Numerous human studies implicate viruses in triggering a relapse in MS and exacerbating inflammatory demyelination. MS patients who have a fever and flu-like symptoms not only are at risk for relapse, but also have much higher rates of hospitalization due to immune dysfunction. Because infections can cause MS attacks and symptoms, it is important to avoid them or treat them as soon as possible. One of my tried-and-true methods for helping to ward off colds, flus, and other infections is fire cider, an old folk remedy and health tonic that is good for you and also happens to taste delicious. What about Vaccines? By the time we met, she was plagued by insomnia and disturbing dreams. She was ready to make changes in her life but did not know where to begin. Like her parents, she regarded surgery as a last resort and was hoping to find other ways to deal with her symptoms and care for her health. At twenty-five years old, she was still living at home with her parents, had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, and was very much debilitated by her heart condition. With the agreement of her cardiologist, we began by working to alleviate some of the physical symptoms. The muscles of her chest and diaphragm had become constricted through long years of anxiety and inactivity and the qi in this area was blocked. I used needles to gently tonify the Heart and open flow between meridians. This made a big difference immediately; Although these first treatments helped somewhat with her physical symptoms, they did not shift her deep anxiety about her health and her reticence to move out into the world and live her life. I knew that if we were to effect change on this level, we would have to work on what I call the spirit level. So, we tried to love on him and show him. And just as God had done so far in my life, He gave me Jace to destroy another stronghold in my life. Jace struggled to connect with females--especially mother figures. When I experienced the extent of what this meant for our bonding and relationship, I hit another wall. I saw him quickly bond with Jonathan and Lucas, but he showed no interest in connecting with me.

First, I became angry at God because I felt like I had already endured this heartache with Lucas. Then, I felt entitled, like I deserved better. For once I should be the one whom these boys want to be around. Finally, I faced the real stronghold God wanted to address: how I defined myself. Remember when I said I defined myself through achieving goals? I can refrain from being defensive by not talking. Resources/supports--I'll ask my friend, Sarah, to be at the exchange with me. I'll call my brother, Josh, and ask him to remind me that I'm not alone and that I'm strong. Optimal functioning--I'll say encouraging words and reminders to myself before the exchange. I'll be prepared to say no if he asks to come in. I'll make sure that Sarah is here well ahead of time. I'll ask Sarah to nudge me if I start to say something negative or defensive. Review Your Success The first time you deal with a particular situation or problem is almost always the hardest. Each time you confront it, however, you have another chance to improve your action plan and responses. Always be open to opinions, but you have the choice to listen, follow, or adapt. For a while I was content and happy, and I let others ideas of who I am and how I should live my life cloud my judgement of what I should be doing. Now let's be straight, I don't have a drug problem or anything like that, to where others would be concerned of my health, well being or safety. I mean who I am as an individual. I'm not a follower at all but when you hear the same thing from every other person you encounter sometimes, at least in my case I began to second guess myself.

I was fine with my ideologies in life, happy, but always wondered why others would be so concerned with my lifestyle and happiness when I was happy. Never complained, really always upbeat and pretty proactive. After a while I would start to question myself am I tripping am I crazy? Being true to myself wasn't satisfying to others, and people requested change. Eventually as I started feeling myself conforming to others needs I didn't find self happier at all. Level 3: Actual Contribution to the Organization. Do Generation Yers know that what they are doing is important? Do they see their role as crucial to the company's success? They want to see that they are not just a number, but rather a vital part of the organization. Level 4: Belief in the Company. At this stage, Generation Y workers will brag how great their company is to their friends. They take pride in what they do and who they work for, and they trust their organization. Level 5: Growing as a Person. Generation Y sees themselves as a proud employee who is--not only gaining monetary compensation for their work but also becoming a better person emotionally, mentally, or physically. At this level, they think, Working at Company X has actually helped me become a better person. Do you badly want to be free? Do you feel like you're wasting your life and potential? Use that pain! Welcome it. Don't avoid it.

It's merely pain. On the other side, there's freedom. But I can't help feeling sad when something bad happens. You don't have to laugh when a loved one passes away. That's not welcoming pain. We cannot hold ourselves or anyone else to standards and expectations that are impossible to meet--not if we want to feel loving and happy. We must forgive ourselves for being less than perfect, for having negative emotions, for speaking when we might have done better to remain quiet, for losing our temper, and for being occasionally unkind. And we have to forgive others for the same things. We have a tendency to hold a resentment if someone snaps at us, doesn't properly acknowledge or appreciate us, or whatever it may be that causes us to be upset on any given day. And yet, if we're honest, we can fairly easily discover some moment in our own history when we did the same thing to someone else. To forgive is to give up our claim to righteousness. It's to live and let live; Refusing to forgive sets us up in permanent negativity and blocks us to the experience of love. It sets us apart and makes us feel superior to others, or inferior to them, depending, even though neither viewpoint is true. There is freedom in understanding that it's okay for us to make mistakes of all kinds, and that it is normal and appropriate that we do so, and that others do so as well. You may be wondering, as I do: If infections as common as the flu can trigger a relapse in MS, then would it be beneficial to get a flu vaccination? Many (but not all) studies support the value of vaccination for MS patients. One study reviewed a database of patients with primary progressive MS and evaluated the effects of vaccinations. Out of 180 patients experiencing MS relapse during the study, 33 percent had contracted the flu within the six weeks prior, whereas only 5 percent of patients who relapsed had received a vaccination. Studies of older animals show that their microglia levels are higher, which means they have become both more sensitized to inflammatory conditions and more predisposed to experiencing inflammation.

Similarly, in humans, the older adult brain contains more inflammatory microglia as well as more substances that provoke inflammation than are found in a younger brain. And prolonged neuroinflammation has been shown to detrimentally affect memory and cognition. Oxidative Stress Oxidation is a chemical reaction related to the process of decomposition. Rust is an example of metal being oxidized, and when food is broken down into proteins, carbohydrates, and other basic units, it's due to oxidation. We would have to find a way to strengthen and stabilize the flickering flame in her lantern and strengthen the tenuous connection between her self and her Self. I began by suggesting that she think of her body as a laboratory where she could be engaged in observation and learn about herself. There are no rights or wrongs in this laboratory, only information. As part of her lab work, I asked her to make note of when, why, and how her heart symptoms appeared, when they improved, and when they were exacerbated. I chose to use very gentle techniques, such as flower essences, fine gauge needles, and simple meditation practices, as I did not want to further frighten or agitate her already traumatized shen with potent herbs, complex instructions, and overly forceful needle techniques. I asked her to make note of her dreams. I taught her a simple meditation developed by the HeartMath Institute to calm the heart and told her to practice it at least once a day. Margaret's Simple Heart Meditation Heart Focus: Begin by taking an easy inhalation and exhalation. Now, bring awareness to the place where you feel your heart, at the center of your chest or a bit over to the left side. Without realizing it, I had set achievements as my focus rather than God and my obedience to Him. When I achieved, I felt worth something instead of remembering that God alone gives me purpose and identity. Suddenly, everything about this adoption felt like I hadn't achieved anything. It felt like I was sacrificing my time, my career, and my income to adopt a child who didn't even want a mom. What was the purpose of that?