Positivity: Essential For Our Health & Happiness

“How to Embrace It”

July 16, 2013

Having a positive perspective in life is critical to both our health and happiness.

Earlier this year I came across an article by Renie Cavallari, CEO and Chief inspirational officer of Aspire Marketing and Training, and saved it. Recently I went through a negative spell, and re-reading this article helped me re-focus and turn my attitude positive again. Since her article is so good, I decided to take direct excerpts from it to share with others:

“Nothing positive comes from negativity. How you choose to see the world is how you experience it. You feel the way you think and your thoughts reflect your actions.

As a human being, you can control how you feel. You can choose to take any situation and consider it from a positive perspective. This is not to say that when you feel bad or sad, you should deny your feelings. What you can do is decide how you will allow the people and events of your life to affect your world.

Things happen that are disappointing, upsetting or overwhelming. This is when you have to conscientiously change your perspective so you can get to a more productive mental space. You cannot change the events of your life. You can change how you experience them.

Here are a few tips:

• Ask yourself, “What is right or good about this situation?” Avoid the negative narrative and find what is helpful.

• When your energy is low, this is the first sign that you want to get some exercise. Exercise actually “turns on” our energy and has a way of giving our negative thoughts and feelings a place to release. Just take a walk, breathe in, pick up your pace and burn off the negative energy.

• Who you hang out with is who you become. Some people just give off negative energy; this is why we feel so exhausted around them. When disappointments happen, you want positive and supportive people in your world. Fire the naysayers. They are not helpful and only hold you back.

• Sometimes embracing the humor of a situation helps. Ask yourself, “What about this situation will be funny in a year? Or maybe five years?

• Move to solutions. Many times we think about what is wrong vs. what we can do next. If you stay in a place of a problem (what is wrong), you end up feeling negative and stuck.

When you start planning what you are going to do, you begin to feel empowered and in control; you start moving toward what you want. This forward momentum creates more positive energy and gets you where you want to go.

Your energy determines how you feel and experience your life. Positivity is the fuel for happiness.”

Thank you, Renie!

www.DebbieMS.com

Feet Care, Massage & Reflexology

“Sole & Soul Therapy”

July 16, 2012

It’s time for a pedicure. I like pretty toes and feet. But I love the therapeutic benefits I get from getting a pedicure.

I never had a pedicure when I lived in Pittsburgh. Shoes were always worn and I thought getting my toes painted was frivolous. Then I moved to Arizona, where the state shoe is a flip flop. That’s lucky for me since I don’t have to wrestle putting on socks and shoes too often. It’s not an easy task for someone who has stiff hands and spastic legs.

Bare feet, also a standard here, also has its benefits besides not having to struggle with footwear. It’s cooler and more comfortable, especially when my feet swell from sitting too long. I can grip the floor better when I stand or take a step or two.

Arizona is a very casual-dressing state; the oppressive desert heat in the summer probably has much to do with it. Yet, most girls and women have their feet all gussied up with color and design—even the sloppiest-looking people.

I like looking nice. Maybe that comes from my upbringing, or Eastern roots. It makes me feel good. I like to match my outfits with my earrings, purse, and footwear when I go out, even if it’s to a grocery store. Finding comfortable and stylish footwear had always been a challenge to me ever since I started having walking problems. It was great when I didn’t have to buy matching footwear anymore, but I still had to have nice-looking feet.

So it didn’t take me long after I settled in to my new home to go to a salon and get a pedicure. That’s when I discovered that a pedicure provides more besides just pretty toes. The therapeutic benefits are enormous.

For me, who has advanced MS, cutting my own toenails and polishing them is quite a challenge. I felt like Dorothy in the Emerald City that first day sitting in a massaging chair, as I watched the gal carefully scrub the bottom of my feet. It was embarrassing that my big toes were stiff like two soldiers when she got started, but she told me to just sit back and relax.

And wow, did I ever! As she cleaned and clipped, I became immersed in the chatter going on in the shop. It was fun looking at what everyone else was choosing to do with their nails—the colors, designs, and sparkles. It was a great escape and mood elevator. Where have I been all these years?

After the girl cleaned up my feet and nails, she asked if I wanted extra massage for my feet. I giggled and said “Go for it!” That is when my eyes really opened wide. I couldn’t believe how good it felt as she skillfully massaged ever toe, every part of my foot, ankles and shins. My stiff, soldier-toes were gone, my feet were aligned perfectly–not inward–and my whole body was relaxed and rejuvenated.

What was going on? Where did my back, feet and shoulder pain go? I knew how beneficial a regular body massage was for my sore neck, shoulder and back muscles, but I never expected in a million years what a foot massage would do for me.

I started researching on the internet and found out that I wasn’t getting just a foot massage; I was actually getting reflexology. I was (and still am) going to a Vietnamese-run shop where the girls were trained to do this. I just didn’t know it because of the language gap—they speak very little English.

The foot has more than 7,200 nerve endings that connect to specific organs, according to the Reflexology Association of America. The top of the foot corresponds to the chest, the Achilles corresponds to the side of the hip, and the big toe links to the brain. Massage and reflexology techniques bring comfort and restore proper nerve flow. Hm– is this the reason why my big toes weren’t standing at attention anymore?

It is a form of alternative medicine. It doesn’t reduce my need for baclofen that I take for spasticity, but it definitely helps my spasticity and is a complementary approach for my bothersome MS symptoms.

I wish I could get a pedicure every week, but our budget won’t allow it. And unfortunately, other forms of alternative medicine such as massage, acupuncture, or yoga are not covered by insurance. But I consider it enough of a necessity to get one (with massage/reflexology) once a month. Fortunately, the shop where I go only charges $25 (plus tip). And gift certificates for birthdays and Christmas are always appreciated.

Relaxation, good company, energized well-being, less pain and pretty toes–all for $25-30 and an hour of time. I think it is a great bang for the buck.

P.S. I should mention that although the shop is filled mostly with women, it’s not unusual to see a guy or two in there as well :).

www.DebbieMS.com

Using Mobility Scooters and Other Assistive Devices

“Move Forward–not Backward or Not at All!”

One of the National MS Society’s famous phrases is “MS stops people from moving”. Not me! MS may have stopped my legs from moving but it didn’t stop me from moving. And it shouldn’t stop you either.

I never hesitated to use any assistive device and actually sought them out on my own. This is what I say:

Goodbye fatigue and mobility problems. Hello freedom and happiness!

Recently I mentioned to a person with MS that I was getting ready to go do some leisurely shopping at the Mall. She said, “I am so envious that you can go shopping in this heat.” I told her it was time to think about using a scooter. Buy one, rent one, or borrow one.

Through the years, assistive devices have allowed me to be less fatigued, elevating my moods and enabling me to do more. I didn’t overheat as fast since I struggled less in trying to walk. Since I was walking better using the devises, I experienced less muscle and bone stress on my body parts.

Twenty-five years ago when my son was only four years old, I got my first scooter (insurance covered 80% of it). I was still able to walk, but only for short distances. Wanting to keep active, live life and enjoy my son, the scooter enabled me to go to zoos, amusement parks, Disneyworld, shopping malls, etc.

Goodbye danger. Hello safety.

Weakness, poor balance, fatigue, incoordination, foot drop, spasticity…. These symptoms increase your probability of falling and suffering an injury—risking a flare-up and residual damage. Not to mention the pain and inconvenience while you heal if you fall.

Goodbye pride. Hello common sense.

Most people at some in their lives have to use corrective lenses for their vision problems. They don’t think twice about getting them. Eyeglasses are so fashionable these days, and people love the styles and colors available. Others prefer contact lenses instead of glasses for personal reasons; plus, it gives them the ability to have several pair of designer sunglasses to wear.

So what’s the difference if you need to use a device for mobility? In the days when I started using a cane, I had four of them in different colors and styles to match my outfits.

In addition, in today’s world, the stigma of using wheelchairs is going away. The attitude and awareness about using medical devices has changed since the eighties when I first had to use them. People of all ages are often seen in movies and advertising brochures using a wheelchair. You see more people out and about using them. Grocery and retail stores like Target or WalMart have scooters available now for their customers to use. Many places like amusement parks rent wheelchairs and scooters.

Besides, who cares what people think? I do what is best for me. Sometimes I just look at the way people dress, look, and act today….and I should worry about how they look at me?!

And added bonus? People—family and strangers alike—treated me differently when I started using a mobility devise. I looked disabled and received many more offers for help!

A word of caution, however. When you find how relieving it is to use a scooter or wheelchair, never stop your exercise regime. The old saying that “if you don’t use it, you will lose it” has truth to it. I’m a full-time power chair/scooter user, but I still do my daily stretching, balance and strengthening exercises. I use a pool regularly to practice standing and walking—things that I can’t do on land.

So technically, the Society’s phrase is correct in the sense that MS does stop people from moving in the physical sense. But MS shouldn’t stop people from moving forward in life. If you look hard enough, there is a solution to almost everything.

P.S. See my video “Mobility Scooters: Tips on How to Buy” http://youtu.be/TfLtgb2ybb8

www.DebbieMS.com

How Handicapped Accessible is Your Hotel Room?

“Let’s Play Show and Tell”

April 17, 2012

I’m permanently in a wheelchair. When I book a hotel room, I ask my usual one hundred questions before I book a room to be sure it is accessible enough to meet my needs.

Though I am always assured that I will get what I asked for, the truth of the matter is I never get a completely handicapped accessible room. There are ADA standards that are supposed to be followed, but these basically address the spacing requirements. More often than not, the everyday decorative or necessary devices—such as lamp switches, bed height, or thermostats–are frequently overlooked.

This is troublesome, especially if I am travelling alone. What do you do to remedy the situation? Over the years I’ve learned something important: The way you approach somebody about a problem often will result in how (or if) that problem will be resolved. I know this is common sense thing, but it is true.

Earlier this year I booked a handicapped room at a hotel after I asked my one hundred questions about the room. Is there a roll-in shower; is the toilet seat raised…? One of the things I specifically asked about was the height of the bed. I know high beds are fashionable these days, but for someone in a wheelchair, this is a problem. I was assured that the bed was a normal height.

When I checked into my room, you guessed it. The bed was very high, and since I was travelling alone, there was no way I was going to be able to get in and out of it myself.

I called the front desk and asked for a manager to please come to my room, who came immediately with an assistant. I nicely demonstrated my dilemma, and asked them to take out the six or eight-inch frame and lower the bed. They did it, and made some other arrangements to the room that I needed such as rearranging furniture/other things so they were within my reach (lamps, phones…) I graciously thanked the manager and she graciously thanked me for being so nice about it, adding that many people are so rude and quick to complain or threaten.

Sure, I could have accused them about ADA standards but what good would it have done at the moment? I got what I wanted, plus three days of exceptional service that followed for anything I needed. Realistically, if I complained to an agency later, nothing would have ever have been done about it.

In the past I have attempted to discuss handicapped accessible room needs to higher level hotel management but needless to say, my single voice got me nowhere.

So, I recently made two videos evaluating two hotel rooms that I stayed in. Here are the links on YouTube: http://youtu.be/kAj4PoZ8MnQ and http://youtu.be/qRQlXXklYnw

Would you review these videos and give me your feedback on them? What do you agree/disagree with; what would you add, or delete?

Strength in being heard intensifies with numbers, and with more voices, maybe this time around someone will listen.

www.debbiems.com