DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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8 February 2011

Preparing for a disaster you know will happen

I had an email from Theresa last week, she writes:

"Recently our family came upon some tough times when I woke up one morning with MS and needed immediate medical help. I'm only 30, otherwise healthy, and a stay-at-farm mother to a not quite 2 year old with a very supportive husband but no other family or even neighbors near by. 

While I am getting a little stronger each day and am hopeful that things will get normal again someday, things have been tough to say the least and I am terrified of what the future will bring. Both my husband and child had a terrible flu for a week straight too on top of it all and now I just don't know where to start putting things right again!

Every aspect of my life is difficult right now, even little chores like walking out to feed the chickens can be impossible in our heavy snow. I don't want to give up on our small farm, much needed home repairs, more children, or my life but it can be so hard to think about what needs to be done and get a plan started.

I wanted to try and see if you had any advice for others in circumstances like this. Even something like a broken bone or illness can cause chaos in a home and it is important to find a balance again."

Dear Thesesa, reading your email made me feel so sad knowing what you're going through with a young child to look after. I had to look up MS and it says there are many different forms of the disease, but in the most common form you have a severe attack, preceded by a viral illness, you slowly regain your strength in varying degrees, but attacks occur very year or two.

You say you have no family or neighbours close by but I wonder if you have a family member who could come and stay with you for a couple of weeks while you get back on your feet again. If you know the illness will be in the acute state again, you'll need to set up systems in your home to deal with that and maybe when you're in an acute phase, you'll need someone from the family staying to look after you, to help with your child and to do your chores. It sounds like you're in the US or Canada, are there any support groups for MS there? Do you have community nurses? Do you belong to a church that could help?

I expect you've thought a lot about your illness and maybe you've already thought about what I'm about to suggest. If you have the strength to do anything, it should be to look after your child, then daily food, then laundry and general house work - in that order. You'll have to develop an attitude of acceptance - accept that you cannot do what you want to do, and be happy to do what you can do. Don't fret over housework not done - accept it as a side effect of your illness. You, your child and husband come first, always. If all of you are okay, leave the rest.

I really hope one of your relatives can come and stay for a while. If someone can, ask them to set things up for you to manage when they're not there. So, for instance, get a feed hopper for the chickens and a water container that won't tip over. That will cut down on the number of times you have to go out to feed them and haul water out. If they can feed themselves, you can go out every couple of days for a visit with your child, then slowly come inside again. If you're making bread, get a breadmaker. Buy a slow cooker so you can fill it in the morning and have a meal ready at night. If you don't have a stockpile, now is the time to start so you don't have to shop for groceries or feel bad because you can't. Set your kitchen up so that the things you use a lot are within easy reach. Do the same with your child's room. Get an open topped toy box that all the toys can be dumped in - by your child, so you don't have to be constantly putting toys away. Keep books on tables for him/her to read and favourite toys within reach so that when you're not feeling well or strong, he/she can get those things. This is like being prepared for a disaster that you know will happen.  

You have to look after yourself and not stress out about not being able to do what you used to do. If you can organise your home for times when you have no strength or when you feel too ill to do anything, it will help you cope, in a small way, with your illness. Once the home is organised, you should be able to cope alone and with the help of your husband.

I hate asking for help and if you're the same, put that aside because you need help now. Tell your family you need someone to come and stay for a couple of weeks . Make lists of what needs doing to help you cope when you're alone. And let go of all thoughts of having a perfect home. You are the priority - your health and well being come before dusting, vacuuming and picking up. Accept there will be days when you can't do much at all, other days when all you can do is feed yourself and the family, and days when you can do much more, and be happy with that.

I expect your husband is working on the farm, and out of the house most of the day. You'll need to set up some sort of system so you can contact him if you become ill. Maybe a cell phone would work if you also have a landline. Suggest to your husband that he talks to a friend, doctor or counsellor about your illness. Even though he's not the one with the disease, he'd be feeling confused and anxious about it and he needs to talk to someone other than you about that.

There will be some good suggestions in the comments, I just know that, so let's open this up for discussion. You may have this disease too, or know someone who has, so if you do, tell us your experience. If you have any tips, write them down. Don't walk away from this. Even if it's just to wish Therese well, please leave a comment so she knows that even though we might be miles away and not know her by face or name, we acknowledge her pain and send kind thoughts.

Comments are closed on this post.

