Tips for prioritizing your needs

Once we learn our fate with the news of a chronic health condition diagnosis, we may feel overwhelmed with emotions. There is a process of facing enormous lifestyle changes we must make and what seems like a never-ending amount of medical information to consume. Unfortunately, any new diagnosis can fill you with a tremendous level of uncertainty and may make you feel less confident in your ability to acknowledge and react to what your body needs. This can still be complicated after living with a chronic condition for years.

When living with a chronic condition, it can feel like your relationship with your body has been interrupted, and it can take time to relearn ways to listen and react to your body’s signals. It is crucial to keep in my, that self-care is a skill that requires continuous practice. This could be something as simple as practicing treating yourself with kindness, without feeling guilty. It can also mean practicing asking others for assistance when you realize there is too much on your already full plate.

When living with a chronic condition it is important to understand, that we must focus on our needs and realize it is NOT selfish. When you are inclined to take care of others, this can be difficult to do, but it is a necessity. We may already know whatever condition we must endure may not have a cure and understand it is something we will face every day for the rest of our lives. The following tips are ways we can learn to prioritize our needs while living with a chronic health condition:

1. Maintain boundaries to decrease stress. Honestly, work and finances are the main stresses in life, but I also stress about the well-being of the people I care about. A few things I have started doing to reduce stress are, I am not working overtime or allowing anyone at work or anywhere else to cause me unnecessary stress. Working overtime is great for extra money, but I decided my mental health is more important than a few extra dollars😊!

2. Accept and respect your limitations. I tend to feel guilty if I am unable to do something for someone else and force another to do what I would typically take care of. It almost feels impossible to accept when I am unable to do everything. Although I have lived with Multiple Sclerosis for well over twenty years, I am still learning to accept my limitations and not push myself too hard and overdo it. Sometimes I think I need to retrain my brain and know I need to take each day, one at a time.

Truthfully, some people will be understanding and respectful of our limitations, but you will always come across those that will not be understanding. Never allow those that will not understand to push you past your limitations and be inspired and appreciative by those that are😊! No other person can determine what is best for you because YOU are the only one who truly knows!

3. Ignore any and all judgments from others. People are always going to be quick to pass judgment, but they seldom knowledge of what they speak. I have always said, “Most people say a lot, without saying a thing!” Sadly, judgments even when coming from ignorance, can still be extremely hurtful. Living with a chronic condition is challenging enough without negativity from others that cannot comprehend the difficulties involved.

4. Never forget that making your needs a priority is being logical and not selfish. I tend to believe that by making my needs important, I am being selfish because I always put everyone else’s needs more important than anything else, including my own. Please do not think the way I do in this regard because it is not the best way.

I am sure there are several other things we can do to make our health issues. If you know of anything else, I would be very interested in learning about it because all tips will be helpful to everyone. Life with a chronic health condition is difficult, but it is not the end of the world, and it could always be worst.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope what I have shared has been beneficial to you and it helps you deal with chronic illness in a better way. I look forward to reading your comments and any other advice that helps you. I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending you LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Thought Filled Sunday

It is a gloomy, but peaceful Sunday. I am not sure why, but I feel chilly and still feel drained from last week. Of course, weekends are “supposed” to be a time to recuperate and prepare for the week ahead, which I tried doing. Unfortunately, I still failed to catch up on the sleep loss from last week. I guess once we are sleep deprived and have missed out on many hours of sleep, we cannot ever get those hours back and we are forced to keep going, no matter how exhausted we feel. I know the end of the weekend is near and another long week is getting closer, but there is still time left for our weekend.

I am going to continue to try doing at least one post each day this week and hope to be successful in doing so. There are a couple of topics I am working on right now and hope to have at least one completed today. One crucial thing I will be sharing information about is the importance of mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I feel this is critical to try to understand this complicated topic. At this time, I only can speak to the fact that the United States has failed miserably in providing care for individuals suffering from mental health issues.

