Stress and Multiple Sclerosis

negative peopleWhat are the effects  of stress and Multiple Sclerosis?

HUGE!!!

Increasing numbers of studies are reporting an association between stressful life events and exacerbation in multiple sclerosis..  By David C. Mohr

Well it’s obvious what one needs to do, right?  Try and get rid of all the things that cause you stress.  It’s difficult to do since what brings the most stress to people is other people.

Family is the number one set of people who can cause us undo stress, but you can’t very well get rid of family.  However, you can try and avoid the people who give you stress, particularly family.

The next thing that brings us a lot of stress is money. We can’t do much about it ourselves since as we get worse, we can’t work.  Not working leaves a household with one less paycheck.  The guilt that comes with that can cause us to become scam victims when people contact us via the internet or on the phone with fast and quick schemes to make make money.  I know.  This has happened to me several times.  Call me gullible.

I avoid  family members that cause me stress.  I can’t say, “I don’t like you.  Leave me alone!  However, sometimes it can’t be avoided.   During these times, I listen to them politely, but you can read my face like a book.  If I get a glazed look in my eyes, then I’ve tuned them out.  They know it and soon make their excuse to talk to someone else.  If they’re talking to me and then stop waiting for a response, I often give them the wrong response.  They know that although I have an attentive face that I haven’t been listening.  If I’m perturbed by them, they can tell and so forth.  Fortunately, for me, they learn to avoid me as well.

However, there are times when these people, family or friends, who malign me in public, such as in social media etc…  This is when I fly to my own defense.  I can’t tolerate people who make false accusations about me.

I have one relative who recently turned their back on me, which started publicly, because I didn’t make a complimentary comment about them.  I nearly fell over when they attacked me like a Mack truck.  I will make no further comment about this situation but to say that I realized this person was so insecure about themselves that they needed me to say something in response to a question they asked.  This question would have led me to lying about how I feel about a certain thing about them.   I don’t lie.  I won’t lie to someone just to make them feel good.  They are an adult not a child.  I gave them so many affirmations in so many areas about their life, but about this one question, I couldn’t say what they wanted to hear.  Unfortunately, I lost this relationship with this family member.

It goes to show you one of many ways that people can cause you stress.  This bothered me for weeks on end.  I slowly lost the feeling of perhaps I should have responded differently only because I just won’t lie.  I stuck to my principles and I lost. Sometimes it happens.  In the long run, I felt better about it.

Money?  I won’t even touch on that scenario except to say I’ve made some mistakes about that as well and it was mainly out of guilt.  Knowing the hardship this caused my family, that is; my inability to work and bring home a pay check led me to internet scams.  Instead of making money, I lost money.

Each consequence of being honest with yourself and figuring out what bothers you about some people or financial problems that you’ve caused can lead you on a journey of self discovery.  It has me.  I’m a better person for learning what I did or did not do right or wrong.  I’m better off knowing what makes me tick and dealing with the issues that stops the pendulum on my clock from swinging causing me to miss the ticking of my own clock.

Try to avoid stress.  Do what it takes to be rid of the issues that cause you stress.  Sometimes it can cause you more stress, temporarily, when fixing these stresses, but hang in there.  You will come out of it a better and happier person.

Find people who bring you positivity.  You have enough negativity in your life to bring you down.  Try and avoid blogs that bring you down.  Stick to the ones who end up positive.  Avoid the “woe is me” types.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then Was Then This is Now.

that-was-then-this-is-now-quote-coeurblondeHello again,

I wrote a lot about the pains in my legs.  I also wrote about the treatment I had been getting for these pains both bad and good.  I believe I left off with seeing a new Pain Management Doctor under advisement of my Internist.  The plan with the new Doctor was to go ahead and try another shot in my L5-S1 joints of my spine.  He decided to do it bilaterally, meaning that since each disc of the spine has two nerves coming out of it, both right and left sides, that it made more sense to do the shot on both sides.

It’s been about four days since the shot.  I’m feeling better.  It’s not to say that the pain is completely gone, but I’m feeling almost normal again.  I hold my breath each morning when I wake up.  I take tentative steps out of bed hoping that how I felt the previous day is maintaining the status quo.  Sure enough, it has.  Let’s see how long this last.

Between my Internal Doctor adjusting some of my meds to the maximum dosage and the shots, I think I may land up having a decent summer.  I’m so grateful.

Moving on to other bits and pieces of living life with Multiple Sclerosis.

Many of my medical caregivers are impressed with how I’m still standing on my feet, digging ponds in my back yard, and the list goes on.  They are also impressed with my mental attitude given the history of Depression with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  (There was a time I would not have mentioned my mental illness let alone write it for the whole world to see).

I’m not impressed.  For me, I don’t know any other way to live my life but to fight.  It comes natural to me.  My life has been an uphill battle since I was a child, so fighting to live my life my way is the norm.

I don’t want to write about how terrible MS is.  Sure, it is extremely difficult and can be very painful for some.  Not all of us progress the same way.  I’m at a stage where I’m very symptomatic all the time.  This doesn’t mean I want to wallow in it.  I don’t want to use this written venue to spout out how terrible I feel.

I give you the facts.  I tell you everything I’m going through.  However, I don’t pontificate about the woes of it all.  There are times when I do express my deepest thoughts.  What made me cry, what upset me, and so forth.  But again, these are facts.  This is my life.  This is not a venue, at least for me, where I’m expecting claps on the back for being strong or whatever.

For me, this venue is about educating people about Multiple Sclerosis and what can happen to a person along the way.  Armed with this information, they are aware and can be prepared, should these very issues happen to them.

Sure, there are times when I’m miserable, like these past eight months with intractable pain with no relief in sight.  However, for the time being at least, there is relief.  Should the pain return, then we’ll try something else.

I was delighted that I was able to treat my husband to a Father’s Day dinner.  The amazing thing about it was that I was able to sit on a chair without wiggling the whole time trying to find a pain free way of sitting, and that I sat through the entire dinner without having to get up early and wait for my husband outside while he paid the check.

Then was then and now is now.  What happened before is now history and today is a new page in history.  I concentrate on what is important and don’t bemoan what is lost.  There is no point in it.

This isn’t something learned overnight.  I believe that one must go through a learning period of comprehending this.  When you get tired of hearing yourself talk, then you know it’s time to change your perspective.  When you get tired of reading your own words, then it’s time to change something.

I’ve gotten to a point where I just can’t tolerate being by people who are stuck in a rut and won’t take the helping hand in front of them to pull them out.  They insist on staying there believing that everyone else wants to hear them wailing from the rut, that they can’t get out.  I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to read about it.

I am not looking for sympathy.  I’m looking for solutions.  I’m grateful when someone comments about how they like reading my words.  I appreciate that because it takes effort and thought to do it.  I give to you with my words in the hopes that you come to understand the life of people like me.

I try to stay in touch with other MSers but not when they drag me down.  I can’t afford to be dragged down.  If they need help and they ask for it, I will gladly give it to them.  I don’t have the strength to try and pull someone out of the rut if they in turn, try to pull me in with them.

We all have our reasons for writing.  They have just as much right to this venue as I do.  This doesn’t mean we have to like each other’s blogs.  Some of these bloggers are excellent writers.  They use their blogs to satisfy their own needs, whether it is like my reasons or for their own reasons.  Kudos to them.

What it all boils down to is if I’m going to spend my time writing, I would like to think that I do it well and that I give people food for thought.  Other writers are also giving people food for thought.  I’m proud of all us bloggers who write about this disease called Multiple Sclerosis.  It’s important that people read all our blogs to see the effect it has on us at various stages of the disease.  How different we all are and yet, how similar we are.

On Maggie’s Pond

I’m sitting here noticing that I need to clean my keyboard.  I can do that!  I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t do.  If I sat around bemoaning all the things that I can’t do, just give me a shovel so that I can dig a hole six feet deep that I can crawl into.  Only problem would be is how would I get the dirt filled up after I’m in the hole.  That I can’t do.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis is not a death sentence.  It is not something to despair over.  It can lead to a shorter life depending on the type of MS one has, and actually; it may lead to a shorter life for those with other variables of MS, but not by much.

