My New Year's Resolutions

As January 2015 steadily moves forward, I’m still reassessing old goals, opportunities and of course, trying to remove negative habits. 

Willeke Van Eeckhoutte
22 Jan 2015

Sadly, I’m part of the group of people who will only manage to stick to resolutions for a couple of months. Unconsciously, resolutions even have a dirty ring to them, “Too busy,” or “Forgotten,” or even “Ah sure, I’ll get to it at some stage this year.”

Looking at old attempts at quill driving, I found that my list with new year’s resolutions for 2013 entailed at least 15 resolutions. Quite a long list, I agree. The more items I added to the list, the more chances I had of fulfilling at least one or two, purely for self-gratifying purposes of course. A quite flawed strategy, of course. 

Since retiring from work, I’ve been on a big, long journey of self-discovery, and so far, I’ve sailed through it pretty much unscathed. A few small bruises to my ego happened along the way, but like donkeys, I only learned not to make the same mistakes again. 

This year, my list of intentions is generic, almost 100% the same as those published in female magazines. Losing weight, cutting down on stress and socialise more are just a few of the resolutions. We all know however that with MS, your list of resolutions can become a very different list. Priorities change and outcomes might be less profound, but we can only try. Just try.

Never mind people’s endorphins getting a boost when telling others about our intentions, I want my brain to listen, and listen well in 2015. Getting more informed about brain atrophy for example. Brain shrinkage is not something many people with MS wonder about, as it’s the new kid on the research block. An ideal resolution candidate if you ask me!

Second on my list is to finally listen to my body as intently as possible, as the four-month relapse in 2014 showed me that I wasn’t paying attention well enough. I often use “RRS” as abbreviation, meaning “Rest, Relaxation and Sleep,” so for this year, I have drawn up a schedule in my mind to force-feed myself if need be with ‘RRS’. Quality of life (QoL) needs to be improved in this area of my disease activity.

Thirdly, I created a physical and mental map of my disease activity, as I often see my medical team, but can never remember how I managed throughout the year. Adding daily info to it will absolutely help me, my neurologist, primary care physician and others in my medical team to prescribe targeted relief of symptoms. Adding activity levels to it will also show me how my weight will fluctuate throughout 2015.

People with multiple sclerosis are quite informed about their illness, and it’s very important to stay in touch with them to share and discus old or new treatment plans. We learn from other’s QoL and how to achieve it. Sharing New Year’s resolutions is definitely part of this busy information highway.

There’s a lot happening in the MS research field, and being a curious type, I need to get reading and researching myself. I even want to donate my living brain to research, because we all know that we want that grail, that four-letter word called ‘cure’.

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