I’ve put together a blog post in which I answer the 21 most common questions I’m asked about Multiple Sclerosis, healing and other stuff. The questions will be red, responses black.
Why the name “Multiple Sclerosis Outlaw”?
I started a MS Warrior, shirts, bracelets, FB groups, the whole nine. Orange is the color of my college alma mater so I adopted to it quick. When I quit the MS drugs, healthcare, blah blah blah, I remixed to the MS Outlaw because in my mind; Warriors fight everyday, with honor, when called, to the end. *makes mean mug and bucks* ME? I’m too tired, disobedient, will cheat to win, fuck around until forced to fight and KEEP some “drugs” handy. I wanted to be an Outlaw, not a Warrior. I’m scrapping with Multiple Sclerosis, on MY terms, in MY way, with MY squad, eating MY foods, drinking MY drink, smoking MY smoke… You probably get it by now. *winks* I’m an Outlaw like Doc Holliday.
What stage of Multiple Sclerosis are you?
Aight, don’t forget that I quit Western Medicine 3/1/2017. On that day, the neurologist said, “Your disease is the fastest, most aggressive that I’ve ever seen. I believe it is worse than Secondary Progressive and that’s why we need the BIG guns. We’re doing chemotherapy next.”
Uuuhhmmm… Naw playa. I didn’t come back for anything “official” but I took THAT as Primary Progressive. 54+ lesions on brain… *shrugs*
You don’t take any disease modifying drugs. Why is that?
Okay, I’ve written the story, blogged the story, told it. Basically, I was diagnosed Oct. 2016 with 18-21 lesions total on the spine and brain. March 2017, I had 54+. Between then, a few hospital visits for pneumonia, 1 for suicidal thoughts and mental confusion, I looked bad, I felt worse, broke AF… I quit healthcare.
The FULL story is here… (Why I Don’t Use MS drugs)
So, how do you treat your disease then?
Maaaaaaan, I could blog, talk, text all day about this. I THRIVE beyond my disease with preventative techniques and routines, diet and focusing on my wellness over physical health. Eastern Medicine, Old World medicines, there are all kinds of names for it but I stick with the natural approach to my disease. Diet, meditation, yoga, tea, sage, working out, water, vitamins, cannabis, kratom, smoothies, social media, Gratitude, Attitude, Passion, the list goes on and on! I feel waaaaaay better than I did on the MS drugs and stuff. I’ve lost 80lbs, toned up, become more patient and present. I’m a better person, healthier person.
Fore more on the Eastern Medicine philosophy…
What is your diet?
Pescatarian! The only meat I eat is fish and seafood. That gets expensive so I’m suuuuuuper heavy on the vegetables. I may have seafood/fish, 1-2x/week. On the regular, daily, ordinary basis, I’m destroying salads, fruits, potatoes, eggs, (don’t start *straight face*) and grubbing well. Yuuuuup, I stalk Blue Bell’s Moollenium Crunch ice cream. Absolutely having chips, cookies, candy bar with EVERY veggie sandwich. Cheese pizza for me while the family dismantles their meat pizza and wants MY cheese pizza too… Diet is not a problem at all. I need to tighten up and I admit that because if I feel this much better now, ain’t no telling how better I’ll be when the diet improves.
For more on my diet changes and Multiple Sclerosis… (You’re a Pesca-WHAT?!)
What is G.A.P.?
Gratitude, Attitude and Passion. G.A.P. is my mantra that I use when I’m stressed, anxious, nervous, scared, etc. I repeat it because it calms me down and “grounds my emotions”. The way it works is not complicated, kinda cheesy but damn that, it calms me down, opens my perspective and lets me breathe…
Example Situation: I’m hungry as HELL but MS symptoms (exhaustion, neurosis) have me stuck in my wheelchair or bed. When I finally make it to the kitchen for something to eat, there is NO prepared salad, leftovers, chips, or fruit. My first thought is “Fuuuuuck. *sad face* NO! I’m grateful that I have to make something to eat so I can eat the correct meal my body needs. My Attitude was set for G.L.O.S.S. (gratitude and love over simple shit) so let me sip this water while I figure something out. OH, this could be story, blog, post, meme! I can write/blog something about being hungry and what I did to calm down!“
By the time I go through all that thinking, mantras, perspectives, I’m better than I was. I can problem solve.