58 comments:

  1. Oh Rhonda this letter breaks my heart. I think this is a hard thing at any age but with small children this is much worse.
    Theresa first get out your phone book and check for local agencies or MS foundations in your area. They can give you more advice and support than anyone else. The support of someone who is going through this is the most important right now.They can set you up with people to help.( I am in Canada not sure where you are.
    If you have neighbours let them know what is going on, most neighbours ( at least in my farming community) try to help out. Things change for farmers all the time and they would be glad to help you with the chores.
    Your husband will find this hard as he will feel helpless I know this one from experience. You will have to sit down and really discuss how to do this together it is not an easy thing to do but necessary.
    I am positive the farm means much less to him than you and your health. Good Luck. Sorry if I sound preachy but I have had a health issue that made our life on the farm take a new direction.My prayers are with you.

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  2. MS is an ugly unpredictable illness. Do not give up. I know a man that struggles a long time each morning to get out of bed by himself. He accepts help in other ways but for some reason this is one thing he does by himself. Even if it takes him 2 hours. I think the message is do not give up! Find strength where you can and accept help when you must, but never ever give up.

    I will keep you close to my heart Theresa in this struggle.

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  3. Oh my gosh, Therese, what you're going through makes my troubles seem like nothing. I don't really have any tips. Reaching out for help is very hard, but it's something we all need to learn to do--it's a vital life lesson. You seem like a very stong person, and for that, I admire you tremendously. I will be praying for you.

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  4. Reading this post makes me so thankful for being healthy. Family and friends really are what is going to help the most here. My boyfriend was extremely ill and then had to have major surgery this past fall and was pretty much dependent upon me for a few months. I did not work for the first month because we needed to go to a bigger city for the surgery and a small period of recovery, but then I had to go back to work in order to support us. His family lives in the same city as us, and they were a huge support. At first I was so shell shocked and upset about this sudden illness, that the only thing I could manage to do was care for him. The family basically just expanded their dinner for 2 into a dinner for 4 and brought it over every night, and then stayed with us and helped clean up, or offer hugs and love, which helped so very much, because then I had someone to support me as well as him. I understand that if you have no family in town that that makes it a lot harder, but I am sure that by merely asking someone, say a coworker, or a friend, that they would be more than happy to help however they can. Also asking to see if family who are out of town could even come up for a weekend just to help out as they can would make a huge difference. I relied on my parents for mental support more than anything because they are from out of town, but that helped enormously. Just knowing that someone is just a phone call away so that when you are feeling down or helpless, at least they can offer advice and love verbally. That helps so much. I hope that Theresa and her family will be able to cope with this illness and be made stronger because of it. There will be some unbearably hard times, but just keep in mind that you are loved and supported, and that you will surprise yourself with how strong you can actually be. I am happy to say that my boyfriend is fully recovered and in excellent health now, and we are closer because of these terrible things that happened. I am sending good thoughts your way, Theresa.

    Brenna
    consciousearthveg.blogspot.com

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  5. Theresa, I'm praying for you right now. I know this must be so difficult.

    The suggestion to have a family member come stay and help put systems in place for you is a great one. If you don't have that, or even if you do, you might also consider having a mother's helper come for a few hours at a time. A teenager after school or maybe a homeschooling student during the day, or even a grandmother in your community might be able to help out a few hours a few times per week. That person could do some of the chores that might be especially hard like cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors and so forth. If a relative could help get systems in place that would make it all the easier to communicate what needs to be done and how.

    I hope you get lots of helpful suggestions. God bless!

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  6. theresa - i am sorry to hear of your health issue. i imagine it must be so difficult. my friend has treated her MS with a low saturated fat diet (little to no meat, dairy or eggs) and plenty of veggies, with other alternative healing remedies. she is 60 years old and in virtually no pain. she also avoids chemical sweeteners such as aspartame. i hope this helps.

    sending lots of healing wishes your way!=)

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  7. like rhonda says, ask for help. there are people around who will pitch in even if you dont know them. many of us get joy out of helping strangers, you dont have to "belong" to a church for instance to approach one and ask if there are people who can donate time to give you a hand. maybe contact a local radio to ask on your behalf etc. I have a cousin who also in her 30s has MS she has....4 children. its hard for her at times but you need a network of support.

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  8. I think Rhonda has some great advice. I have a spinal condition that flares up now and then and I am bedridden for a time and unable to do things for weeks. Streamline your home to make it easier to keep up with, become friends with your slow cooker or breadmaker, even a pressure cooker to make meals easier and teach your child how to be helpful. I have had my condition for 14 years and with each flareup I have to make adjustments to how to run the house, get things done and live life. You don't have to give up the kind of lifestyle you have now that you have a health challenge. You just need to learn to adapt your lifestyle to your health. Don't worry about the future, the things of tomorrow will take care of themselves. And don't let the things you cannot do interfere with the things you can. You can do it!
    Renee

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  9. I know what its like to be on my own and not have any suppot close! I dont have MS and I am healthy but when my children were very small I suffered from post natal depression. Some days it was a strugle just to get out of bed. My husband was a truck driver and sometime it would be days before her even got home. Like Rhonda said just look after yourself and your child for now, you have to learn to turn a blind eye to all tha other stuff. Try to organise ways to feed the animals without you having to do it everyday. A feeder that you fill once a week for the chickens for example. Be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best your can. Also are there any support groups in your area? You may want to research into these groups and see if any could help you. Good luck.

