Weather is a funny thing. Let me explain…
My current weather environment is the strangest I’ve ever encountered. Here in the Pacific Northwest, its just different. It can be 100 degrees (like today) here in the Portland area (including my community Hillsboro) and just on the other side of the mountain at Canon Beach (our favorite place), it will be 20-30 degrees cooler! Another example is the crazy variance in temperatures from day to night. It might be 85 degrees at the hottest point of the day, but drop down to the 60’s or even less at night. Are you thinking dessert like?
Why am I thinking about weather? I’m thinking weather because some of my brothers and sisters fighting MS suffer greatly at the hands of the weather. In fact, one of the top common symptoms of MS is sensitivity to heat and/or sunshine. Yeah, if you’re sensitive to heat, the sun can be a MOTHER to deal with. So let’s go back to weather.
When I lived in the fake Mid-West (Cincinnati – look at the map!), the hottest part of the day was usually noon-3pm perhaps? Here in the Pacific Northwest, the hottest part of the day is much later. In fact the hottest temps don’t arrive until usually 4-8pm. Now of course this is my unscientific observation! For instance, last night we were at dinner (7:30pm) and it was still 100 degrees! So what does all of this mean for MS patients that might be heat sensitive? If you haven’t figured it out by now, you may have to schedule your activities, indoor and outdoor, based on the weather patterns in your area. Let’s go a little further with this.
If you’re not physically able to work outside the home, you have the chance to more effectively control your environment. Presuming you have A/C, you’ll have it on fairly consistently in the spring and summer months to make you comfortable. You stay indoors in the day time unless you’re in a car headed somewhere. You keep a bottle of ice cold water with you at all times. You may even have one of those really cool towels that you can soak in cold water and they stay cold for long periods of time. ICEES and smoothies are your friends if you can handle the brain freeze.
If you’re high functioning and working in the office then plan your work and work your plan! Plan your breaks to walk and stretch, then follow through and do it. If required, plan your 20 minute power naps. (find a place a quiet spot and make it your own – temporarily) Do NOT tell everybody what you are doing! The more people you tell, the more you have to rehash the whole MS story – this gets old for you and them! Keep it to your self (or perhaps your cube mate) The temperature in the office is much more conducive to you functioning at your peak.
As my husband says, ‘Real Talk’… MS does NOT have the lock down or exclusivity on fatigue, so make a plan to work through it. Work the plan and stay consistent. Do NOT let fatigue become the excuse that you use to stop living! If severe and/or chronic fatigue is your new normal, then make plan your work and work your plan!