by Kara Friesen
Living in the middle of Canada (where some might call it the Arctic…I promise it’s not that bad), we don’t have a very long summer. However, the summer season is DEFINITELY long enough for me!! Thankfully it’s Fall now, and with the leaves changing color (my favorite!), comes the cooler weather.
One of the biggest symptoms I deal with when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis, is heat intolerance. My legs quit working, my brain quits working, and more often than not, I end up with a migraine. And it’s not even that hot here! Well, compared to places like Texas. I don’t know how “y’all” survive down there! When it gets to be 30 degrees here (Celsius…so roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit), I refuse to be outside for an extended period of time. In fact, sometimes I refuse to go outside at all. It’s just too hot. I know that if I force myself to be outside for an extended period of time, it will ruin me.
That’s one thing with MS – you have to know your limits. If you don’t know them, you have to learn them, because if you don’t know your limits, you WILL over do it, and you will end up doing something that is going to ruin you for the rest of the day, and maybe even a few days after that.
You also need to remember that your limits will not be the same as someone else’s – even if they also have MS! Everybody with Multiple Sclerosis is different. SO different. Something that works for me probably won’t work the same way for someone else. So you have to know what’s right for YOU!
This can mean that maybe you don’t go and do ‘outdoorsy’ type things when it’s super hot out. I found these really cool ‘ties’ that you can basically just ‘activate’ with water, and they stay cold for a few hours! When it’s tied around my neck, it really helps against overheating. You can find them here.
Maybe if you’ve had a really busy day, you decide to not go out in the evening, because you know that the next day, you’ll be paying for it. For example, with the holidays coming up. Here in Canada, we already celebrated Thanksgiving back in October, and that was already busy – even though we didn’t have a ton of functions to attend! However, I find Christmas to be especially busy, and I have to be really careful about the commitments I make. Parties, family gatherings, more parties, church functions, school functions for the kids…it all adds up, and it can be incredibly exhausting. Sometimes it’s beneficial to pick and choose activities to attend. It might also be a good idea to set a time limit, and say you will attend, but won’t be able to stay longer than 2 hours, or however long sounds fair to you.
Nobody knows you better than you – so don’t make excuses! Have your reasons, and don’t worry about what other’s think. Most will surprise you and be really understanding! There’s really very few people who will be upset with you for taking care of yourself.
Know your limits – you got this.