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  10. Dear Theresa, I hope that you get get comfort, if nothing else, by knowing that there are people on the other side of the world who are thinking of you, praying for you and hoping that soon you will be well and strong again and draw love from those around you. Take things easy as you recuperate. Best wishes Kathy (Tasmania)

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  11. I know it's not easy caring for young children and being sick. I didn't have MS but had a major Vitamin D deficiency and it took months to figure out why I couldn't barley do anything or eat. I have 3 little ones. My husband was very supportive during that time and not only worked but helped out extra around the house and my 3 and 5 year olds and I played sitting games and other things where I was able to stay in one place. My brother also came and stayed with us on the weekends here and there just to help play with the kids.


    If you could find a neighbor or even a teenager to come a day or two a week as a mothers helper for an hour or two. It might give you a chance to relax and heal. Even 1 day a week makes a difference.

    I also agree with the decluttering. We've done that and it takes next to nothing to get out house picked up in the rooms we have done that in.

    I wish you all the best!

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  12. have you thought about contacting a nearby church to ask for help with household chores? The ladies in most churches can be very sweet and understanding. The alternative approach seems like a good place to try as well,sometimes what we eat can make a great difference in our health,anything is worth a try. I will be praying for you and your family. Blessings jane

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  13. As a fellow MS sufferer I hear what you are saying. I am now 42 and have been sick since 2006, 5 months after child number 6 was born. I've also had several strokes which has left me with some neuro damage.I was slow to except 'my new normal'. Now that WE have, I have set up my life accordingly. I say no to most things. I have to put my health first. Even before my children & husband. I 'm not selfish , the opposite in fact. I can give more if I do that. We both are young & have a long ,difficult road ahead. Except & ask for help when you need it. I always do for myself what i can. Don't push yourself too hard on your good days. I was a slow learner on that one! Meal plan, keep lists of all appointments (u will have lots),in & out trays for bills and a calendar of when they are due. Live in a highly structured home! U may be out of action but the electricity company isn't. Structure yes, dust free no. Cut yourself some slack there. You live on a farm and would live this way anyway I'm sure. My husband has had to carry a lot of weight with my illness. It's hard to have to shower your young wife. When he would sit there brushing my hair & my teeth because I couldn't, we have never loved each other more. You will be in my prayers. ps MS hates the heat. Have a backup plan for those hot days or you will find your self knocked flat before you know it. That was me last week.

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  14. Theresa, You will be in my prayers. I will pray that you will have the support, peace and strength that you need during this difficult time and times ahead. This last week I have been sick and with two young boys, I can relate to being overwhelmed by having to care for others when you aren't feeling well.
    Rhonda is so right...take care of yourself, try and feed your family, ask for help (this can be the hardest part for me), and sometimes you might have to take life one minute at a time.

    Blessings to you and yours...

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  15. Dear Rhonda,
    Thanks for sharing Theresa's letter. I'll defnitely be praying for her!!! My father and I have been through some challenges too...not like her's. Ours were different...and it was especially trying when my dad needed to get his pacemaker replaced. If it weren't for the support of our church family and friends...to keep me calm/sane, it would have been more difficult.

    Oh, if you or Theresa feel comfortable, can you share what state she is located in? I could ask around on my Facebook page, if there are any resources in her area to help provide some much needed/deserved help for her and her family!!!

    Love, hugs and prayers from Oregon, Heather :)

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  16. Dear Theresa.... be specific when you ask for help. Most people will say "Let me know what I can do." TELL them: sort my laundry and wash a load of whites!

    And let people help, Be grateful, but let them help. So many people are too proud to accept help, while most of us are willing and eager and happy to help!

    Barbara M.

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  17. Dear Theresa, I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and my prayers are with you.

    I believe the best way to tackle something is always to be as informed as possible. Below is a link to the webmd website and several good links to learn more on how to cope and get help:

    http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/multiple-sclerosis-living-managing

    Please don't feel like you are alone and reach out as often as you need to. Thanks to Rhonda we are part of a big community that cares.

    A big hug your way and hang in there. You can do it.

    Claudia

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  18. Theresa how very wise of you to think about putting systems in place. Wherever you are there will already be a support system even if it's not an MS group. Don't be too proud or independent to avail yourself of it -- people do want to help.

    One step at a time.

