Archive for February, 2012


MS and Laughter Yoga


A reporter and camera crew were in the park to cover a story about laughter yoga. I just happened to be at the class, they saw me, and wanted to know a bit more about me and how laughter yoga is therapy for my MS. I became the featured person in the report.

So here you go!

MS and Laughter Yoga. Nicole Lemelle explains how she uses laughter yoga to deal with MS.

Wasn’t that FABULOUS! I can’t thank the reporter, Nancy Parker of Fox 8, enough!


Hairdos And Conversation

It’s funny how some people use the phrase,”It’s like having a monkey on your back”, to explain this disease. For me, MS feels more like walking around with Godzilla on my back, but no one else can see him. But even with this, some days he’s not there and I can venture off.

On this day, I jerked myself from behind the safety of my computer screen and went outside. I was feeling remarkable healthy, so I decided to make a trip to the hair salon. I try to go even when I don’t feel like it because I usually leave feeling good from the inside out! So, off I went. I aim to go once a week, if I can. Plus, it’s a Dominican spot so everyone there speaks Spanish. I love it! You may remember, I’ve been trying to teach myself Spanish for the better part of my adult life! That’s the main reason I picked this shop, plus they knew me when I could walk. That’s always a plus. Anyway, I go there not only to get my hair washed, rolled and dried, but also to brush up on my Spanish skills. They all know I’m learning. I wonder if when they see me they say,”Oh no, here she comes!”

I hadn’t brought my scooter there before, so I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work out. I am usually in my wheelchair and because of the inclines, within a few minutes I have to get someone (usually a stylist) to push me. But, this time the scooter allowed me to flex my independence muscles and within minutes I was zipping around the entire shop. I drove from the front of the salon all the way to the back where the potty was. It wasn’t crowded so that made things much more streamlined. I was able to maneuver my way over to the hair washing sinks with no problem. Then after my stylist washed my hair, within seconds I was under the hair dryer. Though the dryer is only mere steps away, usually it amounts to a cumbersome process for all involved, as is anything to do with my wheelchair and I. That’s why I tip good when I’m there!

When I called my husband to come pick me up he was surprised at how quick this appointment was as compared to previous visits. By using my scooter I cut about thirty minutes off the entire process.

I love getting my hair done there. To be honest, it’s the social interaction that draws me there. It’s the minor amount of autonomy I exude while I’m there. It’s the little break hubby and I get from each other. It boosts my mood. It distracts me from Multiple Sclerosis.

I just hope the salon enjoys me as much as I do them!



Making New Memories

Did you know that MS can cause cognitive losses? Things like decision-making, memory, and reasoning are often impaired. I know this, but it’s not so easy to quantify or easily identify.

Years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I remembered feeling as if something was off. I admit my vision wasn’t normal, but in addition to the vision issues, things weren’t coming to me as easily as before. Was it something I invented after receiving a diagnosis of an incurable chronically progressive debilitating disease? Maybe or maybe not, but as you know I didn’t let the news stop me.

I remember when I was still working and a colleague asked me about cognitive losses. I’m not sure why he asked. I never bothered to find out either. Had I missed something? Again, I don’t know, I do know his moral character was questionable at best. I dismissed him by responding that it exists, but it’s very taboo and not mentioned lightly. This amounted to my way of politely asking him to mind his own business. I figured we were competing for sales and he couldn’t have had my best interest in mind.

It’s been over a decade since my diagnosis and I know my intellectual acuity has to have been affected somehow. Thank goodness I’m surrounded by supportive family and friends. They may not even know they are witnessing my snail like cognitive decline. Sometimes I can hear my less than articulate speech. I can feel the aggravation of those I’m conversing with. I just take a deep breath and start over again.

These days I am aware of when I am overwhelmed. I’ll simply ask for more time to make decisions. If I feel safe, I’ll be direct and acknowledge that it’s too much information for me to process. Sometimes I have trouble recalling simple words. The other day I asked my husband to hand me that handheld thing on the countertop that sucks messes up. He said, “You mean the dust buster?”

When I got upset about not being able to remember the name he replied, “Don’t worry, we’ll make new memories.”


Scootin’ Around

Since I’ve gotten Thelma, my scooter, it has definitely brought about a renewed feeling of independence. Yet, another thing I am very grateful for. My new concern is my legs seem a little weaker. Thank goodness I’m going to physical therapy Wednesday. The therapist will be able to evaluate me. Although, I wasn’t moving that great with my walker in the first place. That’s why I got the scooter!

You see during my hiatus from physical therapy I think I might have been over doing it at the local wellness based gym. I feel so comfortable and at ease there. It is located next to a retirement community. When I go in the morning the gym is filled with older people who are moving at my pace. I see the different machines and get excited. I try as many as I can and then, in less than an hour unfortunately, I’m exhausted for the week! No kidding! I’ve got to find a way to incorporate physical activity into my lifestyle or I will just go crazy. It’s hard because while I’m physically doing the exercise I feel fine. Tricky, right? The effects usually hit the hardest the next day.

Also, I’m currently taking Gilenya but I’m not sure of its efficacy. Don’t worry I’m not going to switch to something else this soon, but dang it I thought I would see more improvement by this point. Okay, it hasn’t even been six months. I know I’m being my usual inpatient self. Somethings just don’t change as easily as we would hope!

At first I was nervous about getting a scooter but now I LOVE riding it! It disassembles simply and can fit right into our sports utility. My biggest worries are keeping the wheels clean so as to not dirty our carpet! Now you can’t beat that.

Needless to say when I do return to therapy I’ll have Tommy, my husband, push me in my wheelchair. My physical therapist didn’t really want me to get a scooter in the first place!

My mama always said I was stubborn!