Sunday 30 October 2016


Shared by my brother on Facebook earlier today. Seemed relevant to yesterday's post.

Saturday 29 October 2016

warning: this message may self-destruct

[NOTE: this post was edited on Sunday 30 October. While it may have been cathartic to write, it wasn't particularly helpful]

I've been writing and re-writing this post for the last two or three weeks.

But even so, this post may disappear fairly soon anyway, because the thoughts that are going through my head are your basic adolescent cry-baby dear-diary bollocks.

I'm in a position where I'm trying to apply for jobs at a point when my confidence and self-belief is on the floor - I am a 43-year-old disabled man of no-fixed career-path.

The thought of having an interview is panic-attack scary but not getting one is devastating. And that's without taking into account the fact that there ain't that much out there.

When I look back on the past nine months, I've really been taken to the edge, mentally and physically. I've felt myself withdraw from friends and family, turning into that classic stereotype of an MS "sufferer", saying "No" to friends or not giving an answer either way until the moment and the offer have passed - so much so that I can't blame them for giving up on inviting me.

Now don't misunderstand me, I have an amazing family support network - my family, my in-laws. The most resilient and endlessly supportive wife I could hope for. The most wonderful, inspiring, brilliant little girl.

For the last 20 years I've been employed, made redundant, self-employed, and then employed again. And now...?

I genuinely have no idea what is going to happen next. And when I'm feeling positive, the fact that SOMETHING is going to happen next is genuinely exciting.

I've been trying to meditate every day (my best run so far is 41 consecutive days and I'm currently on 28). I use the Calm app on my phone, and one meditation involves extending "Loving Kindness" to yourself and others.   

Be still, my inner snark.

The first part of this meditation is the following mantra:

"May I be happy, may I be safe, may I be healthy, may I be at peace"

Now I am a cynical miserable sod, but I keep returning to this idea. And it helps, so I'm trying to keep it in my head. I'm trying. But the struggle is real. 

And I guess I'm posting all this for purely selfish reasons - to get the thoughts out of my head.

May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be at peace.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

where'd the cheese go?

So I'm continuing to dip my foot (more than a toe, anyway) into the OMS programme.

Most of the things OMS talks about are common sense - cut out meat and dairy, eat more fruit and vegetables, exercise, reduce stress. So I've been swimming more regularly, trying not to sweat the small stuff (easier said than done) and thinking (and talking) a lot about the food I eat.

Like I said before, Mrs D has been really supportive. But not only has Little Ms D been revelling in her position as the lone carnivore in the house, but my whole family has been remarkably cool. After an initial "well, what CAN you eat?" they just want to help us out. Especially if it could (maybe?) have a positive affect.

Predictably, eating out can be somewhat trickier. My first weekend on the OMS programme we went out for Sunday lunch. The aforementioned Head Carnivore had a trio of meats (child's portion, obvs) while we both had the (cheese-based) veggie option.

As I’m not doing this diet for any kind of moral reason, this kind of slippage shouldn’t bother me as much as it does (but, y'know, obviously the dairy industry is all kinds of horrific if you actually stop and think about it. I mean, what is the genetic purpose of cows milk??).

But if I’m going to do this I want to do it in a way that lets me judge any benefits clearly.

Then last weekend we went to our local art-house cinema (NOTE: we went to see the decidedly non-arty “Bad Moms” - which was great) and decided to go for food afterwards.

Looking at the menus of places nearby, it looked like it was going to be another struggle for me to get anything which fitted in with OMS. It would be unrealistic to expect restaurants to offer a Pesca-Vegan menu, so I resigned myself to eating something that was just Veggie and probably cheese-based. As the weather was wet and shitty we decided to get some food at the cinema.

So I was delighted when we spotted that they actually offered a Vegan menu - and the marvellous Vegan Burger I had really hit the spot.

Recent “awwww…” moments have been prompted by thoughts of Macaroni Cheese and Cheese Scones, rather than slabs of meat.

A brief musical interlude by Ween

The OMS friend I mentioned previously has recommended that I concentrate on what I can eat, rather than what I can't.

A common sense rule which can profitably applied to an MS diagnosis in general - think about what you can do, as opposed to what you can't.

But y'know what else helps? Finding genuinely brilliant dairy free "ice cream".

At least until Sainsbury's brings out their already legendary range of Gary.