Drop Everything! #ThisIsMS Awareness Week

If I had to have a bumper sticker permanently affixed to my back, it would probably say, “Don’t follow in my footsteps, I bump into walls.” Actually, I don’t just “bump” into them, I tend to fall into them. Lately, I also lean on them when I walk to help keep my balance, but that’s neither here nor there. “I’m not drunk, I have Multiple Sclerosis” or “My bruises and scars tell a story, the story of my MS” are two common sayings in the MS community. Clumsiness and coordination issues are typical problems with MS. I noticed mine started about 8 or 9 years ago, but they gained momentum from 2017 onward and have really spiked in the past five months.

After I dropped the coffee can a week or so ago and was cleaning up millions of grounds from the kitchen floor, I got to thinking I should document all the things I drop in a single day. Since it is #MSAwarenessWeek , I thought it was as good of a time as any to share something MS related from my typical day.

So, the following are pictures of all the things I dropped that day, starting with the milk I got out to add to my coffee that morning. We ended up having to go old school and open the container like kids do from school milk cartons. When the carton fell, it somehow managed to tear the plastic rim of the pour spout away from the surrounding cardboard.

Next, I tried to make a fruit smoothie for breakfast. By the time I had finished there was probably only half of the yogurt left in the container because I dropped it…twice!

I really do try to be careful, but klutziness just happens wherever I go! {sigh} I’d like to say my gawkiness happens most when I am distracted or multi-tasking, and that I can control it by just focusing a bit more, but that’s not true. It does occur more often when I am tired, although it hits on less tired days, too.

I did eventually manage to finish making and eating the smoothie and moved on to taking my daily fiber gummies. I try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, but MS has a way of creeping into absolutely every part of life. When you can’t walk or exercise every day and you have to take medication to manage muscle spasms and excessive spasticity, it’s hard to keep your gut moving. I imagine you can work out the rest. Anyway, this peach flavored goo never made it to my mouth.

The rest of the day progressed in a somewhat graceful manner, but I decided to err on the side of caution when making dinner. Todd bought me these handy-dandy, cut-resistant gloves a few years ago to keep my digits safe. I thought they were a good idea, too. The P.A.s at urgent care were starting to check me over more closely and asking questions about my well-being after stitching me up on two separate occasions for knife wounds.

I’d made quite a large batch of beef stew that night and divided it up between a few single serving containers to put in the freezer and a larger container to keep some for dinner the next night. Thankfully, there was just a little bit left in this bowl before I ham-fisted stew all over the cooktop.

Despite the messy kitchen episodes, it had been a decent day in other rooms of the house. I frequently drop my toothbrush as I’m brushing my teeth and fling toothpaste all over the mirror, counter, sink, my clothes, and my face. I usually drop the TV remote at least once a day, but had managed okay this day. However, after dinner I decided to do a little reading. I dropped the book not once, not twice, but three times.

I officially became old eight years ago when I noticed I had to take my glasses off to read. I do have bifocals, but I usually prefer to read without them. As a result, I take my glasses on and off several times during the day. I dropped these exactly five times during the course of the day, which was about 40% of the time I messed with them. Two of these were during the time I was reading.

Before I went to bed that night I helped Todd fold the laundry. My P.J. bottoms ended up on the floor two times before Todd grabbed them from my hands and folded them up and put them away. I was really getting tired by then, and I think he knew they would end up crumpled on the floor a couple more times, so he saved me the effort and did it himself.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society http://www.nationalmssociety.org wrote the following for the first sentence describing MS Awareness Week 2019, “Every day, people living with MS do whatever it takes to move their lives forward despite the challenges.” Even though I’ve only been writing my blog for a little over a month, I’ve described my disease course and symptoms in several of my posts. Clumsiness and coordination problems are just a small part of my daily challenges. I encourage you to check out the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website this week and consider making a donation. Or, if you would rather wait, Todd will be riding for me in the MS 150 this fall. He will be signing up soon and you can donate to his team in my honor. They are so much closer to finding a cure now than when I was diagnosed 29 years ago, I think it is possible I will live to see them find out what causes it and possibly even a cure.

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