Introducing Michele Mateus our new blogger here at MOMS with MS

Hi I’m Michele Mateus and I am excited to be a new blogger here on Moms with MS.

I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS in 2008 in which presented itself with optic neuritis. In 2011 I was hit with a huge relapse that left me in a wheel chair for 5 months then a walker after that for another 3 or so, and a long road of rehab to get strong again. During this period I was blogging for the WAMS Foundation (who helped me in fundraising to get my CCSVI) and I loved blogging and sharing my experiences and outlooks on how we can live with the MonSter. When I stopped blogging for them I missed it but was not sure where else to blog and starting my own seemed all to overwhelming. Fast forward a few years and here I am sat now as a new mother, and like many new moms do I was struggling with the new role, but also my MS was there in the background popping up on days when I really could have done without. So I searched for resources on being a mom living with MS and I came across Moms with MS. I was excited to see that there was a blog and an online community of other moms that would really understand what it is like being a mother who lives with a chronic illness. Meeting new mom friends is hard enough to say the least, so finding this space was very exciting to me!

I reached out to Kristin that started this site and after we started chatting a bit I remembered that she read my old blog and would often retweet and share my posts; pretty cool how things often go full circle in life. She asked me if I would consider writing for Moms with MS. When you blog for something you believe in, something that is part of you it makes you vulnerable but it also empowers you. Some of the things that came to mind when she asked me were:

  • do I want to go ‘there’ again? ‘There’ meaning opening up to the world and sharing my inner thoughts and my challenges (and of course success too!) in a world that is so much more online than it even was 4 years ago.
  • I worried that putting myself out there again could effect my professional life and my photography business. Would people judge me and see me as someone not as strong that they could rely on because of my health condition?
  • Would I loose potential clients if they knew I had MS? Would my peers think I can’t do my job well because I am ‘sick’ (ps: I don’t think of myself as being sick, ever)
  • Do I even have time for this?

After I went back and forth on the worries I had that were blocking me to do this, I then thought of the positives.

  • When I blogged before my blog was very active, I would often have upwards of 10 comments on each post that became like mini discussions, which was great to be part of.
  • Blogging allows one to connect with others that are experiencing the same thing and makes you feel you are not alone.
  • Blogging makes you feel part of something bigger and positive.
  • Blogging can be therapeutic and help one work through some of the struggles faced when living with a chronic illness.
  • As someone that loves to research blogging is a great incentive to do so, reading about new therapies and ways of self care, which are things I used to read about and do so much more before becoming a mom, so in this case blogging is also a motivator.

After weighing out my fears vs. the positives that could come about joining Kristin I finally told her it was a YES and I was ready to go! So here I am introducing myself to this community and excited to be part of it. It is my goal with my blog posts to share some of my experiences as a mom living with MS and hopefully start some discussions around what that looks like and how we as a community can support each other. By we I don’t just mean moms with MS, I also mean those that love and support us as well as the general public. Knowledge is empowerment and if more people learned a bit more about the other we would cultivate more compassion and understanding in the world, and hopefully have less judgment and conflict.

I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Kristin for inviting me to join her here! I look forward to connecting with this community.

Michele Mateus & Her Family

Michele Mateus & Her Family. Photo credit @Alyssa Kellert Photography

Moms with Disability Survey

Looking for participants for an online survey for mothers with physical or mobility disabilities UMass Medical School would like to learn about the health care experiences of mothers with physical or mobility disabilities during pregnancy. To find out if you are eligible, go to the survey website and answer a few brief screening questions: If you prefer to complete the survey over the phone, please call 1-888-368-7157 to speak to the research staff. (UMMS IRB ID: H00001202)

It’s Getting Hot Out! How Are You Handling It?

I am fortunate enough to be living in Seattle, which right now seems to be one of the most temperate areas, at least compared to the other states it is. It is getting way hotter than usual though! We started with a winter with dramatically less snow than we usually do and now I’m thinking it is time to get an air conditioner! I don’t know of any friends that have an air conditioner but I’m going back to my days in NYC when the summers were scorching, and I know that having one made a world of difference. I was shopping on Amazon and decided to add a few of the things I found that had great ratings and high power to a widget, I’ll add them to the Moms with MS Store too to make it easier to browse, but this is what I have so far:

We are also working on getting some other cooling gear that we’ll be selling soon on the site, but more on that later!

Stay cool and share your tips so we can cool off too please! I know I’m making lots and lots of ice cubes for iced tea…and I’m considering brewing my coffee at night so I can have it iced in the morning too!

Did You Know There Is Panties for Periods? (+ Incontinence?)

Incontinence is something that can affect just about everyone, be it from pregnancy, MS, or other reasons. I felt like I had to share what I found which is panties that are meant to be “Period Panties” and protect your clothes during that time of the month. The ones pictured below caught my attention because they don’t look like training pants!! It looks like pretty regular underwear!

Period Panty

I’m curious to know if anyone has tried these or the SheThinx ones that I’ve seen advertised on Facebook recently that also donate to women/girls who need it in other parts of the world…I’d love to see some Moms with MS reviews!!