Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well as some of you may know, my wife and I embarked on the treacherous path of purchasing our first home. Not for the light hearted buying a home can be packed with frustrations and doubt. My lender was very good about prepping me for the rocky road ahead and the realtor I worked with Don Newton was incredible at allaying my many fears. On December 22nd we closed on the house and received the keys to our very first home. As we walked in to our home and saw all the work to be done for the first time since it started I got overwhelmed. I think even more then that I was filled with fear. Fear brought on by the fact I have the random factor of MS to deal with at every turn. I have been trying for years to catch up to the myth that is my father. A man that came from a rough childhood, worked two jobs, worked 6 days a week for decades, 10-12 hour days and an hour drive one way back and forth to work. The older I got the more legendary and untouchable my father's accomplishments became.
I think it is the nature of every man to measure himself against the generation before him. It is even more common in this day and age for my generation and those after me to make excuses for why they don't measure up. I think I was 28 years old when it finally dawned on me that it was time to stop making excuses. It has not been an easy road. I really messed up my credit in my early 20's, so I had to fix that. Having MS and diabetes has certainly tossed a monkey wrench into things. But as I stood in the threshold of my home and looked at the new primer on the walls and realized it was the first brick if you will in the foundation of my family's home. I knew that I had finally made it to the same point my father had 31 years before me, standing on the rugged dirt of Brown county,Indiana and watching the first piece of lumber hit the dirt for our home. I stood there with my cane crutch on my left arm looking at the living room of my home and tears started streaming down my face.
I know I am rambling on and on here so I will try to get to the point. You see I didn't face a tough childhood like my dad did. My childhood was great, I had caring parents who helped shape me into the man I am. I didn't work two jobs and go to school just to get a better job. Instead I went in the military and faced my own adversities there. When a tornado wiped me out I didn't go home like most kids my age would have done, instead I used the experience to reforge the blade so to speak and rebuild me from a whiny 27 year old man who had a chip on his shoulder to a 28 year old man with a purpose. No I cant do most of the things I want to do on the home. The stupid cane crutch I just got forced to wear gets in the way all the time. It doesnt matter though I still try to do what I can. See the most important lesson my father taught me he never actually spoke. He never physically pointed it out, never wrote it down. But he most certainly showed it to me. NO MATTER WHAT HAND YOU ARE DEALT MAKE THE BEST OF IT AND PLAY IT OUT. He could have been abusive, bitter, he could have become a drunkard or he could have just given in and allowed himself to become a victim of his environment. But my father didnt. Every day he forged ahead and kept going. And once he met my mother they formed an ironclad bond that only strengthened his resolve, much the same way my wife Wendy has often strengthened mine. I finally look down at my own feet and after years of trying to figure out how I would fill my father's shoes, I had finally slipped them on. And dad let me tell you, they feel pretty good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to fight the food demon

Its 11:59 pm. I should be in bed right now. I shouldn't be writing on my blog. And I should not have had that hot dog. That luxurious juicy protein packed tube of miscellaneous meats and nitrates wrapped in a soft carb filled gluten enriched bun and covered with the slightest hint of ketchup and mustard. Why oh why do you tease me so. This of course all sounds ludicrous..or does it??

When I quit smoking about 3 years ago roughly maybe longer (heck i forget how long its been) I remember knowing that the cigarettes had the upper hand. I would wake up at 1 AM and have to go have a smoke. If I ran out, I would collect every penny in the apartment to go buy a pack. I think it wasn't until I sat there looking at the butts of other people's cigarettes in the ashtray that I truly realized how far gone I was. How much this cardboard box filled with barely real organic leaf shredded up and filtered with fiberglass controlled me. I had smoked for almost 10 years at that point. And living in Denver particularly as a fat boy and smoking was pretty hard on your lungs. It took me months of many attempts to finally kick the habit. But I did, and now 3 years later I find them gross and cant imagine how I ever could have started. I tell other smokers trying to quit, have no illusions this will be tough, and it may take more then one time of trying to quit to make it happy. Just believe in yourself even if you fail and keep trying trying trying. It will be the hardest thing you ever do but once you finally break the barrier, you will have a respect for yourself and a feeling of accomplishment like no other.

