Summer is a lovely season in so many ways, but it’s often so hot! This didn’t used to bother me, but I found twelve or so years ago that this did make quite a difference. I sometimes use the Wizard of Oz analogy, letting folks know that while water caused the Wicked Witch of the West to melt*, this is what heat does to me. I may not visually turn into a puddle, but it certainly feels that way at times! I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little blog about heat, MS, and superheroes.
*If you’ve seen the musical Wicked, the story is a bit different, but I’m referring to the classic movie and the original book by L. Frank Baum.
First published June 3, 2007
I have two brothers, so growing up, I saw my fair share of superhero cartoons. Of all of the superheroes that were a part of the “Superfriends” we watched each Saturday morning, the hero who seemed the most indestructible was Superman. He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able leap tall buildings in a single bound… but he could be taken down with one little piece of Kryptonite. The green rock might have looked innocent, but it was amazing how one little thing could bring an otherwise indestructible man to his knees.
I’ve never been a superhero (and don’t think I ever will be), but I do have a “Kryptonite” of my own: heat. It’s a funny thing about M.S… heat can make me numb and fatigued as quickly as Superman would weaken when Kryptonite entered the room. If a room is warmer than 77 degrees, the sun is beating down on me, or I’m even wearing really warm socks, I melt (not literally, but I feel this way). In fact, before the M.R.I. machine was developed, this M.S. factor was frequently used to assist in diagnosis. A person would sit in a hot tub (something I used to love doing), and if he or she became quickly fatigued and a little numb, this was a trait of probable multiple sclerosis.
Now not all individuals with M.S. possess this trait, but most do. Summer used to be my favorite season, as I love the outdoors, swimming, hiking, traveling, school break… but summer also happens to be when it’s hot. So like Superman, I am learning to avoid my Kryptonite as much as possible. I now have a scarf that I can soak in cool water to help keep my neck (thus my body) cool; I don’t wear socks when the weather is even a bit warm; and we always stay at air conditioned hotels when traveling to anywhere warm. Canada is higher on our vacation wish list than Florida, and I’m glad I’ve been to Mexico and the Caribbean, as I might not have the opportunity to return.
I think we each have some sort of “Kryptonite,” some more powerful than others. The little green rock didn’t affect Batman or Wonder Woman, but they had their own weaknesses. Not being a superhero fanatic, I can’t tell you each hero or heroine’s weakness… if you want more information here, you can likely ask my husband; my brothers don’t live nearby, but I’m sure he can answer your hero questions. Though he’ll think me sappy here, I have to say that my husband is my “Superman,” and I hope you each have your own hero to help you battle your little green – or big imposing – rocks of life.