9 Things That Will Make Summer Suck Less When You Have MS

9 Things That Will Make Summer Suck Less When You Have MS
It’s summer and I don’t feel like writing existential essays about the plight of a tragic, but beautiful heroine making her way in the world with MS. Feeling tragic is a winter activity. It’s 16 days post-solstice and I want the lazy days I was promised–where I can eat ice cream for breakfast, wear my bathing suit instead of a bra, and stare at my freckles until I’m convinced they’re cancer. If I’m writing anything it’s a reminder to take a nap, to not go camping, to pick up more rosé and to maybe get those moles looked at–if there’s time. 
But unlike teachers and snowplough drivers, bloggers don’t get summers off (we’re an essential service, obvi), and neither does your disease. MS doesn’t take a vacation. Or it does, but it’s your vacation and it’s photo-bombing you in every frame. In fact, summer can be one of the worst times for someone with MS. Uthoff’s phenomenon means that many with MS experience an increase in symptoms due to an extreme form of heat sensitivity that can make it so hard to function you’re longing for back-to-school commercials before the final bell has even rung.
Summer can suck when you have MS, but dear god, so cawinter. So instead of a sad story about summer turning into falling and falling turning into a cold early death, I present to you a few of my top picks to help you sail through the season.

9 Things That Will Make Summer Suck Less When You Have MS

1. Safety shoes that don’t look like safety shoes

I misheels so bad, but there are other options to keep you from looking like you’re auditioning for Shrek The Musical. The sandals you’ve all been asking about are by Ganter, a company obsessed with foot-health and “natural walking”. If, like me, you’re currently rocking more of a supernatural stride, Trend-Able is a great resource for what’s cool and can be worn with orthotics. Trend-Able even has shoe options for dudes.
You don’t have to smile when your shoe game is this good.

2. Clothing that’s literally cool for Trippers with heat intolerance

If you wanna get your vitamin D the old-fashioned way without wilting like every plant that’s ever been under my care, these cooling towels by Toronto-made (holla!) Koldtec™ will keep you cool like Drake and dry like Dry (the French rapper you’ve never heard of). Trippers get $5 off and a bonus ice-strip with code TRIPPINGONAIR5, or a bonus ice-strip and $14 off the bundle with code TRIPPINGONAIR14.

3. Hot packs for the rest of us

While most of me knows it’s summer, my dysesthesia-impacted feet haven’t gotten the message. It’s 30 degrees and I’m on my balcony wearing a sweatshirt and down-filled booties. (Yes, I’m also wearing pants, pervs.) I’ve tried SO MANY THINGS to fix my freezing foot pain and these warmers suck the least. The robots at Amazon who package and send them out in July are like what the fuck, Canada, are you really that cold? No, it’s just me. 

Perfect for skiers and shivering consumptives.

4. Face misters

When I lived in France, I saw people carrying enormous bottles of Evian-filled misters everywhere. I think the whole country needs to discover freon, but there’s no denying the French-girl cool that comes with misting mineral water onto your puffy red face with a $25 brumisateur.
I got this one for free for buying too much make-up. Suckers.

5. The sound of silence

There are certain sounds we only hear in summer–the saw of a lawnmower, the smack of flip-flops, my dad yelling “Close the damn door; I’m not paying to cool the whole bloody neighbourhood”. And while these noises are objectively unpleasant, none hurt my ears so bad as a tree full of clamouring birds at the crack of 5:12. Or my douchebag neighbours hosting yet another late-night laugh-riot. Either invite us, or shut the fuck up, Todd. 
These earplugs are powerful enough to drown out my FOMO while allowing me to get the kind of sleep someone with clinical-grade MS fatigue requires.  
Shouldn’t even be legal–you’re def sleeping through a fire-alarm.

6. Clean-ish hair

The first symptom listed on the pamphlet you’re given with an MS diagnosis should be dirty hair. Right at the top. Between the heat, the slippery surfaces, the effort it takes to lift a blow-dryer to my head, and the four days a full shower takes off my life, most of the time, clean hair isn’t worth it. I’m currently testing the limits of how long I can neglect basic hygiene and still maintain my relationships. So far, it’s 7 days. The first 4 of which are made significantly less gross with dry shampoo; for which, I assume, the inventor received a Nobel Prize.
My favourite from Aveda. Smells like camouflage.

