My MS Likes It Hot, and Florida’s Just the Place
Many people with MS avoid Florida. I crave it.
My wife and I finally returned here in early March, escaping dreary, rainy, and windy Maryland after we received our COVID-19 vaccines. Since we arrived, the weather has been wonderful, with few clouds and temperatures warm enough for swimming outdoors.
Swimming, or at least pool walking, is important to me. I try to walk at least 500 steps in the pool, and then swim a couple laps after every hundred steps, several times a week.
Physical therapy has been helpful to me, but exercising in the pool is better. I find its effects last longer, and it helps to improve my core strength. In turn, that improves my bladder and bowel functions, my sleeping, and my fatigue level.
Since returning to Florida, the sciatic nerve pain that shoots down my left leg is hardly noticeable. The heat also forces me to do a better job of hydrating, which is a good thing.
On the other hand, cold weather saps my energy and chills my bladder. My entire body feels stiff when it’s cold. The cold traps me inside my apartment, and Maryland’s dreary winter weather gives me a dreary attitude. I become a Maryland crab. It’s not a comfortable way to live.
I’d rather use a fan than a heater
If I get too hot in Florida, I can hide from the heat in my air-conditioned apartment or car. I can wear a cooling scarf or vest. Of course, I can also jump in the pool. When it’s freezing in February in Maryland, I can’t pile on enough clothing. In Florida, I live in shorts and a golf shirt.
There was a time when my MS preferred cold to hot. Back then, my legs would turn to rubber if I spent too long in the heat. That’s how it is with most people with MS. I’m not sure what changed with me. Maybe it was my Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) treatments. Maybe over the years I learned how to handle the heat better. Maybe it was just my body or my MS adjusting as I grew older. Whatever the reason, heat is a winner for me.
Maryland has a few benefits, too
Florida isn’t perfect. June brings annoying love bugs, attacking mosquitoes, really hot weather, and the start of hurricane season. By July, the heat and humidity can be more than even I can take. So, it’ll be back to Maryland for a few months of barbecues, beaches, and being near our grandkids, all of which are also important to my physical and mental well-being.
But when it’s time to throw on a sweater, I’ll start to feel the tug of the Gulf Coast currents. I know it won’t be long before I’ll be back at my feel-good place.
You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
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