MS Hug Struggles

As everyone reading this now and who has read some of my previous posts knows, I have had Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years. This has been something I have lived with for almost half of my life, and I still find it extremely frustrating. Even after all these years, there are still things I do not understand or know about this disease. The one obvious thing is how unpredictable it can be. I do find it amazing how much we can adapt to and tolerate life when we have no other choice but to keep moving forward.

There are many things about Multiple Sclerosis and days living with this disease that can feel like things will never improve, which can make you feel hopeless. Even though I have days when I feel like this, I also believe that we are not forced to deal with anything we cannot handle! Of course, it takes a strength we never knew we had, but it is possible to keep moving forward.

I wish I knew the name of the person who thought they were being clever and humorous by naming something the “MS Hug” because this is the worst kind of hug I have ever heard of. It completely ignored the advice from the experts about social distancing and never considered getting approval before hugging someone. I have always thought that MS Hug was very disrespectful and invasive.

Even though I still do not know who came up with the name, I do know that MS Hug is very uncomfortable, but it is not life-threatening even though it feels like it is at times. The MS Hug is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful tightness or pressure around the abdomen or chest. This can last for seconds or minutes, which is the best-case scenario but can also last hours or longer.

There are two effects of Multiple Sclerosis that can trigger the MS hug to happen. One is muscle spasms in the small muscles between the ribs, known as the intercostal muscles. The second is changes in sensations known as dysesthesia, which while they can be, are not always painful.

Just like everything else regarding Multiple Sclerosis, everyone experiences the MS Hug differently. The ways that help one person may not help another in the same way. Various things can help or even eliminate the MS Hug sensation including the following:

Discover your triggers:

This could include fatigue, temperature changes, eating a large meal, feeling unwell, or being stressed. It may not always be easy to discover what triggers the MS hug, but once you do it may be a good plan to avoid or at least reduce the issues you know are your triggers. Keeping a journal with what the temperature was each day, stress level, feelings of fatigued, and what you eat each day may help to determine what your triggers are.

Loose vs Tight Clothing:

For many people tight clothing triggers, them to experience the MS hug and even makes the sensation worse. This may mean not wearing an underwired bra or removing it as soon as your situation allows. It will just seem logical to wear loose clothing if you know tight clothing causes problems. As with everything else, tight clothing helps some people to deal with the MS hug. For reasons not always understood, the grip of tighter clothing can distract the brain, making the MS hug sensation less noticeable.

Moving and or Stretching:

For some people staying mobile and stretching relieves the pain from the MS hug, but for some people laying down is the only thing that offers them any relief. This is all a matter of personal choice and what helps you the most!

The use of hot or cold compress:

Again, different things work better for each person, so you just need to play around with heat and cold compresses until you know what works best for you. Hot water bottles, warm towels, or a heating pad when applied to the affected area may offer relief. If this does not work, you can try a cold compress or an ice pack to the affected area. Please understand and be careful of both hot and cold as it is easy to cause further damage to the skin.

Physiotherapy or other physical treatments:

his can include TENS which is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. I honestly do not know a lot about this because something about electrical nerve stimulation scares me, but I have heard it can be helpful!

Relaxation, Mindfulness, and CBT:

Relaxation and mindfulness exercises can be helpful for anyone, not just those dealing with MS and the MS hug. Things like self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been successful for many people around the world. Controlled breathing techniques can be found with a quick Google search and are inexpensive. 

Multiple Sclerosis has come along way with treatment since I was diagnosed, but for some reason there still is not a cure. I wish there was a magical medication that could make all the pain and issues I deal with daily go away, but until there is I will just continue to fight and not allow this unpredictable, frustrating, and ugly disease steal the light and fire I have inside me. As I am sure you can assume, I am dealing with the MS hug right now and it has been a struggle. I am SO thankful that I work from home because with the way I was feeling today, there is no way I could have driven to an office and dealt with being this uncomfortable for 8 very long hours.

Anyone that is reading this and has Multiple Sclerosis, have you dealt with this issue before and if so what helps you? The funny thing is, normally heat is my enemy, but for this issue and other types of pain, my heating pad is my best friend. The only way I can be comfortable is wearing loose clothing because I find that to be the most comfortable. The weather has been changing each week, so I can only assume that might be the reason the evil hug is back!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope the information that I have shared was useful and interesting to you. I am looking forward to reading your comments because I am sure what you have to say will be helpful. I hope you had a good week and you have an amazing weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Finally Friday!