Another topic I will be writing about is the differences between trust and forgiveness. Trust is important and fragile. It can take years to build trust in another person and seconds to break the trust. Once you lose trust in a relationship, there is no guarantee you can trust that person again. If you can work through the lost trust issues and try forming trust again, it takes time and patience. Even when we decide to forgive someone for their wrongdoings and betrayal, that does not mean trust is automatically replenished.

Another topic I would like to write about is the challenges involved in living with a chronic illness without a cure. Sadly, we have genius scientists and doctors around the world, but so many chronic illnesses still do not have a cure. I know this is not 100% true, but in 2022 there seems to be a steady increase in the numbers of illnesses and hardly any headway to curing these illnesses☹.

People should be trying to progress and evolve with the times, but that is not happening. One thing that continues to grow is hatred and mean behavior. When people do not understand the way another person lives, they become scared and decide the way another person is living is wrong and evil. This is a cowardly way to live in the world. It does not matter how another person lives “their” life, as long as they are not causing harm and they are happy, it should not matter or be the business of anyone else!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope your weekend has been filled with everything that makes you happy. I have found it can be complicated to find topics to write about that will be intriguing to everyone, but I am trying. Honestly, some things I write about are to help me process issues in my life. I hope you enjoy the last part of your weekend! I look forward to reading your comments and 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

Invisible Illness

I have written about Multiple Sclerosis many times before and I have talked about it a lot as well, but neither of these can explain what it is like to live with it. Many people have heard Multiple Sclerosis referred to as the “invisible disease” and I supposed for the most part it is invisible. Of course, some people stumble because they struggle their balance, or they may have challenges to walk and are bound to a wheelchair or use a walker. These challenges are obviously visible because the person cannot and should not feel compelled to hide them. However, some try to out of fear of being judged. There was a time that I felt I needed to hide my illness because I know people talk and it is always about things, they know nothing about, but that is not my fault, and it is on them.

Out of all the issues Multiple Sclerosis puts on a person, many that are truly invisible issues to deal with. No one can feel the pain someone feels, which those with Multiple Sclerosis tend to face daily. I have mentioned before that I live in pain every minute of every day but try my best to hide it and not because I am afraid of what people may think. I hide the pain because nothing helps my pain ease. It does not matter if I explain how I feel or even cry about it, the pain will still be there. I am thankful that the pain I feel cannot be felt by those around me because I would not wish that on anyone, and it is not fair for anyone to experience it.

Another issue I deal with that is invisible is the neuropathy. The feeling of spiders crawling around on my legs and feet is only something I endure, and no one can see it. This is something that I feel daily and mostly it increases at night, but still there are times during the day I get experience this. Of course, my husband that is with me all the time can see it because I start getting fidgety and cannot stay still. Not that it helps but I will start rubbing my legs when we are watching TV or having lunch together. I cannot explain why I rub my legs or feet, but I supposed I am trying to make the feeling go away. My husband has even asked me if it helps or why I do it and I cannot explain it to him, I guess it is just a habit.

Stress causing my condition to deteriorate is not something anyone can see. Heck, I cannot even see it immediately, but will understand later what stress does to me. Stress can cause symptoms to worsen and potentially cause a relapse. Anyone that has Multiple Sclerosis or knows someone with it understands how bad a relapse can be and it is something that we all try to avoid. A relapse can be awful, but the actions taken to decrease the length of time one deals with them are typically by using steroids. For anyone that has been on a high dose of IV steroids, you know how terrible that can make you feel. I can admit that the steroids will make the relapse not last as long, I would prefer to not take them.

The only person that knows how exhausted I always feel is me. It is not something anyone can see, but I do see and feel it. I cannot even explain it to anyone because it does not matter how much sleep I get. I will wake up feeling like I have not slept at all and truthfully, I probably did not sleep well through the night. The pain and tingling will wake me or prevent me from falling asleep, but I still try pushing through the day like I have slept eight hours.