Well now I have another battle on my hands. And its with food. As a diabetic diet can contribute a lot to staving off the effects of diabetes. You don't have to be a total freak about it but keeping yourself on a 2000 calorie diet well frankly it sucks. Its hard to tell yourself no don't eat. Its hard to say you don't have to clean your plate off. Its hard to look at portions that are small and go OK I'm full. The fact of the matter is once you get yourself in a insulin resistant state your body always thinks its hungry when it isn't. But if I want to have any chance of keeping my eyes free from diabetic neuropathy (I have optic neuropathy already from MS but so far that comes and goes), if I like being able to count to 10 on my feet and fingers, I HAVE to get this problem under control. Right now I weigh in at 295 lbs. My activity has decreased to some extent because of my problems with my legs from MS. But to be truthful I have also given in a lot to the urges to just do nothing. And that is a slippery slope.

Your probably saying well Chris, just suck it up and fix it. Stop being whiny and diet diet diet. Remember how I said quitting smoking was the hardest thing I had ever done. Ya quitting bad food...turns out is even worse. Because your brain says HEY I NEED FOOD. And when you make yourself insulin resistant (and you do to an extent by poor food choices in the beginning and poor dietary habits) then your body is also screaming HEY I NEED FOOD. It doesn't need food, but it thinks it does. Now toss in depression or anxiety and bam, its burger king time. I know what your thinking, Well Chris, your smart enough to see all this right??? Sur e I am, but I'm also human and a creature of impulses the same as the next guy.

The first mistake we often make is we try to do to much to fast. "I'M gonna diet and exercise and do it every single day!" Well lets call BS on that one right now. You might make it 2 or 3 days, but again your human. You will backslide only the truly strong of will can do this, very few of the success stories you see on weight loss were morbidly obese, or did not have some kind of special training where they were being watchdogged every step of the way (ya screw you Jerrod, you fitness trainer hiring butthole). So what I have decided to do is slowly analyze where I'm successful and where I fail. And then try based off this to formulate my own weight loss plan. I would like 2 years from now to be back down around 190 or so, so losing roughly 100 pounds in the next 2 years would be the idea. After that slowly try to work my to 170 or so which would still be over the desirable weight for my height but heck I'm not a small framed guy to being with so I am trying to bring a sense of realism to this.

Step 1: Figure out how to count calories in a manner that I will follow. While I like to cook trying to follow recipes still ends up having to many variables unless your a nuclear physicist and can account for the complex vs simple sugars and different kinds of fats, Feel like weighing everything practically that you cant buy in a box for nutritional assessment. Ive tried, I hated it, it just wont happen. So boxed meals it is. Luckily today the frozen world has a metric ton of foods with complete calories counts, sugars carbs etc listed right on the box. This is good both for the diabetes side and the weight loss side of things. FACT: The easier you make things on yourself the more likely you are to follow through. Sadly being fat and being lazy go hand in hand so you need to fight fire with fire, make it easy on yourself and healthy choice, smart ones and lean cuisine make it real easy to calorie count.

Step 2: Let the skinny people in your life know that you are going to be trying to do this. Nothing is worse then being the starving man in the desert watching some a**hole drink a big glass of ice water in front of you. My wife and my kids should eat healthier, I tried to fight that battle but frankly it only works so far. My wife doesn't like to cook and with me being the primary chef that puts me right back in the danger zone. So I sat down and told her look outline what is easy for you to fix that your not gonna throw a fuss about, well get some easy stuff for the kids (and I still tricked them got them mostly fish and shrimp that is baked and not fried etc etc) Let them know, no ordering out around me. And do not I repeat do not let yourself use the excuse "oh we don't have much time lets just order out" This is why you bought microwave meals open the box peel the plastic put it in the microwave you ninny, it doesn't get much easier then that.

