Unmasked!

10592870_680892445339103_4154607322118844401_n

Unmasked!

There was a time, I admit, when I was the girl who still cared what people thought or were saying about me. Whether it was in the school playground as a child, the teenager embarrassingly changing into gym clothes in the girl’s locker room or the young woman who suddenly found herself diagnosed with MS.

A scary sounding word, it’s wrath unpredictable.

“Oh I am so sorry to hear that”,was the initial response I would get along with the pitying looks. Behind closed doors or whispered over the phone lines was a whole new territory. A new playing field for everyone to talk about what a terrible disease I had been given and all the while thanking their lucky stars , God, or the universe, that it wasn’t them.

For years, my family and I, kept this deep dark secret that someone in our close knit family had just been delivered, what I then thought to be, a cell on death row. I would pretend for years that I could see things that I really could not for. MS had repeatedly played havoc on my optic nerves, leaving enough scars to prevent me from driving my car again or reading a paper back novel. One of life’s simplest joys which was now an impossible luxury.

Today, I can look back from a place of acceptance and I am left wondering why I had wasted so much energy on pretending to be what everyone expected, “ok”. It only took falling off a miniature golf putting hole and breaking my shoulder, to landing on a wintry airplane tarmac face first amidst snow and ice, to tripping over an unseen curb and landing nose first onto the concrete, causing a mini scene outside a local airport terminal.

Why did I care so much?

Who exactly was I trying to impress?

Obviously, not myself.

For if I had stopped living from a place of fear and shame years earlier, , I would have been in a much more peaceful and less fearful place. There is no shame to be felt. No need to stand in judgment of others. By accepting your life for “what is” opens the door wide open for you to take control and start living your own life again. I have now come to accept the use of a walking stick if I feel the need and don’t really care who I “think” might be staring.

After all, the only person you need to please is the face you see in your own mirror..

Cindy Lee Lothian

August 16, 2014


http://www.stillsexyafterms.com

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fallout Be Damned!!

 

mr-magoo-1S

My mind knows it is happening. My heart starts to race with the sudden surge of panic. My voice is trapped in my throat the words frozen in my mouth. The only thing that doesn’t know it is my arms. Why don’t they reach out and protect me?

Disoriented, dazed, rattled I sit on the floor after yet another random fall this time tripping over my good intentions. That being my eight pound dumbbells that I recently purchased to get back to working out.

The sequence of events is always the same. The location might change, the body parts involved vary but the outcome is always the same. My mind knows I am falling and danger is imminent but the signal does not get to my arms in time to react.

This morning,I sat on the hardwood floor of my office, the treadmill on my left and the yoga mat on my right. I sat for five minutes before getting up taking stock. My arm still works, my leg is bruised but not broken and thankfully my head did not kiss the floor this time.

It is times like these where I can be at risk of losing my “keep a stiff upper lip” attitude is in jeopardy.

Living with MS and the constant lack of balance among the myriad of other daily challenges can only be understood by someone who has experienced living life with MS. Do not get discouraged for you will pick yourself up, brush yourself off and carry on like the brave soul you are.

Look at me, I made it up off the floor and am here writing to let all you other clutzes to let you know that “s*** happens” but forget about it and move on.

Cry if you want, scream if must but never let it beat you!

Cindy Lee Lothian

July 20, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What I Wish I Could Tell You~

Image

What I Wish I Could Tell You ~Cindy Lee Lothian~

What I wish I could tell you threatens to bubble up and explode from my mouth, but the words quickly die as soon as my lips start to part.

Would you even begin to understand? 

Could you really feel how scared I really am?

When my vision started to fail, I was left alone in the dark. How could you see the panic that shadowed me with each further degree of darkness? Did you see how I would close one eye at a time to repeatedly test what I could and couldn’t see?

Did you understand how out of control my own life felt as I seemingly had no control over what was happening to my own body?

I wish I could tell you how fatigue robs me some days of enjoying even the most simplest things. How taking a shower can seem like an unobtainable goal or how it makes me feel when I see the look in your eyes after I finally emerge from my bed after a all day nap.

