When I first discovered I had MS the initial shock was immense. I couldn’t see how I could get through and how I could remain the same person.
I am not the same person I was then, but I feel MS has given me the opportunity to appreciate things in my life, I took for granted before. Yes, it shapes my day, but it also makes me much more aware of how I use my time and how I try to look after myself.
I’ve always been a fitness junkie. When I got my diagnosis my doctor said I was lucky as this would serve me well. I can’t run around and play tennis like I used to but MS has opened me up to new sports and a whole new fitness regime.
I tend to get up around 8.30am. In my pre-MS I often skipped breakfast – now that’s a really no, no – it’s become my most important meal; I eat healthily and it’s what gets me started.
Usually I’m lucky because my husband will take the kids to school, so by 9.30am I’ll be working out: weight-training or cardio. Running is hard these days so I spend time on an exercise bike and it makes me feel great.
But what really sets me up for the day is my pilates – three times a week with Heather – and my weight training with Rod, as well as my physio and cardio training with Colin. I am very fortunate to have these three trainers in my life. They all play their different parts in making me the positive person I am today.
In the old days I use to go hammer and tongs when it came to exercise: these days I have learned to focus on strengthening my core, slow exercise and to breathe.
It’s massively improved my balance and my walking is better. Exercise is not now about how I look on the outside but how I feel on the inside, and pilates has been transformational.
Once I’ve exercised I can get on with normal life: lunch with friends, ferrying the kids to and fro. I usually overstretch myself, my house is always overrun with visitors and I find the MS gives me brain fog so I forget stuff, but my friends are understanding.
I have learned to plan my days so much better to avoid that. I think of myself as having ten spoonfuls of energy. If I use too much on one activity then I’ll have to park something else for another day. That’s just how it works with MS.
And these are the type of insights that I hope MS Positive will help me to share. You need to laugh and smile your way through life. Surround yourself with positive people. Remember when you’re frustrated or angry that there’s always someone else worse off than yourself.
When I first got MS my mentor said to me “you have to live your life with a big heart and make MS your friend– because it will be with you for the rest of your life and you can’t be angry all the time.” Now that’s MS Positive’s mission.