Pain Awareness Month

Since 2001, the ACPA declared the month of September as Pain Awareness Month. Considering pain is something I have lived with for many years, I thought it would be a good time to explain more in-depth what I go through daily and raise awareness for others suffering from it. Pain is something you can learn to deal with, but it does not mean that it gets any easier. For myself, the pain has become part of me, and I thought it was best to embrace it because it seems like it is never going to go away completely, and I do not think dwelling on things we do not have control over is a healthy way to live. Even though some days are worst than others and some parts of the days are more intense, I refuse to allow the pain to dictate my life. Throughout this post, I am going to explain the different types of pain there are the causes of these types of pain, and ways to discover relief.

Acute pain comes on suddenly due to something specific, such as surgery, broken bones, dental work, burns or cuts, labor, and childbirth. Typically, this pain lasts between 3 and 6 months. Acute pain tends to be a sharp, throbbing, burning, stabbing, tingling, weakness, and numbness pain.

There are several ways acute pain can be treated including resting the part of the body in pain, apply heat or cold to the area, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen, physical therapy, massage, and relaxation practices that can help with acute pain.

Chronic pain is continuous and long-standing pain that lingers past the typical recovery time or is accompanying by a chronic health condition. This pain normally lasts longer than six months, which sometimes may be on strongly, then off with no pain felt, or incessant. This pain can affect people to the point they are unable to work, eat properly, partake in physical activity, or enjoy life. The areas of pain can include the back, joints, mouth and face, muscles and bones, or neck. The pain might feel like pins and needles through the body.

Approximately, 25% of people suffering from chronic pain will go on to another condition, referred to as chronic pain syndrome (CPS). When people end up enduring CPS, their symptoms are more than just pain and may experience other issues, like depression and anxiety that interferes with their daily life. Treatments for chronic pain include nerve medications, acupuncture, stress management, and relaxation techniques, electrical stimulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and massages. Personally, with the pain I deal with daily, stress management would be very useful because stress only intensifies the pain.

Neuropathic pain is commonly felt as shooting, burning, stabbing, tingling, numbness, and the pins and needles sensation. The pain can be felt in the feet or hands and can extend into the legs and arms.

The common causes of this pain include nerve pressure or nerve damage after surgery or trauma, viral infections, cancer, vascular malformation, alcoholism, neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, and metabolic conditions like diabetes. The ultimate goals for treating neuropathic pain are to treat the underlying disease, provide pain relief, and improve the quality of life. There are some common medications used to help this pain that includes anti-seizure drugs such as Gabapentin, Pregabalin, Topiramate, Carbamazepine, and Lamotrigine. There are also topical treatments available such as lidocaine or capsaicin.

Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to body tissue. This can occur when there is something that caused harm to the body, such as chemicals, hot or cold temperatures, or physical force. Nociceptors can sense physical damage to the skin, muscles, bones, or connective tissues in the body. This type of pain can feel sharp, aching, or throbbing.

A few common causes of nociceptive pain include bruises, burns, cuts, fractures or broken bones, pain created by repetitive or muscle overuse, and joint damage. There are also several conditions that can cause this pain such as alcoholism, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and joint problems in the spine.

The treatments for this pain include physical therapy to assist in strengthening and stretching affecting the muscles and joints, over-the-counter medications (OTC) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, hot and cold therapy, and surgery.

RADICULAR PAIN AFTER CAR COLLISION

Radicular pain is a form of pain the radiates from the back and hip into the legs through the spin The leg pain can also include numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The pain that radiates down the back of the legs into the foot is known as radiculopathy or sciatica. The pain can be deep and consistent but might worsen with certain activities like sitting or walking.

There is various cause for spinal compression that can lead to radicular pain, which includes herniated disc, foraminal stenosis, diabetes, nerve foot injuries, and scar tissue from spinal surgery. Treating this pain involves treating the underlying condition or discovering the best-suited combination of pain management strategies. A few non-surgical treatments include physical therapy and epidural injections.