I wish I could tell you what a thief nerve pain is robbing me of the ability to enjoy a day of moving freely without having to reach for a pain killer every four hours, searching for relief in a codeine fog.

I wish I could tell you how I feel but I honestly don’t know if you would even ever understand.

The only way to be heard is to start somewhere.

Are you listening now?

cindy Lee Lothian

June 21, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

3 Things I Wish I Knew Then About MS!

 

 

ImageWhat I Wish I Knew Than!

It’s my party and I will dance if I want to!

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday and I used the day to reflect on my life, I realized that this was not a celebration of the day I was born, but rather a celebration of the twenty year milestone of living with the “condition” called MS.

I use the word condition because the “d” word disease puts you in a constant state of negativity right out of the gate. The moment you leave the doctor’s office after receiving this label you are already starting the fight with a defeated mindset.

When I look back on my twenty eight year old self and the fear that this diagnosis brought with it, I find myself wishing I could give myself a hug and reassurance that no path is set in stone. We all know that they call Multiple Sclerosis the snowflake disease and aptly so. The rate of onset and severity can can be so different in each individual. With this said, I am a firm believer that alleviating all stress in your life wherever possible, maintaining a healthy positive attitude can all play a role in possibly lessening the chances of your body being under attack.

I can hear some of you screaming at the computer monitor now while reading this, pulling out your hair in exasperation of one more person making it all sound so easy.

No, it is not easy. Each day I am thankful for another day of living my life the best way I can. I can hardly remember what my life was like before it became intertwined with the MS condition known as the scary monster. What would it have been like without the constant worry of not being able to do the simple things in life anymore in the mere blink of an eye? I will never know and perhaps do not even care because without the path I have walked on for the past twenty years, I would not have become the woman I am today.

Cliché as this might sound, there is nothing like a reminder of our own frailty and mortality to really make you sit up and take note of what is really important in your life.

So as my birthday has come and gone, I have taken my younger self by the hand.

Cindy Lee Lothian

May 20, 2014 Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

MS, LOVE & SEX?

 

ImageMS, LOVE & SEX?

When my husband spoke the words I don’t love you anymore, I felt like I was traveling at warp speed on the SS. Enterprise with Captain Kirk at the helm. Traveling to places no man had gone before.

I found myself crying in the darkened room of my son’s bedroom taking stock. I had MS and was legally blind. I could not drive anymore and the person I had relied on the most had just closed the door on our fourteen year marriage. I had two sons to take care of and God was I tired.

That was then and this is now. I can tell you I did travel to dark unknown places living independently for the first time in my life. I felt free to be who and what I wanted to be. No one to feel I needed to impress or to accommodate. I was suddenly lifted of the burden of always feeling I was not good enough.

As you know,MS can be a harsh test for even the most solid and loving relationships. I often hear from many readers that they are blessed with a loving and understanding partner who is always there for support or just a well needed hug. On the flip side of course, like me, there are many suffering with MS whose relationships could not withstand the pressure cooker that living with MS can become.

“I believe you”.

“I care about you”.

“how can I help”?

Are thse the things you are hearing in your relationship?

I encourage you to examine your relationship right now. Is it supportive and nurturing or do you feel like it is suffocating you, leaving you feeling pressure and guilt for not being what you think you need to be? Only you know what your needs are when it comes to sharing your life with your partner and you deserve to be happy and loved. Do not let MS make you feel like you have to settle for a relationship that does not fill your life with meaning.

Sexual intimacy can often become a problem when living with MS and can certainly vary depending on your condition. Some people tell me that that is the last thing they are concerned about and others still want that intimate connection with their spouse. Sex of course doesnot have to involve intercourse, making each other feel pleasure comes in all forms. Be open about what each of your needs are and try to listen without judgment.

If you are currently where I was flying shotgun through the unknown on the S.S. Enterprise stay calm. You are merely an explorer about to discover new areas of yourself that you never even knew existed.

Enjoy the journey for with every change there are new possibilities.

Cindy Lee Lothian

April 21, 2014

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Compassion is the New Black!