COVID introduced a new invisible issue to Multiple Sclerosis. Everyone had to deal with the normal things that came with COVID, but anyone that is on a medication that weakened their immune system had to be even more careful. Even after there were vaccines available, we had to determine how safe they were mixed with their medication. Being under isolation could make people feel even more isolated and nervous for what could happen if they got COVID. I know I was afraid that if I got COVID and being on Gilenya if I would survive. Anytime I left the house, I would wear a mask and be looked at like I was insane, but I do this because I refuse to gamble with my life.

I think COVID has made everyone feel like they are living under house arrest. My mother moved to Texas a few years ago and we did not see each other before she moved because of the fears of COVID. It is not that I do not want to see my mother, but I refuse to get on an airplane until COVID is gone and there are no new variants. I also do not want her getting on an airplane to come to where I live because I do not want her getting COVID or bringing it into my house. It is not easy dealing with this because she is my mother and I know she would get on a plane tomorrow, but it is not safe for either of us.

Considering March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, I thought it would be good to do a post about the invisible side of it. I understand why people would call it the invisible disease because much of it is invisible. Truthfully, I would prefer the balance issues I deal with to be invisible because I feared when I was diagnosed about being in a wheelchair and not that it is a bad thing. After all, it can happen. Although the pain is invisible, anyone that knows me can see how much I hurt.

Thank you for visiting my site today and reading what I have written. I hope this provides some clarification to the issues I deal with that are truly invisible and why I hide some of them. I am not hiding things because I am ashamed, but because it does not help. I do look forward to reading your comments because I know they will be insightful. I will respond to all comments 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

What is your purpose in life?

Even though it is not easy we all have a desire to find our purpose in life. Many times, these thoughts are embedded into us from family and our community, but we many do not feel connected to the ideas of others. Some may feel pressured to find a good job, get married, and have children when that is not the way they see their life. Unfortunately, society can play a HUGE part in these views because it is what many view to be “normal”. Everyone has different views as to what “normal” means and there is nothing wrong with that.

The things that some view as achievement can be vastly different for each person. Achievements should bring fulfillment to our life. Our personal sense of purpose does not mean an end goal, but more of an ongoing goal that has an impact. This impact can be big or small and our purpose is the why.c

Our sense of purpose can guide and support us. Though we may encounter setbacks and our world can be turned upside down and inside out, our purpose provides us with stability and direction.c

It is important to discover our purpose in life, but it takes time and determination! This is not something that can be rushed because it needs to be meaningful. Knowing our purpose in life can make life more meaningful. Our purpose contributes to a better life and mental stability. This may also reduce the risks of chronic illness and may help us to live longer.c

Through the rest of this post, I am going to share several ways to find what our purpose in life is. If you already know your purpose, I would love to know what it is, and I will share what I feel mine is.

Establish a growth mindset

When we are constantly growing and becoming better people, it allows us to identify our purpose and stay devoted to pursuing it. This also enables you to view challenges as opportunities, persevere despite failures, and accept constructive criticism.

Devise a personal vision statement

When we have a personal vision statement stored in our mind, it can help to manage stress and discover balance in our life. This can also serve as a guide towards our purpose by determining our values and understanding what is most important. Knowing our purpose in life can make it easier to make decisions that are in line with our values and to remain motivated working towards personal goals.

Transform pain into purpose

Struggles and challenges are inevitable in this life. Our abilities to overcome challenges are what shapes who we are and provide us with uniquely defined strength. The ways we turn our pain into a purpose are solely our choice.

Discover your passions

Our passions and interest are a sign of what areas our purpose in life may be secured in. These are deep-rooted into our way of thinking, almost to the point we are blind to them. Chances are you already know what you are passionate about, but if you are unaware of them consider the things you excel with. You can also bring this into conversation with those that know you best because they may see something you do not see clearly.

Become part of a cause

Everyone has a cause they feel drawn to and passionate about. You may have strong feelings about social justice, animal rescue, child advocacy, cures for certain illnesses, or the environment. There are several things that can be done to fight for our causes such as giving back, forming groups in your community, and surrounding yourself with others that inspire you or focus on inspiring others.

