An Army veteran shares how she dealt with learning about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
It is one of the most overwhelming feelings I experienced, knowing there’s active deterioration in my brain when managing a flare-up with multiple sclerosis (MS). The body sends many confusing signals, leaving a feeling of vulnerability, deep concern, and weakness.
Iraq was terrifying, sharing a space with hostile enemies in a war zone. MS is terrifying because you’re at war within yourself. You have a destructive battle going on in your body, and you are playing both sides! I practice a complementary and integrative approach with MS, stretching to every approach to recovery, and have experienced some profound healing.
When I first was diagnosed with MS, I was in denial. I didn’t accept it until I was hospitalized over six months later. I was losing my eyesight, balance, and experiencing many other confusing symptoms. I had no idea what MS was. I experienced some damage in my brain and optical nerve, and was told it was unlikely to regenerate, but felt and had an inner knowing I was on a path to recovery.
The Mayo clinic reported complementary ways to cope with chronic illness and cancer. The study found when spirituality was practiced it increased resiliency. Also, those practicing emotional fitness, spirituality, prayer, and affirmations reported less pain.
When I was hospitalized and realized I had no idea how to move forward, I recall asking, “What am I doing wrong?” and “How did I get here?” I was given advice to frame my questions positively. I asked my own natural intelligence and the infinite intelligence of the Universe, “What is the best, most positive way to heal myself?”. This was the turning point for me.
The next thing that crossed my path was Qigong, a mind-body therapy and complementary and integrative medicine. I became fascinated because I could “feel” the movement of peaceful, calming energy down my back. Qigong sounds like “CHEE-gong” and is like yoga. The gentle movements and stretches, breath work and meditation, mindfulness, and spirituality increased my quality of life multifold. It was helpful with reporting symptoms to my doctor.
Qigong lets you be your own massage therapist, your own acupuncturist (without the needles), therefore, you get an in-depth look at your body as a whole. You discover what areas of your body feel pain or any other symptoms that MS might affect, like numbness or tingling. The best part of practicing Qigong was evoking a loving conversation within myself because I had to let go of my training as a killer to start to heal.
I highly recommend having a medical journal to share the responsibility with your doctor so the best solutions may be discovered.
A gratitude journal was another key player in taking the best route to a greater quality of life. Gratitude helped transform many unfavorable emotions. My pain management doctor at VA gave me a book, “Flourish” by Dr. Marty Seligman, which touched on PTSD, depression, and some techniques to adapt. I learned gratitude works instantly to calm the frazzled nerves and memories. It described how to use a gratitude journal, and the results.
Write in your gratitude journal daily by describing three things you’re grateful for and why.
|Read on: Army Veteran’s advice for dealing with multiple sclerosis – Healing the brain and body with mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality – VAntage Point|