Image

Compassion is the New Black 

In that moment when I heard the words multiple sclerosis blurted out from the mouth of a callous elderly neurologist, I thought then that I understood man’s capability to be insensitive. 

I am not implying that he was wrong by telling me that I had an incurable illness, but what happened to taking a moment to realize that words like these have the ability to hurt and that by showing a little bit of compassion might make the world of difference? 

I am not saying that since my diagnosis I have not met some of the kindest and understanding people but it is not always this way.  

What would the world be like if everyone stopped to consider how their words and actions impacted another persons life and the potential for those words had to alter the course of another’s life. 

I for one, since being diagnosed with MS, have learned to never judge another person for you never know what they are going through. Listening with an open heart and from a judgment free place is one of the best gifts you can give.

But no I was wrong.

Twenty years later, my ability to be surprised by another’s capacity for unkindness, was once again to be tested.

This new surprise actually came from the lips of another MS’er. In an email sent to my blog. This woman actually said….

“Any one could beat MS if they really wanted to. People love to wallow in their problems and live for their misery”. 

Obviously she did not get the memo that compassion is the new black!

Namaste. 

Cindy Lee Lothian 

March 10, 2014

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Losing The Fear

Image

Losing The Fear

When we take our first breath, it is without fear. The world is a vast playground and we –greet each new experience with curiosity and wonder. As a baby, we trust that nothing will hurt us and someone will be there to comfort us when we cry. 

As the years pass into adolescence and then into young adulthood our innocence is chipped away and we become guarded. We might become afraid to love for fear of being hurt or rejected. We might be unwilling to reach for our goals for fear of not being able to succeed and thus looking like a failure. 

At 28 my first glimpse of this new reality came through the blurred sight of the setting sun over a field of corn. I did not know why my vision was failing but the one thing I did know was I was scared.  From this moment, I instantly started living from a new place.  

This place was from a place of fear. 

When living in this state, it is hard to take control of your own life. You can begin to feel like a passenger in the ride that is your “life”. You no longer feel in control of where you are going or what direction to take. You are helplessly pulled along   with fear in control, wearing a ghastly smile.

When I was told I had MS, I was sent spiraling in all the predictable directions. Anger, despair, fear for the future which all of a sudden had changed from the promise land to the road to Bedlam. 

I would run to the nearest doctor hoping for the magic pill that would stop the disease in it’s tracks. Better yet, one that would reverse all of the damage that had been inflected on my body. To be able to drive my car or curl up on the sofa and read a paperback novel were once such simple pleasures but were now unreachable. 

With every prescription the neurologist handed out, I eagerly gobbled up, never stopping to consider if this was the right choice for me. The initial seemingly endless supply of little white prednisone pills which I had clung to with such hope, left me overweight, disappointed and wondering what now? 

I was still living in a state of fear as I spent the next fourteen years injecting daily doses of Copaxone, never really knowing if it was in fact helping. I watched in horror as the medication wrought it’s devastation in the form of lipo-atrophy which leaves it’s mark in the form of deep skin crevices where the sub cutaneous layer of fat has been destroyed. 

Nevertheless, I injected on. Afraid to stop in case of an exacerbation.

A year and a half ago, I stopped taking my injections and decided to see what would happen if I was brave enough to face my fears. 

I am by no means suggesting that you should stop the treatments you are on for dealing with the disease or it’s progression. I am simply saying weigh out the pros and cons of each medication and make sure that you are choosing to take them for the right reasons.

Could I start to live my life again with the belief that whatever happens it will be okay?

I will never know if the path I chose was the right one at the time. I only know that was not living in a place of power. I had given up control of my own emotion. 

I had lost who I was.

I can see clearly now that  by losing your fear, you can begin to take back control of your life.  

Whatever will happen is going to happen. Worrying about what might be is only a waste of your peace.  

Start by changing your mindset from a negative viewpoint to positive one. Believe that you can do it and you will. 

Live each day not from a place of fear but from a place of strength.

Vanquish your fear of the unknown, for like the bogeyman, when you see the light, it disappears.

Cindy Lee Lothian 

February 14, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments