Friday, August 31, 2012

yoga for dummies

The picture above is pretty much what I picture yoga to be about.
Or this:

And while I have been doing yoga, yoga-ing, practicing yoga for about 6 months, trust me that I don't look like either of these pictures. Trust me.

It surprises me how much I like it.
It surprises me how much I need it.

I'm doing a very easy-beginner-free app that I put on my iToy. I do it in the privacy of my own home. Occasionally my kids will join me. It takes twenty minutes, it's nothing fancy. Think yoga for dummies.

The first time I ever tried it, I spent the whole time muttering to myself, "I feel like an idiot."  And the second time and the third time and so on......but then I realized that every time I did yoga, I felt better.

It's a good way for me to stretch out all kinds of muscles. I'm really bad at the "breathing" that is supposed to accompany the stretching, but I'm really just doing yoga as a way to facilitate stretching, so I wonder if it matters?

I try and do yoga at least 4-5 times a week.  Sometimes I make my goal, sometimes not. When I don't make my goal, I always feel it.  It's as if my muscles are tightening up like beef jerky that's been left out in the sun too long. 

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society refers to muscle issues as spasticity.

Spasticity refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms (sustained muscle contractions or sudden movements). It is one of the more common symptoms of MS. Spasticity may be as mild as the feeling of tightness of muscles or may be so severe as to produce painful, uncontrollable spasms of extremities, usually of the legs. Spasticity may also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints, and can cause low back pain. Although spasticity can occur in any limb, it is much more common in the legs.
While this sounds like my problem, what I don't know is, if it really is spasticity or is it just a result of having to rest so much due to fatigue? 
That's what I like to do with MS, play the guessing game.  Well, it could be this, but maybe it's this. Or how about this? It does wonders for my peace of mind.
Regardless of what the issue is causing my muscle tightness, yoga seems to be doing the trick.  Even a dummy version seems to be helping.
Although, the real question is, if I bought a peach colored loin cloth would it work even better?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How YOU doin'

Do you remember Joey Tribbiani from Friends? Matt LeBlanc in the hilarious role as a slightly clueless Italian playboy?

Every time he'd see a good looking girl he would say, "How YOU doin'?"

People ask me that a lot.  Though not necessarily in the Italian-Joey-I'm looking to score sort of way. Sometimes I think they really do want to know, but I know that sometimes we say it just out of habit. "Hi! How are you?" I have said those exact words to complete strangers, when truthfully I didn't know them or really care how they were.

Lately, I never really know how to answer this question.

I'm generally a private person (yes, I recognize the irony of a blogger saying that). And I'm usually pretty optimistic, so my normal built in response is, "Good!", or "Fine!" I don't even think about it, the words just fly out of my mouth.

One friend in particular, after hearing that response, looked me in the eye and said, "No really, how are you doing?"


So I'm trying to be more honest in my responses.

But then I wonder if people really want to know?  Do they want to know that I feel crappy most of the time?  Doubtful.  Chronically sick people can be boring. 

So I'm trying out the response, "Depends on the day."  Which is true.  Sometimes I'm so-so.  Sometimes I'm terrible.

I hope that someday I can reply with truthful words, "I'm great, how are you?"

Until then, Depends on the day, is going to be my answer. 

Like it or not.

How about you?  Do you answer truthfully or out of habit?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

shallow is as shallow does

I'm feeling very shallow today.

It's my hair.

Like most women, I want my hair to be something it's not.  It seems that if we're blessed with naturally curly hair, we want it straight.  If it's straight we wish for curls.

I fall into the naturally curly category.

My hair was a raggedy mess through Junior High as it slowly started turning from straight to curly. I was still brushing it with a brush every day wishing and hoping I could get "feathered bangs." A look that sadly (possibly thankfully) I never could master. My hair just wouldn't cooperate.  Real hair brushes and curly hair are a bad, bad combination that results in really poofy hair.

In high school, I got rid of the brush and had learned how to deal with all the curls, .  My long curly locks were the source of much admiration as all my friends paid big bucks to achieve their spiral curls with perms.

I was curly all through college and happy about it.  Naturally curly hair is easy to maintain and I considered it "my look."

After college when my first baby came, my hair started to loose some of it's curl.  After my second baby 18 months later (!) a lot of the curl was gone.  In a regrettable mood one day I had it all chopped off.  I pretty much looked like a boy and the curl was definitely gone.  It turned out that I didn't like looking like a boy and it took a long time to grow out.

Now here I am, 14 years and five kids later.  Slowly my curly hair has returned, but I've worn it straight almost the entire time.  I consider myself a straight hair person.

Enter MS.

The first indicator I had that something was wrong was when my right hand went numb for a week.
Eventually both of my hand were so numb that I could barely use them.  My straight hair was one of the first causalities.  I just couldn't blow it straight with a round brush and then flat iron it. Out of the question.  I decided going curly was the best option.

Great idea except for one thing.  I've hated it every single day since. I just don't like the curly hair anymore.  It's not me, it makes me feel like I'm 20.  (I'm not 20.)

Medication has given me my hands back (mostly) so, after weeks of deliberation, I decided to go back to straight hair.  There are so many aspects of my life that MS is making miserable. Things that I have no control over whatsoever.  But I can, to a degree, control my hair. I still have a choice.  And my choice for now is straight hair. 

I went to a hair salon this morning and got it cut.

It may be shallow.  It's definitely dumb.  It is just hair after all, but if it makes me happy that's all I care about.

I know that there is always the possibility that in the future of this dumb disease, I may progress to a point that I can't "do" it anymore. If that day comes, I'll go back to curly, but for now at least, I am in control of my silly hair.

Take that, MS.