Welcome to Mellie's mind...

Where thoughts can be funny, can race at all hours of the day and night and can sometimes not make any sense!

Enjoy the ride!

Monday, November 25, 2013

MS and exercising

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." ~Proverbs 13:4

The day I was diagnosed this October with MS my Neurologist, Dr. Zarellie, discussed with my hubby and I not only my medication plan but also how important it was for me to get plenty of exercise.  

Dr. Zarellie explained to me that patients with MS who participated in aerobic activity tended to have less symptoms and relapses than those who do not. My hubby was quick to point out to Dr. Zarellie that I had been working out and actually transformed my body over the past few years with exercise and nutrition.  Dr. Zarellie contributed my lack of further development in MS due to the fact that I was so active while not on any kind of medication.

Knowing that aerobic exercise would possibly decrease my flare ups and possibly prevent anymore lesions from developing you would have thought I would have been on my treadmill that night running my little heart out.  However, that was not the case.

Much like my other posts I have found myself up and down in emotions towards this disease and how it is and will affect my life.  Knowing that there is a disease inside my body has taken a toll on me in more ways than I had ever expected.  There are days I am so angry that this is happening to me I want to scream out to my God asking why.  With all the struggles in my life as a child, a young adult and even now, why do I have to have this on top of it?  But with those fleeting moments of anger, bitterness and hate I tell myself I have to calm down and just deal with it just like I deal with everything else.

I have a Facebook page called "The Monthly Challenge" I created this page about two years ago and I use it to help motivate other people on how to change their lives and get healthy.  I talk about food, workouts, water consumption... anything and everything to try and help just one person change their life for the better and live the life they were meant to live.  I am finding that running this page is not only helping others it is helping me get myself back on track.  

On most days I will put out a daily challenge for the members of this page.  Heading into this week I decided there was to be an AM challenge for all willing to participate.  The AM challenge is a 35 minute cardio session.  It can be running, walking or doing the following routine that I created:

The purpose for the AM challenge for the members of the page is to burn stored fat.

This must be done within 20 minutes of waking up.

As Coach Dos discusses in his book Power Training, when you eat carbohydrates, your body stores them as glycogen in your liver and waits for your body to use them as fuel. When performing an aerobic activity, like walking, running on a treadmill, or doing a body weight cardio session your body has the option of using glycogen stores or fat stores. The problem is that your body won’t use any fat stores until your glycogen stores are used up.

At REST, your body burns its stored glycogen. Think as carbs/ glycogen as fuel in a gas tank. Your liver is your bodies' gas tank, and the carbs/glycogen is it's fuel.

After sleeping for 8 hours, you wake with an empty liver (no stored glycogen). Your body now MUST and WILL burn fat stores to fuel your am cardio session....provided you do not eat (which refills your liver/fuel tank).

So when you awake and cardio on an empty stomach, you WILL BURN FAT STORES.

It is imperative that you eat within 20 minutes of completing your cardio so your body does not consume it's muscle that you already have to continue to fuel your movement.
The purpose for the members of the page is to get them up and  moving to help reduce their stored fat,  but the purpose for ME is to assist in my MS as described by The National MS Society.
"In addition to being essential to general health and well-being, exercise is helpful in managing many MS symptoms. A study published by researchers at the University of Utah in 1996 was the first to demonstrate clearly the benefits of exercise for people with MS. Those patients who participated in an aerobic exercise program had better cardiovascular fitness, improved strength, better bladder and bowel function, less fatigue and depression, a more positive attitude, and increased participation in social activities. Since 1996, several additional studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise." ~National MS Society
I could have came up with a handful of excuses of why I did not want to do my cardio session today, one of them being my hubby had already given me my injection.  But I knew as I stood there staring at my treadmill that was all it was... an excuse.  I deserved to get my cardio session done. I deserved to treat my body the way it should be treated and no matter what kind of pain my leg was in I knew I had to push through it.
Having MS is about changing your current life in anyway you can to improve your ability to live a normal life.  It's about learning how to reduce stress and accepting what you have and making the best of it.  MS, for me, is about not being a victim of the disease but triumphing over it while they find a cure.  To do that I have to live the best possible life I can live and do everything in my power to do so.  For me, today, that was 35 minutes of a cardio session.... and now I feel on top of the world!

I finished my run/cardio session off with a cool down period and a song that really spoke to me this morning.  The words of this song speak to me because in MS we have black days, stormy nights but if we get our minds right... our lives right and know our God we will hear the sweet song of salvation.
Make it a great day today!  

