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Archive for January 2008

Update on M’doggie

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Poor M’dog. Just spoke to my mom, and the critter is lying very quietly under the kitchen table. I hope she’s going to be all right.

I said to my mom on the phone that M’dog is a loved one of ours. Then we both sort of teared up a bit because it is true. We loved her from the first moment we saw her when my dad brought her home. She was tiny, only four weeks old, and so scared. She clung to our arms with her tiny little puppy paws wrapped around them.

We spoilt her completely rotten the first few months. She had a hot water bottle every night in her little box, made of a 2L coke bottle. In fact, some nights she was actually in the bed with my mom and dad, totally unprecedented let me tell you.

We were all a bit in love with her. And as a result, she grew into a really naughty puppy. We even had to get a dog trainer in to teach her some manners. Michael and I were engaged at the time, and everytime he came to visit, she was all over him like a rash.
When we got married, my mom used to tease Michael by telling him that Sandy (aka M’dog) was our wedding present. Ha ha.

Anyway, she’s mellowed over the years, and is just such a character. So affectionate. She greets me like absolute royalty when I go and visit there. I am very fond of her.

So say a little prayer for her tonight that she’ll be okay.

Stix is definitely persona non grata. (Dogsona non grata?) Apparently she was in disgrace this morning already before the fight even happened. She jumped my dad from behind, nearly pushing him over. That dog makes everyone accident prone.

Even Michael has said he hates that dog, and he really loves dogs. She is so unpleasant that I don’t even feel guilty about her going away.

Annie (baby sis) is the only one who said ‘ag shame’ and seems to think the dog has any redeeming qualities. But I really don’t think she’ll want that dog anywhere near her baby, once she’s born.

Guess what? 4 chocolate free days. Yay. Feeling more relaxed already and not so frenetically after chocolate fix all the time.

There was an edgy moment after lunch. M had already left to go back to work. Then I heard him come back in and went to investigate. He was in the process of sneaking a chocolate bar out of the fridge, where he had secreted it. He said he had hoped I was upstairs and wouldn’t see it, ha ha. He offered me half and I refused. Yay me.

And, if you would care to glance at my little calendar on my side-bar, I have posted all 31 days of January! I did it. At least one month, how about that. I’m into the groove now, so I’m probably continue to blog regularly. Not every day, but often. Only when I actually have something to say, though, so I’m hoping the quality of my blog content will increase. This scraping of the bottom of the barrel hasn’t done anything for my ratings 😉

Written by Maggie

January 31, 2008 at 10:17 pm

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My mom phoned me about an hour ago, very upset.

Two of their dogs (both bitches) had a huge fight. My mom says that she shouted so much that her voice will be hoarse for days. She threw water on them, but it didn’t help. Got the hose-pipe and sprayed them, still made no difference. Eventually my dad came running with the garden spade and with great difficulty, managed to separate them.

The younger of the two is about a year old, fully grown but still rambunctious as a puppy, still trying out her strength, which is immense.

I am a dog-lover, but I have never been able to grow attached to Stix. She’s enthusiastic and doesn’t take offense, no matter how much you shout at her for muddying your pants, or whatever. She jumps up on a person and plants her paws firmly on your shoulders. It’s attention seeking, but still no fun for the person being jumped. She also has a terrible habit of coming up behind a person and nipping your hand or the back of your ankle.

I just can’t like that dog. The other day, we went visiting there and she was circling the car like a piranha and we didn’t want to get out because it’s so unpleasant. So she got tired of waiting, and jumped up on the front of our car, raking her claws down the windscreen and over the bonnet. Luckily, luckily her claws are blunt and didn’t leave a mark. That car is our pride and joy and only a year old.

The last nail in the coffin has been today. Stix is a trouble-maker, and it is her that instigated the fight. It was apparently a bloody and vicious fight, and everyone is half traumatised.

So Stixie is leaving. Maybe to the SPCA, maybe to a new owner, but she’s going.

I guess dogs are like kids, in the way that you never know what his/ her personality is going to be like until they arrive.

But unlike kids, dogs can be farmed out. I don’t advocate it, actually, but in a case like this, I do. I am terribly scared that the dogs might be so engrossed in their fight that they turn on a human being who is trying to separate them.

The other participant in the fight was Sandy, 7 years old. So in doggy years, she’s quite an old lady. She’s smaller than Stix, but gave it a good go. I actually think she came off a bit better than her opponent, even though the latter had youth and strength on her side. But Sandy’s quite a mean little bitch in a fight.

