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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Miraculous Magnesium for Misbehaving Muscles

I'd like to pass on one of the things that has worked at reducing how difficult life with chronic disease can be. It is helpful for multiple sclerosis (MS) spasticity, fibromyalgia trigger points, sprains and strains, and probably your kids' growing pains!

The simplest thing we've found is magnesium. It's required by our bodies, and is usually taken in a ratio with calcium, cal 2:mag 1. But, we tend to eat a lot of milk products, and for this, we need extra magnesium. Plus, for some reason, our muscles tend to run shortages of it. This can lead to spasms, aches and pains.

Oral supplements are great and necessary. I take a Cal/Mag/D3/Zinc capsule with food and a fatty acid capsule so it absorbs better.  I have also just started a magnesium that is slow release, to avoid it causing the runs, in an attempt to better fuel my muscles.

The most miraculous magnesium we've found is not swallowed, but applied to the skin where ever one has a sore muscle. The magnesium moves transdermally, right into the place where you need it right now. Epsom salts are magnesium, so if you can still use a bathtub, take a bath - warm water and a cup of Epsom salts added. Soak and enjoy how good you feel. There's another way to get the magnesium absorbed. You can easily make a liquid called magnesium oil or lotion. It's expensive, but it's very cheap if you make your own. (There is no oil in it; magnesium is slippery when wet.)

Magnesium Oil
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 c Epsom salts (magnesium crystals)
Mix thoroughly until the Mg seems dissolved well.
Allow to cool to room temp.
Apply to muscles.

Some people like to add a teaspoon or two of oil to this to make it less flaky when it dries. It also feels very nice that way. Olive or coconut oil have both been considered. You can also mix it with some lotion in the palm of your hand and then apply it. You don't need much magnesium oil - approximately six drops does an entire leg.

It takes about 20 minutes for the magnesium to make its way through your skin, but after that, you can wash off any residue. I haven't found anything indicating any toxicity level for using it externally, and so believe you can apply it as needed. I use it 4 to 6 times a day for spasms. I use it on my fibromyalgia trigger points. I also use it on my tight neck muscles, and it calms them right down.

Try it and let me know how it works for you!

Translated into Portuguese for our Brasilian friends ~ (not sure if the translation is great but hope it helps.)

Viver para uma Cura
Magnésio Milagroso

Eu gostaria de passar uma das coisas que tem trabalhado para reduzir o quão difícil a vida com doença crônica pode ser. É útil para esclerose múltipla espasticidade, pontos de gatilho fibromialgia, entorses e distensões, e provavelmente seus filhos dores de crescimento!

A coisa mais simples que descobrimos é magnésio. É exigido por nossos corpos, e é geralmente tomada em uma relação com o cálcio, cal 2: mag 1. Mas, nós tendemos a comer um monte de produtos lácteos, e para isso, precisamos de magnésio extra. Além disso, por alguma razão, os nossos músculos tendem a correr a escassez do mesmo. Isso pode levar a espasmos, dores e dores.

Suplementos orais são grandes e necessárias. Eu tomo uma cápsula Cal/Mag/D3/Zinc com alimentos e uma cápsula de ácidos graxos por isso absorve melhor. Eu também só começou de magnésio que é de liberação lenta, para evitá-lo fazendo com que as corridas, em uma tentativa de melhor abastecer os meus músculos.

O magnésio mais milagroso que nós encontramos não é ingerido, mas aplicado à pele, onde sempre tem um músculo dolorido. O magnésio move transdérmica, bem no lugar onde você precisar dele agora. Os sais de Epsom são de magnésio, por isso, se você ainda pode usar uma banheira, tomar um banho - água morna e uma xícara de sais de Epsom acrescentou. Mergulhe e aprecie como se sente bem. Não há outra maneira de obter o magnésio absorvido. Você pode facilmente fazer um óleo de magnésio líquido chamado ou loção. É caro, mas é muito barato se você fizer o seu próprio. (Não há óleo nele, o magnésio é escorregadio quando molhado.)

Óleo de Magnésio
1/2 de água a ferver c
1/2 sais de Epsom c (cristais de magnésio)
Misture bem até que o Mg parece bem dissolvido.
Deixar arrefecer até à temperatura ambiente.
Aplique para os músculos.

Algumas pessoas gostam de adicionar uma colher de chá de óleo ou dois a esta para torná-lo menos esquisito quando seca. Ele também se sente muito agradável assim. Azeite ou óleo de coco, foram ambas consideradas. Você também pode misturá-lo com um pouco de loção na palma da sua mão e depois aplicá-lo. Você não precisa de óleo de magnésio muito - cerca de seis gotas faz uma perna inteira.

