Friday, October 18, 2013


With my MS taking a keen interest in mucking with my insides I seem to be in a perpetual battle with my body to give up its protective padding. When your bowels have forgotten how to behave and your swallowing is hit and miss it seems like your entire GI tract is working to rule or less.

Despite exercising like a Trojan - walking with a purpose for at least 2.5km and averaging 5km with a 10-12 k walk thrown in one the weekends and the occasional run - and always hitting the 10000 steps a day target (love my fitbit flex) and eating between 1200 and 1500 kcal oriels a day I should be shedding the weight like mad but it just hangs on for dear life. Of course my weekly dulcolax tends to result in a major weight loss - 2kg on average. A bit does go back on but I can fairly clearly see that chronic constipation is affecting my weight loss.

So I was really interested in seeing Dr Michael Moseley's results when he looked at fasting on his documentary Eat Fast and live longer. He did the horrible ground work for me and tonnes of others to find that he got excellent results with fasting two non- consecutive days and "feasting" on the other five. Rather than fasting it is a severe reduction of calories on the two fast days -500 for women 600 for men. The idea is it reprogrammed our bodies back to the time when we might not get food everyday so the body learns to break down fat on fasting days and beyond.

I have decided to give it a go because it is also believed to lower your insulin resistance, something I have been concerned about considering I have a type two diabetic mother and my grandmother who died in her fifties also had type two diabetes. When I was on steroids for my optic neuritis and my blood sugars were being monitored since steroids can raise them I was getting some elevated numbers. It is also believed to help stave off Alzheimer's and memory loss so I'm in for that.

I have so far done two fast days with a feast day between and it was not too difficult. I chose to have a brunch of porridge on the first day and a small serving of dinner plus a few cups of tea. Today I had arranged to meet my mother for lunch and had a minor panic. I consulted my fitness pal And discovered I could have a bagel with a scraping of cream cheese, some avocado and tomato with a regular flat white with trim milk. It left enough for vege soup for dinner, a cup of tea or two and tonnes of green tea with jasmine. It was definitely tolerable and I had plenty of energy to walk Millie and to complete more than 10,000 steps.

I plan on giving it a month. I may solos introduce some more fibre into my day, probably through a supplement like Metamucil. So now I get to see what the scales say. I'm hoping this format is just the kick I need.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Courthouse Blues

Today I was down for jury service. I'm pretty sure that I am one of a handful of people who actually want to do jury service so I had my fingers crossed.

We all gathered in the assembly room where we were told there were two High Court trials running that week. One was lasting a week and the other eight weeks. This news was greeted with groans.

They did the ballot for the short trial first, drawing out about 20 names for the jury to be selected from. They all got badges and were taken up to their court room during the ballot for the long trial. Apparently it went quite straight forward with only one challenge for the first thirteen names called out. So eight fulfilled their jury service by simply standing in a court room for a wee while.

Then it was the ballot for the big trial. There was a good chance my name would be called because there were between seventy and ninety names to be selected! And it was. We we're read the list of witnesses in the assembly room because there were 200 of them! That led a few people to approach the court staff to say they knew some of them. They were told if their name was called they could ask to approach the judge to ask to be excused. Because it was a long trial anyone who would be disadvantaged by having to sit for eight weeks was also told to ask to approach the judge. Then we were also advised that anyone with English as a second language and might have trouble understanding was also to request to approach the judge. This became even more important when we discovered that some of the defendants required an interpreter!

So once everyone was advised we trooped up to the court room. The lawyers and the defendants were already present. The judge came in and then the charges were read out and the defendants were asked how they pled. Once this was done it was empaneling time.

It started out well with the first two or three names getting to their seats no problem. But then it alternated between challenges and excuse requests. So I was hoping I had a chance, especially since I fit the profile the defence lawyers seemed keen on - middly aged European woman not overdressed. They did not like European men one bit. Alas after a long list of names the jury was formed and I was not on it.

Then they had to go off and choose a foreperson. We had to remain in case one or more members could not carry out their duties. It was a long wait and the judge eventually asked the court officer to check on them. Apparently two were unsure they could get time off. So I might get another chance! They were given 5 minutes to find out if they could. Unfortunately they were both able to so my chance was gone.

So at midday we rejected or excused jurors marched back downstairs to the assembly room where the 20 or so who hadn't come out of the ballot box plus the eight from the other trial were waiting. Once we were all there we were advised we were no longer needed - we had discharged our jury duty and were excused (if we wished) from serving for two years.

So I didn't get to experience a trial but I got a good look at what a courtroom is like during a trial.i also discovered that US law shows have given us a false image of what lawyers dress like. It was the High Court so gowns were de rigeur but all were very sartorially challenged and personal grooming only seemed to have been achieved but two female barristers, two male barristers and the judge.