    Are you already a member of the Down to Earth Forum? If not do come and join us, we are a supportive little community and, while we can't give you practical help, we can listen and advise.

    Best wishes to you Theresa.

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  19. Oh, my heart goes out to you. I have dealt with autoimmune issues for the last 12 years. (I just turned 30) When my children were little it was difficult. But at that age they can be amazing little helpers. Folding clothes(don't aim for perfect :), putting low things away and such. A crockpot can be your best friend. We homeschool our children, so they are with me throughout the day. As they have gotten older (7,9,& 12) we have taught them to do many tasks for when my health is really bad. They cook, do laundry and if nessasary handle their lessons with only help from each other. Down the road with their own families they will be able to do many household tasks in their sleep. Now mind you doing things this way is only if you don't have outside help.

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  20. I have a dear friend with the progressive type of MS and she is badly affected by it now. She remains cheerful, accepts help when needed and has recently got herself an assistance dog who is wonderful. She has always kept up her spirits even on the bad days and her enthusiasm for life is the reason, I'm sure, she is as well as she is. I suffer from a non-life threatening condition which gives me low energy and as Rhonda says there are days I can do quite a bit and other days I can just manage to feed and look after my son and husband. The best thing to do is on good days, plan for the bad. I always cook extra portions for the freezer for the days I can'tcook.

    Hugs xx

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  21. You are in my prayers Theresa, there is lots of good advice here for you, you will have to sift through it to find the things that will work for you, not everything will.

    My only addition would be to learn about managing your time. I have rhematoid arthritis and had a sister with MS. It has taken me 14 years to get to the stage where I feel as though I am accepting my limitations, I so wish I had taken more time at the beginning to do this. Set yourself time goals for doing everything! If you don't get it done, then leave it a while, rest and then try again, that way you will better know how to manage that task another time. If you get it done before your allotted amount of time - horray - extra rest or play with your toddler time!

    You might find it best to start with very small time limits - 5 or 10 minutes, set a timer so that you stick to it and make sure you rest for at least the same amount of time before you embark on your next task.

    Hope this might be useful, if not through it out, only you will know if it can help you, much love, Jane x.

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  22. I'm keeping you in my prayers Theresa. Support from your hubby is vital and it sounds like you are getting that. Support from friends and family is also important. Grab all the help you can from whoever - even if it's just taking out the garbage. Never be too proud to accept help. I was sick with Post Natal Depression and tried to do everything and be super mum - it didn't work and I learnt that lesson the hard way.

    Best Wishes

    Catherine

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  23. My thoughts and prayers go out to you,Theresa.There is a lot of good advice in the comments,I hope they help you. I hate to ask for help,but have learned to do it when I need it,(and that is more than I'd like).We all hate to "impose" on others,but I can assure you that no one feels that you are imposing if you ask for help! Wishing you all the best,Darlene

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  24. Dear Theresa,

    I am so sorry about what you are going through. I am praying for your recovery and for help in the meantime. My sister has some chronic health problems with little ones - I've seen what she has to go through, and I know how hard it can be. Please focus on taking care of yourself - that is the most loving thing you can do for your family.

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  25. I wish I could help with suggestions, but Rhonda gave all the ones that I thought of- getting support, setting up systems, etc.
    I would also suggest keeping things around you that make you smile or that have sentimental value- a couple photos, your favorite music, anything that you relate to that always helps lighten your mood or lift your spirits. I hope I don't sound cheesy, but since I've never dealt with MS myself, all I can think of is the attitude part right now.
    Most of the time people laugh when they find out but...I keep a Thankful List in my head. That may be difficult, but when you are in a particularly good mood you could write down all the things you are thankful for- your husband, your child, your farm, chickens, just whatever you hold dear to your heart. It sorta helps me when I feel discouraged to look over my list. It may help to remember you have a family who loves you, and even all of us on here who are thinking about you and praying for you!
    I'm not trying to be preachy- it's probably really hard for you because of what you are going through. I'm just hoping to help a little bit, and maybe be some kind of encouragement.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

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  26. Theresa. I have spinal problems and often am unable to walk or care for my two boys. I also live on a farm, not as remote as yours but people have to make a very special trip out to visit me. If you have a good friend get her to come out and do a cooking day for you where she prepares a heap of freezer meals and snacks for your child and I have to say I have had to rely so much on TV and DVD's to keep mine amused when I have been really bad. I read them a lot of stories and did drawing in bed as that was all I could do. You learn to put away the guilt and anger at not being able to play with your child after a while. My boys just turned my bed room into their playroom so we could be together. It is hard I found keeping a journal helpful as I could look back and see that although I did not feel any progress was happening, infact it was, it might be tiny but to see some progress makes a lot of difference when you live a life with pain and limitation.

