I was getting a lung test for the clinical trial, and the technician lady said, "It looks like you're doing pretty well on this medication. You haven't had any relapses."
"I think I've only had two relapses in fifteen years."
"What's your secret?"
I thought a moment. "I think I'm just not very in touch with my body."
Before I got MS I tried to pay better attention to body signals: the ones that said "You've eaten enough! Stop!" and "You have five minutes to get to the bathroom." After I was diagnosed I woke up each morning and took a full body inventory of every limb. When a hand began to tingle, I'd note the time it began so if it continued for 24 hours I could alert the doctor. That didn't last long, and soon if my right hand tingled, I'd check my left, found it felt fine and I'd spend a good minute flexing and admiring my left hand. For every body part that feels bad there's another that feels okay. (And not to put to fine a point on it, there are always two sets of lips that can be made to feel not bad, not okay, but quite distractlngly good.)
I'm lucky with my MS, of course, I've been in the "tingling / weakness" phase for a long leisurely while, and it can just take its time progressing. But another nice thing about my particular MS is that the nerve damage works in my favor for some things. For example, the nerves that run my lower GI tract will often go on vacation a week at a time, and occasionally for two weeks. I have been told this would cause pain in a normal person, but the nerves that signal pain must be the same nerves that are on vacation. At times people ask me if I hurt my foot, and if it weren't for that I would have no idea I'm limping. The bad nerve that makes me limp must be the same nerve that lets me know I'm limping.
So now after fifteen years, I dismiss my MS symptoms the moment they surface in my consciousness (Most recently: "That's odd, my arms feel numb. It must be from when I turned blue when I couldn't breathe a few days ago. Huh. Weird. What's in the fridge?")
What I want to be able to do is to apply that approach to all symptoms of every illness. For example, right now I'm not dizzy like I was earlier today and yesterday, and my ears don't itch like they did a few hours ago, but still my body says I'm going to puke some time in the next two hours. So, if I take my MS approach, I should:
Lavish positive attention on the body parts that don't feel bad. My feet feel good, for example, I say as I wiggle my feet. Legs to scalp: relaxed and happy, plus I'm in the very soft guest bed.
Make a reliable body part feel good: the Upper Mouth is happy now after the application of a stale homemade croissant. And, bonus? I'll puke that back up in less than two hours.
We'll just have to see how this approach works the next time I have a bad head cold. "Well, the left nostril is stuffy but wow, my right nostril is awesome. What's in the fridge?"