Pain is not easy to deal with and if you are experiencing pain, please know you are not alone. One in five Americans suffers from pain issues in the United States. Pain can be isolating and make us feel alone and misunderstood, but there is help for everyone. Of course, I have had Multiple Sclerosis for twenty years, but I have not experienced pain the entire 20 years. Yes, during the last fifteen years the pain has been increasing steadily, but I will never surrender to the pain, and I will defeat it someday.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and read this post. I hope this was helpful and gave you a sense of comfort because I can understand the pain and what I struggle it can be to handle. I wanted to let you know if you ever need someone to vent the pain to or need anything, I am here for you! I am only a message away and will respond to all as quickly as I can. Please remember that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Tranquil Tuesday

Many of us had yesterday off of work for the holiday, so we have a shorter week! I have said this before, but the shorter weeks always feel much longer than the normal 5 day workweek or at least I think they do. What do you think about the shorter weeks, do they feel shorter or longer to you? If you had a long weekend, did you enjoy the three days away from work? I did not do anything special and did not even sleep in, but I think that is because my brain is wired to wake up early everyday. It is rather annoying, but I guess it is what it is!

I was able to do a post yesterday, but it was not the same type I typically do and I hope if you were able to read it, you enjoyed it! We do have four days left of the week before we make it back to the weekend and I found a quote that I wanted to share with y’all. I hope you will be able to find the meaning within this quote and it provides you with a little additional happiness! Life can be challenging, but not everything is terrible. There is something in every experience we go through and often which I think our reactions are even more important than the experience. Of course, there are some very difficult things we go through in life, but if our reactions are always negative that does not say much about who we are, does it?

There are a few awareness in September that I am planning to write about, but over the weekend when I was planning to I had another one of my bad headaches. I keep wondering why I keep getting headaches and one thing that might be causing them is failure to stay hydrated especially with the awful heat. Most of the time I do well with staying hydrated, but if I get too side tracked with other things like work, I do not do nearly as well. Another issue I dealt with over the weekend was a severe lack of sleep, which I have no idea why. It was not like I had to get up early, I just could not sleep. I think everything is important to bring awareness to people, but two of them I know effect many people and need to be shared. Please stay tune and I will be doing these posts soon.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared today and the quote made you smile. This past weekend was a holiday weekend, but hopefully you were able to enjoy yourself and remained safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope y’all had a nice, relaxing, and safe weekend! I guess ready or not, a new week is in front of us. We all have the opportunity to stay focused, determined, and optimistic for good things to happen. I do understand that it is not always easy, but we should consider the new week a blessing because tomorrow is never a promise. I have been struggling to do the normal posts I have always done because of numerous things, but I am refusing to surrender to the challenges in life. Yes, saying goodbye to the weekend is hard, but it happens every week and things have to continue to improve.

As we embark on another new week, we need to continue trying our best to stay positive and motivated. It is my hope the quote I am sharing with y’all today will provide you the motivation needed to begin the week and hope with each day the week gets even better. We are all incredibly strong due to the obstacles we have faced and continue to face. The only thing that can stop us, is our inner critic. Lord knows that I am my own biggest critic and enemy because I am hard on myself. Even with that said, I am working on ending that vicious cycle!

Life is not easy and it takes strength, determination, and resilience. During the past 18 months, we have all faced distressing times that we never could have imagined. There is a song I heard many years ago that is so powerful and something that the world needs now more than ever. I am going to encourage all of you to listen to this song and please let me know what you think of it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AjkUyX0rVw&list=RD9AjkUyX0rVw&start_radio=1. The song is called “We Are The World” and it is being sung by several iconic singers of our time. I do remember this song being powerful when I was younger, but today it makes me cry tears of sadness, enlightenment, strength, and hope!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope y’all have a great and safe day. I know I say this in every post, but it is because I care about people and want everyone to be safe with COVID getting bad again. If you have not already gotten the vaccine, I want to urge you to do so. The vaccine is keeping everyone safe and preventing additional deaths. I understand vaccines can be scary, but the vaccine was not created by any government, but by scientists. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Admiration

Admiration is a strong and powerful word, but what does it mean? Admiration is an emotion that is felt when we witness an individual that is competent, talented, and or exceeds the typical standard. We may feel deep respect or show warm approval for that person. Admiring someone could cause us to envy or be jealous of what another can do, which may motivate us to try hard and assist with self-improvement.

What are a few qualities you admire in an individual and why? There are numerous qualities that I admire in an individual that help me to continuously try to be a stronger and better person. One quality I find admirable is determination. All too often it can be easy to get discouraged when it seems like something is impossible and we want to give up. When someone is filled with determination, they never give up and use those feelings to make what was thought to be impossible, possible. There have been times in my life when I felt discouraged because life threw too much my way all at once. However, even though I felt this negative way, I always try to keep pushing forward to accomplish what I desire most.