The upside is I shall be able to NaNoWriMo without having to forgo sleep. Yay!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm back, back again, yes I'm back. Tell a friend.

Well time has flown in the penguin universe. I really should have been a bear because then I could say I've been hibernating. Mmmm sleep, love sleep.

I've been grumbling along. Popping pills and paying exorbitant physio fees, the usual. But then I had an epiphany (such a beautiful word). When I sit on my butt I hurt and it tends to spread. When I walk I hurt - let's start at the creepy creaky ankle tendon and work up through the dying hip, immobile gut, go slow throat and arm with parathesia to the brain that sometimes struggles to remember the month, forget the day. So I figured I may as well run, it couldn't hurt any more, I shouldn't look anymore like Frankenstein's monster (ooh quick brain flash of Benedict Cumberbatch as the monster) than when I walk.

At the weekend various people who should probably be inside the walls of an insane asylum but actually walk among us were running and walking around a 400m track for 24 hours. One was my husband and on occasion he required an item avec vitesse and I would run across the field in the centre of the track and no one tried to take me down with a tranquilliser dart. I felt no ill effects and was pleasantly surprised. I had been working up running times on the treadmill but had been sidelined by my crazy foot and had never run outside since the surgery.

Today at 4 I thought I'd take the dog for a walk. I traversed the side of Mt Kilimanjaro aka our driveway and thought it might be nice to run a short distance down a hill when I reached it. Then I thought it might be nice to try a short spurt on the gentle upward sloping street before I reached the downhill street. So I ran and when I reached the street is meant to run a little on I kept running and so it went for 29:51 minutes!

So naturally my foot hurt and my hip hurt and I was disheartened. No! The foot did niggle but it does that walking down the stairs and that was it! No sore hip, no deep depressions. Nope, I ended up euphoric and proud of myself. So I think I may as well carry on because no one else has any better ideas. The dog won't know what's hit her!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Move along

I have bought myself a tiny gadget and it has improved my life so much. I bought a fitbit One - a wireless fitness tracker. Sort of a glorified pedometer but much more accurate and, with the help of a few iPhone apps, so much more useful.

So cute! It records my steps, distance travelled, calories burnt, and best of all flights of stairs ascended or equivalent. So I today I climbed the White Cliffs of Dover - 35 flights. Not too shabby considering most of my exercise was on the flat.

It has given me the push to fight back against MS aggressively. I had been reducing the distance I walked Millie gradually, thinking she's running around off leash so she's getting a good workout. She might have been but I was not. So I hitched up my big girl pants, grabbed my walking pole, tied on my trail shoes for stability and started doing a 3k loop. I got to the point where I could forget my pole and disaster did not strike. Then I moved up to twice around the loop on occasion - no chore because I was circling a basin surrounded by bush and crossing inlets on wooden bridges and walkways. I felt much better. I still hurt but I decided to just push on.

I started on Clonazepam for my funny jerks and it seems to have helped with the wobbles and shakes so I look a little less Bride of Frankenstein's monster.

Then Millie and I decided to try a new route, due to her grass allergy and the increasing wet wet weather. We worked out a 5k loop that circles a volcano and even dips up and down it's slope - how's that for fun!

This got the step count up.

Since April 1st I have been officially allowed to run but apart from a try on April3rd I haven't been brave enough. Well I sucked up and decided that the treadmill at the gym was going to get a workout. I do go to a gym populated by people recovering from strokes, in wheelchairs, with brain injuries and a few senior citizens for good measure so there are no gym bunnies to laugh at my lurching.

I've started the Couch potato to 5k program because that was my grand ambition - a 5k. I'm on week 2 and am amazed to discover I can run for 1:30 at the all out pace of .....8kph with a final one minute dash at 9.5kph.

It sounds good and I get my 10000 steps but I do have difficulty even walking afterward but this is war and I am not going down without a fight. As long as you can run, run, when you can't run, walk, when you can't walk crawl and when you can't crawl, well then find someone to carry you (Love my captain) so that is what I shall do.

Where's Inigo when you need him?

Today was the day when I was going to go from boring long crazy hair to funky street. Unfortunately I appeared to have been the victim of a Princess Bride moment. You know - "This word you are using, I am not thinking it is meaning what you think it means."
I hate bobs - they are fine on other people but I don't want one and I certainly cannot provide one with the care and maintenance it deserves. So I said "I don't want a bob. Every hairdresser tries to give me a bob and I don't want one." Basically the bob is the hairdresser changing moment.
So new hairdresser today to remove the three or four years of growth since the last bob episode (there may or may not have been some slashing with sewing scissors during that time but that is classified information.)
I take along a picture of what I want. I reiterate that no bob thing. My chosen haircut is cast aside as not really for my type of hair.