Step 3: There is no free weekend. Here are the cold hard facts. Your body can be trained. You have trained it well over the past few decades to load up all this crap and store store store. When you get a few days into your diet your body is gonna throw a tantrum like a 3 year old brat in the toy aisle. The longer you go the more your force your body to go to those reserves it has store up and chomp away on them. For 3-6 months it will do this until enough weight has been lost it starts to slow down. This is rough because now you start to stagnate right in the middle of where you want to be. Worse yet when you let yourself splurge on the weekend on food and bust your diet...well its no different then having that 1 little social smoke after you have quit, all those endorphin production centers go into overdrive releasing dopamine in your bloodstream making your brain go MMMMMMMMMMMMMM my god yes....and well most of us slide right back into munchiville.

Step 4: When you plateau off its time to get moving. This has always been the hard part for me. In the Air Force I kept weight off by riding a stationary bike or cross trainer and listening to music or reading. As a civilian I couldn't afford those amazing devices or didn't have space for them so its been walking. Either way once I hit 250 or so legs willing its time to hit the bike trail, and once we get our house purchase settled I think its time for one of those cross trainers.

So my pledge to myself is November 16th its diet time. Just like when I quit smoking I'm not giving up. After all I stay this fat I will die early, and no self respecting bishop male would cheat his family out of the pleasure of hearing him be ornery in the elder years. And yes I am doing this right before thanksgiving BECAUSE I know I need the challenge. By god this time I am going to succeed.

Keep your chin up

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gods plan defined

I think when I was about 14 years old I first heard the phrase Gods plan. I was up on a Sunday eating cereal waiting for wrestling to come on so my dad could tell me what a bunch of fake crap it was, and this televangelist came on, talking about how "GAWD has a plannnnnnn for YOU!" He was one of those big sweaty guys whose blood pressure made the poop vein on his head swell to enormous levels, but he had that kind of thundering voice that kind of drew you in. I can fully recall going man...what plan.

My parents never discouraged me from going to church but they themselves never really went. I don't think it was ever for any lack of desire to go, they just were the kind of folks who really relished seeing god in the simple things. Tilling the earth and planting a small garden, making a flower bed or outdoor projects. My dad only had one day off a week for the entire time I was at home and that one day was pretty important to him and my mother. So they packed every day off he had with things to be done or little day trips to see something neat. So when this loud preacher man said that god had a plan, all I could really envision was one of my mother's infamous to do lists.

When I was in the military I saw all kinds of things. Things that made me doubt that any god would plan the craziness. And things that made me fairly certain that divine intervention was the only plausible explanation. I was an idiot for quite a while because I was very confused. As much as my parents tried, nothing they taught me or showed me could have prepared me for a lot of what the world showed me, and other things they taught me had i just believe a little more in their wisdom would have probably pulled me out of the fire a little faster. But like many kids at first I knew everything, and shortly after I realized I didn't know anything and all that was left was a lot of confusion and anger that I wrongly displaced at them for not making me just like all the other kids who went off to college got drunk, and graduated with degrees in some completely different field then they initially went to school for.

I ran into a man named Master Sgt Rick Robinson. Rick was a devout christian and a good family man. No matter how many turd sandwiches life dealt out Rick just sat for a moment and reflected on it gave it over to god and pressed on. He took me to church many times and I think one of the saddest moments in my life was him getting orders elsewhere. And he told me "Chris you need to talk with your parents because gods plan is not for us to walk alone. He had met my parents when they bailed my butt out of a particularly nasty situation where the military had over paid me and I being the knucklehead had not paid a lick of attention to the fact I was getting more then I should. Rick paid attention though, and he made sure to really push the envelope to get me thinking. And to remind me of God's plan for me.

So I get hit by a tornado, lose dang near everything to my name, but I kept my pride, still not wanting to crawl back to my parents and admit defeat I instead come out to Colorado. I had a friend out here but he couldn't afford for me just to move in and my pride wouldn't let me just mooch off someone, so I spent roughly 3 weeks in the red cross shelter here in Denver working for a temp agency. I got a job with Cub Foods as a Customer service manager and got a little pay as you go apartment, then my friend said why don't you move in. Sure enough I keep at it moving jobs a few times meet my wife my future son and suddenly everything I've wanted falls in to place. We have my daughter and finally my wife gives the final push and I call my parents to get in touch with them again. Just when life is going well, Ive got a good job I find out Ive got MS.

Now I'm floored again, if gods plan was to bring me all this happiness why would he do this to me. Why would he slowly take my sight, my legs, even the ability to know if I have to do something like pee. Why when everything was going right would I get hit with this stuff. Once again, I feel confused and like everything is going against me. And all of a sudden when everything feels like its crushing in it dawns on me. God really does have a plan. And just like Job I cursed the day I was born not seeing this plan. So now that I have laid out this nasty little scenario of depression lets see the silver lining of gods intricate plan thus far in my life. People will say that some of this is mere coincidence. But those same people would be wrong.

1) My entrance in the military: Unlike most kids I graduated with I didn't go off to be a frat boy, I instead joined the USAF. I spent my time in the medical field working the ICU, Internal Medicine and the ER. In each place I was like a sponge just absorbing the knowledge around me. During this time period I held the hands of many folks who passed away beside me. Many old veteran;s who bravely told their family they loved them and to go home and get rest. These veterans knew that they had one more tour of duty to perform and it was the final ship out to heaven. And when these Veteran's were alone on the edge, when they wanted another military member to be there a brother in arms that understood them, I was there for them because this was part of god's plan. At that point in my life it was my purpose to provide comfort and ease these old soldiers minds. And in turn as god takes he provides. God provided me with the knowledge I would need in the future.

2) After getting out of the military, I was burned out I sat there and wallowed in my own self pity working a cruddy job at a gas station. I was still hurting over my first fiancee dumping me and was spiraling down a bad road that probably could have gotten much worse. But instead like the great flood a tornado wiped out every reason I had to stay, and for whatever insane reason I chose to come to Denver. And here gods plan led me to my wife, and my children. I went from a guy without two cents to rub together to a guy who slowly but surely has been gaining the American dream.

3) When MS struck, many things could have happened. However after finding out what the signs and symptoms of early onset my military training in medicine allowed me to figure out this had been going on for awhile. It allowed me to go back to the VA and pretty much stride through their system because I knew what my medical records held and was able to link my issues with things I had complained of in the military. It put me on 100% disability and allowed me the peace of mind of knowing my family would still be taken care of even after I wasn't able to be the bread winner. And it continues to benefit me even now given me the ability to translate doctorese and really make informed medical decisions. Once again god's plan at work far in advance of what one would expect.

I don't hesitate to tell folks how I feel god has blessed me. That is right blessed. Because in comparison to a lot of folks I think I have witnessed quite a few miracles. And every day I have 3 of them to hold (OK maybe not hold the boy squirms quite a bit) to remind me of how lucky I am.

Keep your chin up

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Well, Its Halloween and this year the power of my nerd ism has infected my children. I have often watched the Star Wars series and my children (particularly my daughter the TV watching cuddle bug) have watched it with me many many times. Both of them have been swept in the drama of clashing light sabers, neat space ships, and pretty space princesses. And long before Halloween came around they kept saying how they wanted to dress up like star wars characters. So my daughter chose Snips from the clone wars cartoon and my son chose obi wan ken obi. I had even entertained the idea of dressing up myself to go with them. However as MS is fond of doing, it reared its ugly head at the last minute giving me crushing tummy pain and my right leg doing its normal rubber trick.
We decided to drive up to Longmont, a place I'm very fond of. Wendy's parents live there and we decided since they live in a little subdivision we could visit with them and take the kids trick or treating there since we live in a pretty crappy apartment complex. Well we get up there my wife gets them all ready to go and I just kind of quietly sit down and try not to be mopey at missing yet another fun part in my kid's lives. I guess I should be thankful that our government pays me for my time in service allowing me to spend time at home with them when other daddies are at work. But being caught up in the moment I really just wanted to see them go trick or treating.
Well once again as god has this funny way of doing, the next day brought on little mini miracles. I had spent most of the night being up and down from bed with stomach problems, but that morning my mother in laws cooked breakfast somehow made my stomach go at ease (it really was pretty amazing it never does that) My father in law took me for a nice long drive showing me different homes for sale in longmont, and since there was a bronco game on we stopped picked up hamburgers pork ribs and hot dogs as well as some fat tire beer (I drink maybe a beer or two once every 6 months or so, don't get too excited mom) and went back to their house to spend the afternoon watching the broncos game and enjoying a good meal. My father in law gets so excited watching football it makes it very enjoyable to watch the game with him. And once we got home got the kids to bed and kind of put stuff away, my wife and I both settled in to bed early and passed out...AND I GOT A FULL NIGHT OF SLEEP! It was the most wonderful night of sleep I have had in probably half a year at least.
So I guess even though I was moping about not being able to see my kids trick or treat and asking god why I couldn't just have a normal day like everyone else the next day he responded by giving me a normal day. Who says you don't get 30 minutes or less delivery from the big guy every now and again.
Keep your chins up