I find people that are resilient extremely admirable. I would say that determination and resilience go hand and hand to help us succeed in life! Those that are resilient can recover quickly from the challenges of life. There is no denying the fact that life can be difficult, and it takes a lot to make it through. However, I am sure we have all survived many challenges in our lives and we keep going!

I believe an important quality to have is integrity. A person with integrity is honest and has strong morals. We might not always agree with our friends and family, but we must all remain honest. It seems like many in the world have forgotten what their morals are or even what that means. Morals are an individual’s standards of behavior or beliefs that concern what is and is not acceptable for them to do. For instance, I am a strong believer in treating everyone with respect and have never judged a person on anything but their actions.

Another quality that I find admiration is when someone is empathetic towards others. We never know what another person is going through in life, and I think it is crucial to try to understand, even though it might not be something we have gone through personally. The person that is going through a difficult situation may just need someone to listen and not judge.

A quality that I wish more people had is the ability to believe in the importance of equality. It does not matter what the color of a person’s skin is, where they are from, what their religious beliefs are, who they love, or anything else because we are all human and deserve to be treated with respect. I do not think what is going on with racial discrimination is fair. Too many people feel like they need to hide who they love because the other person is of the same sex. I believe that if people are loving and not hating, I do not see why it matters at all. During Pride month there was a very disturbing situation that occurred on a lake. One boat had a Pride flag flying not causing any troubles, while another boat began harassing them. The boat that was harassing them ended up catching on fire, which I think what karma all is about. The crazy thing is the boat that was being harassed saved their harassers by helping them get to safety. I was impressed that the boat with the Pride flag flying and being harassed saved the ignorant people because I do not think I would have.

Is there a certain person that you have a lot of admiration for? If so, who is this person and why do you admire them? Even though a certain person I have a lot of admiration for is no longer with us, I still have deep admiration for my late Grandfather. All the qualities I listed admiring, he had and then some. My Grandfather had a heart of gold and he will be forever missed by everyone that was honored to have known and loved him.

I am simply curious what would you have done if you saw the boat with the Pride flag flying and another boat harassing them, but then end up catching on fire. Would you have helped the boat with the ignorant people harassing the other boat? If you would have helped them, why would you have helped? If you would not help them, what would your reasons be?

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as soon as I can. I hope you are enjoying your weekend safely and you can relax for the last few hours of our weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Ways To Cope With Stress

~Happy Friday Y’all~

Unfortunately, I was not able to do as much as I would have liked to have done about stress awareness month because of my tooth issues, but I am going to try not to stress about it. Stress is honestly an issue that plagues my life, but I am trying to get better with it. Logically, I do completely understand that stress causes more harm than it does good, but I have always been a worrier. We have all heard that old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I am trying to teach my brain to stop!

Chronic stress creates a great deal of physical damage. Stress is also known to accelerate the aging process, raise blood pressure, and the risk of a stroke. This is not to increase your stress, but to bring this issue to a brighter light that cannot be ignored. The good news is there are ways we can train our brain to cope and handle stress better we are faced with it. I hope you will find the following three tips helpful with dealing with stress.

Savor the moment:

Our brain is influenced and absorbs negative experiences far more than positive experiences. With that said, we need to find ways to extend our positive experiences. A few ways you can savor the moment are to take a few extra minutes to enjoy your favorite meal or the snack you love but try avoiding it because of those extra calories. In time we will learn to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, instead of dwelling or focusing on our thoughts and or worries.

Reevaluate your thoughts-

One successful way to combat negative thoughts that arise from an unpleasant experience is to knowingly challenge them by considering alternative causes for the event that occurred. Consider one particular and troubling issue that has been stressing you lately. Instead of dwelling on this issue, reevaluate it by determining a few ways it could benefit you in some way. Maybe this issue has the potential of making you stronger and wiser.

Get out into nature-

Science has shown proof that getting out into nature reduces stress and helps people feel more energetic. This does not mean you need to go find the closest national forest to gain the benefits but could be just adding some “green” time to your day. Maybe get up a little earlier to take a short walk or meditate, or you could take your lunch outside.

I hope you found this information helpful, and it assists in reduces your stress. If you are anything like me, I have lived with stress for almost 40 years and I know it is causing severe issues to my body and health. The only thing stress does for us is create many more problems, which will, in turn, cause additional stress. This will be my last post talking about stress, so I am looking forward to reading your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as I can! This picture is one I printed out so I can see it daily and it makes me laugh! It is the simple things in life!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you had a great week, and you have a lovely, and safe weekend! Whatever you decide to do this weekend please do all you can to stay safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Random acts of violence

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear about violence taking place in the United States. Anytime we turn on the TV there is at least one, if not more awful things happening. We are constantly hearing about mass shootings, cops killing unarmed people (most often black men), or other acts of violence where innocent people are dying Some people have become desensitized to the various amount of hate-filled violence that occurs, which these acts cause others vast levels of distress and despair.

When you combine isolation due to COVID and feelings of despair from the violence taking place, the emotional impact can be extremely intense. Of course, working from home is great, but I do feel very isolated and like I am on house arrest a lot. Situations like what happened with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others murdered by those that are “supposed” to protect and serve, the police cause me to feel anxious and angry and I am not an angry person. The case against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis had me on edge. When I watched the verdict being read it did give me a glimmer of hope, but there is still a lot that needs to be done.

The recent and senseless mass shootings that have occurred in the United States are heart-wrenching. The one on March 16, in Atlanta GA at 3 spas left 8 people dead, 6 of which were women of Asian descent. It has been stated this murder rampage was due to anti-Asian racism, which does not make any sense to me. These women were innocent and simply doing their job to take care of their families. Atlanta, GA is only about two and a half hours from where I live, but these acts can happen anywhere because the levels of hate and racist behavior are exceedingly high. I do not understand why some many Americans have any issue with people of Asian descent because these people are NOT doing anything wrong or causing any harm to anyone else.

Only six days later, on March 22 in Boulder, CO another gunman went on a shooting rampage at a supermarket. This incident left 10 innocent people who were at a grocery store picking up items needed dead. People that knew this 21-year-old gunman said he was prone to anger problems and his arrest record showed where he assaulted a classmate in 2017. It was obvious this person had issues, so why was something not done to help him?

Less than a month later on April 15 in Indianapolis, IN at a FedEx facility a gunman started shooting people in the parking lot before he continued his shooting spree inside the building. This mass shooting left 8 innocent people dead before the gunman turned the gun onto himself. Not to sound insensitive, but if the end result was taking his own life, why did he not just do that in the beginning and leave the innocent people he killed alive?

There are no motives to make sense of these tragic deaths or to make it easier for the 26 families that lost a loved one. Even though there is not anything we can do for those affected by these events, there are ways we can help ourselves to cope better.

We have all been dealing with the pandemic for over a year now, often fearing for our safety, as well as for those we love because this virus is deadly. Then adding mass amounts of violence can shake communities to their foundations. Whether you live in the United States or another country, how do these situations make you feel? Some of us may feel like we are in danger if we just go to the grocery store or other normal activities outside the home. Other common reactions may include numbness and shock, difficulty making decisions, anger, inability to turn off the images seen on the news, tension, anxiety, loss of appetite, headaches, disturbed sleep and bad dreams, and or worry about future mass violence events.

Just knowing about these traumatic situations can be emotionally draining and cause you to feel unstable with typical life challenges. Issues with work, ongoing issues with the pandemic, financial struggles, or just staying on top of our daily activities can feel overwhelming and stressful. Try being kinder, patient, and more understanding with yourself because you are not alone.

Urgent do not forget to take care of yourself. Everyone reacts to these situations differently. It does not matter if an act of violence occurred where you live or on the other side of the world because our mind and body can react as if it were much closer. The following eight tips are ways we can practice self-care.

1. Safeguard your body’s needs by focusing on eating healthy, get proper amounts of sleep, and spending time outdoors.

2. Stay active in ways you are comfortable with. There is no need to push yourself too far and causing any extra stress on your body.

3. Embrace relaxation exercises such as meditation and relaxing breathing techniques.

4. Maintain a consistent bedtime routine to help you relax at night.

5. Collect information regarding the available mental health services and support.

6. Avoid using alcohol and drugs to help you cope.

7. Take the necessary breaks from watching the news on TV and or social media.

8. Give your attention to things you enjoy such as listening to music, walking, writing, other types of arts and crafts.

I know this post was not very uplifting or positive, but these are real issues the world is facing, and they are upsetting me tremendously. I do not like being negative or angry but wanted to bring these issues to everyone’s attention. This was not to upset anyone or ruin your day, so please forgive me.