What is significant about MS/Multiple Sclerosis, is all the things we can’t do as time goes by.  You don’t get a diagnosis of MS and all of a sudden you are bedridden or significantly impacted in an obvious way.  Many people have MS and still work.  Many people, inclusive of those I know; you would never be able to tell they have the disease.  Many people, including myself, have advanced into severity but still go on taking care of the house and other activities like yard work, etc.

Let me show you an example.

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I started this pond last year.  My husband dug out the slate for me and put them in piles around the hole that I dug.  My husband helped define the hole for me.

This was my baby.  It was something I wanted to do on my own so that I could feel a sense of accomplishment.  It was something I could do.  It took me nearly two years to do it, but I did it.  I carried each one of those rocks from one part of our very large yard to the pond.  Along the way, there were things I couldn’t do, and I gladly turned it over to my husband.  Although he was very concerned about my falling, which I did often, he left me alone when I wanted to do it alone.  He did put his foot down a few times and insisted I come into the house but he balanced his concern with my determination to do this.

It wasn’t easy.  It took forever and many small steps to carry stones.  I couldn’t use a big cart so I piled rocks into my shirt and carried them that way across the yard.  I averaged about three trips in an hour and the rest of the time, I laid the rocks into position.  I still have a ton of rocks to go, but at least it looks like a pond.

There were many falls, one where I had to lay there a couple of hours before help came along.  It was okay.  I turned over on my back, watched the clouds and made up a melody in my head.  When I was asked how long I had been laying there, I white lied.  What would be the point in worrying anyone when I was hurting?  The hurt did not come from the fall but from my legs, which started last year.

At that time I thought that perhaps my legs hurt because I wasn’t doing enough on my legs.  I wanted to work them out.  It didn’t work.

I focused not on building the pond, but on picking up a rock, putting it in my shirt, then picking up the next rock, and so forth.  Then I focused on the long walk back to the pond, or at least it seemed like a couple of miles.

The pond was the ultimate goal but the pond gets built by a lot of small steps.  I focused on those small steps and broke those small steps even further.  I landed up with mini steps.  Those I could do even if it took me all day to do what someone else could do in one hour.

This past weekend, I was like a child excited about going to a candy store.  We went to the pond store where I purchased six Koi fish.  I tried fish last year, but the pond’s habitat wasn’t mature enough.  I waited a lot longer before I finally deemed the pond habitable for fish.

My Take on This

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that when you first hear the diagnosis your head spins with envisioning the changes that will happen in your life.  Yes, they are disturbing and yes, it seems calamitous.  It leads, for many of us, to debilitating lifestyle changes…gradually unless you Progressive MS.

I’ve had MS for 30 years, if not longer.  I still work around the house and in my yard.  I still walk with a cane or walker.  I am using my wheelchair a lot more frequently these days.  I have more than likely moved into progressive but I’m not asking if I have.  I don’t care to know.  It’s enough knowing that I have Congestive Heart Failure now.  That is something to worry about.  I’m trying not to.  The prognosis for that is about five to ten years, but my internist said he knows of some who have lived longer.

If one thing doesn’t get you, something else will.  It’s the nature of life.  We all die.  

It’s how we live that’s important.  It’s what we leave behind that counts.  We live on with the memories we gift people.  I concentrate on quality not quantity.  I concentrate on embracing the difficulties of the day not on defending myself from those difficulties.

Multiple Sclerosis is not a death sentence.  It is just one of those incredibly difficult and painful things that some of us are burdened with.  

I want to leave this blog behind as my gift to the MS world.  It is concise, brutally honest, happy, sad, uplifting, and depressing.  It is the whole of what MS is in “my” life.  It’s different for everyone.  In the long run, I want readers to feel that they have gained a lot of information (not the technical stuff), about what life is for one person with MS.  

My motto is “MS does not define me.  I define what MS is in my life.”

 

One Pot Cooking

It’s here!!!  My card came in making it legal for me to purchase and use medicinal marijuana for the pain I experience because of Multiple Sclerosis and other neuropathies I’m experiencing from other problematic breakdown of my body.  What I need to do next is to make an appointment with my distributor.  It can take a week or two before I can get in.  It seems the facility is quite busy.