Now here comes the irony. When I was 13 or so I wanted a Dorothy Hamill or Marie Osmond bob desperately.

But the hairdresser said it was not suitable for my type of hair and gave me a style affectionately known as a shag. Turn the clock forward many years and when I present a picture of a shag I get told its not suitable for my type of hair and I get the bob. Next time I am going to ask for a number 2 and bright pink highlights - I might just get that shag.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Oh my aching jaw!

One of the gifts MS has given me is bruxism. I grind my teeth. I in fact grind my teeth to the point that I have a whole lot of tori.

Tori are an overgrowth of the bones in the jaws. Oh joy, there are three forms - torus palatines, a lump of bone that forms at the midline, on the roof of the mouth - check got that; mandibular torus, a lump that forms on the inside of the lower jaw under the tongue - yep got that; and buccal exostosis, the accumulation of bone between the cheek and jaw and yes present and accounted for. All perfectly benign but sure to get a reaction when someone looks in my mouth.

So my constant teeth grinding has made my jaw bone and hard palate look like something belonging to an alien. I have a highly attractive night guard that stops the grinding so my teeth will stop being ground down to stumps. It also makes me drool so I'm a very pleasant bed fellow.

The night guard may be saving my teeth from becoming stumps but it does little to stop the tori problem. These are there and breeding because I clamp my jaw really tightly in a spasm. I do it day and night and it makes me look grumpy. It also makes my jaw sooooo sore. The Baclofen I take for leg spasms may have helped a bit when I started to take it in the morning as well but it wasn't the death null for the bruxism/clamping. So I take the highly addictive, apparently, Clomazapam. It seems to work well if I also remember to put in my night guard.

Today I have a cold and forgot to wear my guard last night so I'm suffering. So now I have to try the third line of defence - maxigesic - paracetamol and ibuprofen. Hopefully it will help or I may end up with a face only a Klingon mother could love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't you want my money?

I wear my hair in a ponytail or in a chignon. If left unrestrained it decides to cosplay as Medusa. So I decided to bite the bullet and have it cut. I tend to second guess myself if I have to make bookings too far in the future, hence the head of snakes.

Fortunately the hair salon of my choice has online booking. It means I know when they have available slots so don't have to play the stupid battleship game of them saying 'when do you want to come in?" I suggest a time and they say "Miss".

I went on the site and lo they had an appointment or 3 available the next day(today). Great I booked. I got an email to say they'd received my booking and would get back to me to confirm. I'd booked for 12:30 so there was plenty of time to confirm.

So we get to 11:30 today and no email no phone call. Hmm. So I get myself sorted. You can't go to a hair salon unprepared. The lights alone turn an unmade up patron into a crone. So we get to 12:10. I must leave now if I am to make it. Off I drive armed with my hoped for hair do photo.

At 12:27 I park outside the salon. For the last time I check my email but surely if there had been a problem they would have rung me. Gadzooks! At 12:12 an email was sent saying they could not fit me in and suggesting rebooking. WTF! So I replied that I may rebook but I thought advising me by email at 12:12 was a little on the late side.

I have not as yet rebooked. I am waiting to see if they reply. After all there are hundreds of salons to choose from, all happy to take my money. On the other hand I have 101 hair ties and enough hairpins to build a death robot so I could always keep my money. We shall see.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

More drugs to make me rattle

It was neurologist check up day today. I saw my relief neuro and it went reasonably well. I continue on pretty much as I always have but my shakes seemed to have increased over the last fortnight. My legs start to get really restless and my arms get the mad desire to wave around. Not a good look!

So he had nothing to help with my swallowing - no surprise there. He thought my Baclofen dose was high but if I don't take it I shake and grind my teeth like someone demented! The hip surgery has made my leg stronger apparently. Pity it still hurts if I walk too far (as in further than car to store).

He has recommended an ECG to check out my spasmy actions are not seizures - cos I need another health issue! I've also been prescribed Clonazepam to see if it helps. Despite it being a benzo I have high hopes as it seems to cover a lot of my problems in one - spasms, bruxism (tooth grinding), anxiety. I'll try it tonight and we'll see what happens.

So my current regime is:
2 Baclofen tabs
1 Ferrograd tab because my swallowing difficulties means I don't get a lot of iron and I lost a lot of blood in the hip surgery and off course the amount of marrow in that particular long bone is greatly reduced due to the titanium stake in it's heart.
Loxalate for anxiety - I was worrying about things that hadn't even happened!
Occasionally Oxybutynin for overactive bladder.

4 Baclofen
0.5mg Clonazepam
Occasional Oxybutynin
Occasional 1/2 a zopiclone when I haven't slept properly for more than 3 days. Hopefully the Clonazepam will put an end to needing that.

Add to that Brufen, maxigesic and Panadol as needed and it all adds up to a lot of rattling!

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