I want to thank you for visiting my site today and reading this post. I hope you are having a good week and continuing to stay safe! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Triggers and Ways To Avoid Them

Multiple Sclerosis can be a challenging illness to live with, but there are often ways to manage the difficulties. Many things can trigger symptoms, but there are also ways to avoid many of these triggers. It takes time to understand what exactly triggers your symptoms and then to discover the best way to avoid them. Just like each person experiences MS differently, each person will have different triggers and ways to combat those triggers. Of course, please remember that I am not a doctor or medical professional, I am just another person living with MS, and have researched the topic. Today, I am going to share 10 triggers and ways to avoid these triggers.

1. Stress: We all experience stress in our life but having a chronic condition like Multiple Sclerosis can create an entirely new source of stress. Other types of stress can be a result of work, personal relationships, or financial struggles. Too much stress for anyone can cause difficult times, but too much stress for someone with MS can contribute to the worsening of symptoms.

Ways to avoid stress might include finding a relaxing, stress-reducing activity that takes your mind off stress. This activity is anything you find enjoyable because this is for YOU and YOUR health. A few things that may appeal to you are yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. These practices can help you to relax and obliterate risks for causing symptoms to worsen.

2. Heat: Any form of heat whether it be from the sun, sauna or, a hot tub can be too extreme for people with Multiple Sclerosis. This can often time lead to an exacerbation of symptoms. From my own experience, heat is the enemy which is difficult because I love the beach. I think my saving grace at the beach is the ocean breeze!

It is not always easy to avoid the heat, especially where I live in the south. The best way to avoid this is to keep your house cool and purchase extra fans. Also, on days when there is extreme heat avoid direct sunlight, wear light loose clothing, and stay in the shade as much as possible. Steer clear of saunas, hot tubs, and those hot yoga studios.

3. Childbirth: Many women with MS experience a relapse after giving birth. As a matter of fact, 20-40% of women endure a relapse in the period of time after giving birth. Thankfully, my husband and I do not have children, so I have not experienced this issue. Of course, no one can prevent a relapse after childbirth, but this would be a time to take some steps to reduce how severe the impact is. During the immediate days after childbirth, lean on family and friends to assist with your new bundle of joy so you may get rest and take care of yourself. This can help your body recover more effectively.

4. Becoming Sick: Certain types of infection can cause a relapse and MS can create certain types of other infections. Infection such as the flu or even something as simple as the common cold may cause MS symptoms to worsen.

Avoiding sickness can be challenging, especially with COVID spreading like wildfire. Even with the numerous challenges involved with avoiding getting sick, living a healthy lifestyle can help with preventing infections and other illnesses. It is also helpful to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day and distance yourself from anyone that is sick, especially if you are experiencing a relapse.

5. Some Vaccines: While most vaccines are safe and recommended for those with Multiple Sclerosis, certain vaccines contain live pathogens, which can create the risk of exacerbating symptoms. If you are experiencing a relapse or taking certain medications, consult with your neurologist before getting any vaccines because it might be in your best interest to postpone the vaccine. Your doctor will know the best way to handle this and will advise you regarding vaccines.

I will be completely honest with y’all with the medication I take for MS, Gilenya, I was advised years ago to not get vaccines. Of course, that was 20 years ago and so many changes with medications with additional research. I had always been leery of getting anything and it was not due to the needles, I just feared for negative interactions. However, my current neurologist told me things with the Gilenya had changed over the years and the only vaccines that were not safe were the ones that were live vaccines, and I was able to get the COVID vaccine and I can get the flu vaccine if I decide I want it. My neurologist did highly recommend I get the flu vaccine, but I am not in any rush to do this!

6. Vitamin D Deficiency: At least one study discovered that people with lower vitamin D levels have an increased risk of relapse than someone with adequate vitamin D levels. It has been suggested that Vitamin D can protect against developing MS, but even more research that revealed Vitamin D affects the disease as it is needed.

The best way to prevent the issue of Vitamin D deficiency is to make sure your doctor regularly checking your Vitamin D levels. There are supplements available, some foods have high amounts of Vitamin D, and safe sun exposure can help increase and maintain your levels. However, while supplements may seem safe and legit, it is best to discuss any supplements with your doctor before beginning them to ensure there are not any negative interactions and they will provide suitable results.