For those of you interested in this, it is a somewhat long process from beginning to end.  I would say it took me about 2 months to get the ball rolling and now another couple of weeks before I can get started unless I luck out and get in sooner.  The most important part of the whole process is through your neurologist.  They are the ones who enroll you and get your ID # to fill out your forms.  Without this, you can’t do it.

My neurologist suggested it to me, although I had heard about it.  I didn’t know if I should go that route myself, but he seemed to think so.  When I told my internist that I was going to try it, he was glad that I was.  It seems that in the medical field, there are more doctors approving of this than disapproving of it.  I even spoke to my pharmacist about it and he too was glad.  He told me his father was just enrolled in it and seemed to be doing well on it.

In regard to the pain in my legs, after trying several different drugs that my internist tried me on to no avail, he decided that I should go back and see yet another pain management doctor.  This doctor is one he approves of.  I had my first visit with this doctor this past week and my visit was quite different than with the other facility.  I was talking to the doctor for at least 20 minutes and he examined me thoroughly.  With the other facility, I dealt with a PA and only met my doctor one of the times I went down for a steroid block, just before the procedure.

It ‘s been decided to start over and take it step by step and we will see where this all leads us to.

I will keep you abreast of the marijuana and the new pain management doctor.

I hope this finds you all in relative good health and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.

 

Ups and Downs of Home

Hello!

First off I would like to thank you for your response to my ongoing harrowing and painful dilemma with my legs.  Nothing has changed.  I’m still struggling with what to do next.  I am waiting for my ID card for medicinal marijuana and I’m curious and anxious to see if that will help any.

My neurologist ordered it for all the spasticity I am having but who knows.  It may also help with this pain as well.

I think I’m going to schedule an appointment with a neuro surgeon to see what they have to say.  I do have an appointment with another pain management facility but I just don’t expect much from them based on my experience with the last facility.  Since my internist wants me to try them, I will.  My husband and I believe that we need to get to the root of the problem and get it handled since it seems that this is not going to go away on it’s own.

I’m tired of talking about it.  I will keep you informed about the medical marijuana experience and anything else new to do with all of this.

How are you all feeling?  I’m tired.  I don’t get enough sleep and when I do sleep, it’s always an intermittent type of sleep–one hour asleep, two hours awake.  I have huge dark circles beneath my eyes.

I’ve been thinking about moving.  Not now due to all the medical issues I am having but perhaps this fall or winter.  Not sure yet.

I have a large 2-story house.  The problem I am having is with all the levels on the first floor.  You have to go up two steps into one room, then down two steps to leave it.  This is all over my first floor.  There is the kitchen, my office, and the small family room that is all one level.  A half bath is also available.  Oh I forgot.  We added on a bedroom to the first floor as well with a full bathroom.  However, I hang out in 3 rooms.  The kitchen, office and family room.  I can’t even go in the backyard without struggling to get down some steps, so I don’t go out often.

I need a rancher.  We don’t want an apartment or condo.  We have too much stuff and we both hate living with neighbors everywhere.

This is about all I can handle for today so I’m going to cut it short and sweet.  I will write again soon when I have more energy.  Right now I’m slumped in my chair and leaning way over to the right.  It’s uncomfortable.

Hugs to you all.

 

I Smile

Something I haven’t talked about is what’s life like these days.  I’m not talking about the medical stuff here, but life!  Day-to-day life which is what the blog is all about.  I’ve been so concentrated on the pain issue that I haven’t talked about anything else.

I dare anyone to blame me for this.

Here is a weird thing.  I decided to buy a 2017 Fiat 500.  Why?  I seldom drive anywhere.  I’m heavily medicated most of the time.  I can’t see worth anything especially at night.  I don’t have deep pockets of money to spend anywhere.  You can’t haul medical equipment in the car.  The trunk is too small.  You can’t even haul passengers in the car unless they are munchkins with teeny tiny legs.  I can’t lift my right leg to get into the car.  Surprisingly, the front seat of the Fiat is higher than your average car.  So what I have do is this.  I found a leg raiser thing-a-ma-jig at a medical supply store.  It looks like a loop on a long wired handle.  You place your foot in it and pull on it with your arms.  It raises your foot up, almost high enough to the level of the Fiat.  It works well enough.

