What is a MS Exacerbation?

open your eyesI hope y’all had a good Monday! I just want to take a moment to explain what it means when a MS patient says they are having an exacerbation, also known as a flare up. An exacerbation is caused by inflammation in the central nervous system. This inflammation can cause damages to the myelin, which slows or disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses.

Over my 16 years of dealing with MS, I have had a several flare ups that have lasted anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Some of these have definitely been worse than others, whereas some have been very mild. My experiences with symptoms have been: loss of vision in one eye, numbness and or tingling in my legs, feet and or hands, horrible pains throughout my body, dizziness and stumbling at times when I try to walk. Yes, all these issues can be frustrating and terrifying, but they are normally not permanent. 

When a MS patient explains to their doctor what they are dealing with, the doctor may schedule a MRI to see if there is any new and or active lesions. Once the results are read, if there are new and or active lesions, in my experience, the doctor will typically order steroids, either oral or by infusion. Steroids are meant to decrease the inflammation that the patient is experiencing, therefore speeding the duration of the flare up. Now, for me steroids may help my inflammation but they also cause me to feel irritable and loss of appetite, which is not what most experience.

After the doctor reviewed my most recent MRI, that was on Saturday, unfortunately, I am having a flare up right now. Even though I did expect this, it is still hard to hear those words. It sounds crazy to be disappointed when you are right about something, but I really am and realized that sometimes, I really hate being right. I had just about what doesnt kill youconvinced myself that my back was hurting because I have been sitting too long, trying rest and that my legs were feeling like they do, because of a limited amount of activity, but was declared wrong today. I do have an appointment with the Neurologist tomorrow to discuss my results in more detail, and to discuss a treatment plan. My husband is going to be coming with me so he can be there not only to hear first hand what the doctor says, but also because I will need moral support. Yes, this appointment is with the doctor that on Friday did not have any appointments available until December. Considering she has created an appointment with me, scares me into thinking this is more serious than I am thinking, but we will see. 

I hope you have a great evening and thank you for reading my post! I hope this was informational and I will continue to give more information about what I am dealing with through this week! Please feel free to leave comments and I will respond as quickly as I can, I do enjoy the communications!

Love 2

 

Always, Alyssa

 

 

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59 thoughts on “What is a MS Exacerbation?

    • Thank you so much! I am just a little scared because it sounds like I have numerous new or active lesions. I know the doctor will say steroids, but I really hate them! But, right now I am willing to do them because I am tired of this pain! Thank you so much for your sweet comment!!!!

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    • Thank you so much! After my appointment that came available magically, I am thinking, thins will get better. I will be upset during the appointment, but my husband says he will come with me and afterwards, I want to get manicure and a pedicure! I think I deserve it after all I have been through! I hope you are doing well!! Have fantastic evening!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good morning dear Alyssa. Don’t miss my blog titled “Arnica” that comes up tomorrow morning as your joint and muscular pain can certainly get relief from this natural medicine. I like your quote today but you should identify the source: Friedriech Nietzche. Un baccione.
    Arrivederci!

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  2. Bon giorno cara amica. On Sunday at dawn I came back from a rather exhausting road trip to Tampa on Friday for a confetence with a terrible hemicrania-torticolis of the right side of my head. The combination of bed rest, local massage with Arnica and ingestion of Ibuprofen and Tylenol finally healed me.
    Un altro baccione. Ti rincrociamo!

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  3. Alyssa
    I reblogged this post to Survivors Blog Here! Under you name, Fight MS Daily you will see the post show under your name. I will em directions on how to reblog, but don’t want you to worry about while your busy with doctors apps.
    🙂
    I’ll write an announcement about you joining the team.
    Take care.
    It’s always good to take spouse/caregiver to hear what is needed from the doctor.
    Have a great day.
    M

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    • Thank you so much! I did go to the doctor today and the news was kind of what I expected, but upset me at the same time. I have numerous new lesions and the medicine I decided to change to about 2 months ago is not strong enough, so I have to switch again. And now because of the flare up, I have to do steroids and be out of work for one week. I will be working on a blog about this, but I need a moment to rest and process it all. The post I am going to work on, might be something good for me to reblog. Thank you so much for all of your help!

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  4. My neurologist uses different terminology! I’m curious to know if your neurologist thinks there’s a difference as well. When there is new spinal cord scarring shown by MRI my neurologist refers to it as a “relapse”. And when I am experiencing symptoms related to an old lesion he calls it an “exacerbation”. The difference is that a relapse is a new lesion being created, and is linked to new inflammation. An exacerbation may be caused when a pre-existing lesion is acting up due to heat, stress, etc, but not due to inflammation (for example when my vision in my optic neuritis eye gets slightly blurry when I’m in the heat for a few hours). And I know people will probably think that my neurologist isn’t as informed because I’m from Canada, but Canada does have the highest rate of MS in the world, and we have a lot of kick ass doctors working in neurology because of that hahaha.

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    • My doctor may not be as smart as yours because I don’t think she knows the difference. All my doctors never reference to them as different. Does Canada really have a lot of MS patients? My symptoms right now are similar to old issues but are worse. But apparently there are a lot new and very active lesions on the brain and spine

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      • Yeah if there are new lesions, then my neurologist would consider it a relapse too. But yeah there’s loads! Pretty much the further north you go, the higher the incidence of MS. Myself, my mom, my aunt, and my great aunt all have (or had) MS in my family. And then my brother’s girlfriend’s sister in law has it too! Pretty much everyone in Canada knows at least one person with MS.

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      • WOW, I had no idea it was that common up there. Y’all really do have good doctors? Honestly, my husband has been wanting to move to Canada. I didn’t know if he had a good idea or just wanted to live somewhere that was as hot as it is the southern states.

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      • Yeah great doctors!!! However I will warn you, you will wait longer to get MRI’s done. But yeah my neurologist is seriously the greatest. And he doesn’t hand out steroids like candy, in fact he’s quite hesitant to do so because of the nasty side effects. I actually have an entire healthcare team consisting of two RN’s, my neurologist and an occupational therapist and they’re all amazing.

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      • That is amazing! Way better than what happens here!!! What does your neurologist do if you have a flare up or relapse? Do you have to wait for a doctors appointment?

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      • Not long! I just call one of my nurses and they can usually get me in within a couple days, I wait one week max. It might be longer in bigger cities, but my clinic can get me in at the drop of a hat if I need it.

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      • That is great to know! You know everyone here always talks like they know Canada, when they probably have never been? ! Maybe my husband has a good idea, but let’s not tell him he had a good idea:)

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      • Yeah especially in the south… my aunt and uncle live in Oklahoma and no offence but some people down there think we’re the worst and our healthcare system is just horrible and so unorganized. But I think it’s great haha. And that’s from the perspective of a patient and an RN. We’re not perfect by any means but who is right? Haha

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      • I love everything you have said . People down here are followers and seem to believe what they are told to. I am so the opposite. I don’t believe what others say, especially politicians and the media! What part of Canada are you in?

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  5. I hope everything went well today. Flare-ups are not fun at all. My mom would go into ‘remission’ quite frequently and everything would be fine for a few months. There was even a period of a couple YEARS. Then it was like a switch in her brain got stuck at the on position and it just became one thing after another. I pray those days are far, far away for you. ((hugs))

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