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  27. I understand where this lady is coming from. I too have been there with incredible pain, suffering from a crippling bone disease. I was bedridden for 6 months and on crutches for 18 months. The condition I am recovering from is called Transient Migratory Osteoporosis...I describe it as being like you have a broken bone constantly for months at a time.....I have had this condition in my left foot, my left hip and my right shoulder.....The hip has been the longest to heal...I still wake in pain, still live day to day...at least it’s not hour to hour anymore. I remember having my husband help get me into the bath for a shower and him helping hold me up, crying because the pain was so bad because of the water running down over my hip....
    I made many adjustments to our lives over the months when I was really sick. I would set my alarm early to take my 'slow release' pain meds...that way I had less pain when waking to get the kids off to school.
    I had mini base stations set up in the kitchen, the bedroom ect....with all the essential items needed for whatever task....
    On the one in the lounge room I even had some poppa's of juice, and kept nibbles, books to read, medicines, TV remotes, and bottle of water....the phone, notepad, pens, ect..
    It would get to me that I couldn't shower without my husband’s help, so I set up a bowl with a face washer, soap, deodorant, hairbrush and two towels, one for the floor, and one for me.....on my 'stool on castors' I would sit in the kitchen and strip off and have a wash....everything I needed was at the ready...and no one was coming home, so I had the privacy....(we only have a really small bathroom, not easy to move around in, when your body doesn't want to move, so the kitchen was easiest at the time.
    We don't have room to move a wheelchair around in our house, so my stool on wheels became my legs.....I scooted to the bathroom, bed, the front door...everywhere in the house,....I set up a card table to prepare meals on in the kitchen while sitting on my stool.....set aside one bench if you can and put all the day to day items you use for meal preparation.....
    It would take me the whole day to prepare a meal....having breaks in between...so what...if that's all I achieved for the day....I still achieved looking after my family,....and that is what is important.
    Sometimes just working hour to hour is the easiest way to go......I still work like that, having small breaks in between the work.

    continued....

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  28. Patricia in DenverFebruary 08, 2011 9:37 am

    Google Dr.Max Gerson.

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  29. continued.....
    Some meal prep ideas I found worked for us are:
    1. If making a roast meat, put an extra one in the oven, it takes the same amount of time and effort to cook two or more...a cooked leg of lamb defrosts nicely for a meal of cold meat and salad.
    2. When making a salad, prepare extra and store for the next nights meal. Grated carrot, chopped onions, shredded cabbage, chopped beans, snow peas ect all last well for a few days in the fridge...in airtight containers.
    3. When cooking rice or pasta, cook extra and store in fridge for up to 3 days....I often make spaghetti for one night then use the extra pasta the next night to make a pasta salad.
    4. When unloading shopping from the car, I used my laundry trolley, which has two baskets on it....I could get that trolley to the front or back door even when I was on crutches..we have a ramp to the back door, which I could bring the trolley right inside the house.
    5. When I buy chicken breasts, buy extra and that night, chop up all the chicken and divide into two meals....mix up a bit of cornflour and water and mix through chicken....cook chicken in pan and add a 'chicken tonight' jar of flavour, an easy meal, the extra meal of cooked chicken is put in the freezer for nights when you simply can't do anything...all you have to do is defrost the cooked chicken bits in the fridge overnight and add a bottle of 'chicken tonight' or 'pasta sauce' from your stockpile...heat through and your good to go....meal done.
    6. Do the same for mince as I do for chicken breasts....it makes spaghetti a quicker meal to prepare.
    7. If someone offers to help, let them, ask if they would prepare a meal for you...it never hurts to ask, and often you will be amazed at the generosity of others.
    8. If someone calls to say hi, ask them if they would mind hanging the washing on the line for you....it only takes a few minutes for an able bodied person, but for a person who is laid up, it could be the beginning of a bad day.
    9. If you can put the washing in to be washed, its ready for when hubby comes home to put it on the line in the afternoon, so what if it stays on the line all night, then the following day have someone bring it in for you if you can't...if not at least it will probably be dry that afternoon for your hubby to get it off the line....you can fold while sitting down...
    10. I washed all my dishes while sitting on the stool....and I could 'scoot' over to the other bench if needed.
    Hope these ideas offer some advice, I was 9 months into my recovery and had a really bad fall in the back yard, breaking my ankle in two places, breaking my leg, dislocated ankle and torn ligaments..after 4 operations, I was to come home....and yes got the stool out again....couldn't use crutches because of my bad hip...in the hospital when I used crutches to get to the toilet my hip would hurt as much as my foot....glad to get home and back to my stool....well that was 12 months ago the other day...and I still use a lot of the steps I just covered, but I am not bathing in kitchen anymore...hehe
    Take one day at a time, if your well enough, plan for the next

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  30. Therese,

    What good ideas Rhonda shared! I pray that you will find solutions that will work for you and your family.