Happy Friday, y’all! How was your week? This might have been a short week for me, but it did feel VERY long! I can think of a couple of reasons why this week felt long for me. One reason is that people are exhausting and extremely demanding. I cannot understand how “some” people can be selfish enough to believe whatever they think they need is more important than the hurricane that just happened in Florida. I mean, people lost their homes and lives, so I think what they are dealing with is WAY more important than anything superficial. The other reason why this week has felt longer is that my very understanding and amazing supervisor is on vacation. Who would have thought things could change so much at work without her?!

I have always thought that Friday is the perfect day to let go of anything negative thoughts that are weighing on our minds, especially the negative things caused during the week. Our weekends are already TOO short, so wasting any time on negative thoughts is useless. We might have some negative thoughts that were leftover from last week or are still in our minds from another time because we were not able to let go of those thoughts. It happens and I understand, but we should all at least try to let all negative feelings go at least once a week. I hope the quote I am sharing today helps you to let go and not hold onto any negative feelings towards anyone in your life!

Of course, my weekend plans are limited because I feel like I need time to recuperate from the week and I do not want to do much of anything because I have felt drained this week. I think it might have something to do with the weather changes causing my pain to increase and I am not sure what else, but rest is a MUST. I do want to finish a couple of posts that I started about Domestic Violence Awareness and Bullying Prevention Month and clean the house! So stay tuned for these posts to be published soon!!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed the quote and it helps you let go of any negative feelings you are experiencing. I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can. I hope you have a nice, relaxing, and safe weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Just another day in paradise

Despite having lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 20-plus years and understanding it more than I wished, there are still times I get discouraged and frustrated. Of course, I understand that most of the symptoms that make me feel this way will subsite in time, they can be difficult to tolerate. Something worse than normal, and I have been forced to endure for the past several days is the neuropathy in my legs. I should be used to dealing with this because it is not new, but it does not get easier. Lately, it has been painful to walk and even sit down the sensation of tingly, pain, and the “spider dance party” on my legs have been almost unbearable. Considering I have been dealing with this for years, I can almost guarantee the reason for the increased issues is due to heat and stress.

Another issue that is not new but has been returning frequently is dizziness. It used to happen more later at night, but for the past few days it comes on suddenly at random times throughout the day. The only way I learned how to deal with this is to sit down immediately (to avoid falling), never lay my head backward, and or force on a still object. I already know I will get extremely dizzy if I lay my head backward, so I try to never do this. Heck, I also know when I go to the neurologist, they always have me do this, even though I explain what happens. It seems many doctors do not listen to their patients; you know the one that knows more about their body than any medical school can teach?

Many things can make Multiple Sclerosis symptoms flare up and we need to learn how to avoid these issues as much as possible. Summer in the south makes avoiding the heat pretty much impossible. Anytime I must leave my house and get in the car, I make sure to never drive until the air conditioning has been on long enough for it to not be too hot. How do you avoid heat when there are more hot months than cool months?

Stress is also a HUGE factor. Stress can make old symptoms return and create new evil symptoms. I am still learning how to avoid stress, but for me it is impossible. Everyone already knows that stress is a silent killer, but what it can do to Multiple Sclerosis is miserable. I know many of the reasons I have had awful relapses previously were because I was stressed about work, life, medication, money, and many other issues we all face.

Something else I have always had a hard time with is fatigue. It is hard for me to sleep most of the time and even more so during the insanely HOT summer months. I do try getting enough sleep, but it hardly ever happens, which more than likely has something to do with the inability to turn my mind off. Unfortunately, my mind is always racing, and I have not figured out how to stop this. It does not matter what day it is or what time I go to bed, I am awake at the same time every single day. If I am not awake at a certain time, the cats will play their part and force me to wake up. The truth is, I tend to wake up early anyway because of the pain I experience.

Finally, pain is a major burden in my life. I deal with pain in multiple parts of my body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and with no breaks. The crazy thing is, that I would not feel normal if I did not have pain. Of course, I would love to have one day or even one hour when I was not in pain, but it is not in the cards for me. I try to embrace the pain and just ignore it the best I can. My logic is, why focus my attention on something that is not going to change and use up the energy I do not have I have for something cannot control when many other things need my energy and focus? Great way to think, right?

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you are having a wonderful and safe long weekend, so far. I would love to read your comments and any advice you have regarding what I have shared today. I promise to 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

~Motivational Monday~

I am always surprised at how fast time flies. Today is the first Monday of May, which means we are almost halfway through this year! I think we have all heard people say the time goes faster the older we get, but I prefer to not think of myself as old, yet. I do try to view age as just another number because that is all it is. Yes, it also shows how long we have survived this insane world, which can be considered a success because we are all living in a crazy world!!

