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

Tuesday Madness

Hello Tuesday, my friends! I was not able to do my typical Motivational Monday post because I have been dealing with a nasty migraine for over two days now. The worst of this evil migraine was Sunday evening into Monday, but it is trying to let up a little now. Work yesterday was awful because looking at a computer screen only increased the pain I was having in my head, but I still did the best I could. I was supposed to have a meeting yesterday afternoon, but thankfully the meeting was postponed until this afternoon, I am not sure how well I could have dealt with a meeting with the migraine.

Of course, I endure pain every day of my life and the only pain I am not able to handle well is head pain. My husband was SO attentive and kept getting me fresh ice packs to put on my head and was willing to do anything else I needed. An ice pack typically helps relieve my head pain, but it was hardly touching the pain. When I say nothing provided any relief from the pain, I really do mean NOTHING at all even lessened the pain!

Considering it is still Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month and I have lived with this illness for over 20 years, I am planning to do a few more posts about MS. I know I have mentioned my first neurologist to y’all before. Dr. Kaufman was the first doctor I saw for this unpredictable and irritating disease. No matter how much I fought him and/or gave him a hard time, he never gave up on me. The man had the patience of steel and a heart of gold. His Nurse Practitioner was also a gem and was very compassionate. The two of them as a team were one of a kind and I will never forget either of them.

I did learn some sad news about my previous neurologist over the weekend. Overall, he is fine and healthy but lost his wife to cancer. This nice, loving, compassionate, trustworthy, and amazing man is one of the BEST and I hate to know he has gone through another tragedy in his life. It does not seem like the man cannot catch a break. I sent him a message with my condolences on Facebook, not that he checks those messages, but I did ask the former NP that does stay in touch with him to let him know he is in my thoughts and that I miss him. Then to give him a laugh, I asked the NP to tell him if he moves to the city I live in I will pay for his house, if he will treat me!

Once my evil migraine finally started to settle down and I thought I would be able to finish the post I was working on, my legs, feet, and hands started to misbehave! They decided to work together to create the annoying tingling feeling, with a touch of pain! When this happens, there does not seem to be anything that will relieve the problems. I guess I should be used to this by now, but unfortunately, I am not!

Yesterday was busy at work, which must have been a fluke because today is not at all busy. I am going to try finishing one of the posts about Multiple Sclerosis that I started and will hopefully finish it today, but we will see! To be honest with y’all, I do have a slight and manageable headache, which I think is a result of stress. My legs, feet, and hands are still misbehaving, but it is not as bad as it was last night, and I think is because of the rain we are having today.

Thank you so much for visiting my site today. I hope you are having a good week, feeling the best you can, and staying safe! I do 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

4 Helpful Tips

Ways to have a good day after a bad night’s sleep

There is so much focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night to be more productive and feel most energized. This tends to make people center their attention only on the night but is just as important to consider what we can do during the day to help us get a good and restful night’s sleep.

One common mistake people make after a bad night’s sleep is to take it easy or rest up. Often our energy level feels like it is a limited resource, and we try to reserve it, but this is not the best idea. We can increase our energy and reduce fatigue by doing more, instead of less. Now allow me to explain further with 4 simple key areas.

Continue with your full schedule

Whether you have work, school, or both do not call in sick and/or cancel appointments. Maintaining the same schedule, you had planned when you anticipated sleeping well can serve as a benefit. Your typical schedule might keep you busy enough so you do not have time to think about how tired you are. Another benefit is the next time you lay your head down to fall asleep, you will not have to stress about how you are going to deal with a bad night of sleep because you know you can deal with it the best way possible by staying busy.

Avoid low energy people

When it comes to other people, your first thought might be avoiding high-energy people because you are feeling so low energy. Of course, I know right now with COVID we are not around many people, but it is possible that spending time with others that make you feel more energized and alive will increase your energy. Whether it is due to COVID or you are more introverted, find just one friend or family member you enjoy spending time with, but do this safely. This might assist you in reducing moodiness and make your mood better.

