I Seek to Overcome MS Challenges by Being Resourceful

Jessie Ace avatar

by Jessie Ace |

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Something crazy happened: I felt the strength slowly run out of my leg. It was like it needed a serious charge, but the charging port was nonexistent.

I’d received some bad news a few days before that, and I think the stress of the news caused a flare-up. My nurse agreed.

A day after my leg went weak, I was due to look after a relative’s home, along with their dog, while they were away. Oh boy, this will be interesting, I thought.

The dog in question is much larger and stronger than my tiny dachshund, Lucy, and she likes to jump up to people’s faces for kisses. All. The. Time.

So, how would I walk her with a leg that has no strength?

First, I took her as I normally would, just more slowly. That sounds like it would work, right?

Nope. Not a smart idea. I underestimated her strength and the hills.

I stumbled and tripped a bunch of times as she pulled me in this direction and that. I was so embarrassed and weak trying to cling to this powerful force of a dog, and I could just imagine the neighbors staring out their windows and judging me, thinking I was drunk or something.

Back at the house, I cried. I cried out of frustration that my leg wasn’t working as it should. I cried because my invisible MS was obvious to others for the first time and I couldn’t do anything to hide it. And I cried because life can be so frustratingly unfair at times.

I asked myself a different question: “How can I take her for a walk that doesn’t count on me walking her?”

After thinking for a moment, I had an idea.

“I know, I’ll drive up the road, park next to the park, and throw her ball for her. That way, she’ll get a good run, and I don’t have to walk anywhere and risk falling over.” Genius, Jess, good thinking.

The next day, I did exactly that. Did it work? Nope.

The dog was incredibly excited to go in a car she’d never been in. She didn’t understand why I put a dog harness on her like I do for Lucy. This dog is used to going in the back, but I had stuff in my car, so that wasn’t an option.

Then we got tangled in her retractable leash after she bolted out of the car, which caught the release button on the way. She dropped her ball and then wouldn’t fetch. Argh.

Did I give up? Nope.

The next day, I thought, “OK, how can I calm her down and improve on what we did yesterday?”

I realized that I can do something with her that I can’t do with my dog. It felt alien to even think about it. This dog can have treats!

My dog is allergic to absolutely everything, and we can only give her medicated kibbles.

The treats worked! Sort of. She was still very excited about getting a treat for being in a new car.

We had a few more days at it to refine the process until on the last day, it poured down rain, which washed out any hope of wandering outside.

Despite everything, I’m proud of myself for overcoming the challenge and not giving in by taking the easy route of getting someone else to do it for me.

It was hard work, sure, and it probably didn’t do my body any favors, but I stuck to my guns. This is me. I’m a fighter. I’m a stubborn, problem-solving fighter.

How do you cope when challenges arise? Please share in the comments below.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Libbie avatar

Libbie

So great that you were able to think about different ways to take care of the dog despite what you were experiencing.

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Marie Demers Kelfer avatar

Marie Demers Kelfer

I like that u didn't say no to caring for this dog and that u didn't give up and that u decided to do the throwing!

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MADELINE l NEWTON avatar

MADELINE l NEWTON

very proud of you for not giving up and trying to deal with your new companion and to take her for a walk and play ...so excited about the things that you thought of ...yes sometimes it does make us upset and we cry for we are upset that we can't do it the way that we usually do it but ha like you said you are a fighter and you found a way ...love it..that is how i try to look at things that upset me for i can't do like before but if we really think about it we CAN find another way to do it...so glad for you to realize that your still able to figure things out ...wow...great job...yes treats do work great for controlling a dog to do something for you if you just keep trying ...yayayayyaya...

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Linda M Neuberger avatar

Linda M Neuberger

I feel the same Jessie! I'm quite a "fighter", probably I'm mistaken in some instances when I don't quit in time.. I used to walk with "Ben" my dog, a very well mannered lab, he walks like my partner! My right side is weak quite readily and affects my walking. I did this routinely every day down the rural township road past our place for about 3/4 of a mile. After a knee replacement and a hip fracture (about 1-1/2 yrs ago), I decided to join a local fitness center and work out. I signed up for some classes and eventually got a personal trainer. I have improved my balance and strength significantly. It keeps me moving like I've never experienced before, and yes, I have to continue to work out consistently. Some days I use up all my "spoons/energy" and my body doesn't work like it should so I have to accept it and try to problem solve listening to my body and plan accordingly. I plan my activities in sections like physical activities, then things I can do while sitting, then back to physical activity, etc. It's a change of lifestyle for me, but if I ignore my fatigue, it virtually stops me physically. It challenges me, and helps put me in a positive attitude. Ben doesn't get walked as much, so I play "throw ball" and "bouncy ball" with him off the garage; of course he's a fetcher. Weekends are our walking days. He's my "service dog" as my husband says. My life has changed, but I'm still having fun and being positive!

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