Because It produces oxygen which in turn helps you to breathe at night, plus it's great if you have any cuts, scrapes or burns to apply the gel topically.
|| ESSENTIAL OILS OR SCENTSY : This transforms your home. There is nothing better than walking into your bedroom after having your scentsy or room diffuser on and having such a wonderful smell. My favourite scent right now is Eucalyptus and here's why : it smells wonderful and it helps you breathe with ease at night. It is so soothing.
|| SLEEP APP : I downloaded an app called SleepBot and the purpose of it is to help track your movement and where you're at in your sleep cycle before it sets off the morning alarm to start your day. Something as simple as this has helped so much. It's worth it, if you have your alarm set for 7am it will go off anywhere in the 30 minute time span before the original alarm was timed for, allowing it to wake you up at the end of a cycle as opposed to in the middle of one. Even after a couple days of waking up at the right time, has improved how I felt first thing in the morning, I don't feel sluggish, which is what I struggle with daily.
|| MEDITATION OR WHITE NOISE : The last thing I am going to share with you that I do is listen to either a meditation or white noise and in some cases, both! If i've had a stressful day hectic day I listen to a calming and relaxing meditation through youtube. There are so many great free options out there on the internet. Some are meant to help me fall asleep, whereas others I listen to the full thing, sitting up on my bed with my eyes closed, comfortably of course. Then once it's completed I will turn on a white noise sound and lay down for the night.
It may seem like a lot of steps to create an oasis to be able to fall asleep in but this is the time where your body is recharging to start a new day so why wouldn't you want you body and soul to feel good?! This is not in place of medical advice from a doctor, I'm definitely not an expert but these are little things I've been doing and I've been benefitting from them ! If your sleep condition is something of concern please speak to your GP.
Sweet Dreams Friends!
It's been a few months since my last post about keeping active with my MS. Lots has happened in this time and I felt it was time for a little update. Exhaustion and the nerve pain has continued to be the biggest struggle with this disease so far. Towards the end of September, I was starting to experience weakened legs and arms. I first noticed this issue when I was attending my Strength Training Classes. I wasn't able to do as much as I normally could, halving the weight I'd usually lift.
For the weeks following, I skipped classes and just took it easy at home. I was starting to use my cane here and there until time went on and by the end of the first week of October I was using it full time. This led me to my follow up neuro appt which he had advised me to get put on another round of IV steroids (Solu Medrol). I did just a quick 3 day dose and within the following two weeks things seemed to be improving, no cane and most of my strength brought back other symptoms slowing down. I was scheduled for my 4th MRI of the year on November 2nd which went smooth. Currently waiting on the radiologists full report but so far it's looking pretty good all things considered. Some of the lesions on my brain have healed up and disappeared, which is the best news I have heard in a while.
Moving forward, we determined the current treatment I am on (which was a once a day pill known as Aubagio) isn't working for me so I have been doing the washout. This includes an orange powder (8g) which I mix into some orange juice and have 3 times a day. Following this I will do some blood work to double check it's fully out of my system and then go ahead and start a new treatment. Due to 3 relapses in less than two years, I am being approved to start a second line of therapy treatment and the two I've narrowed it down to are Tysabri (a once a month infusion) or Lemtrada (a 2 time infusion treatment).
I have chosen to go with Tysabri as plan A, I did some blood work last week to find out if I have the JC virus in my body. If this is the case, my doctor would prefer me to go straight to Lemtrada as going on Tysabri with this virus can cause some serious side effects including a brain infection.
I have a neuro appointment at the end of this week to find out all the updated info and to figure out our next plan of action. In the meantime, having no medication in my system to protect me from relapse, I am going to take it easy and not over do it to ensure I don't fall back. So for now, feel free to browse the rest of my site and I will update on this space once new information surfaces.
One thing I have learnt with having my MS is to keep active. Being off work for 5 months and spending a lot of time on the couch, eating more and sleeping I have naturally put on a few extra pounds. I don't mind the extra pounds, it's the strength I want to keep up with.
Only fitting, I signed up for a membership at my local MS society here in Saskatoon. $18 for two years gets me a membership at the YWCA gym and access to other great resources. I decided to get up off the couch and make my way to the strength training class. It was a great experience and I am thankful I was able to get myself there to try it out.
I was excited, but very hesitant on the whole experience, not knowing what I would be capable of. I was nervous I wouldn't have guidance and I'd look like a hot mess trying to figure out what machine to use, if I was doing it right or even working the proper muscles. Luckily, there was a trainer that worked with me the entire hour to introduce me to a couple a machines, found a weight that would be good to start with and some warm up and cool down exercises.
I have lost a lot of strength in my arms over the last 5 months so I am starting the Chest press and Shoulder press at the 10 pound mark, 2-3 sets with 12-15 reps. I am riding the bike for 20 minutes for some cardio and as I attend more sessions they will continue to add a couple more machines to my routine to work every area of my body.
It is so important to keep active, I plan on going to these classes every Tuesday and Thursday, do some yoga at home and get to the gym at least one or two more times a week depending on how well I'm doing that day. My aim is to tone my body but more importantly to keep my body healthy to slow down any progression of the disease.
Anyone else with MS, have you been taking steps to make sure you stay as healthy as possible? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below !
I am a very open person when it comes to certain aspects of my life. After being diagnosed with MS, I had to do a lot of reading up on it as I wasn't fully aware of what the whole disease entailed. Everyone has their up days and their down days, I am lucky to say mentally, I have more up than down.
I want to have this page on my website, to share my journey with others as I am quite young, (21 at the time of diagnosis) and I feel there aren't that many resources out there for such young adults going through this. I am still learning but whether you're younger, older, have had it for many years or newly diagnosed, we can all appreciate the fight we are going through and pass on positive vibes and encourage each other.
I am going to go into how I went about being diagnosed, what led to it, all the juicy details. It all started back in November of 2014, I was 20 at the time working in a local coffee shop of the small BC town I was living in. I woke up with what I thought was a nasty viral infection, shooting pains, numb legs and arms, vertigo. Spent weeks going back and forth to the hospital, after blood work and CT scans, nothing appeared, it was an unexplained illness. I had never felt that kind of pain and exhaustion, I was in the process of getting ready to move provinces and so I had to quit my job sooner than expected due to not being able to function properly.
Everything went back to normal after 5 weeks, it was as if nothing happened. Fast forward to December 2015, I woke up with blurry vision in my right eye. I thought maybe my prescription was changing, or I scratched my eye so I went to the optometrist. Everything checked out on the front of my eye, it was swelling of the optic nerve so she sent me to the opthamologist at the hospital. My eyes at this point were getting so bad I was holding on to the wall when I would walk, I stopped driving because I was seeing double. On January 5th of 2016, I got admitted to the hospital, they ran an MRI and on January 6th 2016, they gave me the official diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis with 8 brain lesions to accompany it.
Fast forward to July of 2016, I have since had 5 rounds of treatment to bring both my eyes back to acceptable vision, I've had other forms of medical treatment and I am currently waiting on an updated MRI to determine if the current MS medication I am on is even working. I am transitioning into a healthier and cleaner lifestyle to ease the struggle of my MS and that is why this website has been born. Makeup is becoming harder for me to be able to do so I would love to have a place to share my other passions and hobbies as well to keep my sanity in tact.
I love the support I have been receiving over the last 5 months with my life, it makes adjusting a lot easier. Keep an eye on this page of my site to keep up with my progress and as I learn more myself, I will share with everyone!