Maintain confidence in your body and relax your mind

Throughout the day, do not dwell on how you are going to catch up on sleep. Understanding that our body can adjust to most situations and will help us sleep more soundly and restful when necessary. Our body is more resilient than we give it credit for and it knows how to take care of itself. Going to bed earlier than normal or taking naps will create problems with our internal clock and we will have more issues in the long run, which is why it is crucial to maintain our normal schedule. We need to trust our body to get the sleep we required and wasting time watching the clock and calculating the amount of sleep we will get only generates stress and irritation, which will make sleep nearly impossible.

Do not rely on caffeine or coffee

Natural methods for increasing energy are much better for our body. We should always try to avoid caffeine pills and energy drinks because they are only a short-term fix, but the crash and/or other negative side effects can be awful, and we will wish we did not consume anything. The benefits you can get from sunlight, talking with friends, or exercise, even just a short walk may be a lot more powerful for the long-term.

Over the years, I have dealt with sleep problems and mainly because my mind is always on overdrive. The nights that I struggled with sleep and then the next day felt exhausted with hardly any energy, but I did always push through the day. Normally, I can handle a lack of sleep well for a couple of days because I do trust that my body knows when it has had enough.

Something I have done without for over one year is caffeine. In the past when I was low energy due to a bad night’s sleep, I would consume a great amount of caffeine. Honestly, to me, the crash from caffeine is worst than the tired feeling because it can produce awful headaches and I already endure these so I do not need any additional headaches.

I hope you found the information I have provided helpful! I would, of course, love to know what you thought or if this was how you normally handle a bad night’s sleep. I hope you had a lovely, relaxing, and safe weekend! Daylight savings tends to throw my internal clock off, so I am still awfully tired today. I guess it is a good thing I have a day to get used to the time change before another week begins tomorrow or it would be a long week! Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope the rest of your weekend goes well! 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

As you read this post, please be advised that I am not a medical professional. The information in this post is based on the research I have done since being diagnosed with this disease 20 years ago. The one thing about this disease that is important to understand is, it is extremely unpredictable and everyone, no matter what type of MS they have experiences it different. It does not matter if two people have the same type of MS, everyone experiences and deals with it differently.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that means that the body’s immune system attacks its tissues. This is a very unpredictable disease, and everyone experiences it differently. In this post, I am going to explain the four different types of MS and the distinctive characteristics of each type.

Radiologically Isolated Syndrome (RIS), is not considered part of the MS path, but has been utilized to categorize those with abnormalities on the brain and/or spinal cord that are consistent with a lesion of MS, and do not have any current or previous neurological symptoms or abnormalities discovered on a neurological exam. Many individuals had an MRI due to symptoms, such as headache, and revealed lesions appearing similar to those found in MS. During a study in 2020, it was uncovered that more than half of individuals with RIS will develop MS within 10 years.

Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) is a path of MS. CIS is referred to as the first occurrence of neurologic symptoms, which last at least 24 hours. This occurrence is caused by inflammation OR demyelination in the Central Nervous System (CNS). CIS can be classified as monofocal OR multifocal. Monofocal is when a person experiences a single neurologic sign or symptom that is caused by a single lesion. An example of this is an optic neuritis attack. Multifocal occurs when a person endures more than one sign or symptom caused by lesions in more than one area. An example of this is an optic neuritis attack and tingling in the feet. An important thing to be aware of is, just because an individual experiences CIS, it does not mean they will develop MS. The healthcare provider faces two challenges with diagnosing CIS:

1. Determining if the person is experiencing a neurologic episode caused by damage to the CNS.

2. Determine the chance from the damage the person is experiencing is a form of demyelination that will develop into MS.

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common and the type I was diagnosed with 20 years ago. Approximately, 85% of individuals with MS are originally diagnosed with RRMS. This type of MS has evidently defined the attack of new or increasing neurologic symptoms. The attacks are also referred to as relapse or exacerbations and are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery, which is also known as remissions. While there is not any obvious progression of the disease during a remission, symptoms may disappear or some of the symptoms may continue and become permanent.

RRMS can be further described by inflammatory attacks on myelin, which is the layers insulating membranes surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system (CNS) and the nerve fibers. Throughout the inflammatory attacks, activated immune cells cause small, restricted areas of damage that create the symptoms of MS. Considering the areas of the damage varies, no two people will experience the same symptoms at any given time.