There are many things that I feel passionate about and connected to. Animals and children are innocent and need people to ensure their safety. Animals cannot speak to tell us what they are enduring, so there need to be ways to support them. Children are also innocent and sadly harm is done to them way too often. I also try raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis and participate in things to raise money to discover a cure. In a world that is full of negativity and hate, I do the best I can to inspire others and spread positivity to as many as I can. I think it is important to fight for those that are unable to fight for themselves. If I had a way to save everyone that needed help, I would do so instantly.

Thank you for visiting my site and reading what I have shared. I hope you found this interesting, and I look forward to learning what you feel your purpose in life is. I think knowing what you are passionate about would help me to get to know you better. I do look forward to reading your comments and will respond to comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending you LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month Part 2

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and as I said in my post on March 3rd, I want to do a post about MS each week during the month. I know some information I have shared previously, but I do want to explain again what this disease is and the symptoms one might experience with this unpredictable disease. I also want to do my part in providing knowledge about Multiple Sclerosis to as many people as I can because it can easily be misunderstood or confused with other diseases. Please be advised that I am not a medical professional, but I am someone that has lived with MS for 21 years and has done countless hours of research.

Multiple Sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. With Multiple Sclerosis, the immune system attacks the myelin, which is the protective sheath covering nerve fibers and causes communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. In time this disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. Unfortunately, at this time there is no cure for MS, but medication can decrease the rate of progression.

The signs and symptoms can be different from person to person. No two people will experience the same signs and symptoms at the same time. Some symptoms that target movement are numbness and or weakness in one or more limbs, typically on one side of the body at a time. People may also experience an electric-shock sensation with certain neck movements. Others may suffer from a lack of coordination or unsteadiness.

A common complication with Multiple Sclerosis is vision problems. The issues with vision can vary from partial or complete vision loss, typically in one eye at a time. Others may have prolonged double vision or blurry vision. I remember when I was diagnosed with MS, I went to my eye doctor because I had lost vision completely in my left eye. Imagine being 19 years old going to the eye doctor thinking you are going blind and finding out the vision can be repaired, but you have a lifelong, incurable disease. It was a shock to my young mind, but I guess it was good news in a way.

Even though everyone experiences MS differently and deals with different symptoms, some common symptoms are slurry speech, problems with sexual, bowel, and bladder functions, fatigue, dizziness, tingling, and or pain in parts of the body.

I still have a few other posts I will be sharing about Multiple Sclerosis this month. I will be sharing a few reasons I get frustrated with this disease. I try my best to not get overly frustrated with others who do not understand or cannot comprehend the struggles I deal with, but I am only human and do get aggravated sometimes. I will also do a post to explain the different types of Multiple Sclerosis, so please stay tuned if you are interested.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you are having a great and safe week. We have almost made it through this entire week and will be able to enjoy the weekend soon. Do you have any plans for the weekend? Whatever you do this weekend, please remember to continue to stay safe. I also want to remind everyone to continue keeping those living in Ukraine in your prayers. Unfortunately, the battle they are enduring is not over yet, but hopefully, they will find peace and safety during this tragic time. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month Part #1

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to share information about this illness. Those of you that have been following my blog already know that I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis since I was 19 years old, so it has been 21 LONG years. Of course, I am not a medical professional, but I do know the challenges that come along with this illness. I plan to do a few posts about Multiple Sclerosis because there is a lot of information that needs to be understood. My first post about this will be simple, but hopefully it provides some information for you.