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My addiction to fantasy

For some reason when I was about oh 8 years old I believe it was, I became addicted to fantasy settings. I can think of many catalysts to why this may have occurred. I had a second grade teacher named Mrs. Lucas whom I can scarcely remember much about. I know she was a large lady and everyone at first was frightened of her but she has a very pleasant mannerism about her and that soon faded. I remember she would turn off almost all the lights and sit in a rocking chair and read the hobbit to us. While I am pretty sure I only got about 10% of the story I still was pretty amazed with it. Then later when I was in 5th grade I went over to my friend Cindy Kline's house and played Dungeons and Dragons with her brother Mike Kline. And well that as we should say was the gateway drug that led me down the dark path.

Something about those years was magical in a way I could never put to words. As an adult I try to recapture those moments. In fact as I sit here and dream about a house I have to admit I also have a small dream of a basement with a long wooden table some creaky chairs and walls with book shelves filled with books. No I wont have to ask Mr. Engle the librarian for refuge in the basement, There wont be anyone leaping liberally onto the table doing fake fencing motions (unless I complete my evil plans to make one of my 2 children into a nerd like their old daddy) and it wont (I hope) have that slight mildew smell, but just maybe I can recapture some of those memories.

I don't know if I could cope today with the many issues I face daily were it not for the sense of imagination my parents thankfully allowed me to have. It is this same imagination I use to funnel into my writing, and I use to empower the many books I read, and I infuse into my gaming when the occasion arises to allow for it. It allows to make all those wonderful funny voices my kids love when I read and on occasion allows me to make my wife laugh at something I say. Being a dreamer allows me to sail past the negative and put the positive spin on things. Yes as I have grown older I have become more jaded and I still keep things in perspective but it allows me to overcome a lot of trials. If you will remember when I talked about the long hallway with blank walls and windows in a previous post. Well some of the windows in my hallway might have a dwarf wielding an axe charging down a nasty dragon. Or might be fondly recalling a great session from my high school days with fondness. Its there very windows I need when the needle is pressing into my spine, or I'm being shoved into a small tunnel for a MRI and 30 minutes of mind numbing pounding sounds every so many months. When I am leaning on the toilet after a nasty spell of throwing up, I can clear my mind and think of something my daughter said about her princess adventures.

So I guess in all this I am saying, I think god gave man and imagination to allow him to create things beyond reality. And to sometimes turn those dreams into reality. I think he also blessed us with it to allow us to focus past everything that is wrong in our life and instead recognize exactly how his blessings have made many of our dreams come true. The very brain that I curse because it doesn't let me leg work right or let me sleep, also lets me sail off to worlds unknown, tell wondrous stories to entertain friends and family and stores all these beautiful moments in life to recall with everything else around me is not going so well. I thank god for my my imagination, I thank my parents for never stifling me (ok maybe a little but lord knows where I would be if you didn't give me a reality check from time to time) and my wife for still putting up with me as I constantly flutter around trying to nail ideas down for the next game or my next story concept or my need to game on my computer or ps3. Most of all my children for reminding me from time to time where dreams begin.

Keep your chin up

Friday, October 23, 2009

The fine art of holding a conversation when you have CRS

Another problem that sometimes plagues us MSer's is the CRS disease. CRS or (can't remember Sh*t) is a problem for some of us as the centers that deal with short term memory get affected by our disease process. As aggravating as this may be for us, it is even more so for those around us that are holding a conversation with us. How many times have you been deeply involved relaying a story and poof its just gone. Worse yet, the other person looks at you expectingly, thinking perhaps this is a dramatic pause for effect or something. Fear not friends for there is a solution. And best of all, I learned this one from my wife.