    I second finding support in your local area for MS.

    Deanna

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  31. Just wanted to add my thoughts and prayers are with Theresa. What a shock this must be.

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  32. I was so moved by Theresa's letter, my heart goes out to you. I have had the experience of my brother having Myotonic Dystrophy and whilst he was very limited physically I think the actual loneliness that he experienced was as bad for him as the limited movement. He did not have children and found out that when he could not go out into the world it did not come knocking at his door. There has been so much good advice offered, I was thinking could you perhaps hold a children's bookreading at your home, mothers bring their children(over say 4 years of age) and as it's predominately bookreading/quiet activites it would not be too taxing, the mothers look after their children and take turns to bring a book and read it. The children all get to experience the quiet side of play and learning, there is no work or prep involved and you get to make contact with other mothers/people in your community.

    When people know of a need in their community they can astound you, I have just seen that here in Queensland with the floods and cyclones. Most of us really care and will do our bit to be there for our fellow brother and sister.
    All my very best to you Theresa, take every day at a time, don't rush and you will certainly get there.
    Vickixx

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  33. One suggestion I would make, is to have a central area for every day items, for when you are recovering, those things will be handy and you won't have to go all over the house. For instance, if your child is still in diapers, or toilet training, keep those things in a convenient spot where you don't have to get up. Keep a lap desk nearby, with needed papers, bills etc, so you can work on it while resting. Just a few ideas:)

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  34. Therese, I hope you are encouraged by all these responses. Our thoughts are with you, and I pray you will find help and hope amongst friends.

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  35. Dear Therese,

    you are in my thoughts and prayers...

    ~Dana

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  36. Theresa, you are in my prayers here. I have some spinal issues, some nerve damage, arthritis, and other "stuff" - one thing I've learned is to pace myself. Listen to your body - rest when it asks, or it will demand. I keep small things by my bed and chair to do. It helps me to keep busy, even if it's stationary and hobby related. I also like slow cooking - not just for the health aspect - but if dinner is started in the morning, it will continue on even if I don't come afternoon...Do ask for help when you need it. And don't set such high standards for yourself to maintain. I've learned less really IS more. As much as I have always loved full scale decorating for all the holidays and seasons - we've had to keep it to a few sentimental items and add little touches to our every day stuff as opposed to changing things out every few months.

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  37. Dear Theresa: I recently heard a naturopathic Dr. say all disease can be cured. Feeding your body correctly is the key. check out www.hacres.com and also www.earthclinic.com. Also read a book about "oil pulling" that said that all disease begins in the mouth. Perhaps that virus was the beginning of the MS -- which probably began in the mouth. Earth clinic has info about it. I'm not a Dr. just someone who is fed up with Drs and has had more success with doing my own research. God bless

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  38. Dear Theresa,
    My heart goes out to you and your'e family. I think you should definitely join a MS support group. It will be hard going with your 2 year old because he/she will struggle with why mummy is not well somedays. Have a special little bag or box with a few things like toys, books, puzzles and things he/she normally doesn't play with. keep this for when you are having a bad day.
    make sure you have some snacks, food prepared in the freezer that you can pull out. Your 2yr old will be able to open the fridge and pull out a lunchbox with their food in it.
    You sound like a very strong woman but do ask for help there are also people out there perhaps through a church group that may be able to help out.
    Our thoughts are with you

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  39. I know of one family with young children and the mother had MS. They had found info on treating MS with bee-sting therapy. Really made an improvement with her. I am not proposing this, but just suggesting you might look into any info you can find about it on the internet. Sorry I don't know any more about it than that. I do agree with all that Rhonda has written, and will add one more thing to that. Try to have something to do for yurself that makes ~YOU~ happy, A hobby, maybe knitting or painting? Something you can do on your days when you have time and are able, even if you don't have strength to do household chores. Life, even for those who are ill, should not be all about "getting their work done". Am I saying it right, Rhonda?

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  40. Dear Theresa,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you!
    Sharing as you did is a courageous thing to do!
    I can't add much to what the ladies have said but perhaps a notebook of all the ideas that work would help.
    Also when people ask to help or you ask them(believe me most people are eager to help but don't quite know what to do)ask them for specific things you need done.
    Join us at Down To Earth Forum when you can.
    God bless,
    Helen(grammea)

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  41. You said it perfectly Sunny. Thank you. : - )

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  42. Theresa, I'm so sorry to hear of your illness, and I hope you are finding help and comfort through Rhonda's blog. I know when I've had a hard time the comments made on my behalf made me feel so much better. I don't know a lot about MS, but I didn't notice anyone mentioning this - have you had any allergy testing done? Food allergies in particular? My husband has had some serious health issues and it turned out that he is a Celiac, and we are going to doctors to determine what else might be going on with him. If you can't afford allergy testing, you might just try an elimination diet? Rhonda and the others who commented have covered a lot of the other things I would suggest. Keep a positive attitude, and remember to pray. I'll be praying for you.