Muscle weakness

Unpredictable

Long-last disease

Tingling

Insomnia

Pain

Laborious

Exasperation

Sensitivity to heat

Central nervous System

Let downs

Equilibrium

Relapse Remitting

Offensive

Stinging

Irritating

Sharp

During the rest of this month, I will do a post about the types of Multiple Sclerosis, symptoms, different medications, and various challenges. If anyone has any questions about this illness, I would be happy to answer them the best I can. Again, I am not a medical professional, but have a lot of knowledge I would be happy to share with anyone that wants to know.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found this post interesting, and you are looking forward to my future posts. I would love to read your comments and will respond as soon as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Hard times with Multiple Sclerosis

I think most of you reading this already know that I have had Multiple Sclerosis since I was only 19 years old. Living with MS for 21 years has not been easy, but I also try to not let it get the best of me. There are always going to be good days and bad days with this disease. Over the years, people have asked me various questions, which some do not bother me at all because I think that means people want to gain knowledge. However, there are other types of questions that do bother me tremendously because the questions show how inconsiderate and cruel people can be.

In this post, I am going to tell you the questions that are hurtful and why I feel the way I do. I am also going to share a few things about this disease that are hard to live with.

One question that always gets to me is, “Why do you not go on disability?”. The reason this question affects me the way it does is because I have always worked and without restrictions. There is no logical reason anyone should think that I need to be on disability because my MS has not progressed to that level. Do I know if it will someday? Absolutely, not because I do not have a crystal ball that sees the future.

Another question that rubs me the wrong way is when people ask me, “What did you do to cause it?”. I mean, really who would ask someone a question like that? In the beginning, when someone asked me this I would wonder if there was something I did wrong and then it would send me into a tailspin of negative feelings about myself. No matter what the disease is, most of the time the person living with it did not do anything to cause it and this is very true with Multiple Sclerosis. The top doctors and researchers in the world, still do not know what causes this disease to happen.

This next question that I find disrespectful and vicious is, “Do you think this could all be in your head?”. My response is normally not pleasant or polite, but I do not think they deserve a nice response. I simply say, “Yes, this is all in my head. The numerous lesions in my brain do cause many issues that I must deal with daily. Maybe you would understand if you had even half of a working brain cell.” I told you my response was harsh, but how do you think I should answer a question like that?

Another question I have been asked that bothers me immensely is, “When do you think you are going to need a wheelchair?”. This question used to bring me to tears because it was my #1 fear when I was diagnosed. As I said, I was only 19 years old and might have still had a partial childlike mind plus, I did not know much about the disease, and I was terrified of a wheelchair. During times when my legs and feet are at their worst with pain and the annoying tingly sensation, this thought does enter my mind again. It is hard to not think this might be something I have to deal with in life, but it is not going to happen anytime soon, or at least that is what I hope for.

Multiple Sclerosis comes along with the pains of different types and severities. After living with these for half of my life, I tend to expect them. Most days, my pain levels are manageable, and I can try ignoring them. However, as the days progress the pain increases gradually. Since I am so used to pain, I often have said if there is ever a day or even an hour when I do not hurt, I would think I died and am on a cloud still comfortably. My life would not be the same without the constant pain, but it would be amazing to have a few minutes with NO pain at all.

The migraines that happen at least once a week are brutal and even more ruthless when they are accompanied by a sinus headache. I do know that migraines are one of the symptoms of MS and sinus issues are a side effect of the medication I take. There is not anything I can do to end these. I cannot stop the MS from being in my body and I cannot stop taking the medication because then the disease would progress and possibly quickly.

Neuropathy is an incredibly annoying symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. The feeling of spiders having a party on my legs and feet is irritating, to say the least. This tends to happen more during the evening hours, which includes times when I am “trying” and failing to sleep. The past few days, the neuropathy has not been limited to the evening hours and instead has been all day long dealing with the spider party. The crazy thing is a heating pad is the only thing that offers any kind of relief and yet, heat is also something that makes the MS flare up.

The final symptom of Multiple Sclerosis I deal with that is mildly obnoxious is fatigue. Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time, but I do on most days. The awful part about this is, even though I get extremely tired halfway through the day, I also at times cannot sleep. My guess is the reason I cannot sleep is because of the pain and neuropathy.