If you are male, and married then you have probably created what I call the barrier of importance. Your brain already knows your wife is going to relate information to you that is them, but because our brain is smaller we have a built in safety mechanism to prevent us from storing to much information. Sorry guys, women know this. They have built in detectors that sound off "WARNING! WARNING! he is not paying attention to you" When their internal alarm sounds off what do they do? That is right, they ask a question. They ask this question to see if you were paying attention. The male mind sadly is not swift enough to do things like scan for details so you can parrot information back to them in paraphrase. Nope we are hosed when it comes to this. So ultimately, she knows you were not listening and at some point you will pay for your transgression.

Now learning this little practice from my wife, I have turned it into a health tool for myself to survive with when my CRS flares up. Quite simply when my brain completely forgets what I was just talking about for the last 10 minutes, I stop and then pose a very wife like question "so what do you think about what I just said?" Now if its another dude, he isn't going to remember because unless it had nudity, drinking or sports involved he probably tuned you out, in which case your safe anyway (unless its your boss, treat bosses like your wife and always be on your guard) If its a lady, well she more then likely was paying attention and will only be to happy to cite her various opinions. And by doing so BOO YA instant reminder of what the crud you were talking about. I put this in practice today with a group of folks and it worked perfectly. I haven't tried my wife yet...I think I need to beta test it a few more times before I risk the evil stare of "do you really think I'm that dumb?"

On a side note ladies, I know this will work for you, after all your the one's who gave me the idea in the first place.

Keep your chin up

Keep your chin up!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whats wrong with that guy?

Sometimes I forget that now I am not a norm. By that I mean, sometimes I end up drawing attention to myself that I do not mean to draw. Tonight I went into my favorite game store Attactix. Its one of those places that the nerds run to to hide from the high school bully, or the chick with more piercings then skin cells leisurely strolls around in. The owners are warm and vibrant and you never feel pressured to buy something but instead to take your time and look. In fact I often worry for the store's welfare because the owners are so warm and accepting I often think, "Gee I hope they sell something". Of course I buy something every time I walk in the door (sorry Wendy) because there is always something that catches my eye.

But I digress, so let me proceed with the reason behind the title. So I walk into the store, dragging along my right foot a bit and leaning on my cane. It just happens to be the part of the month where my MS decides I really don't need to use that nifty right leg of mine. No big deal, I am getting use to it now. Sometimes I don't move as fast as I would like, sometimes I trip over that perfectly smooth sidewalk, and sometimes I stare at the three flights of stairs to my apartment like they are taunting me, standing at the bottom and gauging what my strength level is at. A lot of times with MS its as much as mental battle as a physical battle. I have gotten use to getting stares when I walk my son to the bus stop. I deal with the looks in the grocery store. When I sometimes fall out of the truck because the steering wheel doesn't fit right and my right leg doesn't negotiate the move, I don't get frazzled when people just stare and move on. But tonight when a few of the folks in the gaming store looked at me like I was a freak, for some reason that bothered me. Here in a house of inequity, where half the patrons spent a part of their childhood in fear of the bully down the street, laughed at by the prissy prom queen types, and alienated for being to smart or to weird, I stand out.

I don't know why the stares bothered me this time. I am not even sure that tonight was any different then other nights at other places. But to me tonight was different. The one spot I felt safe to not stand out besides a hospital and I suddenly felt the burning heat of the spotlight once more. To be fair, the gamers I came to meet were very cordial and polite. I had a lot of fun playing the game with them. But even amongst them the question was asked "So, what's wrong" Suddenly I just wanted to be home around my wife and my kids to go hide in my cave again. I simply said "I have MS" and the guy kind of passively said "oh" and we moved on.

