I have been fighting multiple sclerosis (MS) for seven years now. I’ve changed a lot since getting diagnosed. I’ve become more aware of my body and the ways MS has changed my life. Nothing stopped me from graduating from college, but I’ve still faced many challenges and had to adapt accordingly.
My daily routine
My daily routine never really changed during college, even though I was going through treatment at the same time. I still woke up early and went to class or work. However, it was getting harder to stay awake during school. I was so exhausted from walking around campus that naps became my best friend. I eventually started taking online classes so I could better utilize my time and ensure that I was putting 100 percent of my effort into my studies.
Work was also difficult. It was tiring to stand and interact with people all day. It also didn’t help that I was working in Florida in the middle of summer. The heat drained my energy. Driving home from work was a challenge because my fatigue was outrageous. I had to take a quick nap in my car or eat something to stay awake. I finally consulted my doctor because I could no longer live under such conditions.
Fatigue was my worst enemy. I was diagnosed with narcolepsy and started taking medications to stay awake. I researched the relationship between MS and narcolepsy and ways to combat fatigue during the day. I had to make small changes to improve my overall health.
My nightly routine and sleeping habits also had to improve. I’ve always valued my sleep and have never been a night owl. Still, I went to bed at a reasonable time and tried to wake up at a consistent time every day.
My newest addition to my sleeping routine is a weighted blanket. I wake up less throughout the night and feel refreshed in the morning.
Over time, I learned that carb-filled meals cause weight gain and fatigue. My mom randomly watched a documentary about food processing and became a vegan. I became a vegetarian soon after. Clean eating has helped my fatigue and mental clarity. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating meat.
The fight against MS can be tough sometimes. I have learned to step back and change my strategy or approach. My advice is to look for small, beneficial lifestyle changes. Most importantly, never stop fighting.
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