My life is spent running from one Doctor’s office to another.  It’s the highlight of my life.  I get to get dressed in something better than I normally do.  I put on a wig since my hair is shot, and some makeup.  I look okay for the day.  Lastly, I put on my smile that everyone seems to love.  As long as I’m smiling, the world thinks everything is okay with me.

I have cleaners come in every two weeks.  Will hope to move them up to every week when things get better financially.  I’m in the market for a new wheelchair that medicare approves of.    I spend a lot of time researching this.  Have you seen what’s out there?  Unbelievable!!!  One costs as high as $14,000.  Which is, of course, the one I fell in love with.  Anyone care to make a donation?

My Take On This

 All is well with the world around me as long as when they see me, I am smiling.  There is no such thing as showing a face of pain.  If you do, they compare their pain to yours!  At first, early in the disease, I tried to educate people.  I no longer have the desire to do so on a daily basis.  Hence, the reason for the book.

I’ve reached a point in my Multiple Sclerosis where things are sliding downwards and fast.  I fought wheelchairs, but now I spend my nights prowling through websites and watching videos on all that is out there, dying to get my hands on one that works.  

I watch my life changing almost daily and dramatically.  There’s nothing I can do about it.  There is only one thing to do.

I smile.  It makes the people around me feel better and believe it or not, it eventually makes me feel better.

 

A PAIN IN THE WHAT!?

As promised, I will continue the story of the pain in my legs.

After a month of recovery, I took off my neck brace permanently.  My husband and I both noticed that my neck did not flop over to the right.  It was straighter although not completely straight.  I could not and to this day, still cannot bend my neck backwards like looking at a shooting star directly overhead.  My neck still hurts a lot.

I made an appointment with a pain management Doctor. When I got there, I was seen by his PA (physician’s assistant).  She listened to my story and I told her it was going on four months since all of this initially started.

The upper most question for her as well as to other doctors whom I’d visited was this, is this Multiple Sclerosis or a back issue?  I can’t even tell you nor does my neurologist know for sure.  Ultimately for me, my question is, who is going to help me fix this?

It was decided that I should get a steroid shot in my lower back.  It was scheduled, I went, and the result was nothing.  It was then decided that I should have an EMG (electormyelogram) test.  The result was that I had pinched nerves in L5-S1 on both sides.  L5-S1 is the location of the bone in the lower back.  They number from 1 through 5.  S1 is the next bone underneath L5.  The nerves being pinched were between L5-S1.  Don’t quote me on this explanation because I’m not sure that this is precisely correct, but you get the gist of it.

Armed with this information she scheduled another shot for me.  This is all done under light anesthesia.  You go home in a few hours.  It was scheduled, I went, and the result was a few hours of relief and then the pain returned full blast.

When I returned to see her with tears in my eyes, she was excited to hear my news.  She said that it was good and bad.  It was bad because she was sorry that the pain returned.  She was glad because having had a few hours of relief, she was sure that she had solved the problem.  It was the pinched nerves in L5-S1.  Her conclusion was that I needed another injection in the same location to see if the same result occurred or even better.  Perhaps the second shot would take, and I could get by without another shot for months.

I then asked her what would happen if the same thing happened where I had relief for only a few hours.  She then replied that I would probably need surgery.  When I asked her what type of surgery, she told me that they would go in and scrape the bones back away from the nerves.  I never heard of that procedure before.  It didn’t make me very happy.  She then scheduled my third shot.

You must realize that all of this took months to happen.  By this time, I was going on 6 to 7 months of unrelenting pain.

I had no idea what a pain management doctor did before this.  I knew one thing.  I needed help for this pain in between their poking around with their shots.   Because of the changes in New Jersey law restricting the use of narcotic drugs that could be prescribed, I would be given about seven days’ worth of a codeine medication.  This medication only eased the pain for about an hour or so and I had to wait six to eight hours before I could take another pill.

The days and nights I spent crying are too numerous to count.  I felt I looked like a zombie with dark circles under my eyes from so many sleepless nights.  I could not get into any position that was comfortable for me whether I was in bed, sitting, or standing.  I couldn’t even stand the seat of a chair touching the backs of my thighs.