Those who have RRMS tend to have more brain lesions and more inflammatory lesions that appear on the MRI scans. Individuals are often diagnosed with RRMS in their 20’s and 30’s but can also occur in both childhood and later adulthood. Women are diagnosed 2-3 times more often than men.

The symptoms of RRMS can and normally are different for each person, but there are some common issues. The most common symptoms for RRMS are fatigue, numbness, vision problems, spasticity or stiffness, bowel and bladder problems, and issues with cognition. It has been suggested that a transition from RRMS to years SPMS typically will take place in people who have lived with RRMS for at least 10, but this does not always happen.

Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) is another type of MS. This type of MS usually follows a period of the relapsing-remitting disease, the levels of disability gradually increase with or without evidence of disease activity.

SPMS is basically a second phase of the disease. Individuals with this type of MS may or may not ensure relapses caused by inflammation. However, the disease slowly changes from the inflammatory process like seen with RRMS to a consistent phase classified by nerve damage or loss.

Before the availability of disease-modifying therapies, some studies suggested that 50% of those diagnosed with RRMS would shift to SPMS within 10 years, and 90% would change within 25 years. The many different medications that are available in 2021 have provided a positive impact on disease progression. However, experts say it is still too soon to know the extent to which these disease-modifying treatments will change or slow the transition to SPMS.

Considering the transition from RRMS to SPMS is a gradual process, the healthcare provider will not know when exactly it occurs. The challenges the healthcare provider faces is establishing if:

1. The worsening is permanent, but some damage remains after the inflammatory attack ended, meaning the individual is experiencing an RRMS disease course.

2. OR the disease continues to get worse, but the individual is no longer enduring an inflammatory relapse, which would indicate the person has transitioned to an SPMS disease course.

The fourth type of Multiple Sclerosis is Primary Progressive MS (PPMS). This type is classified by worsening neurologic function from the onset of symptoms without early relapses or remissions.

Each person that lives with PPMS will experience this disease differently. Commonly, PPMS may have short intervals when the disease is stable, with or without a relapse or any MRI activity, as well as duration when there is increasing disability occurring with or without new relapses or lesions on an MRI.

PPMS is different from RRMS and SPMS because it does not include the same issues with inflammation. Although people with PPMS have fewer brain lesions than those with RRMS and SPMS, they do tend to have more lesions on their spinal cord. Typically, people with PPMS experience more problems with walking and may require more assistance with everyday activities.

From my own experience with Multiple Sclerosis, I was a terrified child when I was diagnosed. I was only 18 years old and did not know much about the disease. In my naïve childlike mind, I was going from being diagnosed to a wheelchair and then death. Yes, I was diagnosed, but did not end up in a wheelchair yet. I think it is extremely important for anyone newly diagnosed to do research, build a strong and honest relationship with a neurologist, and have a strong support system. It can be a scary and terrifying diagnosis, but a normal life can still be lived, especially one the right disease-modifying treatment is found!

Thank you for visiting my site today. This is my first post about Multiple Sclerosis for MS Awareness Month. There is so much information out there about this disease and I only wish I had this when I was diagnosed all those years ago. I can remember how I felt because I was alone in the exam room when I heard the news and it felt like the room was spinning out of control. I did not want anyone to know I had MS, but that was rather silly. Now days, I am open about it and want to help others that are dealing with this disease. I want y’all to know, no matter how alone you feel, you are never alone! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes! I also want you to feel free reaching out to me any time if you ever need any extra support and help!

Always, Alyssa

**Motivational Monday**

~Start This Week With A Smile & Hold Onto That Smile~

Happy Monday y’all! Let me start by saying I am sorry that I missed my “Let It Go Friday” post and the other posts I have been working on. Honestly, I worked close to 50 hours last week, so I was exhausted, and then battled with a massive headache on Sunday. Thankfully, I am feeling a little better now and hope to be able to finally finish two other posts I have been working on this week.

I think it is important to begin our new week with a positive mindset and with as much motivation as we can! I try my best to find the best quotes I can to help motivate y’all and begin your week in the best way possible. Monday morning is never the most desired day of the week, but it can be viewed as a way to make up for what did not go the way we planned last week. Everything YOU do, all YOU want, and every dream YOU have is important, so please never forget that! Basically, I want YOU to know how much YOU all matter to me!!