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  43. http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/
    Dear Theresa,
    2 1/2 years ago, I was in your position at the age of 47, waking up one day with a paralysed right arm and hand, and totally exhausted. I understand the fear, no, terror of hearing the words MS directed at you, and have taken many months to come to terms with it. At the start of the journey however, I was blessed to hear of Professor George Jelinek, an Australian emergency medicine physician and research journalist, who also has MS. As a result of extensive research, he has put together a lifestyle plan, including a strict, low saturated fat diet, supplementation with vitamin D and B complex, omega 3 oil (flaxseed or fish oil), plus meditation and exercise, and any medication deemed necessary. He has kept his own illness totally in remission for over 11 years now, and many others willing to follow the same path have done the same thing. I also have remained relapse free thus far from following his protocol, and I believe healing the illness is quite possible, providing the protocol is adhered to. He has published a book by the same name as his website which I have included above, which gives great detail and extensive, evidence based study references to all his recommendations. There IS hope for your situation, no matter how desolate things may seem right now. He also gives many great links to others who are taking control of their illness, and other helpful websites.
    It will take time to turn things around as your body needs time to heal, but it can be done - take the diet/protocol seriously and don't give up. God willing, you will see positive changes.
    I will keep you in my prayers!
    Warmest love to you,
    Heidi Reid
    Mt Barker, South Australia

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  44. I'm afraid I don't have any new suggestions. I would "hire" a teenager or a to help with your child and/or feeding the animals. Take care of yourself and search and accept as much support as you can from different sources.
    I'm so very sorry you have to go through this. I'll think about you and wish you the best.

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  45. Recently my back went out terribly ( it came back though) and I realized I am going to have to re-evaluate some things around here. I have a flock of sheep, several dogs, and chickens, ducks, turkeys, and a small business that requires good care of my sheep and processing and crafting my wool myself. With my back out for several days all duties were left to my husband who has a full time job a long way from home. I have begun to streamline things in practical ways and am going to cut down my animal numbers around here.

    She might want to give her animals waterers & feeders that hold a few days worth of water & food, set up her home to be easy for even little children to help keep up. When Theresa is better she can prepare and freeze meals in advance for those "hard days".

    The best help of all would be your suggestion of a family member to come and stay for a rime. I hope she is able to get much needed help soon.

    Blessings to you Theresa, and what good comments you received in answer to her e-mail.

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  46. Theresa, by the very fact that you have already asked Rhonda for suggestions shows that you are able to ask others for help. You probably read her down to earth blog or forum, so I'd imagine that you are connected to the internet. Perhaps you have attended one of her community workshops. Or someone gave you her email address. Thus, you possess the very things that will be your essential tools in active MS days as well as in healthy times of remission:
    1. humility to ask for help
    2. human contacts and
    3. knowledge
    Now, just expand on these 3 things. Follow-up with some of the suggestions made here and perhaps consider contacting a few of the commenters by clicking on their name and those with blogs might have ways to receive private emails. Maybe someone lives closer to you than you think...and would only be too happy to visit. Or knows someone else who would. Use the internet to gain as much knowledge & support as you want.

    If you lived where I do (South Africa), you'd probably already have paid help to do all/some of the housework (and garden/farm) for you in the form of a paid domestic worker/maid, gardener or garden service. I love the fact that I can provide my maid with steady paid work in a country with a 24% unemployment rate even if it's just 2 days/wk to help her support a large extended family as she is a widow & grandmother (in her 40's) and has recently lost two grown children to illnesses. I am teaching her simple living methods of household cleaning gleaned from Rhonda. As un-American or un-whatever country you live in, you might want to consider that option, too. Or only pay when absolutely necessary. Or barter for help (eggs & vegetables for cleaning?? You never know.) Or do the bare minimum and not worry! Likewise if you need to have a caregiver for yourself from time to time.

    Also, doing things that give you that sense of connectivity to the larger world and not just your husband, child & farm might help you eg Skype texting/calling and emailing your family & friends; being involved in on-line blog/support communities for other interests; using your skills to benefit others. Eventually, you'll need to decide if you will home-school or have your child attend school outside your home. You could use your good days to do any thinking/research on this. Great things often come from suffering, so don't give up.

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  47. Dear Theresa, I think you will have a lot of reading to do ;o)

    First of all I want to wish you all the best and I hope you will find the strength to go on. It is really hard to see and experience that your body doesn't do the things anymore you want it to do. I can tell.