People look at me even weirder when they ask what I do and I say I am medically retired. I use to proudly say I was a disabled veteran, but anymore in Denver that seems to be synonymous with homeless or being a bum. Its funny how we change the way we look at ourselves to avoid the opinions of others. I will be the first to admit I often assume that folks are thinking I'm doing something wrong. At some point a little bit of my self confidence went out the window, maybe its when I lost the ability to walk normal, or string coherent thoughts together in a conversation. Maybe its when most of my friends pulled away from me because I made them uncomfortable by not being healthy. (and if your reading this you know who you are, you stop taking phone calls stopped calling me, but oh if you needed a shoulder to lean on I was the first person you would come to)

I have come to terms with the fact that people just don't want to deal with anything that is scary or unknown. MS is very scary for the people who have it and more so for the people who don't. I actually had a boy at the store ask me if he could catch it from me before he would help me pick up some kitty litter. But there is a positive spin to this. The shop owner Bill at Attactix didn't even blink an eye at me, neither did his wife. The GM as well as the other two gamers didn't blink an eye either. My friend James doesn't do anything less then completely help me (and put up with me) and my family in Indiana only seems to talk about it when I bring it up not because they are avoiding it but because I think they have realized that sometimes I want to talk about things that make me feel anchored to my old self. My wife, between my rotten stomach, being forced to drive everywhere, and having a husband that seems to be asleep more then awake (not really I'm just always TRYING to get some sleep to no avail) and two evil cute children that drive her insane, well between all that the woman should get sainthood. Yes being the odd duck does seem to push most people away, but it also seems to draw the people who really matter, the ones who will stand by you through any diversity closer in. God really does see fit to bless and its not always in the ways we are expecting it to be. Keep your chin up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What three in the morning looks like

You ever just have those nights. You go to bed exhausted, sure that once in the sanctity of your bed you will pass out cold to be disturbed by nothing other then your alarm. You get in the bed get the sheets just right, have your wife turn and suck the sheets away, wrestle them back, get the sheets just right again, slip your mask on (I wear a CPAP mask to bed as I have this fondness of stopping breathing in my sleep) and doze blissfully off. You get in a good dream, then without warning your awake.

It doesn't happen right away, you get a good 3 - 4 hours sleep. But without fail your awake, and NOTHING will let you go back. You stare at your alarm clock and see its 3:02 went to bed at 11:30 pm. You lay back down, give it 20 minutes, 30 minutes,45 minutes and sleep will not come. To millions of we suffers of Multiple Sclerosis this is an all to common occurrence. To make matters worse, it is an occurrence that is only met with a marginal amount of success in solving. You can try sleeping pills, stronger sleeping pills, (even had a friend who would take Tylenol pm with a few glasses of scotch) but eventually these methods either stop working due to building up a tolerance, or in my case don't seem to make one bit of difference.

You slog through the first part of the day with those eyes that feel like they are laced with fire, the rims of your eyelids stiff and sore and dry, and that sort of jet lag feeling. And around 9:00 am when everyone else's day is just starting your body says ENOUGH...and you feel compelled to go back and lay down again. The longer your fight it the worse it gets. Yesterday was my son's sixthbirthday and I stayed up all day long not letting myself go down for a nap because I didn't want to miss anything. I know many of you think, "Chris what the heck you get to nap?, I wish I could do that". Trust me, its not what it is cracked up to be, those naps turn into 5 hour losses of my day. 5 hours I don't get to spend with my daughter or my beautiful wife. 5 hours I didn't get anything productive done (and with MS the days you feel able to get something productive done can be few and far between so you begin to cherish simple tasks like dish washing or taking the trash out, don't laugh, its true) 5 hours I don't write on my book or play any games or read a book. You begin to resent those naps for robbing you of your window time.

"What the heck is window time?" you may ask. Well simply put window time is something in my mind I thought of to describe a lot of how MS feels. MS is like walking down a very long hallway, The drugs you take, the drugs you take for the drugs you take etc, can leave you feeling pretty numb. To me the numbness are the plain white walls, blank empty nothing, the windows though, the windows are the good parts, The parts where your kids play with you, or you see them accomplish something, a good date with the wife, a funny movie. Quite simply the windows are where you stop your travel and just enjoy life. Every time I go to the Rocky Mountain MS clinic I find myself surrounded by a lot of folks who don't have many windows in their hallway. Those folks make me ensure that my hallway will be filled with LOTS of windows.

Yes, as I write this I am tired beyond measure. I yearn for sleep, but my son will get up soon and all these desires for sleep will go away for a bit. I think I am going to look out one of those windows for awhile.