Demora cerca de 20 minutos para o magnésio para fazer o seu caminho através de sua pele, mas depois disso, você pode lavar qualquer resíduo. Eu não encontrei nada que indique qualquer nível de toxicidade para usá-lo externamente, e assim acredito que você pode aplicá-lo conforme necessário. I utilizá-lo de 4 a 6 vezes ao dia durante espasmos. Eu usá-lo em meus pontos de gatilho fibromialgia. Eu também usá-lo em meus músculos do pescoço apertado, e acalma-los bem para baixo.

Experimente e deixe-me saber como ele funciona para você!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Will You Be?

MS, lymphedema, and other diseases tie a lot of us down. For me, travel has become something I long to do, but can't. What if you could enter a trance and put your spirit in the body of a plant or animal? What would you choose to be? What freedoms would you claim?

Eyes of the Raptor

In my mind’s eye, I see the tall monolith across the summer meadow.
I run towards it, drawn like iron to a magnet, the dark, red rock.
My feet skim over the meadowland, barely touching;
Wildflowers blur under foot until only their impression remains.

The deep, ember-red rock rushes close to my widening eyes.
Leaping towards the escarpment, I scramble for a handhold, grasping only air.
Exploding through the thinning air, I am atop the towering precipice.

Across the iron plateau, on the verge of nothing, a golden eagle awaits.
Hurled forward in the blink of an eye, I slam into his tufted plumage.
Breathless, I am within.

Launching, we leave the monolithic mesa, shoulders lifting as our wings spread out.
We push against the atmosphere, as solid now as the icy water in the glacial lake below.
Vigilant, we oversee our domain with a sharp bird’s-eye view.

We catch an updraft and spread our iron-sinewed wings;
Hollow bones lifting us, soaring through the heated summer sky.
The sun glints off the deep, blue-black waves below;
A spark that becomes a twinkle in our eyes, a hint of eaglets to come.

Movement at the edge of the dark green forest catches our keen eagle eye.
Focused, we pull our mighty wings tight against our torso.
We dive, silently stalking the marmot in the bear grass below.
Plunging swiftly, we slice through the gusting wind.
Our talons grab the fear-frozen prey. 
Momentum accelerates; our powerful wings driving hard against the whirlwind.

We are the eye of the storm; cyclonic winds whirling off our wingtips.
As we carry the dead weight of the marmot’s limp body,
We scream victorious, the long piercing cry of the sovereign raptor,
Conscious of our dominion over the wild Northern realm.

My mind’s eye closes, and I am lying in the summer meadow.
Wildflowers dance in the hot breeze, casting small shadows on my face.
My heart pounds, I exhale held breath, my lungs expand gulping air.
I open my copper-flecked eyes and wonder –
“Where are my wings?”

© Kit Minden

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

It's Easter, and it seems to be a day for posting poems. How is this related to chronic illness? Perhaps in three ways: first, I can no longer imagine going to the beach and waking along the strand - my activities are so truncated by MS that I feel claustrophobic from it; second, we still care about the world even though we are limited in various ways in our interaction; and third, we feel like so much flotsam and jetsam sometimes, the detritus left behind while others zoom ahead, pursuing life at its fullest. Hence, this poem:

I inherited a piece of jetsam from my grandfather Harold C. Palmer, who found it on Cape Cod, near Provincetown, Massachusetts.


He walked along seaweed strewn sand,
   reshaped by winter’s waves and the spume of the cold, salted tide.
Horseshoe crab shells danced abandoned;
   the water rocked a mottled brown carapace, inhabiting it like a ghost.
Among the black mollusks and white clam shells,
   he saw bits of beach glass - green, brown or rare and cherished blue,
   sanded smooth by endless tumbling in the abrasive Atlantic.
He bent to pick up a piece or two, a habit formed in childhood. 
Today, he did not pocket the speckled and muted
   evidence of man’s existence, but cast them back upon the beach.

On this grey and spattered day, he sought other treasure -
   the flotsam and jetsam of a shipwreck.
The S. S. Portland had gone down with all hands;
   distant cousins out of Maine lost to him forever.
There would be no unpacking the last suitcase,
   no delving through wallets for well-creased and folded letters from loved ones,
   no reverent opening of dark red leather-encased photos to view
      hazy images of those who were held dearest by the ones who died.
All that they carried with them in grey pin-striped vest pockets
   or shiny, black, glass-beaded bags
      was captured by the deep,
   locked with their corpses behind a reef so dangerous
      the wreck was never to be dived upon during his lifetime.