There are many times throughout the days that I wish Multiple Sclerosis did not exist, but it does and affect millions of people around the world. I think it has increased the strength I have to fight against it and every other difficult time in life. I have always been the type of person that does not allow anything to defeat me, at least not easily. Over the years, I have met many other people living with this disease and been able to offer them support, which makes me happy to help someone else struggling.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I am sorry this post was a longer than some of my others, but there was a lot to say about fun times with Multiple Sclerosis. I hope you found what I have shared helpful, and I look forward to reading your comments. I will respond to all of your fabulous comments as quickly as I can. Hopefully, your weekend has been wonderful and safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Challenges with Multiple Sclerosis

I think y’all already know that I have had Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years and for the most part I am still going strong. Honestly, some days are worse than others and most issues are triggered by either the weather or stress. I do not like having a pity party but wanted to quickly explain what I think are some of the most challenging aspects that come with this illness. Thankfully, over the years I have been able to get a much clearer understanding of what MS is and what it can do to a person. Crazy as this might sound, this has been good because when I was diagnosed, I was very ignorant to this illness and had an immature mind, but I was young and that is my excuse for my childlike thought process.

Of course, I do know it could always be worse and I am thankful it is not any worse than it is, but that does not mean it is not challenging and frustrating. The issues I am going to explain are not in order because I cannot say one is more challenging than the other, as they can all be grueling. No matter how challenging and or frustrating these issues are, most can be managed or at least I try to ignore them.

Multiple Sclerosis can be incredibly unpredictable, which can be burdensome. Never knowing what to expect or when it is going to strike is unnerving. It is embedded in my mind to have things planned but living with the unpredictability of MS can force plans to be altered or cancelled. Of course, with COVID there have not been many outings planned and I work from home, so life just keep moving along.

This illness is not something new and even though there have been vast amounts of research done, a cure has not been discovered. I dream that a day will come when I wake from the nightmare of Multiple Sclerosis and I will not have anymore pain, weakness, numbness in my legs and feet, dizzy spells, or any of the other awful symptoms caused by MS.

Another issue that can be exhausting is the constant pain I feel in my legs and mid to lower back. This has been something the MS caused since I was diagnosed, so I try to not allow it to impact my daily life too much, but it does still cause difficulties. I would say the leg pain is a lot harder to deal with than the back pain because leg pain makes moving around extremely laborious. The back pain is awful, but most of the time a heating pad helps relax the muscles.

I also experience neuropathy in my legs and feet, which causes an annoying tingling sensation. This issue is not easy to ignore because it is constant. It does not bother me as bad during the day but gets increasingly worse at night. The tingling feels like spiders crawling around my legs and feet and not too much decreases this issue. The neuropathy issue makes falling asleep and staying asleep very challenging.

Another issue I battle with is fatigue. It does not matter how much sleep I get, which is never as much as it should be, I am always tired. I have noticed this gets worse towards the afternoon and I start losing my focus because I am exhausted. I arrange my work tasks, so the most in-depth things are handled in the morning when I am the most alert.

The hug I never want is called the MS hug. Thankfully, this is not something I deal with daily, but when I do it is miserable. It kind of feels like there is a snake wrapped around my abdomen and continues to squeeze. It is uncomfortable and painful. For the past few days, I have been battling with this and ignoring it is not making it stop. However, I do think my specialist is on a need to know and I do not think she needs to know about this because I do not want her trying to force steroids on me as that alone makes me feel terrible.

Although I have lived with this disease for over 20 years, some of the fears I had in the beginning do still haunt me. I wonder will there ever be a cure, how much longer will I be able to walk for until I am in a wheelchair, is this disease going to end my life someday, and many more questions run through my mind. Even with all the unanswered questions, I am still never going to give up and allow the MS to win the war we have been fighting.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have enjoyed your weekend and you were able to do what brings you the most joy. I hope what I have shared with you today will be give you some comfort and help you with something you are dealing with. I do not normally share posts that might come across as complaining, but I do want everyone reading to know that no matter what you might be struggling with, there is someone that understand. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

How you can stay comfortable during colder months

Multiple Sclerosis is a unique and frustrating illness to live with. When you add in the effects different temperatures can create, Multiple Sclerosis can become three times as frustrating. Each season seems to be followed by different challenges. Of course, the heat acts like kryptonite for Multiple Sclerosis and can cause symptoms to worsen. Unfortunately, extreme heat can also create new symptoms to be exposed. When someone with MS is exposed to heat, they may experience fatigue, numbness, blurred vision, tremors, confusion, weakness, and balance issues.

