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Archive for December 2012


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We had the nephews over again last night. The two eldest, Quintus and Douglas. It was quite a lot of fun 🙂 They do make me laugh!

We all slept in, with the exception of Michael, who went for an early morning cycle. He came back a bit hot and bothered, as it was already hot out by 8:30, when he got back. He did do a personal best time, though, so was in good spirits.

(Got a bit grumpy later on and had to have a lie down 😉 )

We had a lovely lunch with family. Then came home (to have the lie down, in Michael’s case) and I made some muffins for the picnic.

The dogs reminded us that we urgently needed to take them for a walk, which we did. And then it was off again to the picnic.

My parents-in-law put up the most amazing Christmas lights in their front garden every year, and it is becoming somewhat of a tradition to have picnics in the evening to appreciate them. Very atmospheric and quite lovely! The children especially can’t get enough of the lights.

So all in all, it’s been quite a relaxing day.

I feel a bit better today than I did yesterday. Dare I hope that the relapse is indeed passing over?

The breathing thing is definitely better. I was only gasping for breath a little after the pizza. Not like yesterday, where every meal was uncomfortable and a battle to breath in a proper breath.

I did have one or two stabs of pain in my eyes during the day. Still worried about that. But at least I didn’t have the tell-tale headache behind my eyes, which is promising.

My left hand and left foot feel rather numb. Not my fave! But not too bad, in the scheme of things.

I think this heat-wave that we are having is not helping. I’m thinking (hoping) that once it is past, and also once the full moon is past (yes, I think the moon can make things worse, lol) everything might start improving.

So final verdict: I think it’s better today than it was, and I’m hopeful that it may pan out to be yet another mild relapse with no backbone.

Oh yes, and Mr Popper’s penguins is a crap movie. I miss Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura days.


Written by Maggie

December 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm

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Right on time for Christmas…

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Several posts ago, I mentioned that the reason for my grinchiness come Christmas was mostly due to the fact that for the most part of a decade, I would have a relapse over Christmas and my birthday that would invariably have to be treated by a five day stay in hospital on a cortisone drip.

I was chuffed to the point of smugness that since being on the Fingolimod/ Gilenya trials, I no longer had this  Damocles’ sword hanging over my head.

It appears that I spoke too soon 😦

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed old symptoms reappearing. I didn’t take too much notice of it, as I do have symptoms from time to time (usually coinciding with a fluctuation in hormone levels, or something that caused me a bit of stress etc.) They go away again in due time, and I have maintained that a relapse can’t really get going while I am on these meds. Can’t get a toe-hold.

My relapses these days are very mild and short-lived.

This particular one is starting to concern me.

In retrospect, the day I first started noticing problems was after I visited our local supermarket. I smelled a very nasty chemical smell in the store. I finished my shopping as quickly as I could and left. But I think the exposure to whatever chemical it was, caused some sort of auto-immune reaction in my body, Pure supposition, but the likeliest theory that I have.

I had a feeling of pressure, and a dull ache at the nape of my neck.

Next came an attack of optic neuritis, which still hasn’t really let up. This is the MS symptom I live in fear of the most. After being legally blind for a short period in my twenties, I have no wish to revisit that particular symptom.

Another non-favourite of mine is the shortness of breath that often accompanies a relapse for me. It is bizarrely linked to eating, and after meals I feel a bit distressed because of being unable to breathe as deeply as I would like. Not very nice.

I’m feeling a bit generally spaced-out, tired and ratty.

Not nice at all.

I don’t particularly want to treat with high-dose cortisone. It has so many crappy side-effects. Makes my skin chronically dry, makes me lose a lot of weight, affects my digestion, my hormones and makes me feel really sh*tty for a while after taking it. Plus, it’s a schlep!

So I’m really hoping this relapse is going to lose steam and fizzle out, the way others have since I’ve been on meds.

Not very pleasant in the meantime, however. It is not impacting my life hugely, but remains a big worry at the back of my mind. I feel I have to monitor it the whole time. MS sometimes takes and doesn’t give back. Or takes long to give back. Very scary.

Written by Maggie

December 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm

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Fabulous Christmas

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What a lovely Christmas we had this year. Definitely one to look back on with fond memories.

On the 23rd, my parents hosted a full-on Christmas lunch. It fell on a Sunday, and my little sis and her little girl were visiting us. They were scheduled to go back to Jo’burg on the following Monday, so we decided to celebrate Christmas early with them 🙂

There was Christmassy gammon, roast potatoes, lamb, salads, veggies, and proper Christmas pudding for dessert. My mom flambéd that pudding good! 🙂 I love that part, when the brandy burns with that pretty blue flame.