    At this time I am preparing for my (second) childbirth. Now I still can, I make myself a lot of meals in advance, to put away in our freezer. So my husband only has to take it out and warm it up. One little, tiny step, but it helps.

    Just like Rhonda said: I also find it hard to ask for help, bur sometimes there isn't any other way.

    Please know you may always say a prayer. Nor only for an answer, also to find the peace in your heart for the difficult acceptance.

    Stay strong!

    Love from Holland.

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  48. Please do not cook and store rice in the fridge - it breeds nasty bacterium called Bacillus cereus,and can make you very ill!!
    My sister-in-law has had MS for several years and has responded very well to medical intervention. She is now on quarterly injections which keep it well under control.
    Accepting that things have changed, as Rhonda said, is key. Pace yourself, watch how activity affects you, don't overdo it on good days. Join a support group, whether online or in person if possible - you will learn so much from them about how to cope.
    All the best.

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  49. I popped in to leave a helpful comment here, but so much love and wisdom has been shared with you, Therese. I feel that anything that I add would just be repetition. From all this wonderful support I hope you feel encouraged that you are not alone even though you are isolated.

    Lots of cyberhugs xxx

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  50. Therese, I am sending lots of love and strength. Don't underestimate your community. I am sure if the local moms/women/families knew there was a family in need they would not think twice about coming together to help. Ask for what you need! and know that when you feel good, there will always be people in need that you can help too. much love

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  51. Make a 'ta-daaah list' , summing up all the things that you DID manage to do today. Count your victories. You'll be surprised :-)

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  52. Dear Theresa...You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!
    I wish I were close to where you live, I would volunteer some time to helping you.
    Try to stay positive.

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  53. I'm so sorry to hear about your illness Theresa. All these suggestions are good and very useful but Id like to say, don't try to do them all at once. Worry and stress can trigger a relapse so take your time and introduce changes gradually as the need arises. Becoming a vegetarian can be a big change and even more so when your movement is affected but I have heard that it's the best diet for MS sufferers - this can also be introduced gradually. (I have very mild MS and get varying symptoms every couple of years - mainly numbness, which mostly goes away eventually)

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  54. Hi,
    I've just read all the comments and it takes me back to February 2004 when I was diagnosed with M.S.
    It's shocking,frightening and downright unfair !Once you get round that, plus the no-futur side to the illness, it will change your way of life !
    It all depends on how YOU want it to change your life, sure you can curl up in bed and stay there until the 36th of the month, OR, you can do what you can, no-more no-less !
    Don't let M.S become an excuse, which I must admit is tempting sometimes.
    I stopped listening to people who know someone with the same thing as you, if there is one illness that is impossible to compare, it's M.S.
    They can make you feel guilty because their friend doesn't limp or feels exhausted just trying to smile somedays !
    Be strong, for yourself, live everyday to the full, love life.
    Sorry to be a bit harsh, but the bee-stings and olive oil diet are things you have to talk about with your specialist, not on a forum.
    Take care, Carol.

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  55. Hi Theresa
    So sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with MS. My boss has just found out that his daughter has it, so it is something that is very much in my mind at the moment.
    I'm sure that Rhonda's readers will come up with much good advice for you.
    Good luck and God Bless.

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  56. Theresa, I can come up with nothing to help you that hasn't already been said. But I can pray for you. I pray that you are able to put some of these suggestions to use. I pray that even baby steps in managing your illness become apparent. I pray for your family to help you get through these tough days.
    Many Hugs,
    Yvette

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  57. Rhonda~
    What a heart wrenching letter! Please pass on my best wishes to her for healing and acceptance. I know she took great comfort and hope from your message. How dear of you to take the time to think out a step-by-step process that will help her deal with whatever comes. You are a treasure to us all! Kind regards to you and Theresa.

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  58. Hi Theresa - what a tough few weeks it must have been for all of you.

    I'd second Rhonda's suggestions about making sure you have a decent size feed hopper & drinker for the chickens to limit the amount of times you have to go to see them when you're not feeling up to it. If it's safe for the chickens to do so, you also might want to look at getting an automatic pophole door for the coop - we've got one that lets our girls into the run at dawn every day (and closes after they've gone to bed after dusk) and it means we can sleep-in later when we want to/need to, without them being shut up. I had a bout of delightful food poisoning at the weekend so couldn't go to see our girls for a day - but I knew they had enough food & water, and were out for about 9hrs in the weak winter sunshine while I was in bed.

    If your farm is eligible & you have space, you may want to consider taking part in WWOOF - a volunteer will come to stay on your farm and help out around the farm for 4-6hrs a day, in return for room & meals.

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