To those who have struggled with MS for many years, five months may seem trivial, but to me, as a so-called beginner, it’s been a long five months. I feel like I’m just beginning to understand the changes in my life, I am just beginning to learn how to deal with these changes. In other words I feel like a MS preschooler.
Do you remember preschool? For most, it’s a happy time of life. MS and preschool are surprisingly similar!
ABCopaxone. Preschoolers learn their ABC’s. The first thing I did was learn about was the various drugs available for MS. I chose Copaxone and inject myself daily. Did this scare me to death at first? Yes, (I may have cried) but now that I’m experienced, it’s no big deal.
Nap Time. Do you remember rolling out a mat for your preschool nap? Turns out, a daily nap works great for MS too! At least that’s the excuse I keep giving myself.
Recess-it’s not just for kids! Possibly the best part of preschool was recess. I have very few memories of preschool, but I do remember sliding down a slide at recess time. In MS, “recess” is simple: Exercise daily! I walk on my treadmill when possible. Something as simple as stretching also helps me feel better. I have a beginner’s Yoga App on my iPad that I’m starting to love too. Do what works for you.
Arts & Crafts. Every month Copaxone shows up on my doorstep, packed in ice, in a Styrofoam cooler. The coolers are starting to pile up in our garage. My children happily used two of these coolers to make Valentine’s Day Mailboxes to take to their school Valentines parties. What other creative ways can you think of to use those coolers?
Dress Ups. Did you have dress ups in Preschool? A box of costumes that facilitated becoming someone or something else? These days I feel like I am constantly wearing a costume. My first MS symptom was numbness in my right hand. After a few weeks, the numbness escalated into outright pain. Not being able to use my hand interfered with my ability to blow dry and straight iron my hair. So I gave up the hair battle and have gone naturally curly, which is much, much easier. Do I like my curly hair? I’m trying to. I still feel like it’s not really me (ironically), hence the “costume,” but I’m trying my best to adjust.
Story Time. Where do we get our MS stories? From the Internet of course! There are many great online resources for MS. In the early days soon after my diagnosis, I spent time reading all kinds of information online. After a while though, it just got plain depressing. The uncertainties of MS can be scary for newbies, but it is important to be informed of all the good, the bad and the ugly. Knowledge brings power!
Field Trips. We get to take field trips too! Trips to your doctor’s office can be fun! Ok, maybe not fun, but at least helpful. And maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get a sucker.
Play/Game time. Are you exercising your brain? I’d never played a Sudoku game in my life till a couple of months ago. Try it, your brain will thank you!
Wash your Hands. We learned in preschool how to wash our hands. This is more important than ever, keep those germs away, keep yourself healthy. Always remember to wash your hands before injections.
Graduation! I’m going to go out on a ledge here and assume you graduated from preschool with flying colors. I did too! This gives me hope that sooner or later, I will be a graduate of MS preschool. Wish me luck.