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is continuing to get worse every day. New cases and deaths are increasing at numbers we were used to seeing back in the beginning of the pandemic. There were a few months when the numbers started trying to try stabilizing, but now it almost seems as though we are starting over again. We are all tired of social distancing, wearing masks, and staying at home, but we need to continue doing what is necessary by following the good advice we have heard from the experts. Please take care and do all you can to stay as safe as possible!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I am looking forward to reading your comments on the quote I have shared, but also on what I have written. What you think means a lot to me and I promise to respond to all comments as quickly as I can. I hope your week begins great and only gets better with each day. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

Our New Week Is A New Start For More Success!

Happy Monday y’all! How was your weekend? Honestly, I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do over the weekend. Unfortunately, because of a nasty rainy weekend I did not feel well enough to do any of it. Rain makes me feel all my pain more and causes an extreme amount of fatigue. I do hope your weekend was spent better than mine and you are felt well all weekend.

Are you ready to begin another week? It isn’t ever easy to say goodbye to the weekend and begin another week that should be full of opportunities! Each week offers us opportunities for even more chances of success! I am wishing for y’all to have a nice and safe week! I am hoping the quote I am sharing with y’all today offers you the motivation you need to start your week with positivity and optimism!

I can tell you how some of my week is going to go. I have a doctor’s appointment on Thursday afternoon and unfortunately, I have to go to the office. I will be as careful as I possibly can be. I will wear my mask and sanitize as much as possible! I am not too concerned about safety with this office because they do not have people sit in the lobby. I will be immediately taken into the exam room, where I will sit and wait all by myself. The Nurse Practitioner will be quick and she is careful and understanding.

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you enjoyed the quote I shared and I am looking forward to reading your comments, and I promise to respond as quickly as I possibly can. I am sorry there are some comments I didn’t respond to yet over the weekend because I really wasn’t feeling well at all. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

I hope y’all are having a great long weekend and that you are feeling great and staying safe! Do you have anything planned for today? I do hope no matter what you are planning to do, you will stay safe and listen to what expects are telling us. Unfortunately, even though many of us are off today for Labor Day, but COVID-19 does not take days off. In fact, I know many people are completely forgetting about this virus and doing what they would normally do to celebrate a holiday.

On Friday, my thoughts for the weekend were finish a few posts that I had started, organize a few things, and clean, which may sound pretty boring but sounded great to me. Unfortunately, something I never planned for invaded my long weekend and I ended up dealing with yet again another nasty headache. Things are a lot better today, but I still have a manageable headache and will do the best I can to finish those two posts that I had started. I swear there is never any planning or expecting a terrible headache, but it is something I should never dismiss because they happen.

I might be a little behind because of my horrible and evil headache/migraine, but I do want to share a great quote to help motivate us all at the beginning of this short week. I do hope you will find meaning within this quote and it will motivate you to keep pushing forward no matter what happens. Life is difficult and living with an incurable chronic illness does not help, but we are all powerful and can handle just about anything. I do look forward to reading your thoughts on this quote.

I do not want to make any promises that I might not be able to keep, but I do want to finish a few posts I have started. One of these will not be pushed until Wednesday because it is all about what the date means to me. I hope the rest of your day goes well and you stay safe! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

My weekend of pain

Three days of migraine & pain hell!

Since Friday afternoon I have been battling with a nasty headache, which I think was more an evil migraine. It started when I was still working and I had to force myself through the last part of the day, which even though I work at home was difficult to make it until 5:00. I know some would say the migraine and pain came from stress, but I actually disagree with this. Yes, I did get a little worked up about a loan I was working because I was a little confused about what I had to do next, but I did get everything figured out and was fine.

I have been working with my new company for three weeks and I still love my job. During the initial few weeks after training, we are all supposed to work on the loans that are assigned to us, and then the team lead would review our work before we could proceed with changing the status to “complete”. Well on Friday while I was dealing with the start of my nasty migraine, my team lead told me I did not need to have my work reviewed anymore and could proceed on my own. I am not sure why I was so shocked by this because I do understand the work, but to be told this during the end of my third week was a good feeling and made me feel confident. This is the same team lead that told me during my second week on the job I was going to be his “rock star”, so I guess I have a lot to live up to!