Meanwhile, my general internist was someone I needed to send out to pasture.  I was unhappy with her for various reasons including the fiasco at the hospital where she decided that my medications needed to be changed around, not understanding the balance of the two year’s of work it took with my neurologist to relieve me of some of my symptoms from MS.

I had decisions to make now.

When I came out of this office visit with a date to have my third shot and a new script for that week’s drugs, I told my husband everything that was said.

He then told me that while he was in the waiting room, he and another guy who was a patient, struck up a conversation.  This man told him about seeing this doctor for two years with no pain relief in sight.  His pain was strikingly similar to mine but for some reason, surgery was never discussed for him.  My husband was too polite to ask this man why he continued to see this doctor.

Without my knowing about this, my husband had been checking out pain management doctors on the web and found out that these procedures were not FDA approved. Somehow, they were still allowed to happen.  I don’t get any of this because I’m too tired to figure out what this is all about although I seem to recall something like that, also on the internet.

My husband told me that he wanted me to cancel the surgical procedure (the shot).  I burst into tears and asked him then what am I supposed to do?  We sat in the car trying to think straight.  Should I consult with a neuro surgeon?  Should I take the path of the shot?  If I get rid of my internal med doctor, who should I see?  Should I go back and talk to my neurologist?

When I got home it was clear to me that I needed to take things one step at a time.  First of all, change my internal medicine doctor.  I decided to go back to my previous doctor.  Why did I change from him to her?  Dumb mistake on my part.  It was because while I was at the hospital on one occasion, she was my primary doctor on the ward.  My regular internist did not practice at this hospital.  Don’t get me wrong, the impression that I got from her still stands today.  She is a sweet and caring doctor.  She was so solicitous that I wanted to be under her care.  I exchanged an excellent doctor who saw the whole picture to a doctor whose personality I liked.  Once again, dumb mistake.  I took care of that right away and scheduled to see my previous doctor.

I’m so sorry that this is so long winded but if I don’t get this finished in one sitting, I’m afraid It won’t get done.

When I visited my doctor, we picked up as though I had not been away for over a year.  When he asked me how things were, I told him the entire story. I could see he was agitated but he waited for me to finish.

He looked at me and told me, “You get away from those doctors as fast as you can.  What they did was unconscionable.”  He was red in the face as I looked at him with a question on my face.  He knew I wanted to know what he meant by, “what they did”.

He said that to go in the first time and give me a shot somewhere in the vicinity where they thought my pain was coming from without their own imaging studies such as a CAT scan, was unconscionable.  He then said that to give me a second shot with still no studies done on me was also wrong.  Then he said to give me a shot the third time to prove to themselves that it was in the right area was “bleep”.

He was very upset and once again I was a puddle of tears.  He then said that I was probably being used for billable hours.  He asked if I ever met this doctor.  I told him only once, on the surgical floor of their unit.  In three almost four months, I never had a visit with him in the office, it was always the PA .   He asked where I had these procedures done.  I told him it was in the same office building on a different floor.  He laughed and nodded at that.

He increased my gabapentin to 2400 mg which is the max amount, to see if that would help.  I called him in a few days and told him I was in agony.  He then added tramadol and Cymbalta which is an antidepressant but also works on chronic pain.  Between all these drugs my pain has gone from about a 10+ to an 8+.  It often rises as the day wears on and I then add Tylenol Extra Strength to the mix.

Ultimately, I’m a miserable and sad girl going on nine months of this.

My neurologist brought up medicinal marijuana and I’m signed up for that although I haven’t received my card yet.  He thought I could use it anyway prior to all this leg stuff going on so it’s an opportune time to try it.

 

My Take on This

It’s funny how people seem to know that something is wrong with you, outside of the obvious MS thing.  Strangers will come up to me and ask me if I’m okay or if I need any help.  There must be something that I show on my face that I’m unaware of.

Most of the time, I feel that I give a good outward appearance of being pain free from the general population.  Those who are close to me, know.  They can tell.

My dearest friend made a comment about not knowing how I do it.  How I am able to make others around me happy while I am under this boulder sitting on top of me.  I said to her, “what is the point of making everyone around me feel sorry for me.  It’s the last thing I want or need.”

If I’m out, I want to be out and try and get some sort of quality living done.  Otherwise, it would probably be best if I stay at home.  I don’t want to live in the world of “me”.  I don’t want people around me worrying all the time.  I can’t imagine living my life in the world of “me” instead of the world at large.

I don’t want to draw people into my world.  It’s not a very pleasant place considering everything we all go through with having Multiple Sclerosis.  I know you understand this.  Instead, I want to educate people.  I want them to see that having a disabling disease is not the end of the world.  Life goes on, if you want it to.

It’s a choice we all have to make.  Do we draw away and become reclusive?  Or worst yet, do we embroil everyone around us into our life which is oftentimes miserable?  Why?  Why would we want to do that?

It’s not my personality.  I don’t feel I have angel wings although my friend thinks I do.  I don’t want to some day leave this world with people eulogizing me as the woman who suffered so much.  I want to be remembered as a decent human being who cared about others.

I throw up in here.  On my pages of written words I tell it all good and bad.  You witness my life as it truly is.

I will keep you abreast of what other decisions I make regarding my pain.  I’m glad this is all said and done.

What Is This Pain?

 

My apologies.  It has been far too long since I’ve last written to you.  Despite the agony and pain that I have been going through you, of all people, deserve the right to know what my progress is and what is happening.  This is, after all and in a way, a letter to you.  I had promised to keep you abreast on all that happens in my life as a person with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  Instead, I crawled into myself and lay there whimpering for weeks at a time.

You have a right to come down on the floor with me and whimper along.  You don’t have a right to try and pull me up.  My letters to you are filled with the detailed aspects of my life which can oftentimes be mortifying, humorous, or sad.  You know that I always try and find something positive about it all.  There are times, however; like these past few weeks, that I collapse on the floor and whimper.  I have earned that right and that is why I say, you don’t have the right to try and pull me up.

I need to lay there on the floor in a puddle and give in to the pain and sadness of a person with Multiple Sclerosis.   You do too.  I don’t write because I want to pull you up off the floor, but because I want you to know that I’m here.  What have I done instead?  Disappeared.

For this I offer you my sincerest apologies. I should have let you in on what is happening.

Let’s begin.  I believe you already know about the pain in my legs.  I have not taken at look at my previous posts.  I think it’s okay to refresh yours and my memory on it all.  You know how it is with us and memory.

About seven months ago I started to feel a pain mostly in my left leg.  It almost felt like a person who experiences a “Charley Horse” during the night.  If this happens, the following day you feel a very sore pain in the leg.  Take that pain and multiply it by ten and you have what I felt like.

I hobbled around and soon I started to feel that same pain in my right leg but to a lesser degree.  The pain began in my calves and then moved up to include my thighs.  After a month or so of this, I landed up going to emergency and nearly screaming at people to help put me out of my misery.  I was admitted on heavy doses of morphine.

What amazed me is how little general physicians know about MS!  In this day and age?!  Come on!

They pulled up a recent MRI that my neurologist ordered because he felt the lesions in my spine were wielding their swords of destruction on my already deteriorating spine due to age etc.  They didn’t see anything to exciting there on my lumbar spine but saw all sorts of problems in my cervical spine.  Lumbar being the lower back and cervical meaning the neck or upper back.

It was decided that I had lower back pains by the hospital neurologist and he ordered a heating pad, which they brought promptly.

I couldn’t believe it.  This neurologist, who had hearing problems, decided that I should consult with a spine surgeon about my neck and use a heating pad for the pain in my legs.  He also wanted me to consult with a pain management Doctor.

When I was released after a couple of days, I went to my computer and started reading about the symptoms that could arise from problems with neck.  In several articles I did read that cervical neck problems could lead to symptoms in the leg.  I was hopeful.

When I went to the surgeon, he asked me a few questions about symptoms in my hands or arms. I told him about the tingling I felt and that I couldn’t seem to hold onto anything.  Everything always fell to the floor.  However, I went on to explain to him the symptoms in my legs where there also was intense and painful tingling along with the excruciating pain.  He reiterated that the surgery in my neck would not take away the pain in my legs.  The hope that I carried with me in the office fell heavily to the floor.  I stared at it as he went on to explain that he would take out two discs and replace them with a tube.

I went into surgery wondering if I should be having this surgery.  I wasn’t feeling any pain in my neck except the annoying crunching sounds I would hear when I turned my neck. Still a nagging residual of hope remained that all the articles I read that said the neck could be related to the legs might possibly be true.  Perhaps the Doctor was wrong.

When I woke up in the recovery room, I moved my legs.  No pain!  I slept a lot in my room, but every time I woke up, I would jiggle my legs.  No pain!  No tingling!

The following day I was still without pain in my legs but now I had to deal with the pain of recovery for my neck.  I sat in my neck brace and excitedly told my husband that I had no pain after 24 hours of getting out of surgery.

When I woke up the second day, I felt a slight twinge in my leg now and then.  I ignored it thinking that perhaps it was some sort of residual pain.  I stayed in the hospital four days and was released home having to wear a neck brace for at least two weeks.

For the next couple of days at home, I still felt these occasional twinges of pain.  For the most part, I was ecstatic but worried.  My husband was happy.

I will continue this story on the next blog.

A Pain in the Neck

I’m back!  I’ve been back for a week or so shuffling my way around the house with a neck brace on.

It wasn’t a difficult surgery.  The pain from it is about what you would expect after having a surgery of any kind.  There is pain, but not something that some pain pills won’t put a dent into it.

What are the results thus far?

When I first got out of surgery that first day, I thought that….whoopee, my legs don’t feel pain!  They didn’t.  I couldn’t believe it.  Gradually, as the second day wore on, I began to feel pain in my legs.  I shrieked inside my head, I begged inside there but to no avail.  That stupid pain was on it’s way back and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Why did I not feel pain at first?  I don’t know.  I haven’t had my follow up visit with my doctor.

For a few days after my surgery, I felt the crawling onset of pain build up in my legs. It was progressively worse towards evening.

Although having surgery in my neck or cervical spine, my greatest concern was the pain in my legs and not in my neck. I was so hoping that I would be like the research I read prior to surgery where people had been helped with the pain in their legs
after having cervical surgery. That did not seem to be the case for me.

I sat in pain in both areas, legs and neck, and thought about my future days with Multiple Sclerosis. Was the pain in my legs neuropathy and would I have to incorporate living with that added pain in my life? MS was difficult enough to contend with as
it was. Why suffer the pain of a new neuropthy? What more lay ahead in living with this disease that I had not already encountered?

My husband came over to visit me on the third day. Everything he said irked me. I’m normally not this way but that day I could not contend with the mundane tidbits of everyday life at home that my husband told me thinking it would cheer me up. Why in
the world would telling me about home make me feel any better when what I wanted most was to go home, crawl into bed and cry?

You can’t blame him. He did not know about the screaming and yelling going on in my head, like a street fight brawl. He innocently sat there, made a comment, then get quiet waiting for some sort of response from me, as though I was delighted with what he told me. After repeated attempts at trying to cheer me up this way, he finally got the hint that this was not working.

Today, I’m a bit more cheerful despite the pain in both my legs and neck. Being home helps. Surrounding myself with the ability to do the things I know and love also helps. I haven’t done anything constructive but the tools are all available to me should I once again have the desire to think outside of myself.

 

My Take On This:
Being in this tunnel of negative thoughts is something I avoid at all cost. Sometimes it can’t be helped. I’m human and when in pain, even the best of us succumb to laying down in some dark corner of our minds and hearts, beating our hands and feet
like a child having a tantrum.

I believe I’m crawling out of there and will once again pursue the answers to my questions. What are they?

1. Is the pain in my legs a neuropathy? If so, what do I do about it?
2. Can this pain in my legs be resolved with the EMG test I spoke about in my earlier blog, where the nerves that are sending
these strong pain signals to my brain, be isolated and blocked?
3. Why did I initially feel an improvement and to be quite honest, there is still a bit of improvement?

In ending, my dear friends, this has been a struggle and continues to cause me some confusion. Spring is coming and I want to feel good for it, at least as well as I can feel despite having Multiple Sclerosis.

Back to the drawing board, literally. I feel like art work today. That’s a good sign