When the seasons change from hot to cold, those with MS are forced to battle with other issues. Cold weather causes people with or without MS to become tense. The increased tension of the muscles can cause increased spasms, muscles feeling tighter, and difficulties moving limbs.

I have lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years, and I live in an area that seems to only have two and a half seasons. This may not make sense, but I say this because the temperatures are either insanely hot for about nine months, slightly chilly for about one month, and mildly cold for two months. Some people are fortunate enough to have four true seasons and hopefully experience at least one season where they are comfortable.

When seasons bring on various challenges it is crucial to discover ways to stay well and as healthy as possible. First, we need to allow our bodies time to adjust to the differences, especially when going from extreme heat to bitter cold. This is something that cannot be rushed and will play out according to how it does.

For anyone that lives with the same medical issue as I do, Multiple Sclerosis, I am going to share a few tips that can help you stay both comfortable and warm during the colder months. If your symptoms worsen with colder temperatures, please know this should be short-lived discomfort. The following tips may be helpful for you even if you do not have MS and deal with another medical issue. I have experienced issues with temperatures more than I care to admit, but these tips helped me stay as comfortable as I can.

The first tip I have, please understand will not always be easy. Sometimes when we make simple alterations, it can make hard tasks a little easier. Even when it seems impossible, try to keep moving. Try simple and moderate physical activities, such as short walks or stretching. This tip helps you to burn energy and keep you warmer.

The second tip might take experimenting with different types of clothing. Dressing in layers helps you to stay warm and allows you to remove clothing when you get too warm. The challenges involved in determining the right clothing will be how many layers is not enough, too much, or finally just right! Wearing a hat will keep your head warm. Wearing lined boots or socks will keep your feet warm. Hats and socks will not allow heat to escape from your head or feet, which assists with keeping the rest of you warm.

The third tip I am going to share is that it is important to keep your hands and feet warm. For those of you with Multiple Sclerosis, doctors believe that MS causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to overreact to cold temperatures. To protect your hands and feet from negative effects from cold temperatures, try using hand warmers or a heating pad. REMEMBER to use CAUTION when using a heating pad and to avoid blisters, do not apply heating pad directly to your skin.

On a side note, if you do have MS, you may be at risk for Raynaud’s phenomenon. This is a condition that causes your fingers and toes to lose heat. This can cause your fingers and toes to turn from white to blue to red as the blood starts to flow again. With this condition, you may feel numbness, pain, or feel as though someone is sticking you with pins and needles, which is an awful feeling.

The fourth tip to staying comfortable during the colder months is to warm your insides. During colder months it is easy to have a hot meal, such as soup. Plus, you can sip on hot drinks like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and pour whatever your preferred beverage into an insulated mug. This will keep your drink warm longer and reduce trips to the kitchen to warm your drink.

Lastly, even on those crisp fall days or bitterly cold winter days, getting sunshine can warm you up. Simply walking outside for a short time to soak in some rays from the sun can be beneficial. Getting a little such sunshine can warm you up, allow your body to absorb some much-needed Vitamin D, and may boost your mood.

I am sure there are many other ways to stay warm and comfortable during the colder months, but these are the ones I know work for me. I would love to read any other suggestions you may have of things that have helped you. It is not too cold where I live, but I am sure it will happen in the next few months. Honestly, the temperatures are comfortable right now, if only the rain would not come back. Even if it is not cold, the rain always makes me feel terrible!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found the information I have shared helpful, and I am looking forward to reading your comments. I promise I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can, but it will probably be once I am out of work. Please continue to do everything you can to stay safe from the virus that continues to plague the world. I do know the numbers are decreasing as more get vaccinated, but it is still a little terrifying. I hope you never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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