Multiple Sclerosis Bladder Problems: Two Pro Tips
MS Increases the Urgency to Create for Writer and Artist
The certain uncertainty of multiple sclerosis spurs Carmen Ambrosio to write and pursue her photography while she can.
By Stephanie Stephens
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurLiving with Multiple SclerosisNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
When she gets out of bed each morning, Carmen Ambrosio takes inventory of her body from head to toe. "Brain, head, hand," she repeats, before she evaluates the rest of herself. Then she asks herself, "Now, what is it going to take for me to feel good today?"
She hopes she's not headed into what she humorously calls "a duct-tape day," when she's run down, in pain, and in a generally bad mood — not her normal state of mind.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) just before her 31st birthday, Ambrosio, 57, reminds herself that "it could always be worse."
Her approach to living with MS is calm and methodical: "I want to keep this disease in perspective,” she says. “The certainty of the uncertainty in having multiple sclerosis increases the urgency for me to write and create art while I can, and not to concentrate on what I can't do."
Facing the Challenge of MS With Courage and Humor
Born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ambrosio moved to Michigan at age 17 — "tropics to frozen tundra" — then to New York and to several other states, working in sales, advertising, marketing, and corporate hospitality before committing to writing and photography.
Ambrosio now lives in Dublin, Ohio, and describes herself as "an author, photographer, copy editor, and occasional sculptor who loves to travel anywhere snakes cannot be spotted readily."
She is the author of a collection of short essays and poems entitled,Life Continues: Facing the Challenges of MS, Menopause, and Midlife with Hope, Courage, and Humor.
Her intention was "to share the wide spectrum of emotions and experiences I have had thus far." For example, she learned to read "bod mail," from which she says no one can "opt out."
Ignore those bod mail messages at your peril, she warns, like the one her body sent her back in 1991 that basically said things like, "Dear Carmen: We're your fingers and toes, and we're tingling."
While the numbness in her extremities subsided, her abdomen then went numb — a symptom her first doctor dismissed. A visit to a second physician resulted in a Lyme disease test.
Then results of three MRIs ordered by a neurologist revealed lesions and led to a diagnosis of MS.
‘Hobble Dancing’ and Helping Medical Students
Ambrosio takes no medication for her MS, although she tried one earlier that "gave me flu-like symptoms," she says. Certain kinds of MS medication associated with rare but deadly side effects scare her. For now, her daily pill regimen consists of hypertension medication, vitamin D, and a multivitamin.
Like many people with MS, Ambrosio eschews intense heat and humidity. Her most nagging issues are left knee pain and lower left leg weakness, causing drop foot and requiring her to use a cane. Nonetheless, she loves to dance — "I call it 'hobble dancing’" — and she uses a recumbent exercise bicycle.
"Cognitively, I feel really good," she says.
In addition to her creative work, Ambrosio is a standardized patient at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, meaning she's undergone training to participate in mock doctor-patient encounters with medical students.
Honoring a Special Pet
In May 2019 Ambrosio published her second book,Samson: Memories of a Found Hound, about "a much-loved, rescued Beagle-mutt with a penchant for breaking into impromptu songs and offering unconditional love, acceptance, and calm."
In the book, her late mixed-breed pal recounts "memorable morsels of life with my human mom, whom I call Mistress Carmen, and her husband, Master Larry — my human dad, usually patient walk leader, and pooper scooper."
Ambrosio wanted to honor her special dog, she says. She writes that she "cedes the spotlight to her fickle muse and exasperated mutt motivator in this part memoir, part fictional tale."
Doing What’s Different, Trying New Things
Ambrosio’s photography also remains a passion, and her style is characteristically eclectic. "I'm always so interested in trying to capture what I see," she says. "I use light imagery to create more abstract photos — not just plain ones. I like to do what's different."
She is now working on a third book. "It's a short story collection, and I'm making the change from nonfiction to fiction," she says. "I prefer to write longhand versus on the computer, but my fingers tend to get tired."
Her life remains an open book, with more chapters to be written. "I needed at least 50 years of life to have enough interesting material," she wrote on the website Smashwords. She also shares her best tips for aspiring writers.
"Empty your brain on napkins, blank books (perfect for supporting stick sketches), lined pads, computer screens, or whatever surface you can use and save legally. Do so whenever ideas pop up. Don't wait for the right time, right space, or right place.
Video: Sadhguru - The Most Urgent Thing Everyone Should Do
Food Additives and ADDADHD: Whats the Connection
I Thought It Was Better to Suffer Than to Have a C-Section
The Clear Skin Diet in Hindi
This Is What Its Like To Have Weight Loss Surgery
Pill-Free Ways to Erase Your Pain
Youve Been Using Your Face Wipes All Wrong
How to Debug with Eclipse
How to Force Quit an Application on a Mac
Truth Art Beauty: Organic Skincare YouCo-Create
Oysho Summer 2012 Beachwear Collection
7 Signs Youre Allergic To Christmas
Ive Never Had a Period But Im Still a Woman
5 Of the Best Summer 2015 Hairstyles to Try
Understanding Nasopharyngeal Cancer Symptoms and its Diagnosis