The Cross Lyrics

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don't cry, He is coming
Don't die without knowing the cross

Ghettos to the left of us
Flowers to the right
There'll be bread for all of us
If we can just bear the cross

Sweet song of salvation
A pregnant mother sings
She lives in starvation
Her children need all that she brings

We all have our problems
Some big, some are small
Soon all of our problems
Will be taken by the cross

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don't cry for He is coming
Don't die without knowing the cross, no

Ghettos to the left of us
Flowers to the right
There'll be bread for all, y'all
If we can just, just bear the cross, yeah

We all have our problems
Some are big, some are small
Soon all of our problems, y'all
Will be taken by the cross, no

The cross
The cross


Sunday, November 24, 2013

I felt like a human pin cushion this week.

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ~ Isaiah 40:31

Just a quick update on my week.  As discussed in a prior blog I had to go in for three days of IV Steroids this week to help a flare up I had.  

It seems the more flare ups I have the harder it is for the nurses to find my veins.  I found myself thinking I was a human pin cushion this week with all the pokes and digging around in my arm that was going on. 

This is just one of my arms, I am a visual girl and like to have pictures to add to my memories.

I was lucky that my hubby was there by my side.  I recalled thinking during one of the treatments,  for a girl who has always hated needles how ironic that I am here now having to get injections daily for treatment and then IV's as needed for flare ups.  It's almost comical to me because it always makes me think of that saying.... "If God brings you to it, he will see you through it."  I am holding on to that saying each time I have to do something to help get me better or prevent me from getting worse from my MS.

This was my first day, Thursday

Second day, Friday

Third and final day, Saturday-I think I get better looking as the treatments go on.  :)
I have been taking Copaxone now for over 30 days.  My hubby, who gives me my injections, announced to me on Friday it was time to change my injection location.  This coming the morning after my IV of steroids.  For those of you who take steroids due to your MS I am sure you are aware that it can make you........ moody.  For me it makes me cry, rage in anger or it makes me even more anxious than I normally am.  This morning as soon as he announced a new "injection location" I started crying like a baby. 

In that very moment I laid on my bed and began sobbing.  I was afraid of the new location and if it would hurt.  I was upset that my hubby was forcing me out of my comfort level that I finally found myself in with getting these injections and I was pissed that I had MS.  I was pissed that I have to think about having MS everyday.  I was pissed that I had to take this stupid injection every day and I was even more pissed because I was laying there crying over it.

But at the very moment when I felt as if my head was going to explode and I was going to scream at the top of my lungs I felt a hand on my leg.  (I had my pillow over my face trying to block my outbreak of emotions) 

My hubby laid his hand on my thigh and kissed my leg and told me, it was going to be alright.  As he caressed my leg he reminded me that my body was surging from the steroids and that it was alright to cry and have all these emotions.  He softly told me it would only be a few more days and I would be back to feeling normal again.  He reminded me that I he had to change injection locations so I didn't get infections in my skin from going in the same place over and over again.  But honestly, it wasn't the words he was saying to me it was the way he was speaking to me.  The compassion and understanding is what stopped the tears and gave me the power to once again, pick myself up and get back on the train of getting well.

Those dealing with MS or any other disease will have our ups and downs.  We will have our days where we are on top of the world and we will have days where we will want to crawl under a rock and never peek our heads out.  But what we all have to remind ourselves is these diseases do not define us.  Our disease do not make us who we are and we have to fight with all that we have and all that we are to prevent ourselves from allowing them to.

I had a bad week, I had a few bad days and  I will have more. But it's okay because it is not how I will choose to live the rest of my life.  I will not allow this to get the best of me and as long as I have my God, my hubby, my family and my friends.... I know... I will beat this. 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Mellie's MS Flare up (episode)

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word" 
~Psalm 119:28

Sunday morning when I woke up I had a strange feeling in my head.  Things seemed to be going in a slower motion than normally and my speech seemed to be slurred.  I tried to move around that day not having to use too many words.  I was careful to think about my words and really focus on what I needed to say in fear that my hubby might pick up on my struggles.  We went about our day and everything seemed okay.  The following two days continued on the same path, luckily my hubby was at work so this gave me the chance to be alone so no one could hear that my speech was for sure not correct.  

Wednesday morning I called my hubby and I couldn't hide it.  I tried to play it off that my head was just foggy from not enough sleep but I could tell he knew.  That night I confessed to him the events that started on Sunday and how I was trying to just work through it and I didn't want him to worry.

When I had my very first Flare up that lead me to being diagnosed with MS I had other symptoms that went along with slurring words.  There was a numbing in my face, I could not type to save my life and just an overall feeling in my body of slow moment.  When this occurred on Sunday it was not as bad so my comparison allowed me to disregard what was going on and put it out of my mind.  