Sandy is a very loving dog. She also thinks she’s human. Even though she’s a big dog, she’s more in the house than out. She’s almost like a kid in the house. My dad affectionately calls her Vettietjie Brak, which roughly translates to fat little mutt. My mom and sister and I call her M’dog. Because that was how we’d refer to her.

   “Hello, my dog.” “Where’s my dog?” “Are you hungry, my dog?” etc.

So it got abbreviated to M’dog. I guess in a similar fashion to Milady.

That is a pretty doted upon dog, and a real personality. She has a towel that she sleeps on if she’s in the house, on the kitchen floor. But if she gets scared at night (due to firecrakers or the like) She’ll carry her towel to my parents’ bedroom and sleep next to their bed. She’s very cute.

So it was no contest who was going to be evicted. Especially seeing as Stix is such an all-round terrorist and trouble-maker. I can’t even dredge up any sympathy for her. Frankly, I’ll be glad to see the back of her.

I just hope Sandy will be all right. I do love that dog.

It’s odd abut the fight, because they’ve gotten on pretty well up to now, and both were spayed at a young age, so I don’t think it’s hormonal. More gluttony, as both were given a bone and Stix decided she deserved both for herself and tried to take it off M’dog. Previously, it was just territorial sparring, but it seems to be getting out of hand.

Never a dull moment with pets, hey?

Written by Maggie

January 31, 2008 at 5:04 pm

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Ooh! Load-shedding is back in town, after a two-week breather ’round here. We woke up without any electricity and I’m not sure how closely they’re gonna be sticking to the fabled schedule.

Also, our bandwith for the month is officially over its limit, even thoughwe still seem to be able to go online. We could get disconnected at any minute though, so I thought I’d better get a quick post in for today. I’d hate to falter at the last hurdle of my ‘post for every day in January challenge’.

I’ll try and post again later today, if I can. I’m itching to do a post on my new-year’s resolutions, and how well I’ve managed to stick to them.

So watch this space…

Written by Maggie

January 31, 2008 at 9:27 am

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The other day, my dear SIL commented that I am doing well, and that I seem to have changed my attitude re: my MS.

I reflected on this afterwards, and it is true. I have changed my attitude – I am coping with it better, I have more acceptance of the things which I can’t do, and more focus on the things which I can do. (A lot of which fell in the former category and now falls in the latter).

But. I cannot take credit for the change of heart myself.

It is easy to be positive when you are getting better on a daily basis. When there is no longer an onslaught of relapses or steady progression taking you down. Things which I wasn’t able to do last month, and now am able to do become the focal point in a very natural manner, with little effort from me.

I am happy for myself, but my heart hurts. For my friends (and the thousands that I don’t know personally) that have yet to discover their magical elixir. That which can tame their MS. Stop progression, or at least slow down progression sufficiently.

It is the most demoralizing thing in the whole world when you are trying everything you possibly can, and your efforts are greeted with yet another relapse or new symptom. Or the realization that something you were capable of two months ago is now out of your reach. It makes you cry and when your tears are finished, then you cry some more on the inside.

I so hope and pray that Fingolimod is going to help many, many people the way it has helped me.

Most importantly, it has given me a break from the continuous onslaught, to regroup and continue my campaign for better health with renewed vigour.

Written by Maggie

January 30, 2008 at 6:29 pm

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I had such a great day today. My friend from the UK, Janet, and I have one of those rare friendships where we can not see each other for four years and then pick up exactly where we left off.

M was his usual lovely self by dropping me off at the resort where Jan is staying this morning at eight o’ clock. She and her parents dropped me off at home when they came to visit some family of theirs in town. I don’t think J and I stopped chatting from this morning when she met me at the gate of the resort until they dropped me off at my front door. I really have missed her. Five hours was too short to catch up on the events of four years, but we gave it a good go. Our lives are so different now, but we are still very similar people.

Like I said, I had a great day.

Still off the chocolate. Two days and counting. Unfortunately we got stuck into the Pringles today, so what I gained on the chocolate front, I lost on the crisps front. Fortunately, crisps played no part in the deal I struck with myself 😉

Now I simply must go to bed. I’m operating on a little bitty of a sleep-deficit here, and that ain’t gonna do me no good.

Nighty nite.

Written by Maggie

January 29, 2008 at 10:00 pm

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Bonus post.

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Luckily, yesterday’s second post was so late at night that it actually counted as early this morning, thus filling a niche for today’s obligatory offering.

So I can keep this short and sweet (spot the irony):

Today = 1 X chocolate-free day.

Hopefully the first of many 😉

Tomorrow I’m going to spend the day with a very good friend, now living in the UK. She is currently on vacation in South Africa. I haven’t seen her since 2004 and I’m so looking forward to it. I just hope that Oreo cookies don’t  classify as chocolate of any description. They better not, because that’s what I bought for us to snack on while we’re catching up.

