This post is a couple of weeks overdue but my life has been so incredibly crazy lately that I just have not had time to sit down and type up a blog. As I mentioned on my facebook page for this blog back when I did my 10 month update I am in the process of writing up another blog post that goes more in-depth with particular side effects as well. It’s mostly finished I just need to add some final input that I received from a friend.
But back to the 10 month update on me. So how am I doing and what am I up to? Well overall I am doing great, no complaints from me. I decided to go back into the workforce and get a job. The extra money is nice, but benefits are nicer, especially with everything going on in this country right now. So much is up in the air nobody has any idea how the cards will fall in the end with all that, but for certain things like health insurance, it certainly isn’t looking promising at all if you have any listed medical condition in your health records.
I’ve been asked on my personal facebook page, by friends who have undergone or plan to undergo HSCT, how I’ve handled going back to work, how to deal with the stress, how to deal with the long hours and basically how I’ve dealt with absolutely everything that pertains to going back to work. I do not plan to discuss on here where I work or exactly what I do, but my job is not exactly the easiest and probably not what you would expect for a person with MS or that has undergone HSCT less than a year ago. But I do work in a place that requires a lot of stamina to survive work on a daily basis. I do track my steps and miles walked every day when at work and I walk between 7-8 miles a day at work, busy days are closer to 9, slower days are closer to 7, but the trend since starting work is always 7-8 miles of walking a day. Which for me averages to be over 20,000 steps a day. On top of that the job involves a lot of bending, twisting, and lifting and moving heavy items. Lifting boxes that weigh between 45-80 pounds is common, most days I lift and move a minimum of 1500-2000 pounds of boxes, some days are over 5000 pounds. I’ve gotten questioned by some MS people asking if I am crazy for going back to work like that. But I actually have always enjoyed more strenuous work and if I am working a job, I need a job where I keep busy and am active non-stop the entire time. I cannot do office work or anything like that, it is just not who I am.
Now how am I holding up through all this? Well I’ve been at work for a couple of weeks now and I work between 24-40 hours a week just depending on the week and how busy things are. I will admit I was a bit concerned at the start at how I would do with the schedule as I have not worked a job like that in quite a while, so the first day I was pretty exhausted when I got home from work. But after that I have been doing great. I do tend to work the closing shift and working until 9:00pm, something that I would have never been able to do pre-HSCT. I would have been dead tired at that time and there is no way in hell I could have ever worked an 8 hour shift doing any of this type of work, managing to stay awake and functioning until 10:00pm would have been brutal and damn near impossible at times. Since starting work my sleep has massively improved and overall I feel much better. I feel better cognitively and physically. I have always believed that exercise really can make you feel better in every way and it appears that my job has really helped with all of that. Has the job brought back any old MS symptoms? Well on days when I do a lot of heavy lifting my abdomen area will get a bit of numbness back which I know is caused by previous damage so it doesn’t concern me at all, old damage often does not go away and will always stick around. But other than that work hasn’t brought back any old symptoms. So all in all, work seems to be benefiting more than anything else. But I will keep you all up to date on that.
In general how am I doing at this point in time? As I said above I am doing pretty good. We finally managed to get past winter and into spring, but that has its pros and cons. The seasonal weather change in my area is always intense. We go from super cold to super hot, then it fluctuates so much on a daily basis for a couple of months straight. Then it’s dry and hot some days, to super humid and rain the next day, which just is hard on a body in general. So when there are crazy weather fluctuations and rain it does make my lower legs stiffen up a bit, just like that did in the fall and winter. Something it appears I will always be stuck with, but I’m okay with that. And then with spring comes allergies…. I’m not allergic to a whole lot of things, but it just happens that where I live contains most of the things I am allergic too. But right now trees are all in pollen and that makes for a runny nose and lots of sneezing. I’m allergic to elm tree pollen and we have numerous elm trees on the property which certainly doesn’t help with that. Then elm trees are super prevalent everywhere in the area, so I just can’t get away from that anywhere. But I have several other allergies to other plants and trees, so we will see how that goes as the various pollen seasons come along.
As for improvements, we are pretty much at a stand-still for that. Seems like where I am at is where I am staying. Perhaps in the future there will be more, but improvements in general are just a bonus, so I am happy with where I am at in that.
As for my life outside work I’ve just been super busy around my property working on stuff. I couldn’t do much in the way out gardening or outside work last year because my immune system was still compromised, so I am making up for it this year. I’ve been doing various clean up projects around the property and am getting ready to rebuild my herb beds and then work on some landscaping projects I’ve been wanting to do, in between the snow. Yes we did get another massive dump of snow for this area, another foot of it. Some pictures below this paragraph. Keeping busy has really helped immensely with my recovery. Then of course I spend a lot of time with my kids, now that I’m working I do see them much less than before.
So at the 10 month mark HSCT has really changed my life. I am now able to do things that I wasn’t able to do pre-HSCT. I can now do things I could do prior to my MS diagnoses. I can now actually work a strenuous 8 hour a day job and still have energy afterwards. I can stay up later at night and not be super exhausted. I can do so much that I wasn’t able to do before and it is amazing. It’s truly one of those things you never expected to be able to do again. I do realize that HSCT can fail in the future, but you have to be optimistic that it won’t happen to you, and you have to enjoy every day of life and not take one day for granted. Every day when I go to work I just think it’s so amazing that I can do this, most people would not feel that way about going to work… I don’t take anything for granted.
So how is my lifestyle changes coming along? Hahaha. This has totally been my nemesis since being home. Like so many people I had all these big plans on how I’d change my lifestyle and for the most part I’ve failed miserably. As for healthy eating and diet…. Well I’ve made progress. I am really trying to eat much more healthy and I do try to eat a minimum of 1 1/2 cups of greens a day, I typically do that in a green smoothie concoction before work every day. My goal is around 3 cups of greens a day and I do occasionally get that in with a salad that I take to work. Then I do try to follow a more paleo diet as grains and gluten really seem to cause my body inflammation. So overtime I’m getting better and better with my eating. I am hoping to completely ditch the gluten by the 11 month mark as I really do feel much better not eating it.
So now let’s discuss the always fun topic of hair. So yes my hair is still growing in with a vengeance. It’s between 4-5 inches long depending on where you measure. Hair does not all grow at the same speed in appears. So in the past month all the new hair growth, about an inch, has really straightened out. Which when brushed you can really tell, but then if you move your head around or go outside in the wind, you are back to the giant mess of curly hair again. So perhaps in another couple of months it will be tame enough to actually look somewhat presentable. Some 10 month hair pictures:
So all in all it was quite the month. Many things I have started doing this month I would not have been able to do pre-HSCT. MS would not have allowed it. I would not have had the energy to get through the day. Next month I will try to be more on time with my 11 month blog post, this past month has been an adjustment period for me. But so far so good, no complaints here.