The wind whipped through his navy woolen pea coat,
   the spray drenched him, leaving him chilled and sticky with salt.
He turned to make his way back to the lighthouse, leaning into the wind,
   lifting his hand to his brow and looking down, away from the wet gusts;
As often seemed to happen when he had given up hope,
   his eyes lit upon a dark brown corner protruding
      from a mound of pebbles and weeds.
Picking it up, peeling off the slimy tangled kelp,
   he wiped clean the cast iron face of a eight-inch wide plate.
On the curved face of it, in raised letters, was the simple word “AXE.”
It had once been mounted on the wall, perhaps near the engine room,
   and held a sharpened fire axe ready for the possibility of a blaze.

The crew need never fear the boiler again;
   need never worry over the chance they might have to chop away
      burning beams, dumping them overboard,
   while loading panicked passengers into lifeboats,
      just in case the ship was going down.
No flame would ever again burn in the engine room
   or the water-logged timbers of the S.S. Portland. 
He took the axe holder home and, with a shaking hand,
   wrote “S.S. Portland” on a manila tag.
Then, tying it carefully with pale cotton string
   to the mounting hole in the upper right corner,
      he laid the ship to rest.

© Kit Minden

At the Farmer’s Market

for my friend Wil and other folks I know...

At the Farmer’s Market

At the farmer’s market, women ply their wares,
fruits of their labors — bread, honey, homemade soap, flowers.
Some days a profit made, some days not,
yet they cannot cease their artistry.
Producing goods for others lets them keep some for themselves —
the money plowed back into fertile ground to grow more tomatoes,
to raise more chickens, goats and bees.
Some domestic art stays at home,
stocking their sweet-scented larders,
feeding their families and friends,
communities knitted together with the wool spun from each woman’s spinning wheel.

At the farmer’s market, money changes hands for goods both dry and wet.
More is exchanged in each transaction that denies measurement —
friendly conversation, swapped recipes,
a tonic for an ailing plant, a remedy for a teething child;
a generous dollop of the golden butter of women’s lives.
Fat is skimmed carefully from the milk of life,
churned hard, early upon rising and throughout morning, noon and night.
The rhythmic splashing sound changes to the thump and beat of paddles
on creamy white butter, made pure through living every day,
turning golden in the light of each woman’s radiant soul.

At the farmer’s market, Lin sells green plants raised in her yard;
the salt of the earth nurturing life.
Chris and Cindy market breads and cakes, sausage and chickens;
Cindy’s tangy heart flavoring herbed vinegars;
Chris’s caring soul scenting the air like the spicy aroma of rosemary loaves.
Jan, of natural golden curls with the soul of an artist, stops to smile,
trading in conversation and good will.
Rachel displays honey, soap, baskets, and three young daughters;
Celine loves flower fairies;
Phoebe delights in the touch of cake before the taste.
Infant Josie, one day old when she first came to the farmer’s market,
is a priceless gift to each woman who stops by Rachel’s stall.

At the farmer’s market, women are the taste and texture of life.
Clothed in life’s earthen glory,
each woman is a bright lily bursting forth from soil and stem to astonish and delight.

© Kit Minden

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Roots of Multiple Sclerosis for Me

When I was going through some of the worst symptoms of Multiple sclerosis (MS), such as migraines, depression and panic attacks, I found that if I sat down and wrote a poem about it, I could often write my way out of how bad I felt. It was as if by naming the pain, and describing it, I could take away its power to cause me harm.

The other day, I was sorting through poetry I’ve written, and seeing the path of MS through it for years. In the past, I thought it was the path of Lyme or of environmental allergies. It still is those, but perhaps MS is the overarching concept that ties it all together. Reading some more research today, I learned one more tidbit about the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) that I found interesting. You probably know that it’s a major precursor to MS. Many people with MS carry signs that they’ve had EBV. The more well-known name for EBV is mono as in mononucleosis. My brother had mono in high school, but the rest of us didn’t. So, when I read about EBV and Lyme being variables that were common in MSers, I figured Lyme was my ‘entry’ disease. However, it turns out that only about a third of people exposed to EBV develop mono. Chances are, since my brother had it, and we lived in the same home, I was exposed to EBV, too, and carry it in my blood. So, I have two of the most common precursors to MS. Peachy!

Does that mean anything in particular? It doesn’t change that I have MS and have to deal with it, but it might open up other treatments that might help. If something comes out that lets one rid oneself of the markers for EBV or Lyme, then I will pursue both.

One question that comes up is when was I exposed to each of these. My older brother, Dave, was in high school when he had mono, and he is two years older than I am, so I was a teenager. I think Lyme happened at a much younger age, My family spent a lot of time hiking and camping, and playing in the woods. We didn’t worry about bug bites in those days. If you itched, you scratched. You tried not to scratch, so it would heal faster. That’s all I remember. At three years old, I had a bad reaction to some antibiotics I was on. I had a blood disease called thrombocytopenic purpura. I had a vitamin K shortage and my blood wasn’t clotting. It was easily remedied, but even so, I went for blood tests for it until I was 18 years old. I don’t know what my health was like before that, but I do know from old report cards that I missed 30 days of school some years in elementary school. Looking back, I would guess I got my tick bite before then, and that my sensitivity to antibiotics, foods, and other things started then.

One of the common denominators of Lyme, MS, and allergies is depression. I’ve had my fair share. It makes me feel as if I cannot breathe. Depression scares me so much, I want to run away from it, as fast as I can go. Here’s a poem written during one bout:

Where is Hope?

She woke to dreary blue, muddy green swirled in burnt sienna,
depression like ballast pinning her mind to the mattress.
The dark corners of her life offer hope no quarter,
she can barely see into them now.
They trap sadness in so many vials;
the dim light glints off old green mason jars
covered in dirt and spider silk.

Sneaking back into the cosmos of dreams;
she thinks, if the clock turns forward one more hour
daylight will illuminate these bleak recessed corners.
This mournful desolation will be pushed back
behind the latched cupboard door.
But in her dream she sinks in black quicksand,
death’s dark veil closes over her.
She starts from sleep.

Fear pounds at her psyche’s portal.
Panic chases her, runs her from her bed.
To lure her submerged mind from opaque shadows,
she turns on every single light,
catches her breath, slows her pulsing heart,
wills herself not to dwell in the nightmare.
She dodges the toll of despondency 
     until hope finds its way back.

© Kit Minden

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shelter with My Good Companions

I want to talk about how the support group on Facebook is the best thing in the world for me. I also want to talk about promotion of each other’s small businesses. When I promote something someone is doing for MS, it’s because I believe in the concept. I don’t get paid for saying consider what someone else in the group is doing. If one of our members is selling something that could help us, more power to her or him. It’s better the money goes to someone who needs it, than to some unknown corporation. We have folks crocheting, knitting, selling supplements, signing folks up for a discount buying program online... you can see our small businesses on Making a Living for a Cure on Facebook   If you are coping with a chronic disease and you have a small business, feel free to tell us about it in this open group.

Our group on Facebook is private. You can’t find us if you Google whatever you know about us. The only way to gain entry is by invitation from someone already in the group. We have about 300 members, and I’d guess about a third of them are active, meaning they comment every day or two. We have folks with MS, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, lymphedema, depression, brain fog, autism, and more. We walk, use canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and are bedridden. We are married, divorced, still single, widowed, have children, and grandchildren, or have no kids. Some of us work full-time, some part-time, some at home, and some not at all. We are mostly American, but also Canadian, Turkish, English, Scottish, Irish, Indian, German, Brasilian, Cuban, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Mexican, Thai, ... We are mostly white but also black, Hispanic, Asian, native American.... We are Protestant, Catholic, Baptist, Fundamentalist, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, spiritual, atheist and agnostic, and ... although, we do not proselytize. We are Veterans and pacifists; we honor each other’s choices. We are Democrats and Republicans, although we don’t get into that often. In other words, we are from diverse backgrounds and we get along incredibly well. We are knit together by compassion. We offer each other support and encouragement. We help solve our problems, commiserate with our failures, and celebrate each other’s joy. We have come to love one another so quickly, as we see each other through the rocky shoals of illness to navigate through clear channels.

In our group, when I am low, so many step up to lift me above the muck. When others are low, I get to help them find their way above the chop of the salty waves.

To the wonderful women and men who live for a cure.


Sunshine beams down from bright blue skies,
a soft breeze lifts my shirt sleeve, warm kiss upon my brow,
fluffy white clouds drift aimlessly in the distance;
I stand, swaying gently, a sunflower following her liege,
his golden chariot draws him across the vault of heaven.
Until without a sign of change in the wind,
a tempest blows harsh gusts,
I fight to sit upright against the gale force,
dark gray clouds threaten to disgorge themselves;
before I can turn my wheelchair,
aim it up the ramp into the waiting doorway;
the wild gray yonder pelts me with an icy rain;
soaked before I can complete a breath,
I call out to my companions online,
“The rain is drenching me, and I am too cold.”
In a flash, my friends arrive,
erect a shelter over me with wise words,
affirmations aburst with love and compassion;
my heart grows abundant and full,
my soul overflows with hope;
storm beaten back once more,
I gaze out the window,
sunshine beams down from bright blue skies.