When I did finally make it through my horrible painful day on Friday, I laid down with an ice pack on my head around 11:00 PM and did not really get up until late Saturday. Not only am I dealing with a migraine from hell, but my entire body aches. I do not know where this is all coming from. It has been incredibly hot in the south, but I do not leave my house so I don’t know why the heat would be causing me so many issues.

As I am trying to write this I can feel the pain starting back up again, not that it actually stopped it just eased up some. Dealing with pain is not easy and can cause some stress. Trying to understand why the pain has to be this severe is something that can’t be understood. Normally, I can deal with pain, but I am not able to deal with head pain.

Headaches/migraines will have me in the bed with an ice pack and nothing helps. It has been a frustrating weekend that is almost over. I can only hope the headache/migraine will leave me alone as the week starts.  I promise I have done everything I know to get rid of the pain, but at this point, nothing is working. I am staying hydrated and even trying to eat.

Do y’all ever get massive migraines or pain in general? How do y’all deal with this? I would like to believe I am a strong person, but I am losing that strength dealing with all this pain. Any advice y’all may have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank y’all for visiting my site today. I do hope your weekend has been lovely, you have been able to enjoy it, and you have stayed safe. Please know that even though I am struggling with pain issues right now, I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, Part 1

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. For June, the goal is to raise awareness, further educate those unaware about migraines and headaches, and show support to those that deal with these issues. Due to the vast about of information and to try to maintain length, there will be other posts with even more information about migraines and headaches.

Migraines are the third most common disease globally estimating 14.77% of the world’s population suffers from migraines. Approximately 38 million United States citizens deal with this pain. Of the American’s that battle with migraines, about 85% are women. The vast majority of migraine sufferers experience an episode once or twice a month, more than 4 million others endures chronic daily migraines. It is an exceedingly debilitating condition causing not just a simple headache but can come along with nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, utmost sensitivity to sound and, light and tingling or numbness in the face. Nearly 25% of migraine attacks may include an aura, which is a visual disturbance that lasts less than an hour.

Unfortunately, children can be affected by migraines. Of the children that experience migraines they typically have their first episode before age 12. Even though at younger ages boys suffer more from migraines than girls, once in the adolescent year’s girls end up dealing with migraines more than boys of the same age.

Migraines are a crucial public health concern, but they continue to be misunderstood, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. More than half of migraine suffers are never diagnosed properly. Many that suffer do not pursue medical attention for their pain because like individuals battling other chronic illnesses, there are extremely high costs for medical services, minuscule support, and restricted access to proper quality of care.

While we are in National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month it is important to recognize the International Classification of Headache Disorders, published by the International Headache Society, which used to classify more than 150 types of primary and secondary disorders.

I will begin with primary headache disorders which are divided into four groups:

1. Migraines- I briefly touched on this at the beginning of this post, but allow me to give a slightly deeper description. A migraine headache is distinguished by throbbing and pulsating pain caused by an activation of nerve fibers residing within the walls of the brain blood vessels that travel within the meninges. Just to quickly explain, meninges are the three membranes lining the skull and vertebral canal and encloses the brain and spinal cord.

Migraine headaches are repetitive episodes of throbbing pain ranging from moderate to severe in intensity. These typically affect one side of the head at a time. If an episode goes untreated it can potentially last anywhere from 4-72 hours.

Various factors can trigger the migraine cycle to begin and could differ from person to person, but may include sudden weather or environment changes, too much or not enough sleep, strong fragrances, emotion, stress, overexerting yourself, loud noises, motion sickness, low blood sugar, skipping meals, tobacco, depression, anxiety, head trauma, hangover, certain medications, hormonal changes, and bright or flashing lights. The cause in 50% of migraine sufferers were foods and ingredients. A few examples of the foods and ingredients that can trigger a migraine are aspartame, caffeine, or withdrawal from caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, aged cheeses, monosodium glutamate, numerous fruits and nuts, fermented or pickled goods, yeast, and cured or processed meats.

The four phases of a migraine, which all can be apparent during an episode, are:

1. Premonitory symptoms occurring up to 24 hours before developing a migraine. These symptoms can include food cravings, incomprehensible changes in moods, unmanageable yawning, fluid retention, and escalated urination.