7. Inadequate Amount of Sleep: Sleep has an important role in our overall health. The body utilizes sleep to repair the brain and restore other areas that have been damaged. When we do not get sufficient sleep, our body does not get the necessary time to rest and rejuvenate. Too much fatigue can trigger symptoms and/or make symptoms worsen. With muscle spasms, pain, and tingling, MS can make sleep rather troublesome.

Considering how vital sleep is for our health, it is crucial to discuss sleep issues with your doctor. Bring the issue to your doctor’s attention can help determine if any other conditions causing the sleep struggles.

8. Poor Diet: A well-balanced and healthy diet, along with regular exercise can be beneficial for avoiding relapses and/or reduces Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. A diet considering of processed foods will not supply your body with the nutrition that is required.

To avoid developing a poor diet habit, working with a dietitian to discover the best healthy eating plan you can carry on with could be extremely helpful. Although, research is not clear as to the best diet is for people with MS, eating healthy foods can have a positive impact on everyone’s health. Concentrate on good sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates is one of the best ideas.

9. Certain Medications & Stopping Medications Too Soon: The truth is some medications that can make symptoms worse. Your neurologist will need to monitor all medications you are taking to ensure there are no interactions that can trigger symptoms to worsen. Even though some medications can have negative side effects, this does not mean you should stop any abruptly. You should always consult with your neurologist before starting or stopping all medications as to not increase your risk of a relapse.

The 10th Trigger Can Be Pushing Yourself Too Far & Too Hard: As already stated, fatigue is a common symptom for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. With that said, if you have MS and continuously push yourself to go with too little sleep and/or overwork yourself physically and/or emotionally, you might face ramifications. The combination of overexertion and fatigue can trigger a relapse or make a relapse last longer.

The best way to avoid a relapse due to pushing yourself too hard is, be easier on yourself or at least listen to the cues your body is telling you. Start slowing down when you become tired. Rest as much as possible when you can. Understand that pushing yourself to exhaustion, the recovery will take that much longer. It is important to know that our body does know when it has had enough and when it needs to rest and take a break!

I hope the information provided in this post will be beneficial whether you have MS or another chronic condition. Living with any chronic condition can be complex and I am only way too familiar with Multiple Sclerosis, and with March being Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, I wanted to be able to share as much useful information as I could.

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you have a nice and safe weekend! I am looking forward to reading your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as I possibly can! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

9 Multiple Sclerosis Facts

In previous posts, I have explained that Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune and neurologist illness. What this means is MS affects the nerves, but also the body’s defenses to fight disease fails and begins to attack the cells. The immune system attacks the body’s myelin when you have MS. Myelin is a protective substance covering the nerves, so when this happens it leaves the nerves unprotected. The nerves being unprotected makes them vulnerable to damage, which causes them to not function as they would if there was healthy myelin. The damaged nerves create a wide range of symptoms that vary in seriousness.

A few additional facts regarding MS to understand are:

1.Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic condition, which means it is a lifelong condition and it does not currently have a cure. It is important to understand that even though there is not a cure, it is not fatal. There are 2.3 million people worldwide living with MS and they all have the standard life expectancy. It is only in rare cases there might be complications severe enough to shorten the life of a person. Overall, with MS most symptoms can be regulated with medication, adjustment to lifestyle, or both.

2. Multiple Sclerosis affects younger adults, and often women. Although MS can be diagnosed in children and older adults, people are mainly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Women are two to three times more likely to develop MS than men. If the person is diagnosed is over the age of 50, this is normally called late-onset MS. It can be challenging for older adults to find a diagnosis of MS due to other age-related conditions having similar symptoms.

3. Multiple Sclerosis can be arduous to diagnose. Often symptoms and single tests are not enough to be able to make an accurate MS diagnosis. The challenges are due to the symptoms mirroring the symptoms of other conditions. Numerous tests that can be used to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms a person is experiencing, which include:

A. Blood tests to rule out Lyme disease, which can trigger the same symptoms of MS.

B Neurologist Exam

C. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

D. Visual evoked potential (VEP) test, which looks for impaired transmission present along the optic nerve pathways.

E. Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis is a way to look for conditions affecting the brain and spine. The CSF analysis is a series of laboratory tests performed on a sample of the CSF, which is a clear fluid that cushions and delivers nutrients to the CNS.

F. Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

4. The symptoms involved with Multiple Sclerosis vary and the list is long. The truth is, there is no such thing as typical symptoms because everyone that lives with this illness experiences it differently. Some symptoms may simply come and go, or some may regain a lost function, such as bladder control. A few possible symptoms include numbness and tingling, vision problems, balance and mobility issues, and slurred speech. The unforeseeable pattern of symptoms is due to whatever nerves are being attacked by the immune system at any given time. Most things are just unpredictable, and we must deal with the issues as they come up.

5. Multiple Sclerosis is comprised of relapses and remissions. Remission is the period of time when the symptoms have improved. Remission does not indicate the MS is gone, but these periods may last days, weeks, months, or in some cases years. Relapse or exacerbation is the incidence of a new symptom or worsening of an old symptom. This occurrence can be mild or severe enough to interfere with the ability to function. No two exacerbations are the same, so it is important to consult with your neurologist when you deal with one.

6. There is a cognitive part to Multiple Sclerosis. All the damage MS causes to the nerves can also impact critical thinking and other cognitive (mental) skills. It is not unheard of or abnormal for people with MS to have issues with memory and or finding the right words to convey what they are thinking. A few other cognitive effects may include:

*An inability to concentrate or pay attention

*Decreased problem-solving skills

*Difficulty with spatial relations, which means the ability to perceive two or more objects positioned in space relative to oneself and in relation to each other.

*It is normal for cognitive problems to create frustration, depression, and/or anger, but these are issues your doctor can help monitor and manage.

7. Multiple Sclerosis has been labeled as an “invisible illness” or “silent disease”, which makes sense because at face value people with MS look no different than those without MS. Symptoms such as blurred vision, sensory problems, and chronic pain cannot be seen by anyone else. However, some people that do require special accommodations, even though they do not have mobility issues and appear to be fine. One reason why MS has been labeled a “silent disease” is that even during remission, the disease is still, unfortunately, progressing, which has been referred to as “silent progression” of MS.

8. Staying cool whenever possible is greatly beneficial. Heat intolerance is another common issue that can cause an exacerbation of symptoms. People with MS may experience an increase of symptoms from hot weather or sun exposure, fever or illness, hot baths, or showers, and overheating from exercise.

It might be helpful to use fans and air conditioning, cool drinks, and/or icy compresses to stay cool. Wearing layers of lightweight clothing that is easy to remove may serve as a benefit as well. Also, utilizing a cooling vest that can be purchased online. Although people might experience a heat-related relapse, it is important to understand that heat does not cause MS to progress any faster.

9. Vitamin D plays a vital role in Multiple Sclerosis. Research has indicated a link between Vitamin D and MS, which showed the nutrient can function as a protector against MS and possibly lead to fewer relapses. Sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D in the body, but that sun exposure can also lead to heat-induced symptoms. There are plenty of ways to increase Vitamin D without sun exposure which include fortified milk, orange juice, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and eggs or there are also Vitamin D supplements available.

I hope you found this information useful for yourself or someone you know. Please just keep in mind that I am not a doctor or medical professional, I am just someone that has lived with MS for over 20 years. I have experienced most of what is in this post, but that one thing I did not do when I was diagnosed was have the CSF Analysis. I have heard it is not pleasant, but people do live through it. There are still a few days left in the month of March and I do plan on doing a few more posts for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness. I do feel like there is a lot of information available and it needs to be shared with as many people as possible!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I always appreciate your continued support and truly love reading your comments. I hope you are having a good week and you are staying safe because COVID is still a threat. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Helpful terms to know

~Terms to know when living with Multiple Sclerosis~

Whether you are newly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or you have been living with MS for many years, you already know it is hard enough living with MS. Then adding learning and remembering an entirely new vocabulary makes things even more challenging, and confusing. I know there are times I still get a little flustered when talking to my neurologist or try explaining to someone the way I am feeling. I am going to share some useful terms to try to help make things somewhat easier to understand. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or medical professional, just a person that has lived with MS for more than twenty years.

Fatigue is one term we are probably all too aware of. This is one of the most common and important symptoms relating to MS. It has been suggested by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, that this affects about 80% of all people living with MS.

Vision problems tend to be the first sign of MS for many people. This was the way the doctors discovered that I had MS. I think I have told y’all before, I had gone to the eye doctor thinking I was going blind in one eye, but the doctor said as gently as he could that he thought I had MS. I was terrified and only 19 years old, so I was still a child with a naïve mind. Inflammation of the optic nerves is knowns as optic neuritis. This can cause several problems, such as blurred vision, eye pain, and/or blind spots.

Brain fog is not a medical condition, but a term that is used to explain certain symptoms affecting the ability to think. Brain fog can make thoughts seem cloudy and you are not able to think clearly. This might cause you to feel confused, disorganized, and/or find it difficult to focus or put thoughts into words. This is also sometimes referred to as MS brain, cog fog, or cotton brain.

Slurred speech is often due to the loss of coordination of the tongue, lip, cheek, and mouth muscles. This loss of coordination may also result in trouble swallowing.

Loopy, which can be best described as feeling tired and/or almost like you are drunk.

Jelly leg, which may be referred to as jell0o legs or noodle legs. When experiencing jelly legs, you are legs will not work correctly.

Hallway pinball is when your walk is weaving from side to side. With MS, your legs may sometimes feel wobbling, weak, and tired. You might lose some control of your legs and when walking down a hallway, forcing you to bounce back and forth from side to side like something you would see on a pinball machine, hence the name.  

Wooden leg or legs is a phrase that is used to describe the stiffness in the legs.

Foot drop is a term used to explain weak muscles that make it difficult to lift the front part of your foot or feet as you walk.

One major symptom of MS is chronic or acute pain. Shooting pains are typically acute, which means they come on suddenly, intensely, and then disappear. Pain is something I have battled with for the past 20 years and it does not get easier with each year that passes. However, I will not allow the pain that my life is plagued with bring me down and will always try to continue pushing through it, no matter how awful it gets. Truthfully, the pain does get worse when it rains or I am stressed. Lhermitte’s sign is a type of shooting pain. This is a sudden sensation that mirrors an electric shock passing down the back and into the spine and might radiate out into your arms and legs. This is usually triggered by bending your head forward towards your chest.

MS hug is a type of hug I never want. This term describes a constricting pressure surrounding the chest or waist area. It feels like there is a snake around you and just continues to squeeze or at least that is how it feels to me. The pain involved with the MS hug can range anywhere from mildly annoying to extremely annoying and tends to come along with a burning sensation. An MS hug is caused by spasms of the muscles between the ribs.

Spasticity, also referred to as spazzy. This is a common symptom of MS and can occur in any area of the body, but most commonly is in the legs. With this, the muscles might feel simply tight or can be extremely painful. There are two types of spasticity:

1. Flexor affects the back of the leg and upper thigh.

2. Extensor which affects the front of the upper thigh and inside of the upper leg.

Twitchy means you are experiencing twitching from spasticity.

Considering MS affects the central nervous system, the pins and needles sensation is common and most often felt in the limbs. This has been something I have dealt with for years and it is not easy to deal with. Even though I am on a high amount of Gabapentin, I do still feel this every day of my life.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found this information helpful or at least made things a little clearer. Believe me when I say, I understand how hard it is to remember every term used in the medical field and I have learned more by sharing this information with y’all. I think we can all continue to learn more, and we can help one another with this learning curve. I would love to read your comments on this post, and I will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

~Let Us Begin This Week With All Positive Thoughts~

Happy Monday y’all! I hope you had a nice, relaxing, and safe weekend, and you are ready to begin this new week. My weekend was uneventful which is a great way to spend the weekend or at least it is for me. The only bad part of the weekend was I could hardly sleep but 2 hours on Friday night, so Saturday I was exhausted. The crazier thing was, there was no reason for me not to sleep Friday night. Normally, when I have sleepless nights I am worried about something or stressed and I do not think I was, at least not consciously.

As our week begins and the weekend has ended I always feel we might need a little motivation to get us started in the best way possible. I try to share quotes that I enjoy, but do hope the one I am sharing today will serve you with the motivation and inspiration you need. Most of us think of Jim Carey as a comedian, but he can be insightful like this quote indicates. Of course, I hope your week begins well and continues to improve with each day that passes. I am looking forward to reading your comments and promise to respond as quickly as I can, which will probably be when I am out of work.

As y’all know March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and I am planning to do a few more posts about MS. I have my virtual appointment with my neurologist tomorrow afternoon and I am hoping we will be discussing the MRI I had several weeks ago. In the past, I was always nervous about hearing the results, but I did read the report and it looked to me as a good report with no terrible changes. I guess I will hear what the neurologist says and I will keep y’all informed.

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you have a great and safe day will very little unnecessary stress. I have learned over the years that most things I stress over are not as important as I think they are and should just let go of these things. I cannot say I always let go of things, but I am trying. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa