So my post this week will be a shorter one because I really don’t have much to discuss for the week. This week has been rather uneventful compared to the week prior, which is a good thing. The weather was shitty for the first part of this week, tons of rain and high winds, which made doing anything outside pretty much impossible. The week ended with some warmer temps, which was nice, but I didn’t get to do much outside. I’ll discuss my week, the usual stuff, then at the end discuss meditation.
This past week was more a laid back week for me with just recovering from the car accident and all the fun that goes along with that. I did do a trip to urgent care at one point in time to ensure that certain aches and pains were just related to whiplash and nothing more serious, but that was my excitement for the week. Mainly my week was spent inside just resting up. I started having more whiplash symptoms towards the end of the week, which I guess that is common to have those issues pop up close to a week after the accident. So that resulted in super tight neck muscles which then caused some migraine type headaches and all the fun dizziness and vertigo that go along with those. I despise migraines… My wrist laceration actually healed up quite nicely, I really was impressed at how quickly that healed, will have some fun scars with that however. Then my sternum still hurts like hell, not quite as bad as it was right after the accident, but still quite painful when I move certain ways or get it bumped. Then of course the standard stiff sore neck, which switches back and forth to super tight neck muscles and the spasms that go along with that. Really all I can do for that is neck/upper back massages, heat, and stretches. I could do muscle relaxers, but I find the side effects from those to be worse than the actual muscle tightness and spasms so it’s not worth it to me. That got somewhat better yesterday, so I am hoping that it subsides soon. Although I know that can go on for quite some time. My sternum should heal within 4-8 weeks…… Which really does put a damper on exercising, but such is life.
So since I normally talk about side effects and improvements, I’ll briefly touch on that. Really I don’t have much to report on that, given I’ve been recovering from an accident, so it’s really hard to say if there were any side effects from HSCT. I did have more hot flashes and chills this week, which could be related to hormones hard to say. Nothing really in the way of improvements.
My goal for the next week will be to try to get back to eating healthy, exercising a bit, yoga, and meditation. Obviously the exercising has to be somewhat slow because of my sternum. My legs did get rather stiff for a while from the accident and they are finally starting to loosen up now and get back to normal, so I at least hope to be able to get back to walking a bit each day, although the weather is supposed to turn cold and rainy again this week, so we will see how that goes. I really wasn’t motivated to do a whole lot of cooking this past week, so I hope to be able to have more energy to do that this next week. I haven’t been eating healthy and I do feel much better when I do stick to healthier foods with much more veggies being consumed. Then I’d like to get back into doing yoga again, although a lot of poses do involve twisting in odd positions so I’m really not sure how that will work with my bruised sternum, but will give it a shot.
Then comes meditation… I do need to start doing this more often, I used to do it once or twice a day before HSCT, but since then have not really been able to get into it. There is always a lot of discussion on MS groups in general about meditation. Many people feel it’s a complete load of shit, others really believe it helps, the MS Society tends to flip-flop on the issue as well. So this topic typically causes a lot of debate when discussed. Only thing more hotly debated really is diet and honestly I don’t think there is a one fit for everyone on diet, some people thrive on a vegan diet, others thrive on a paleo diet, others thrive on something completely different. There is no one fit for everyone on that, contrary to what some people say, although when it comes to diet, everyone who pushes their diet also has written a book that they sell for profit, so really it’s about money and not helping people, so you really can’t believe much of what they say when it’s all about the money. But back to the topic at hand which is meditation. I personally think meditation is beneficial to everyone, not just those with MS and it is one of those things that really can’t hurt you, so it’s worth a shot. For me I think the best thing about meditation is that it helps with stress relief. Some people will say it’s a load of shit, and that may be the case for some people, but for me personally it really helps with stress relief.
I will say that I really do suck at meditation. It has always been a struggle for me. I just cannot keep my mind focused on my breathing or focusing on nothing at all. Guided meditation is an even bigger failure for me. My mind constantly goes to thinking about others things no matter how much I try to focus on breathing, saying a phrase, or whatever. But from what I’ve gathered over time, many people really do suck at meditation, but the goal is to keep trying and when your mind wanders, just forgive yourself and go back to what you were doing. But I do find that attempting meditation for even 10-15 minutes once a day really helps with stress. For me however I do find being outside quite relaxing and that for me is its own type of meditation. Being outside in nature and just focusing on the sounds of nature can be meditation in its own way. I spent a lot of time in the past working jobs in the woods, often times being in the woods by myself, so you really have a lot of time to ponder things when alone in the woods, and you really learn to listen to nature and it is quite relaxing. Although really unless you are super in tune with nature, I don’t recommend roaming the woods alone, because well things could be hunting you and if that thought bothers you, you will spend more time being freaked out as opposed to any type of meditation. Remember I’m a wildlife biologist who specializes in carnivore species, big cats being one of my interests, so I have no fear of predators in the woods. I’m unique in that however, most people are terrified of things that could eat them. But even sitting outside in a park or in your yard can be quite meditative as well. Just listening to the birds, crickets, water running, etc. Taking in all the sights and sounds and focusing solely on that can really help clear your head and help deal with stress. And we all know stress in bad, especially for those with an autoimmune condition, so anything that can help relieve stress is a good thing. While in Russia I also learned that coloring is quite stress relieving and also can be a form of meditation. I think finding something that works for you is the only way to do it when it comes to meditation. It’s like diet, what works for one person, may not work best for you. Trial and error.
So really that is all I really have to discuss for this week. It’s been a boring week. We do typically heat our house solely via a wood stove and we did have the first fire of the year in it this past week, so that was exciting. I know if you listen to certain self-appointed HSCT experts they say you absolutely cannot be around a wood stove or fireplace within the first 6-12 months after HSCT because it is far too dangerous. Dr. F and my doctor here both are fine with it, guess everyone has to make their own decisions about things like that. At this time of year we really just start a fire in the mornings on super cold days to warm up the house and then let it burn itself out. No need to waste wood keeping the house super hot, especially this early in the fall/winter seasons. And then my super exciting discovery for the week was that the local WinCo store started selling actual turmeric root. I have been trying to find actual turmeric root in stores around here for over a year with no luck, no stores sell it, or if any others do it is so sporadic that they never had it when I would look. So I’m hoping they keep selling it, because I much prefer fresh over dried. I first experienced fresh turmeric root when a friend back east sent me some earlier in this year and it was amazing. Turmeric is super anti-inflammatory so it’s a beneficial food to eat if you have autoimmune conditions, or even for healthy people it helps with inflammation. So here’s a couple of pics from my week. We’ll see how I’m doing next week!