Then again, I’ll write my own chocolate rules and decide what’s kosher and what isn’t.

*sticks tongues out*

Well, within reason. If it says Cadbury’s on the box/ slab then I guess there’s no leeway on that, lol.

Written by Maggie

January 28, 2008 at 11:37 pm

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My name is Maggie, and I have a problem…

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I am so, so addicted to chocolate, and I’ve totally given myself up to it. Phew.

I’m having at least one bar a day, and I’m enjoying it so much that I’m battling to find a reason to stop.

Eating correctly has never really done anything for me as far as a lack of relapses goes. Nope. And I did try. Can’t say that I didn’t try. I denied myself all sorts of things and even went on regular water fasts. I think that may have been a different person to me that did that. I’m not a type of person that has that level of will power and that’s a fact. I think I must have dreamt that I went on all those fasts. And yet it is written in my diary that I went on a 24 day juice fast in 2006. And made all the juices myself, five times a day. I think I must have been possessed by an alien, because anyone who knows me will tell you that that doesn’t sound like me.

Ha ha. I’m being facetious, of course. I am generally very lackadaisical about things unless I’m desperate and think I’m gonna die or some other dreadful thing. Then I tend to make an about-turn to the point of obsessiveness.

Thing is, Fingolimod is working so well for me, much better than any dietary experiment ever did.

I don’t think I’ll ever give up on eating in a generally healthy manner, but I’ve kinda reached a point where I don’t see that as including giving up on chocolate!

Especially since I’ve reached my goal weight and it’s still dropping. I don’t want it to drop below 52kg’s, because then I’ll start looking skinny, all collarbones and cheekbones. I HATE looking skinny. Hate it. So a choccie or two should help with that.

Plus it makes me feel happy! Yeah.

But I don’t like feeling so razzed up when I don’t get my chocolate fix for the day. It’s like GIMME, GIMME!

And I guess it’s not going to do my perfect dental track-record any good – 28 years old and not one single filling. I’d like to keep it that way.

Also the damn sugar is so not good for ye old immune system.

And lastly, with my pittance of a pension, I can’t actually afford chocolates every day. I haven’t bought the tons of vitamins that I usually do this month, but I can’t re-route that money into chocolate. Can I? No, definitely not.

Plus the guilt of all the child slaves that are forced to pick cocoa beans all day without ever having had chocolate pass their lips. Is that an urban myth or is it true?

Could I ever be an ‘occasional chocolate as a treat’ kinda girl?

No, I think with me it’s all or nothing, like an alcoholic that can’t even have one drink.

What am I getting at here? I’m almost afraid to say it so publicly, but I want to try a chocolate free month, to get this monkey off my back. Why I’d want to pick February for this purpose I don’t know, as it includes both Valentine’s Day and myself and Michael’s anniversary. So no chocolate body paint this year, my love 😉

(That was a joke, the body-paint bit. Actually, I’m still in disgrace for eating up all the choccie body-paint* straight from the jar on our honeymoon, before it could be put to more inventive purposes.)

*Bought for us as a novelty gimmick by one of our wedding guests.

Let me do a quick culmination of my ramblings right now. All in favour say “I”.

Right, one month without chocolate it is.

I promise to fess up if I do stray off the beaten track, into the chocolate wilderness. And my word’s as good as … chocolate. Or gold, even 😉

And as a forfeit, mmmm, how shall I be punished?

I know, I’ll have to give up eating chocolates.

No wait. DOH!

Can’t actually think of anything worse to use as a forfeit. I guess I’ll just have to forfeit my pride and dignity, and admit to being whipped by a confectionery.

Written by Maggie

January 28, 2008 at 12:02 am

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Nice day.

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Today has been two months since I was last in hospital for IV cortisone treatment, and I’m feeling good.

I have to learn that with reasonably advanced MS there will always be good days and bad days, and even good weeks and bad ones. This week has been a good one and today was just fab. Since I realised that I was overdoing it in the pool and cut down to 24 (x 25 metre lengths) it has been going much better. I still get the benefit of keeping my back toned and exercising my heart/ lungs etc, but without completely knackering myself out. I’ve never been too good at the moderation in all things philosophy. If I eat chocolate then I do a proper job. (hah!) and if I exercise, then I tend to overdo it. Since way back when. Always had to do that little bit too much. Eish. But I seem to be getting a handle on it now, and I’m feeling good.

My back is really feeling good. I have so much more mobility in my joints. It is so good to live without pain. I am totally addicted to swimming, I’ll tell you that much.

