Saturday, 10 August 2013

I’m having a relapse

It started a week ago after a lovely day out. I did a lot of walking and a fair bit of standing around watching a local event and after arriving home my body just seemed to go into melt down. I felt completely exhausted and unable to concentrate on the telly I was watching
Then the pain kicked in. The MS Hug.

That horrible feeling of being squeezed and for me like I’ve been punched in the ribs.

I gave in and went off to bed early and had a fitful nights sleep waking several times in pain. The next day more MS symptoms arrived. My lower legs feeling like they are encased in concrete boots, balance unsteady and a brain confused by even the simplest tasks. Trying to use the microwave or reading an article in a magazine feels like you have to wade through a thick mist to try and understand what you’re doing. My head feels like a snow globe that’s been turned upside down and given a good shake and now all the bits are trying to settle back down to where they should be.

That night it took a long time to get off to sleep because although my body was boiling hot, my feet were freezing! I’m lying there thinking, come on body sort yourself out, this is just weird.

The third day and things are starting to settle a bit. The MS Hug comes and goes, various spasms in my right leg come and go but at least I’m up and dressed and functioning even if it is only at approx 50% I managed to get to my hair appointment and make basic conversation with my hairdresser but I felt totally wiped out again later in the day.

A full week later and I’m still struggling with a whole bunch of MS stuff affecting my body and crossing my fingers that this ride isn’t going to get a whole lot rougher.

Oh and writing a Blog with MS all I can say is thank God for spell check!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

No more injections!

So from today I am no longer on the disease modifying drug Avonex!

Blood tests revealed that I have developed anti bodies which will significantly reduce the effect of the beta interferon Avonex  so no more injections. No need for the sharps box , ice packs and the plasters.

That’s it. Two and a half years of injecting myself every week, and now it’s finished. That chapter closed.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Have I wasted two and a half years using a drug that has made no difference to my MS or has it all been a rip roaring success? I have absolutely no idea. The truth is that I have had only one relatively mild relapse in that time period and given all the stress that I had to cope with in that time frame, that is quite frankly amazing.

Now I feel a bit like a small boat that’s slipped its mooring. Will it stay in the safe shallow waters near the shore or will it drift out to sea?

 I can only cross my fingers and wait and see what happens......

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Time March 2013 and I’m doing OK

It’s hard to stay positive in life, but for people with MS it’s an extra struggle as we are dealing with that unexpected feeling of resentment or loss towards ourselves.

It resurfaced for me again this Easter weekend as I was trying to do all the bits and bobs at home, cleaning and tidying and starting to prepare a lovely roast dinner for visiting family. I just ended up stressed and in tears one morning (feeling exhausted and annoyed with myself) because yet again I have to accept and ask for help from my lovely fella because my capacity to keep going and get things done is simply not there.

But..... I didn’t allow it to envelope me and having shed a few tears I calmed down and thought to myself “ it really doesn’t matter if we haven’t hoovered the whole house or used frozen not fresh roast potatoes for the dinner”

The important thing is enjoying time with my family and yes that includes letting the kids eat far too many chocolate eggs. We did manage to play a noisy game of Charades and watched a few family films and when the visitors left we even had an alcoholic beverage or two one evening.

So I have had a happy Easter and I’m now going to eat the rest of my Lindt Chocolate bunny.

Monday, 5 November 2012

MS Blues

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day..................

I haven’t been blogging for quite a while and this isn’t a happy, positive piece but I felt the need to write again and vent my feelings as the year comes to an end. That’s what November feels like nowadays as Christmas on the high street is getting into full swing and the adverts on the Telly start to take on that festive feel.

Unfortunately this is another blog entry on the subject of pain as this is my ongoing problem with MS this year. I did have a few months in the summer without it but as the year draws to an end I am again dealing with muscle pain.

It is very hard to keep positive when every day you wake up with varying degrees of pain or discomfort and a real lack of energy. I can’t remember that feeling of getting up and out of bed in the morning, bright and alert, ready for the day to begin.

I have always been a morning person (much to the annoyance of family and friends around me) being fully awake and alert from the minute I opened my eyes. Actually that isn’t completely truthful. There were the teenage years where breakfast was often eaten nearer lunchtime, but since my kids arrived the sleeping in disappeared (along with never finishing a cuppa) and I became one of those ‘morning people’.

But.......... I am no longer a morning person. I now wake up feeling tired and usually in some sort of pain.

This year MS has taken a toll on me. Today I have back pain, jelly legs (wobbly, shaky feeling) and the on/off burning pain in my ankle and one numb finger. That is today’s collection, tomorrow it could be more or less but there will be some pain or a feeling of utter exhaustion. There is always a collection of bits and pieces of my body letting me down. Some days I just want to stay under the duvet and hide but I have two kids that need attention (lunch boxes, PE bags, uniform etc) and although my fella is wonderful and very practical, I still need to be a part of family life.

I’m  so fed up of feeling rubbish all the time. There I said it!

MS Sucks!

Moan over.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Is there a drug out there that’s right for me?

Well hopefully the answer is in the positive, but finding the right medication and then the right dose is sometimes a long process. As MS has a varied bunch of tricks up its sleeve and a bewildering time frame of delivering them it’s a hard beast to figure out.