For more info on G.A.P., click here (How to Stay Positive When Things Are Tough)
You’ve mentioned the power of social media as a positive or a tool. What does that mean?
Everywhere I look, read, listen, folks are screaming the pitfalls and “slippery slope” of social media. From kids being on it too much, to teenagers can’t communicate because of it, to people can’t write/type because of it, *blinks* I’m NOT pretending that social media is impervious to to corruption or abuse. I’m not saying social media gets an undeserved, bad reputation. What I’m saying is that social media can be used to help, heal, join and research. Social media can be a tool or weapon and it is up to the user. When I struggled with my diagnosis/prognosis, my social media was full of people that I envied, didn’t trust and felt were “fake than a MUTHAFUGGA”. It hurt my wellness because it always put me in an envious, distrustful or fake mood. As I heal, I figured that people, memes, actions, videos, etc. were playing an integral part of my mood and atmosphere. As such, I began deleting, ignoring, muting people, places, things that brought me down. It took over a year (Hey, I had to LEARN!) but now my TL on Twitter, IG, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TumblR and others bring me smiles. The people I follow are damaged but healing, down but getting up, chasing goals, hunting Passion, getting better, BEING better, grateful AF and don’t take BS personally. Nobody on my TL blames themselves, posts negative comments, quotes, pictures, swears all “men cheating”, promises to “never love these ho’s”, none of that litters my TLs anymore. I’m a more positive person because of it. I don’t allow others to bring their BS to me and drop it off anymore and my social media is a biiiiiig part of that. From across the oceans, people ask about me, check on me, speak MY language and I love it.
Where do you work? Just what do you do to make money?
*winks* Okay, I am a F/T blogger, P/T author, P/T auto insurance agent, substitute teacher, sell T-shirts, tutor kids INDEPENDENTLY and bust my hump to build myself into a real entrepreneur. (Real entrepreneurs make money consistently. I do not, YET.) You’re wondering how the hell do I feed dem 4 kids? (Probably didn’t know I had 4 kids but now you do. *bows*) I have an awesome wife holding it down AND constantly telling me that she believes I’ll be a real entrepreneur one day soon. She buys every book I write first. She orders every shirt first. She drops me off and picks me up when I substitute teach or tutor INDEPENDENTLY. One day, it’ll all pay off. Before MS, I was a damn good middle teacher, getting good at real estate and consistent insurance agent.
How has Multiple Sclerosis changed you?
*long, dramatic whistle* Woooooow… Hmmmm… How much reading do YOU wanna do?! MS has made me more passionate, purposeful, patient, present. I am learning how I am and therefore, able to appreciate who others are and tying to be. I’ve always enjoyed talking with people but now, I enjoy listening to people. I don’t feel any urge to talk, “get my say in” or push them to see something, feel something. I’m much more grateful. I mean that. I’ve always been grateful but now, I’m intentionally grateful. I actually spend time and energy every day just thinking, listing gratitudes. I cry more. Sometimes, it’s MS related but a lot of times, it’s just plain ol’ tears. I’m soooo much more OVERstanding of energies, thoughts, emotions. I’m less passive aggressive because so much no longer matters. My entire overview of life has changed since my diagnosis/prognosis. I haven’t become some master communicator but, I have definitely improved. As much as I cry, I can take a whole lot. I’ve quit giving up on stuff because it’ll take forever. I’m stronger, look better, lost 80lbs, bald…
I’m also handicapped like a MUG. Da lil handicapped homie is homebound, wheelchair’ed up and unable to stand alone. I struggle with RR issues due to UC, IBS and a benign kidney tumor so I’m always hovering between constipation, gastroparesis and incontinence. I have neurosis on a daily basis (neurosis is nerve damage) in my feet, leg spasms every few minutes but I manage all the negative with preventative routines directed at wellness.
Can you share some of these routines that you so frequently mention on social media?
Besides, the mantra trick? *smiles* I start everyday by posting Gratitudes on IG, FB business page, LinkedIn, Twitter, FB groups and my two favorite Multiple Sclerosis related social media apps. (At least three and usually tell a story with each.) That sets my Gratitude for the day and gets me going. I find some meme, quote, video that encapsulates my Attitude and post that. If I can’t find one, I’ll make that mug my damn self. From there, I’m on to yoga and meditation for the healing and maintenance of what I have. Throughout the day, I’m jamming music more than TV, Netflix, streaming, etc. so that I can blog, write, create all day. I do my best to drink all the water I need, sip tea quite a bit, sage as necessary, drink smoothies and more.
What are your worst symptoms and how do you handle them?
I actually wrote a post titled 21 MS Symptoms and How I handle them. On that list, RR issues, neurosis and Exhaustion are my most troublesome. Each completely disrupts my day. I stay hydrated to help with the RR issues, smoke specific herbs like damiana, hibiscus, drink sweet potato smoothies and use yoga poses directing at bowel movements and urination.
How has your family adjusted?
Number one, I had to be honest about what I needed from them. All four of my kids know about my need for cannabis, tinctures and CBD. All four can “administer” my medicines when I’m physically unable. (Matter of fact, all four HAVE given me medicine during a jam. Yup, even my 2nd grader has “medicated” me. The family eats less meats, more fruits/veggies because I have to do the same. I use a wheelchair so when we move, the kids make sure my chair is loaded and locked. With quarantine, none of the kids invite their friends over for fear of me catching coronavirus. When I do visit a friends’ house, my smoking habits are excused. The kids take more responsibility around the crib with chores. (Well, kinda take more responsibility because I still have to fuss about those chores and cleaning sometimes.
Has your social circle changed?
YES! My physical, social circle was never big. With my illness, it hasn’t changed but I see them waaaay less. I don’t have the ability to drive to them and gotta wait for their schedules to allow housecalls. My virtual social circle exploded. I have a bunch of people, #sickAF like me, living regular, other countries, bloggers, writers, etc. I’ve accepted and appreciate their views, energy and situation; they do mine and we stay in communication about world politics, conspiracies, dietary supplements, wellness, relationships, career advice and everything else. We have never met in-person, don’t pretend to make plans about meeting and generally feel good when chopping about anything.
Let’s talk about purpose and passion.
My purpose is helping others. My passion is storytelling. Just knowing these two makes me life easier. Regardless of illness, pain, symptoms, finances, I know who and what I am. I’ve always seen movies, read books where passion and purpose play a significant role in judging the character’s growth. I’ve never truly known what either meant. MS forced me to slow down, examine myself. In the past, I would ask myself, “What do I LOVE to do? What kind of business would I start?” I could never answer because I had to go to work, raise kids, pay bills, rinse and repeat. When I did get a breather, I drank and kicked it with friends and dreaded doing it again. Multiple Sclerosis gave me the freedom and curse of disability, inability to move around, stripped me of independence. I have time to answer those questions and I did. I would help people regardless of illness, condition, payment, anything. That’s what made me a good teacher. I wanted to help students see a way to improve their life, prepare for bullshit. I didn’t do that with tests, worksheets, quizzes and lectures. I did that with stories. I connected stories of what they need to know with stories of what they already knew. Once I grasped that fact, saw the relevance, I OVERstood MY passion and purpose. I did good things as an insurance agent under the same premise, helped clients by sharing stories that connected. I did good things as a realtor applying the same principle, helping by sharing stories that connect. I’ve written my first self-help using the principle and a book for teachers as well.
Any advice for newbies?