On the actual Christmas day, I joined my mom at our church for the Christmas service, which was lovely. There is this nativity scene that they have had since I was a child. I vividly recall carrying one of the statues to the front of the church each year. All the kids in the congregation got to carry a piece of the nativity and it left a lasting impression on me. I felt such a sense of purpose as a little kids, contributing to the service in this way.


Michael and I then had Christmas lunch on our own for the first time in our married life. It was wonderfully peaceful. I made a traditional Bobotie, yellow rice with raisins, and a green salad.

After that, we made the rounds, stopping off at various family members to wish them a happy Christmas.

We settled down at his parents place for quite a while to have Christmas cake and watch Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas to you, baby… on tv. Very restful and beautiful.

Later that night, Michael downloaded the album on iTunes and we listened to the exquisite music till late in the evening, soaking up the atmosphere it created. It was rather a spiritual moment for both of us.

And finally, off to bed. And already looking forward to next Christmas 🙂

Written by Maggie

December 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

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Core strength

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I seem to be winning with the back pain.

I had a mini-epiphany today.

(Okay, not so much as an epiphany as a reminder of something I already know.)

The thing is, I know my sacro-illiac joint is unstable. It clicks in and out at the least provocation.

It’s actually a waste to go to the chiropractor, because I’m hardly home for five minutes (and in pain) before I turn slightly skew, or bend over and reach for an item, or something and out it pops again.

The reason the swimming helps is two-fold (I think). I suspect it aligns the joint in some way and also strengthens my back muscles which helps to keep the joint in.

But today I remembered how important a role core stomach muscles play in back health. The one thing I have learnt from my pilates/ yoga dvd is that whenever you do one of the movements, you first contract your stomach muscles. They form a protective band right around your back, from what I can gather.

So today, whenever I have had to bend/ reach/ get up from sitting/ lie down, whatever, I have engaged my core muscles and after only one day, it seems to be rather on the improved side!

We took the dogs for a walk and I kept my stomach muscles pulled in on every step.

(I am optimistic on the effect that this will have on my abs over time, lol. Call it a happy side effect 🙂 )

I think this may be a long-term solution for mySI-joint and back health.

I sincerely hope so, anyway.

Written by Maggie

December 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

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Oh, Christmas Tree

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I finally put up my Christmas tree. And by ‘finally’, I mean for the first time in nearly 12 years of marriage, lol.

Not too sure why I never did it before. It sure does make me happy to look at it.

My mother-in-law gave me the money as a Christmas gift to buy it. I got it on promotion at Pick ‘n Pay for R119 (not bad, hey?) It stands 90cm tall, perfect for our living-room. And has a pretty realistic fir-tree- look going.

It was so much fun to assemble. It comes all squashed up in the box. You have to put the different parts together, and then bend every branch in the way you think a fir tree should look. By the time I was finished I felt like I had practically gone to chop down the tree myself and dragged it in the house 🙂

With the rest of the money, I bought decorations for the tree. A pack of golden baubles, a tinselly type of thing with leaves and holly sprigs on it, and of course the angel for the top.

I spent about an hour decorating it, listening to Christmas music. It was so lovely, I will never have a Christmas without a tree again!

I’ll probably buy some more decorations for it over time, but I think this is a pretty good start.

Thanks, Mom! 🙂



Written by Maggie

December 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

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Bride’s Dream

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This rose plant was looking so peeky last year. It hardly made any blooms at all, and none of a good quality. Not compared to the first year I had it (2008) when it carried oodles of beautiful roses on long, thick stems.

And this year, It started looking like it wasn’t going to make it. Downright sad, in fact.

So I transplanted it into a larger pot, and (more importantly) Culterra’s rose-planting mix.

It seems to be back on track now.

For the October flush, it made 7 very presentable roses.

It is now busy with its second flush for the season and is looking quite lovely, with eleven buds. I’m so glad, as it’s one of my favourites. (Aw, who am I kidding? They’re all my favourites! 🙂 )



Written by Maggie

December 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm

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Beary’s regrowth and a not-so-baby marrow

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Slightly stumped for a post tonight, so will instead just share two photo’s.

Firstly, Beary is looking so furry again, and it is barely a month since we had her fur cut so short…



Secondly, I peeped under the leaves of my baby marrow plant, and there was a huge baby marrow hiding at the bottom. We had it for supper and it was delicious…

071220126565And that is all and goodnight 🙂








Written by Maggie

December 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm

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