I have to say, my hubby is the one person in all my life that when it comes to my health he has been there through thick and thin.  In all the years of being married, anything I have faced he has not only been there to support me but he has been there to spend countless hours researching what it is, could be, what I can expect and how I can beat it.  The man is a walking medical dictionary for his wife.  He makes little jokes about how he never went to Kaiser until we got married and now refers to it as Hotel Kaiser.   (Remember, we have had three kids and two miscarriages during our time together so it's not all sickness for me-smile) 

As not to be too overbearing he asked me to email my Neurologist to advise him what was going on.  I did that night.  The next day I was being told to come in for some tests and being asked a ton of questions.  Thursday morning I got the call from my neurologist's office.  I was instructed to return to Kaiser that day for another round of steroid treatments for the next three days.
Medications such as  Solu-Medrol and Decadron and are potent steroids that ease inflammation and are often used to treat an acute attack of multiple sclerosis.

During an acute attack of multiple sclerosis also called exacerbation, flare ups or relapses.  There is a distinct increase in the severity of symptoms. The onset of the attack may take several days or weeks. New symptoms may appear, or your existing symptoms (such as numbness, tingling, slurred speech, or blurred vision may flare up or worsen.

The case manager at my Neurologists office used this opportunity to remind me how important it was for my health to stay on top of these flare ups.  She reminded me that going days without seeking help was allowing the disease days to cause more damage to my brain and possible further lesions to grow.  She reminded me the medication I take with my daily injections does not take full affect for six months and so if I have these sort of flare ups, no matter how big or small they were, I needed to be seen.

For those looking in from the outside you are probably thinking this is pretty basic information and may be wondering why I wouldn't have let anyone know when this all started.  But for those who know me and who are getting to know me you may have a different understanding.

I don't want to be sick.  When I first blogged about having MS my mission statement was and is 
"I have MS but it does not have me."  

It is not easy on the heart and soul of someone who has this disease.  People look at you and say:
"Mellie you are strong you will beat this."  
"Mellie you are in such great shape this will be nothing."
"Mellie you workout 6 days a week you look just like you always have, don't give it a second thought."     
"Mellie you have had this disease for 6 + years and did not know about it, your life will not change, the hard part is over."

They are right, but they are also wrong.  Something changes inside a person when they know they have a disease.  Something changed in me.  It increased my ability and willingness to fight back.  It has changed the way I am learning to eat.  I think one day it will lead my life in a different path to help others with MS, in what way I have no idea.  But it also has changed that I have to be aware of these symptoms and tell someone when all I want to do it pretend they are not going on.  I don't want anyone to think I am being weak, I do not want anyone to think I am living in this non stop MS moment.  I do not want anyone to think that one little tingle or numbness I am going to freak out and think I am having an attack.  

I joined several MS pages and what I hear is how people are having this or that going on.  No matter how severe or not severe their symptoms are they are mostly negative, complaining, spouses are leaving them, friends telling them they don't look sick, they feel alone, lost and scared.  I do not want to be that person and I am afraid people might think I will become that person, so I keep things to myself.

However, after being mentally hand smacked by my case manager and then hearing my hubby talk to me at Kaiser yesterday I have came to the understanding I have to allow myself to be vulnerable if something is going on.

Going to bed last night my emotions began to rage.  Steroids have a way of making me do one of three things: cry, rage in anger or panic more than I normally do.  Last night it was rage.  I had a list of things in my head I was raging about, being bitter about.  So I tried to calm myself down and I just laid there in the darkness praying the Lord's prayer over and over until I finally fell asleep.

This morning I got up and I was reading all the posts and texts that I received from everyone while I was getting my first treatment.. they all mean so much to me.  Then I looked at the picture my hubby took of me laying there feeling sorry for myself in a lot of pain and I just said.... not today.

Today I am going to put on my big girl panties (they really are not that big-smile) and today I am going to go into Kaiser looking fabulous and I am going to own that nurse treatment center!  I may not feel 100% but I sure in the heck am going to look like I do.

I prayed with my two girlfriends this morning and I prayed for what they are going through medically and together... the three of us are going to be fabulous.  

Have a fabulous day today and remember to take good care of your bodies.. they are the only ones we have.

This is how I looked yesterday.....

This is how I am going to look today!  "Honey, when I walk into a treatment room I own it!"

I love to watch this when I need to put things into perspective.  :)  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Positive thinking

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.-Philippians 4:8

These past few weeks I have found that people have been drawn to me due to my positive spin on life that I put out into the universe.  I am not sure what triggered the increase in contact from friends and family this week but I have had more than a handful of people private message me or text me telling me how they follow me and love my positive outlook.

The truth of the matter is that I struggle with being positive on a daily basis.  I am not one of those people who hit the floor each morning with a smile on her face and a pep in her step.  I have to MAKE a conscious effort each day and ask myself "what am I going to fuel today?"  
Will I fuel my fear?
Will I fuel my insecurities?
Will I fuel a bad attitude?
Or will I fuel the good things in me that feed my soul and feed the souls of others?

The bible verse above states that "if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  What a wonderful reminder that when we focus on good thoughts than good things will happen.  The mind is like a steering wheel, you just have to tell it which way to steer your life.

I have a thousand reasons I could be bitter in my life.  I had a terrible childhood. I have been homeless and poor.  I have divorced in the past. I have lost people in my life because they betrayed me. I have had people hurt me to the very core of my soul.  I have been passed up for opportunities that should have been mine, I have been forced to eat my pride more times than I can count.  Just like everyone else life has been hard for me.  This could easily allow me to be angry, bitter, not trusting and just in a bad mood all my life.  I know several people who blame situations in their life for the way they live today.  They explain to me because of these occurrences it's the way they are and there is nothing they can do about it.

Bullshit, is the word that comes to my mind.  We all have the power to do just about anything we want when put our minds to it.  We have the ability to tell our minds we are not going to focus on anything negative each day.  We have the ability to put a plan of action in place to help us avoid being negative.  That plan of action will be different for everyone but it all comes from the same thought process.  

I am helping a friend who is struggling in her marriage.  As I listen to her and hear the pain she feels in her marriage I continue to come back to the same feeling and thoughts each time.  She has to make herself happy.  She has to make a decision that she is not going to allow herself to feel negative towards her spouse.  This is a choice that only she can make but I hope with my countless emails, texts and conversations with her I can help her switch her mind around to the way she thinks about her herself, her spouse and their marriage.  I pray with the guidance of my own God He will give me the tools to share with her and together we can save her marriage and most of all save her from herself.

These lessons that I share with her, I also put into my own life and my own marriage.  I am not above anyone and I sure the heck do not have it all figured out, however I know what I want and I know I am the only that is going to be able to get me there.

Positive thinking or the refusal to allow my thoughts to get out of hand come in every area of my life.  I have good and bad days at work but most of the time I am able to put aside anything that upsets me and just tell myself it is not worth it to me to struggle with this.  Or if I come up against someone in my life who is pushing me, taking advantage of me, maybe wronged me in a private way.  I make the decision that this person is not going to get the best of me and I refuse to sink to their level and even acknowledge the chaos they have caused me.  If there is a disagreement with my hubby I will ask myself if this is the hill I am going to die on.  Being aware of myself and aware of how my thoughts work allow me to change the way I think.

When I was diagnosed with MS I went into a dark place for a few days where I was upset that I was sick.  I knew what the doctor told me and what my hubby had learned and shared with me but the bottom line was I was sick and I would have to do these certain daily things to save my life.  That really made me upset.  But after a few days and some good heart to heart talks with my hubby I was able to put that anger aside and tell myself, getting MS was for a reason.  I may not know now what the reason is and what path it may or may not take me down but the bottom line is I have it and I am going to be open to learning what I am to learn from it.  

I guess I share these things into the blogging world because I want those out there who struggle daily with seeing the good in their lives to know.... it's out there.  You can have a handful of bad things happening to you and still be able to sit down and find more good then bad in your life.  You can be struggling with finding your place in this world but if you allow your mind to open and focus on the positive in your life your place will make itself known to you.  If you are struggling in your marriage and you think you are only there because you feel stuck, you can change the way you feel about yourself and towards your spouse and really put in the work to save your marriage. The world is full of gifts for us all, we just have to learn how to accept them.

Here is my challenge for anyone reading this.  

Today think positive all day.  Our thoughts are like a steering wheel that moves our life in the right direction.  If a moment comes up of negativity, don't allow your mind to participate in it. Do no speak ill will of anyone today and if someone is trying to talk negatively about someone to you change the subject. Focus only on good thoughts today and you will put out good vibes to those around you.  Fill your mind with positive thoughts and positive words and maintain a smile on your face all day. 

The ability to change who we are and how we act is up to each of us. We all have the power and the time to do it.

Make is a GREAT day today.


Monday, November 4, 2013

A letter to my daughter Gabriella

 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."-Philippians 4:6-7


Today you are 8 years old.  You are a beautiful 3rd grader living in West Linn, Oregon.  You have shoulder length brown hair that is thick as the day is long.  You have a smile that warms the heart of so many and a soul that reaches out to others.  You are one of the most caring children I know.  Your thoughts are always about others and what you can do to make them have a better day.  Your laugh rings through our home and you fill the air with the songs you sing.  You are a lot like your Dad and I, but a better version in so many ways.

Gabriella you come from a long line of women who are strong, outspoken and who stand up for themselves.  Your Grandmother, Aunts, Cousins and Great Grandmothers were and are all strong and determined women.  But what most of the world does not know about some of these women is that they live, or lived in fear, sadness and uncertainty.  Some of them hid behind their outspoken voices so as to put on an appearance of being strong.  Some of them spent countless years searching for happiness and searching for a love that would complete them.  Some of them, including your mother, have never been able to break the chain of emotions that was passed from one generation to the next.  But you Gabriella WILL.

I see you often times in moments of life where fear overcomes your face and your anxiety pours out of you like a bathroom sink overflowing with water.  It comes fast and furious and can take hold of you.  I see and hear about the anxiety you feel at school in regards to whether people like you or not. I see you approach a crowd of peers and hang back off to the side until you are invited in.  I see you scramble to do things in fear that you might do it wrong or not do it fast enough.  I see you worry about what you wear and how others will perceive you.  

Gabriella when I was your age I had the same anxious feelings and fear that you have, what you experience and feel inside your head is totally normal.  But is what you do with those feelings will matter who you become as an adult.  

I know as 8 year old Gabriella you are not reading mommy's blog and probably do not even know about it. My hope is that sometime in the future you will read these posts about you and hear the message I am sharing with you.

Do not seek the comforts and satisfaction of the flesh, seek the comfort and satisfaction of the Lord in all areas of your life.   

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." -Galatians 1:10

Gabriella our lives on this planet are only a moment in time.  This Earth that we walk on, or perhaps in your future float on, is only a spec of time in the big picture of our lives.  As you know your Dad and I teach you that there is a Heaven beyond this world.  This Heaven is where we will all meet our God, our Christ and our loved ones that have left before us.  This Heaven is the end goal to the lives we live now.  

Our time here and now is not to live only in the flesh but prepare us for the future in Heaven.  Our God puts us here to grow, learn, love and give as a preparation for our after life, the real life we were meant to live.  Our time here and now is to prepare our souls by growing them spiritually. 

So much of my own life has not been lived to the fullest because I did not understand the big picture in life.  I was too caught up in the desires of the flesh and the here and now.  God wants us to live a full life.  He wants us to have the things we desire.  God wants us to work hard and be the best we can be and live our lives to the fullest.  But God also wants us to understand all of these things prepare us for the next level of life with HIM.

Don't be so wrapped up in what others think of you.  Don't fall victim to the fear of the flesh and do not allow yourself to be stifled in your life.  Awake each day with a thankful heart to God for allowing you another day to "do you better."  Live with a giving and thankful heart that will please God and YOU.  Give yourself to others in a way that will honor God and honor who you are while helping.  Don't get caught in the traps of society and media that determines what they think you should look like or how they think you should act.  Society and the media does not have your best interest at heart.  Evil will try and come against you in the form of society and media.

I recently saw a letter from a man to his daughter where he was trying to explain to her how not to fall in the media trap of life and how his daughter should view herself.
This is a very well known magazine and the article on the cover reads the caption above.
This is the full cover.  This woman is what Society and the media deem as being plus size.  In my day this would be been the sign of someone with an eating disorder.

This magazine describes a perfect sceanior of how Evil can hid behind social media and try and take hold of you.  This woman on the cover is NOT a plus size model nor should anyone label her as one.  Don't allow yourself to fall into this trap of trying to be what everyone wants you to be.  Do not fall into the trap of defining who you are by the standards of others.  As you know your Dad and I work very hard to have a healthy lifestyle and teach you and your brothers and sister to do the same.  But no where in our lessons to you do we expect you to be beyond perfect.  

Gabriella you are a beautiful girl.  Your inner beauty shines more than you smile.  Your ability to be funny, charming and sincere is a quality not everyone has.  Your warm heart and caring personality means more in this world than the clothes you wear or the car you drive(or perhaps fly in your future).  Do not let others define what makes you Gabriella.

Walk with God and develop your faith in God and the rest will fall into place.  What matters is that you live a life that YOU love, a life that makes YOU happy and a life YOU can be proud of.  You have the ability to be someone big in this world, and you have the ability to change lives and touch others in ways that most can not.  Embrace those opportunities and embrace your life and your God.  

Our lives are just a moment in time on this Earth... make the most of it daughter.

Your Dad and I love you and We are your biggest fans!