Start a Gratitude Journal. *folds arms* Start that Gratitude Journal ASAP. I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and mental confusion in 2017, couldn’t teach anymore, bills stacking up, fired from real estate, fired from insurance, literally couldn’t find a job all because I’d miss time during the probationary periods. Everything changed when I began keeping a Gratitude Journal, posting Gratitudes. I’d do it for awhile, get busy and stop but know what? What I learned was to forget being positive, focus on GRATITUDE. As you know, there’s a LOT of tough days but once I find a few Gratitudes, it kinda builds throughout the day. As the Gratitudes add up, I see more and MORE stuff to be grateful for and theeeeeen BOOM… suddenly I’m positive because I have so much Gratitudes. Wife cooking? Gratitude. Kids finishing anything? Gratitude. Pretty day? Gratitude. Stormy night of movies? Gratitude. My clothes clean? Gratitude. The color yellow, shaved well, ate good, blah blah blah are all Gratitudes. Once MY perspective changed, shit got better because I AM BETTER. I even like myself regardless of my handicaps. I see TF outta my own worth.
Yooooo… I’m the “#sickAF” spouse so I get it. Our 1st few years after diagnosis wrecked our communication. I was always upset/depressed/struggling with the disease part. She was always upset/depressed/struggling about me NOT making money. Once I dealt with everything in my own mind/heart, she and I got stronger, the kids got stronger, our whole squad improved. FIRST, I had to fix my own mind & accept shit was different AF. I did THAT with Gratitude Journals. It was another step towards OVERstanding wellness. If my mind/heart was better, my communication improved which improved the marriage because she could see/feel the points I made without the fussing, yelling, quiet games and other antics of couples. We speak to each other, believe what each other is saying and take shit personal less.
What are your mobility devices?
I have a Zinger wheelchair (I need to do a blog over it because I do love it.). There are 2 canes for those BEST days or times when the wheelchair isn’t going to fit. I can’t really walk with canes anymore, MS too bad. I don’t drive so my wife or daughter chauffeur me. I had a manual wheelchair, Equate brand, but one wheel is jacked up. It works but the left wheel moves a lot slower. I actually developed my bigger bicep using the wheelchair until the Zinger showed up. (Thanks MOM!)
I’m a PS4 guy and I roll with three games. Skyrim, Madden and Destiny.
Destiny is a shooter game. You’re saving the universe, gotta gun, sword, powers and a team with you. It’s the only shooter that I’ve ever liked and nope, I don’t do the human vs. human stuff. Either we together or I ain’t playing with you.
Skyrim is my favorite game of ALL time. It’s an RPG, one person, magic, swords, dragons, and you can be black. Ohhhhhh, Skyrim is my SHIT and I’ve been playing since 2011.
Madden gets the most of my gaming hours these days. I play it with 15 humans, most of us are fathers and I’m the worst of the 16. *shrugs* Whatever homie. I play because I love football and it takes my mind off MS. Also, I started blogging the exploits of the league with weekly news reports, updates, draft stories, FA signings and everything else. Yup, I enjoy blogging and football that much!
SuckaFree Blog Post: 2029-2030 SuckaFree Free Agency & Draft News
Are you a Netflix or Hulu kinda person?
Netflix and it’s not even close. I even blog on the shows I watch! Office, Alone, Love is Blind, BabySitter’s Club, all the kids’ series…
How are you doing with the quarantine and covid-19?
GURL! I got Club Kitchen where it’s ALWAYS popping. The Living Room down off Backyard and Porch? Stay crunk with something. There’s a Garage Sauna & Smoke Shop TOO! Hey; if I play my cards right, I can slip into the After Hours BEDroom with a Queen from Louisiana. Netflix KEEP a series jumping. I am pushing the 1st ever #sickAF blog and building a buzz…. Da lil handicapped homie is on 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥! 😜😜😂😂😂
How do I stay so freaking POSITIVE AF despite aaaaaallllllll the MS, symptoms, changes, financial issues, raising kids while….
Yooo. For real, I’ve learned that spending ALL that energy/time/routine to PREVENT emotional days is sooooo much better than “bouncing back”. It’s why I use massive amounts of energy on being grateful, posting Gratitudes, etc. By spending my time/energy on THAT, I literally have less time to trip/worry/stress/fear/etc. It’s the very definition of preventative measures and “whole health”. It took a few months to feel the improvement but others saw it before I did. Good luck on your journey towards wellness ! 🖤💪🏾🙇🏾♂️