Hopefully, we are all prepared for another LONG week of work because ready or not it is here. I am as prepared as I can be and also hoping it is not as bad as last week was. In preparation for the week, we must find ways to stay motivated and optimistic! I find the quote I am sharing with y’all today encouraging, motivating, and positive, but I hope you will as well. I can be hard to recognize our strengths at times, but we all have a powerful strength inside us😊!

I hope your weekend was filled with everything that brings you happiness. Most of the time our weekends are so short and to the point, it feels we did not have one, but we will have another in a few days! I did not do much over the weekend because I was not feeling well. I know a lot of why I was feeling so awful is because I did not get much sleep at all. The feeling of weakness and exhaustion are a terrible combination.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared and the quote offered you some motivation. I looked forward to reading your comments and will respond as quickly as possible. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all 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

Survival of Monday

We managed to survive Monday, which is great news! Once we make it through a day we all dread, the rest of the week “should” be much easier, or at least we hope it will. Yesterday was nothing short of insanity. I clocked into work at 7:24 AM for two reasons. One was because I had a doctor’s appointment and was going to make up missed time because of the appointment and the other reason was because of the overtime offered. Normally, my day does not start until 9:00 AM, but I do prefer beginning my day earlier because I feel better in the morning. I am not saying I am not tired in the morning, but my pain increases as the day progresses.

Something about yesterday that could have been better is, if I had known about the overtime, I would not have wanted my doctor’s appointment this week. I would have tried to reschedule, so all I had to deal with was the overtime. My doctor’s office is about an hour and a half away from my house and I have to drive on an interstate that has WAY TOO much road construction. The road construction has been going on for what seems like a decade and I do not think it will ever end. Driving is bad enough, but so many people like to either drive fast while texting or so slow a snail could pass them.

On the second day of the week and still having several more days before Friday, we could all use a little encouragement to help us through the week. Life can feel extremely demanding and stressful making it hard to deal with the numerous situations we face. Trying to remain calm, cool, and collect is challenging, but we need to always keep trying and never give up. I will be honest with y’all, I stress about everything and it does not help. All the massive amounts of stress do is create additional issues!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope your week is going well and you are staying safe, and as stress-free as possible. I still think this is going to be a long week because I will be working ten hour days, which I have not done in a long time. I have gotten older since I worked ten hour days and my ability to avoid fatigue has become obsolete. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Sunday, preparing for next week

Many people do not understand how changes in the weather affect others because it might not have any negative effects on them. During the winter months, the cold weather causes me to tense my muscles more, which causes additional pain. Then during the warmer months, the heat causes several other problems that are uncomfortable to deal with. It never fails when the weather changes with the seasons my body takes time to adjust. It does not just take a few hours to adjust, it can take weeks to adjust until I begin to feel semi-normal.

Currently, the temperatures change daily, and this is not easy for me. Last week there were a few days when the temperatures were mild but rainy. Rain causes increased pain issues, but I can deal with them for the most part. On other days the temperatures were extremely uncomfortable because it was too hot. Unfortunately, next week several days the temperature is going to be pushing 90 degrees, which is far too hot for April.

I have learned how to tolerate different weather better since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 20 years ago. I will not say it is easy but decided to not let the weather and the MS control my life. I know life is short and feel strongly we must learn to adjust when things get difficult so we can enjoy life to the fullest.

Do you begin to feel different during the different seasons? If you do, how do you manage? Unfortunately, it is only April and we have not entered summer yet. There is no preparing for the ridiculously hot weather, but I will do my best to not be outside in the hot weather. Like I have done previously when I need to leave the house, I will start my vehicle ahead of time, so it has time to cool down before I drive. I already have dizzy spells randomly, but when I am overheated the dizziness is much more intense.

This weekend I have tried to rest and recuperate from last week as much as possible. I can admit that I have not gotten as much sleep as I would have liked, but I did try. Next week is going to be busy and possibly more exhausting than last week was. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon and will need to miss a few hours of work but will be making the time up. I am also planning to work two hours of overtime each day.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you were able to enjoy your weekend. Thankfully, the weekend is not over yet and we have a few hours left to rest or do anything else we desire. I look forward to reading your comments and 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

Finally Friday and time to let go

Thankfully, it is finally Friday. This week has felt long, and I never thought it would end. How has your week been? To say the week has been stressful is an understatement, which has only caused my normal pain to increase drastically. I am hoping for a restful, calm, and relaxing weekend because this pain needs to lessen. Originally, I was told my work hours were 9:00 AM -5:00 PM with a 30-minute lunch. I learned on Tuesday that was inaccurate and I am to work 9:00 AM -5:30 PM with a 30-minute lunch, which is better because that will be 40 hours.