Today we went to visit my parents and I had such a good time. We sat and visited around their pool, listening to music. My dad has this fantastic garden. Gorgeous pool that is built half up out of the ground (he built it himself), mini-golf course, tree house for the little ones and a wishing well (also built by himself). There’s a fishpond with a little bridge over it and a water feature. A cactus and flower garden, complete with prickly pears border the fence, and there are little statues and garden decorations all over the place, hidden amongst leaves and foliage. Oh yes, and night lights for the one who wants to go for an evening swim. The pool itself is shielded from view by reeds planted around it, so no-one can see in from outside. In the reeds are lots of birds’ nests, mostly weavers, who come and go all the time. There are even ladies and mens toilets (called the 10th hole of the mini-gold course) camouflaged with shields made out of reeds. Totally cool. It is so tranquil, I love it there.

He also has speakers hidden in the trees, connected to the sound system in the house, so there is soft background music playing while we visit. We sat around the pool chatting, and I was floating (fully-clothed) on a big inflatable couch/ lounger on the water. (Everyone was sort of holding their breath as I got on. A person would swear I had balance issues). I baked out a bit in the sun, but not too bad. I was actually surprised that I could still walk to the car in a straight line 😉

Talking about straight lines and walking, I went sleep-walking last night!!! Again!

When I ‘woke up’, I was sitting in front of the PC in our spare room, in the pitch dark, trying to turn the computer on with my big toe. (Actually this really cracks me up). The bizarre part of it is that I can’t walk that well in the dark because of my poor balance so I have no idea how I got there. Especially without buggering down the stairwell, which I had to pass enroute.

I suppose it says quite a lot about me that I go to the ‘puter in my sleep. Ha ha ha.

Written by Maggie

January 27, 2008 at 6:04 pm

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Bottom of the bloggy barrel, I tell ya…

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Congrats to my darling hubby for coming first in today’s club competition and winning us a R300 shopping voucher. He played his best round of golf in 16 YEARS! Way to go, Michael. I am so crazy about that man.

I love weekends.

I’ve been feeling very content this week. No special reason, just been reflecting on how good I have it. I hope this feeling lasts, because it’s so nice.

It is now 11:34pm, so I have just snuck this post in in the nick of time. Only a handful of days left and then I am released from my commitment to blog every day. (Whose stupid idea was that, anyway? Oh yes, that would be mine).

Then I’ll blog because I want to, and ‘cos I have something to say, and not just because I like the sound of my own typing.

Ha ha. That was a funny, laugh damnit!

Gee, I really need to go to sleep before I embarass myself any more with this pathetic attempt at a post.


Nighty nite.

Written by Maggie

January 26, 2008 at 11:38 pm

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Installment two.

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I’m not quite sure what I was trying to achieve with yesterday’s post, apart from making myself feel better. I don’t know if it would be particularly helpful to anyone else with MS, as the disease varies so greatly from individual to individual. For the record though, I did reach a psychological milestone in the process. Why I would want to blame myself for what a chronically degenerative disease is doing/ has done to me, I don’t know. But I seem to have worked through it now. Thanks be.

Now that I’ve successfully gotten the point across that I haven’t neglected allopathic medicine, let me switch to the other side of things – naturopathic. Just as I believe in utilising years of research and wisdom in the field of scientific medicine, so do I believe in the naturopathic side of things – i.e. thousands of years of wisdom, and the fact that the body is meant to heal itself, if we’d just lessen the toxic load and give it a chance.

I am very grateful to science. I’m pretty sure I’d be dead by now if it weren’t for that, the way my relapses progress unchecked without intenvention. (Also because I think I have a fairly unusual case. Surely not that many cases of MS are as a result of toxic by-products from the mining-industry. I’d put my head on a block that this is the cause).

Natural cures are the bomb, no ways about it, but in many cases, they take time. Unspecified amounts of time, and that is a luxury that I didn’t have, and that many others don’t have. I am so fortunate that my condition has been stabilized by the medicines. But they are not a cure.

Switch to Naturopathics and alternative healing, which has been documented to cure ‘incurable’ ailments time and again. Naturopathic medicine is a fancy phrase for ‘kick-starting your body to heal itself. That is the way of nature, still in all ways advanced to anything that we have been able to come up with.

Everyone of us must find our own path, but for me it is clear that I have to strike a balance between the two very different fields of medicine. So many people feel that they have to choose between, but I say why not embrace the both of them? Whatever works, right?

Once again, I’m blogging at night and feeling tired, so once again, I’ll continue this train of thought (which is all that it is, really) tomorrow.


(And thanks for the comments yesterday. You guys rock!)

Written by Maggie

January 25, 2008 at 10:23 pm

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