Over two weeks I had a few days of numbness and tingling in the lower right leg, this stops, then I have increased back pain (from overworked muscles on the spine according to Physio) and then it’s an uncomfortable feeling of tight restriction on my leg (like it’s in a tight plaster cast) which only lasts a few hours. Mix in a day of cognitive fog and you have a taste of my life with MS.

I have been in pain (muscles on the spine and intercostals muscles around the rib cage) for months now. I didn’t want to go back on to Gabapentin, as in the past this drug has made me
feel like I’m in a world made of thick treacle pudding. Admittedly I was having a bad relapse at the time and put on a high dose but the thought of even going on a low dose (suggested by my MS Nurse) did not appeal to me.

The pain was increasing and I was finding getting through the day and a disturbed night’s sleep harder to cope with so I did go back to my GP. After some discussion on the merits of medication available he recommended Amitripyline. The good news is that it seems to be working for me. Three weeks on this drug and I wake with only a mild reminder that the muscle problem is still there and the groggy feeling in the morning (I take a low dose at night) is lessening.

I read the posts on the MSRC Face book page and it’s clear that finding the right mix of drugs is a difficult thing when the path MS follows is so varied but I do find reading other peoples experiences can be supportive. It dose sometimes shock me to discover that others are talking about the same weird symptom that I have been experiencing but also in a way it is somehow comforting. That may sound strange but often on a daily basis you are confused by the weird and alarming sensations that MS can bring and often thinking ‘what’s going on now?’

I have never been a person to run to the medicine cupboard every time I have a pain. I have an inbuilt objection to taking drugs but now I realise living with MS I have to be more open to this solution. I am on the DMD Avonex and injecting weekly so I have changed my perspective enormously.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Have MS? Then you need to self regulate your care.

Yes it’s true! You are the masters of your own destiny. You are the epitome of the expert patient the NHS talks of. You monitor your condition and when required you inform all the appropriate services of the help you need when you need it (that is assuming you have services in your area) e.g. an appointment with your Neurologist, MS Nurse etc. Yes the responsibility is all in your lap. It’s all down to you!

This week I have been reminded of my own failings in my responsibility to have all the answers and knowledge on the specific help I need. I do hope you are noting my sarcasm by the way.

On a visit to an Orthopedic Surgeon during the week on a non MS related matter (problem ankle) when asked what Physio I was currently having (I explained about my MS and my right side weakness) he seemed shocked when I confessed I had never had any Physio. ‘Well firstly we need to get you some Physio as you have very little strength in your tendons on this ankle’ was his reply.

My Neurologist, MS Nurse or GP had not recommended Physio and I had failed to inform them that I thought I should have this treatment.

Later in the same week I was informed by my MS Nurse that I have been using the wrong needle in the wrong area of my leg for my Avonex injections. She talked of orange needles instead of blue. Orange needles! This is the first mention of orange needles! I’m using the blue needle that comes inside the dam packet with the injection. I don’t have nursing qualifications and know nothing of needle sizes. Orange, blue, these are just colours of the rainbow to me.

I’m clearly not the expert yet. Only a B+ for me. Must try harder!

Monday, 13 February 2012

MS A Life Modifying Condition

MS is a degenerative neurological disease of the central nervous system (brain and Spinal cord) which can cause a very wide array of symptoms. Some of these include: numbness, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, pain and chronic fatigue as well as problems with vision, cognition, speech and bodily functions (bladder and bowel control). The progress, severity and specific symptoms in MS are unpredictable and each person given the diagnosis of this infuriating disease will travel down a different path with their own personal collection of symptoms to cope with on a daily basis.

So if you are reading this and you don’t have MS just take a few minutes to digest this information.

Ok so now you might be thinking ‘Shit that is scary stuff! How can anyone cope with all that fear and uncertainty?

Now think about dealing with that every day.

Multiple Sclerosis comes under the term ‘Long Term Conditions’ however I would also call it a life modifying condition as once you have MS, as the disease progresses you have to learn to modify and adapt to the challenges of the various symptoms.

The facts given to you as a person with MS are that it is degenerative, you will have periods in time when you will experience a wide variety of symptoms and you may or may not recover all the ability you had prior to a relapse ( I should point out I have RRMS). It’s a great pile of uncertainty and fear to mentally cope with.

A huge mind F**K!

Now everyone deals with health difficulties and illness in different ways and all I can tell you is how I put all this into some kind of perspective so that I can carry on with my life.

BUT……. what I can say is that my life is different. I am different. MS has changed me and I have had come to terms with that. I now modify my life to function with MS.

I can admit I have cried, been very low, been angry and scared and also fearful of the future and how I will cope with increasing symptoms and their effects. I have also grieved for the life I wanted to have before MS, but I am a resilient individual and I've found my inner strength.

Now three years with MS I have accepted who I am and the fact I will spend the rest of my time on this earth with MS so I’m not going to fight it... but I still need to manage it.

I have learned to pace myself and know that when I do push myself (e.g. a weekend away full of activities) I will pay for it the next day but I accept that and adjust my life accordingly.

Housework needs to be done in shorter bursts (gone are the days of starting at the bedrooms and working my way down through the house) and now I plan ahead. It’s something that still makes me occasionally angry even after three years but as I have mentioned before I am a bit of a stubborn old goat and getting on and doing things is a fundamental part of my personality.

Before MS arrived in my life, I was never going to climb Mount Everest or run a marathon so I’m not considering that now. I’m just living an ordinary life and find that MS has actually made me really appreciate my family, my lovely fella, and  friends and the support they all give me.