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    As we head into MS Awareness Week, March 5th – 11th many awareness events are happening around the nation and social media is lighting up with stories of our collective strength. We all know that overcoming the challenges of MS requires strength, and often more than a little creativity. Whether it’s inventing a way to pull up your socks, keeping your energy up or some other challenge you’ve overcome. Share your creative solution that you have discovered, because together, #WeAreStrongerThanMS. Don’t forget; visit and see what others are doing to Breakthrough MS.
  • robertjon
    I'm a Centralia College student who has lost alot of cognitive abilities, last springs attact before I was diagnosed really took a toll on me. Presently, I'm working on my last class for an AA in Aplied Sciences- Energy Technology. I spend 30+ hours a week working on this 1 class. My short term memory is lacking also. It takes me alot of time to understand and remember information. I don't retain what I read either. My class is excel. I'm not real computer savvy, but I spend alot of time working on being successful. I make great study notes which I read numours times, read the chapter 3 times, do all the work in the book that doesn't get handed in or graded. and all the weekly assignments. We had a mid-term a couple weeks ago. At this moment my class score is 89%. I'm very proud of it! I've had other classes which I didn't have to work so hard and got better grades. My GPA is 3.75. Blessings to all, Jon
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    Hi robertjon,

    What a great story! I am so glad you were able to find a way to work through the MS cognitive issues as that is not always easy. I too was already diagnosed with MS when I was in college and struggled with this as well. Those subjects that I really liked and understood came easy to me and the ones that were “never my strong suite” were struggles.  I was never a lecture note taker; by the time I process what is important to write down the speaker is already on the next thing. I found that recording the lectures and taking notes afterwards is especially helpful. I’m happy you found a way to “Breakthrough MS” and are doing well in college. Keep it up and thank you for sharing!

  • maria1
    For me, overcoming the challenges - takes a lot of problem solving, 'like Elaine says:"I am a very lazy person, so I try to find the fastest easiest way to get the job done".

    ​One of my favorites is using a nylon backpack, to bring things down to the basement or from room to room, like after shopping. Always leaving my hands free to hold on to walls, furniture or a cane.

    ​The cane is special, it helps me conserve energy. When I go out for a walk to inspect the garden I can lean on the cane to rest, I dont have to use my energy to hold myself up. Shopping too, if i am not using the shopping cart, I can stand in front of an item on the shelf and read the label without tiring too much.

    ​Lists, lists, lists - I do my best to leave nothing in my head, because i have no recall. i have gotten into the habit of leaving certain lists in certain places. Grocery list is always on the counter near the frig. Hardware list is always on the counter near the door. Daily pill list is taped to the cabinet door above the counter where the  basket with all the pill bottles are. And there are pads with pens or pencils in the bathroom, bedroom and living room incase i think of something I want or need - I will forget it forever if i dont write it down. Being 30 miles round trip from the closest store has taught me to plan ahead, but that also does not stop me from forgetting to bring the list when i leave the house. ha ha.

    ​Cooking is not so much of a pain, as is cleaning up after cooking. So, sometimes i work on cooking stuff I can freeze for another day, so there is only one mess to clean up, because after cooking, even loading the dishwasher is impossible. Foods like, stuffed cabbage, chicken pot pies, lazagna. or chicken soup, Instant meals to simply bake in the oven or heat on the stove. I get happy when I need a meal and can go to the freezer and voila, produce one without any effort.

    ​The only way I can do any housekeeping is with very loud disco music, The Bee Gees are my favorite. For cooking, very loud Italian music mostly. Even out in the garden sometimes I can only work with the right pace of music to keep me moving, a cd and earphones, or the radio to let my neighbors a half mile away that i am outside.

    ​[It has taken me awhile to think about the question, I had no idea what solutions for anything, now that i have begun, I am on a roll. Remembering " I am a very lazy person".]

    ​To wash the floor: (we did have a housekeeper but too many things were being broken, it was becoming to expensive.) I fill a bucket with hot water and pinesol, then I throw in a bunch of 'rags', ring out a rag, throw it on the floor and use the mop to move the rag around, and keep replacing the soiled rag with a clean one. Dont have to keep rinsing and wringing out the mop and the rags go in the washing maching, and I can fold them or not, when they are dry.

    ​Because i have severe allergies i told the housekeeper to do the same bucket and rags for dusting and cleaning cabinet doors etc. And when I saw a bucket with black water and a bunch of dry rags, i kinda thought that whatever was 'cleaned' was dirty.

    ​Lysol wipes, though pricey, come in handy for anything and everything, for instant solutions to jobs that need quicker solutions.

    ​I stopped ironing my clothes, except if i am going somewhere special. A clean wrinkled shirt and pants are my new style, a new trend, giggle.

    But remember, I am mostly homebound and the cats love me just the way I am.
    ​Lucky for me, my partner is allergic to makeup and perfume so I have saved plenty of money for 'other things' and havent worn any for more than thirty years, saves plenty of time.

    ​A strange thing, even for me, that i am doing lately, is when I take the hair out of the brush I am braiding it into a long braid to roll into something i can put on my head for when the rest of my hair falls out. Oh, yes, I have not cut my hair nor gone to a parlor in years, cant sit in the car not in a chair for too long.

    ​For variety, I dress up special, wear "Sunday clothes' on Tuesday, or something outrageous like layers of pants, dress, shirt, vest, sweater, all different colors of stripes and plaids,  flowers and dots, just to amuse me.

    ​The daily challenges of amusing myself, keeping active, fed and healthy are all handled by variety, simplicity( a professor taught me another rule: KISS - Keep it simple stupid.) and paying attention to the mental, physical and emotional needs, that I must do for myself in my home. I can not venture out for amusement, I pay too high a price, so I must make myself laugh, and  i work on doing that all the time. i have now begun to have serious talks with the cats. They both are vocal, calling for food, or wanting to go out or attention, so instead I now, while tending to their needs, I tell them i disagree with them, or that they shouldnt protest the meal that is served, or that they have to wait until i am good and ready, I aint gettin up yet. Yes, i am going crazy, nah, I am just putting on a show for myself, to keep me amused. And when I think i am in a rut, I rearrange furniture, the stuff that has wheels or is light enought for me to move.

    ​See, for me, the challenge of ms is to fill my time with beauty, and for me, beauty is laughter, smiling, happiness and a day filled with amusements, things i can afford to do, that make me laugh and giggle and love who I am, making my home my whole world and not my prison.
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    Hi maria1,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I LOVE the Bee Gees and often use their music to get me going with cleaning, Garth Brooks is a good one too and if I really need to push myself Lynyrd Skynyrd….yes my taste in music hits many genres. Over the years, I’ve had to get creative in cleaning, which is hard for me as I’m a little OCD and can’t stand things lying around or dust collecting. My new “best friend” is the “Swifter family.” I still like my hot water and Pine Sol when things really need a good scrub down. The thing that keeps me going is… job of course but also my furbabies; especially my German Shepherd, Jewels, who is as nutty as they come but a total love bug! I also have three cats that, like yours, love to speak their mind… night mind you. To keep myself emotionally and mentally balanced I meditate and do yoga stretches, nothing fancy just the basics.

    I think the funky things that you do to keep yourself amused is great! Sometime it’s the little things, like having mismatch dress up days, that really helps to keep us out of that rut which can easily happen. Remember you also have us, your buddies as well! :)
  • jennifer_m
    With me, it's pretty simple.  I write, I do a lot of baking, and I stay determined to keep working as long as I can.  I also want to travel with my husband, who has epilepsy and Crohn's.  Sometimes my determination is all that keeps me going, but I have a great support system with my church and my family.
  • KenBaker_1911
    Chronic back pain and increasing cognitive impairment has been an issue for me for a long time.  I maintain an active physical therapy regimen, proper diet, and my strong faith in God has sustained and given me a much more enjoyable lifestyle.  I maintain a positive outlook on life because everyday is truly a blessing.