Now that it is finally Friday, we need to let go of the frustrations and negativity the week caused so we can enjoy the short weekend. Our lives do not always end up the way we thought it would, so we need to try enjoying the life we were given. We are only given one chance at life and no matter how challenging it gets, this life is a blessing. I hope you were able to see the meaning in the quote I shared with y’all today and it provides you with hope for the future.

Do you have any plans for your weekend? The only plans I have for the weekend are to do nothing and relax because this week has left me exhausted. There were a few days I was so overly stress and frustrated I had no appetite at all. I know the ways to stay healthy are to eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of sleep, which is what I intend to do next week.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you had a good week and it was not full of stress. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend. I look forward to reading your comments and will respond to all of them 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

Defeat Tuesday

The weeks can feel extremely long and strenuous. We typically prepare ourselves for Monday on Sunday evening because we understand they can be very demanding. Honestly, not every Monday is as bad as we think it is going to be and some are worst than we were expecting. Whether it be Monday or any other day of the week, sometimes there is no amount of preparation that can help us be ready for the days ahead of us. No matter what happens, we should never give up and should always try to see the positive in all situations. I believe a positive mindset will keep us healthier and happier rather than being negative.

Yesterday felt like a train wreck and I believe it had a lot to do with getting too little sleep. I knew it was going to be a rough day because if I had to guess, I might have slept for four hours. By the time we ate dinner, finally got my work monitors set up correctly, and cleaned up, it was close to 2:00 AM and I normally get up a little before 7:00 AM. Knowing I would be exhausted, I tried giving myself a few extra minutes of sleep and pushed the alarm back to 7:30. I still felt foggy, irritable, achy, and distracted all day, which made for a long day.

Besides being overly tired and achy all day yesterday, I was dealing with other frustrations. No matter how many times in our life we deal with challenging and frustrating times, it never gets any easier. While life was never meant to be perfect and easy, we must NEVER let go of trying to think positively and NEVER give up. We were all dealt a hand of cards when we were born, and we are forced to keep playing the game of life and not fold. It is so easy to feel like we cannot handle life anymore and give in to those awful negative thoughts. The only thing a negative mind will do is make everything worst.

I am not going to tell y’all that remaining positive during challenging times is easy because that would be a lie. The only thing negativity will do is make you feel empty. The life we were given is a gift and viewing everything as negative makes us take our life for granted, which tends to be selfish. There are so many people every day that lose their life and through NO fault of their own and they would all love another day to enjoy their life.

Thankfully, we have survived Monday and hopefully, every other day of this week will get easier. I understand more than I care to admit how unfair life can be, but through all the unfair things we have endured, we are stronger than we realize. We all have a strength inside that is powerful. When you start thinking you cannot deal with anymore, remember what you have already accomplished in life and hold your head high!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope what I have shared was beneficial for you and you are feeling better about life the way it currently is. Understanding what we have control over and what we have no control over, is a valuable lesson to learn because it will make things easier. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Pick-Me-Up-Thursday

Happy Friday Eve! Some people think of today as Thursday, but that just makes the week seem longer to me. I think Friday eve makes the week feel a little shorter. This has been my second week back working full-time. Working full-time and learning something new has been exhausting. I know in time what I am doing will feel like second nature and easy, but right now there is SO much to learn. The weather today will not help me feel more alive because it is going to be raining. I know we need rain for life to grow in nature, but it makes every part of me hurt twice as bad.

We have almost made it through the week and the weekend will be here soon, but we do have one final day to survive and I think we could use a pick-me-up! I hope the quote I am sharing with you will offer you the pick-me-up needed and a little inspiration! With everything we deal with in life, it is not always easy to be strong. However, the stress and challenges we face are not going to last forever and there will come a day when life is easier! Keep your head held high and keep fighting because better days are ahead for all of us😊!

I am doing my best to fight through the fatigue I feel and do at least one post each day. I think it makes it easier because I enjoy writing, so it gives me the inspiration to push forward. Once I clock out of work, I do need to take a break from the computer and the cats need attention. It makes me smile😊 when they are so happy to see me and act like they have not seen a human in decades. They might be a little dramatic😊!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope the quote I shared lifted your spirits and helps you survive the last day of this week. 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