7. Legitimately clean hair

When my 7 days are up and it’s time to re-introduce my scalp to water and soap, I’m lucky enough to live in one of a number of cities that has an Aveda Institute where I can get a beauty-school blow-out for about 15 bucks. WHAT?! Ok, so you have to sign a waiver, but even if my student stylist turns my blond to blue, or crimps where she should be curling, my hair will still look better than anything I could ever do.

8. Underwear you can get drunk and pee your pants in

Technically, alcohol-induced incontinence is not what these knickers were designed for, or at least that’s not the Knix™ marketing strategy. In fact they’re marketed more as high-tech “period-underwear” that can handle a little LBL (light bladder leaks).  They may not replace your current continence care, but if you should happen to introduce two Manhattans to an over-reactive MS environment, you would be pretty protected while wearing this gitch. So I’ve heard. Bonus points for a design that’s so good, so normal-looking, you’ll never have to mention your unmentionables to anyone lucky enough to see them. 
I’ll have two please.

9. Time and Energy

I never travel without Optimus Prime, my cool and comfortable, convertible rollator/transport chair. I surf the walls and furniture on my own time, but when I’m traveling, I don’t wanna waste away in a hotel room, eating $18 chocolate bars, yelling at the slow wifi because I don’t have the spoons left to spend my $18 on a Campari-spritz at a tourist-trap bar the way God intended.  
Triumph Mobility is offering TOA readers a $100 discount and a free cane/bag holder on a Rollz Motion with code TRIPPINGONAIR in the US and Canada (Canadians should send me a direct message and I will hook you up). Or click here for New Zealand, here for Australia, and here for The Netherlands. 
This kid knows how hot it is.
What are your summer health hacks?
Stay cool, Trippers. And happy summer! 
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9 thoughts on “9 Things That Will Make Summer Suck Less When You Have MS

  1. Coconut water. In India, I would buy a coconut on the street and the vendor would use his machete to remove the husk. Then he would take the top off and poke a straw into the hole. The coconut water was at street temperature.
    In Trinidad, I am told the vendors have coolers filled with chilled coconuts.
    In Canada I make do with the tinned water from Thailand / the Philippines.

  2. Sitting here in shorts and a tank top because the mercury is headed up toward 90° today… And waiting for DH to go to work so I can sneak over to the thermostat and turn up the heat. WTF, MS!!!

  3. My current go to is eating a watermelon a week. I’d eat one daily if I had the energy to haul all those melon rinds to the trash. I freeze some, the rest chill in the fridge. Also freeze fruit to toss in my stainless water bottle when I head to work. Keeps my water cold all day and infuses some flavor. Def rely on cooling scarves, all cotton clothing. Best trick for getting Vit D on my patio: stick a bowl of ice in front of a fan. Old school AC, and fan keeps mosquitoes away.

  4. Thank you for posting. I just ordered one of those scarves. I find the cooling towels that "cool" as the water evaporates are terrible and do nothing. I looked up some reviews on what you mentioned, it looks great. Thanks to your code I was able to get the $5 off and an extra freeze strip. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for your ideas Andra.

    I live in South Africa (Southern Hemisphere) and we are on our way into spring now. I still sleep in my winter kit with as much blankets and additional heat as I can. This MonSter has destroyed my body temperature regulation.

    I come from the colder region of SA and cold never bothered me. Never liked summer, but now I straight up despise it. I perspire like I’m about to expire…and to dress comfortably for the heat, in my case it goes against societal decency norms and might just results in incarceration on my part. (Yes,even in Africa)

    So, my Months of Misery (Great King or Koontz title no?) is just around the corner.

    Have a great fall (the season NOT the action/verb)


    1. Hi Pieter,

      Thanks so much for writing. It’s so interesting to hear about how MS affects people in different parts of the world.

      Temperature regulation is an MS symptom that causes so many of us so much misery. I really hope you have some access to air conditioning.

      Thanks for reading and for reaching out. I will do my best to enjoy the most beautiful (if shortest) season in Canada!


  6. I thought I was the only one with simultaneous Uhthoff’s and a freezing cold foot (well, feet, but the right side is tolerable.) Seems to me to be a cruel MS irony. A foot warmer is a great idea – now, to figure out how to fashionably pull this one off…

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