2. Auras occur in some people causing them to immediately before and during the migraine see flashing or bright lights. Other people may experience muscle weakness or a feeling of being touched or grabbed.

3. Headaches can start and gradually build in severity, ultimately becoming a migraine. However, it is possible to suffer a migraine without a headache.

4. Postdrome can occur after a migraine, which is when someone feels exhausted or confused. This phase can potentially last up to 24 hours before the individual feels healthy again.

Besides the two main types of migraines, I will provide details on; there are eight others forms people may experience. I will share only the names of the additional types in this post but will do another post with the details in the next few days. The eight other types of migraines include Abdominal migraine, Basilar-type migraine, Hemiplegic migraine, menstrual-related migraine, Migraine without headache, Ophthalmologic migraine, Retinal migraine, and Status Migrainosus migraine. The following are the details regarding the two main migraine types.

1. Migraine with aura, also known as a classic migraine. Symptoms can show about 10-60 minutes before the headache begins and last no more than an hour. The symptoms may include visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, numbness, or muscle weakness on one side of the body, a sensation of tingling in the bands or face, nausea, loss of appetite, heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smell.

2. Migraine without aura also knows as a common migraine. The symptoms with this type include headache pain that happens without warning and typically felt on one side of the head, nausea, confusion, fatigue, blurred vision, altered moods, and an intense sensitivity to light, sound, or noise.

The most common type of headache is a tension headache, which was previously known as a muscle-contraction headache. This type of headache suggests the role of stress and mental or emotional pain triggers pain and contracting muscles in the neck, face, scalp, and jaw, missed meals, depression, anxiety, not enough sleep, or sleep apnea.

The pain that accompanies tension headache can range anywhere from mild to moderate and anything in between. Typically this feels like constant pressure is being forced onto the front of the face or to the head or neck. It can also feel like something is being tightened around the head and is felt on both sides of the head. Those that suffer from tension headaches may become very sensitive to light and sound, but do not go through the pre-headache aura that comes along with migraines. Tension headaches will begin to fade once the period of stress or other related causes ends.

Tension headache tends to begin during adolescence and reach the utmost activity in the 30’s. These headaches do affect women somewhat more than men.

Tension headache has two different forms:

1.Episodic tension headaches happen between 10 and 15 days each month and can last anywhere between 30 minutes to several days. Even though the pain is not disabling, the intensity of pain tends to increase with the regularity of the episodes.

2.Chronic tension headaches often happens more than 15 days monthly over 3 months. The pain involved with this form of headache is consistent over days or even months, it is felt on both sides of the head and can become extreme and disabling.

Both depression and anxiety can be the source of tension headaches. These can occur in the early morning or evenings when conflicts at home or work are expected. The various other causes include posture that strains the head or neck muscles, degenerative arthritis in the neck, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Cluster headaches are the most extreme form of primary headaches. This form of headache involves unforeseen, exceedingly painful headaches occurring in clusters. They typically occur at the same time of day and night for several weeks at a time. Cluster headaches affect one side of the head, frequently behind or around one eye, and may lead up to migraine-like aura and nausea. The pain involved peaks 5-10 minutes following the onset and persists at the same intensity up to 3 hours. Some will endure restlessness and agitation, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.

Cluster headaches can start at any age but typically begin between 20 and 50 years old. This form of headache commonly affects that smoke more than those that do not smoke and is seen more frequently in men than women. Cluster headache episodes do not last as long as migraines. Ordinarily, people will have 1-3 cluster headaches a day, with 2 cluster periods yearly, possibly separated by months free from any symptoms. Cluster periods are commonly inaccurately thought to be allergies because they do occur seasonally, normally in the spring or fall. It has been suggested that inconsistencies in the body’s sleep-wake cycle could be a cause of cluster headaches.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I am sorry this post was so incredibly long, but there is a lot of important information that needs to be shared. In my next few posts I will explain the miscellaneous primary headache forms, secondary headache disorders, treatments and diagnostics. I do hope the information in this post was helpful and offered some sort of comfort. Personally, I deal with migraines and tension headaches far too much and understand many others do as well. I want to encourage your comments because I know they will be amazing and even help others, including myself! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa