Boost your immune system

During the past year and a half, eighteen long months we have learned many valuable lessons about the world and those living in it. From coast to coast, throughout every country people have endured the stress, fear, and anxiety from a wildly contagious and deadly virus. Some of the most prominent issues with COVID-19 are the misinformation that has been shared in the news and social media, but also those that are refusing to get vaccinated and or wear a mask. Too many people have politized this virus, which should NEVER have been a political issue because it is science-based. This virus has already killed millions of innocent people worldwide and has not stopped. Throughout this post, I am going to share important information on the complications from COVID and ways we can strengthen our immune system to defend against illnesses and viruses.

COVID-19 may be different for each person that gets the virus, but some are going to be similar. Symptoms may range from minor to severe and even lead to death. The symptom may include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, fatigue, chills, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion, loss of smell or taste, nausea, and diarrhea. Some people are asymptomatic, which means they have the virus, but do not display any symptoms and are continuously spreading the virus.

Unfortunately, some people may experience COVID-19 complications that are caused by a condition called “cytokine storm”. This condition is when an infection prompts the immune system to flood the bloodstream with cytokines, which is are inflammatory proteins. These proteins may kill tissue and damage organs, and, in some situations, lung transplants will be required.

The immune system behaves similar to the way a security system we have in our homes does. My immune system does not behave the way it should, which is where my fears stem from. Although, our immune system is complex it is the first line of defense against illness. Our immunes system is comprised of various organs, cells, and proteins that have several vital roles, which include:

1. Fighting disease-causing germs such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi and eliminates them from our body.

2. Acknowledges and negates harmful substances from the environment

3. Fights disease-causing changes in the body.

Considering how crucial our immune system is and the ways all the variants of COVID-19 are impacting the world, we must do everything we can to keep our immune system healthy. Personally, the medication I take for my Multiple Sclerosis causes my immune system to be weak. Even though I have been fully vaccinated, I work from home, have groceries delivered, and rarely leave the house, I am still worried. On the rare occasion, I do leave my house, I do wear a mask because there is no way to know if the vaccine was effective for me. Also, I would not want to be an asymptomatic carrier and pass it onto someone else, even though they had the option to get the vaccine and did not.

Unfortunately, as we age our immune response capability may become reduced. With cases of COVID from the Delta variant steadily increasing, now is an important time to do everything we can to keep our immune system as healthy as possible. I am going to share several ways to help build and maintain a healthy immune system. Before you continue reading, please remember I am not a physician, nutritionist, or health expert, this is just information I have learned through a little research.

Maintaining good gut health could be the golden ticket! It has been suggested that doctors believe up to 80% of our immune system is found in our gut. A diet that is abundant with plant-based and unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spice display a protective effect. Utilizing this type of diet can reduce inflammation and promote good gut bacteria, which establishes stronger immune health.

As COVID-19 continues to mutate into different and more contagious variants, continuing good hand hygiene is crucial. Washing our hands multiple times, a day for at least 20 seconds is the best and most effective way to not spread bacteria, viruses, and infections. You can count to 20 each time you wash your hands, or you can sing happy birthday or Mary had a little lamb 2 times as you wash your hands!

Continue or start taking vitamins daily. Vitamin C supplies immune defense by assisting cell function and defending against environmental contributors. If you do not want to take a vitamin C supplement, there are several natural sources including oranges, strawberries, spinach, kiwi, and grapefruit. Vitamin D can increase the immune response and defend against respiratory conditions. Of course, there are vitamin D supplements, but 10 minutes of sun exposure a day is an effective natural source.

We have all heard many times that stress is a silent killer, but it also harms our immune system as well. Stress can cause us to produce additional levels of cortisol and cytokine, which triggers inflammation. Stress can also decrease the number of white blood cells in our body that help fight off infections. Discovering ways that work best for us will restore much of what is needed for a healthy and fulfilled life.

Developing a schedule to get an adequate amount of sleep every night can help boost our immune system. Research suggests that less than six hours of sleep each night might make someone four times more likely to get sick, than someone that does get the proper amount of sleep. Our body depends on a full night’s rest to replenish cells and proteins. Of course, during the workweek, it is easier to stay with a sleep schedule because we have a set time our workday will begin, but we should use the same sleep schedule on the weekends as well

If you are currently a smoker, it is time to quit. Smoking does so many awful things to our bodies and increases the risk of cancer. There are many programs available to help you quit smoking, but it does take you making the first step! If you drink alcohol, it is best to only do this in moderation. Alcohol not only creates negative impacts on our physical body but also on our mental health.

Staying hydrated might not protect us fully from viruses but becoming dehydrated has many negative impacts on us that can easily be avoided. Dehydration can cause terrible headaches and hinder our physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, heart, and kidney function. I have mentioned before the importance of staying hydrated and provided a few useful tips. I drink water all day and even have a bottle beside my bed at night, so if I become thirsty it is available. I have purchased a few phenomenal bottles on Amazon that keep my water cold all day. I leave one bottle in the freezer, filled halfway with water so when I take it out there is ice in the bottom that helps keep the water even colder! I will share a link to the bottles that I have and hope you will find them as helpful as I do! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0764PGKL4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I hope the information I have shared will be helpful for you. I know there are many other ways we can work to keep our immune health the best it can be, so if you have other advice, please share with us! I have already said before, the vaccine is free, and everyone needs to get this as soon as possible. Being vaccinated and or wearing a mask will save lives. The people that are not getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are contributing to the death count, which is wrong and selfish.

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you are having a relaxing, safe, and wonderful weekend! I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to 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

End of Long Week

Happy Friday y’all! I do not know about you, but this has been a very long week. Work has been extremely busy, which I do prefer because it makes the days go much faster, but it has been pure chaos. One of my biggest problems is I second guess myself far too much. It seems like 99.9% of the time my first thought on the way something should go is correct. There was a specific situation yesterday that I thought I incorrectly added something and asked one of my co-workers for advice. Unfortunately, when I made a simple comment that I thought they were mistaken because certain fees are supposed to be added into the file this person did not take kindly to my comment. Turns out I was correct and need to learn to go with my first instinct on most things. 

Due to the week being so long and busy, I have not been able to do any posts or write at all, which I do not like. Writing has always been something that helps me when I am struggling with any aspect of life, so not being able to write has caused many feelings to fester up inside. There has been a lot building up in my mind, which is never a good thing, and I am not the type to not speak my mind. I have always been an open book and what you see is what you get, so holding feelings in is not who I am. The truth is, I am my own biggest critic and am always way too hard on myself.

I have been working on a post about one thing that has been bothering me but have not been able to complete it yet. I think y’all know how much COVID has caused me to stress and much frustration because I have and will continue doing what is necessary, but so many others are still refusing to do so. This does not make sense to me, and I am afraid it never will. I could understand people refusing to get the vaccine if it was expensive, like everything else with healthcare in the United States but it is FREE. I completely understanding people not wanting to wear a mask because they are very uncomfortable, but they stop the spread of a deadly virus and save lives.

Many of us have a weakened immune system due to underlying health conditions, so staying healthy and safe can be challenging. This is the post I have been working on for several days but still have not finished it. There are ways to give our immune system a boost and the ways are not too difficult. I am hoping for my post about this to be published by tomorrow or at least by the end of the weekend, so please stay tuned.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I always appreciate your time and look forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can! I hope you have had a good week and you are looking forward to a relaxing and safe weekend! I am sure you will not be surprised, but I do not have plans for the upcoming weekend, which I like! The workweeks are so long and full of things we must do, and it is nice to enjoy the weekend no matter how short it is with nothing we have to do. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Happy Tuesday

~One Day Down, Four To Go~

How has your week been so far? I mean, I know it was only one day, but Monday sure was a doozy. There were a few reasons why yesterday was not the best Monday, but it also was not the worse. It was my first day back in my old position at work, which I realized quickly how much I forgot in the two or so weeks I was away from it. The funny thing was, everything came back to me slowly or more like a nightmare. I am just kidding it was no where near as bad as a nightmare, but it was a little unpleasant for the first few hours. I think the biggest part of it was that I missed the team I was with for two weeks before, but more so the supervisor!

Another reason yesterday will NOT be on a list oft best Mondays was because it rained on and off all day. Rainy days always increase my pain levels, which was already high. I guess maybe my body was trying to warn me the rain was coming a few days in advance, but it would have been nice if it has waited a little while so I did not have to cope with a week of rain pain! I hate to admit this because it makes me feel weak, but the leg and back pain has been so out of control it hurts to walk.

The other reason yesterday was not great, but it was not awful is because I left work a little early to go to my lab appointment. Of course, the lab was behind and I had to wait nearly 45 minutes, but the rest of the appointment was fine. I might be unusual, but I enjoy getting blood drawn. I find watching the needle go into my vein and pulling out a few vials of blood interesting. The labs were just what is needed because of the MS medicine, but I was also having my antibodies tested for COVID. It is important I know if I am safe or not. I will let y’all know what the results are when I get them back!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have a great Tuesday and your week only gets better. Unfortunately, the numbers for new COVID cases is increasing, but that is due to those who are refusing to get the vaccine. I just ask y’all to continue doing what you can to stay safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Doctor’s Appointment & Nasty Rainy Day

Torrential downpour and non-driving people on the interstate drive me insane! I already hate driving but driving in the rain I despise more than I could ever explain. I left work early yesterday to go to my appointment with the pain management doctor, while the hour and a half drive there was fine besides the 18-wheeler trucks, the drive home was terrifying because the rain was so intense, I could not even see the front of my vehicle at times. There was a point that I almost pulled over to try waiting out the rain, but I really wanted to get home, so I continued driving very slowly, which is not like me.

I will never understand why doctors bother scheduling appointments because they are always running behind at least 45 minutes. My appointment yesterday was scheduled for 2:00, but the extremely sweet Nurse Practitioner did not come into the exam room until 2:40. Normally, I would have been frustrated, but like I said the NP is a sweet lady and I like her, so I remained patient and kept myself entertained shopping and writing a little.

These appointments are always so quick, well once the NP comes in the room, but it seems like a long drive. I am just glad she is allowing me to do these follow- up appointments every three months, instead of every other month. Overall, everything went just as well as it always does. She has even suggested a topical medication that might help with the neuropathy my legs and feet deal with daily, so I am happy about this. I do have to wait on the specialty pharmacy to call me back once they deal with the insurance company.

The hour and a half drive home felt like an eternity. Several times during the trip home, it was raining so hard that I could not even see the hood of my vehicle. I did stay in the slow lay, going no more than 40 mph. It was terrifying though because other cars were still speeding and that always frightens me, especially because I know they cannot drive when the sun is shining, and the ground is dry. There were a handful of times I considered pulling off at a rest stop to try waiting for the rain to stop, but I wanted to get home and work another hour to not have to use PTO. Even though it took me almost two hours to get home, I did make it without having an accident. Crazy times driving on an interstate in the south!

Thank you for visiting my site today. This was just giving an update on a doctor’s appointment, but I felt it was something good to write about. I hope you enjoyed it, and I would love the opportunity to read your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can. Please remember that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, support, comfort, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Summer heat & Multiple Sclerosis

It is one of last days of May and the summer heat is already extreme and dominating the south parts of the United States. For those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis, we all know that heat is one of our biggest enemies. Unfortunately, where I live in the United States, we are already fighting with temperatures in the 90’s, so I can only imagine how hot it will be in the dead of summer, but I am dreading it!

There are a lot of people that live with Multiple Sclerosis that experience temporary worsening of symptoms when the weather is exceedingly hot and or humid. Unfortunately, it only takes a quarter to a half-degree increase in the body’s core temperature for someone’s symptoms to worsen. The elevation in temperatures impairs the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses. Simple activities such as sunbathing, exercising, or taking a hot bath or shower all can have the same effects. Some have noticed their vision becoming blurred when they get overheated, which is a phenomenon known as Uhthoff’s sign.

Even though the heat can cause symptoms to worsen temporarily, it does not cause additional disease activity. The symptoms that worsen when overheated will improve once you cool down. May years ago, before there was better testing for MS, doctors used the “hot bath test” to diagnose MS. When a doctor suspected a person had MS, they would immerse the individual in a hot tub of water, and the appearance of or worsening of neurologic symptoms confirmed the person had MS.

While temperatures are increasingly warmer, it is crucial for those with MS and experiencing heat sensitivity to do what they can to combat these challenges. The following are the best ways to deal with the heat:

1. During extreme heat and humidity, stay inside in the air conditioning. There are specific times during the day when the heat is more intense, so it may be beneficial to pay close attention to the weather. Normally, the heat is not as bad during the early mornings, but as the day goes on it gets much hotter.

2. Utilize cooling produces, such as cooling vests, wraps, and bandanas. These products can be purchase online and be extremely helpful when you do need to be outside, even for short times. The following are a few vendors that offer these products:

https://glaciertek.com/ phone number is 800-482-0533 Try the PROMO CODE ‘NMSS-15’ for a 15% discount.

https://www.mistymate.com/. Try PROMO CODE ‘SS10’ for a 10% discount

https://onyxcool.com/. The phone number is 651-212-6600. Try PROMO CODE ‘NMSSCool25’ for a 25% discount

https://opalcool.com/. Try PROMO CODE ‘NMSSCool25’ for a 25% discount

https://polar-products.com/. The phone number is 800-597-0618. Try PROMO CODE ‘NMSS18’ for a 15% discount + a free Polar Cool Tie with every order.

https://steelevest.com/. The phone number is 888-783-3538. Try PROMO CODE ‘NMSS2021’ for a 10% discount (min. $20 order)

https://www.thermapparel.com/health. The phone number is 855-232-7233. Try PROMO CODE ‘Undercool’ for a 10% discount

You may also be able to contact the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for assistance as well.  https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Find-Support/Ask-an-MS-Navigator. Or you can call them at 1-800-344-4867.

3. Wearing lightweight, loose, and breathable clothing.

4. Stay hydrated. Drinking cold beverages and eating popsicles can help to keep you cool. Many great products that help to keep beverages cold and buying two of these items can be greatly beneficial because while one is in the freezer, you can be drinking out of the other. I bought two of these items on Amazon so I could keep one in the freeze and drink out of the one that is cold, but there are many others. This is the link for the ones that I have https://www.amazon.com/Swell-10017-B19-36640-Stainless-Bottle-degrade/dp/B07WQFMPF7/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=S%27well+Stainless+Steel+Water+Bottle+-+17+Fl+Oz+-&qid=1622390586&s=home-garden&sr=1-

5. If you exercise, do so either in a cool pool or in a cooler environment.

It has been a little while, but the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is where I was able to get mine from and they are helpful. If all else fails, you can always google these products and I am sure you will find something that will work for you. As you already know, everyone is different and has different challenges with MS, but if you are anything like I am the weather poses awful issues. It does not matter if it is hot or cold temperatures, they both cause me to experience issues. The cold causes me to tense up, which makes my pain much worse. The heat causes me to feel even more fatigue and does affect my vision.

I hope this information will help you while dealing with the extreme heat. I know a few of you might be in a country that is not dealing with the summer months right now, but for those of you that are do everything you can to stay inside or at least in the air conditioning. If I must leave the house now, I try doing so at night after the sun has gone down or in the morning before it gets too hot. Of course, for some doctor’s appointments, I cannot do anything about the times, but I do stay hydrated. I love Fiji water because I think it tastes much better than any other water. I also like Grape or Kiwi Strawberry Propel waters. I honestly cannot remember the last time I drank a caffeinated beverage and feel much better without them! If I drink any soda during the day, it is at night with dinner but only one.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I do look forward to reading any comments or additional advice you might have. I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. I hope you are having a nice three-day weekend and hope you are staying safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Triggers and Ways To Avoid Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa

9 Multiple Sclerosis Facts

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

A few additional facts regarding MS to understand are:

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

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

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

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

B Neurologist Exam

C. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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

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

F. Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

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

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

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

*An inability to concentrate or pay attention

*Decreased problem-solving skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

~Let Us Begin This Week With All Positive Thoughts~

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa

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

Finally, some good news!

Good afternoon y’all! I was not able to do my normal Let It Go Friday post, but do have an even better one to share with y’all! I hope you had a good week, and you are ready to enjoy your weekend safely! Do y’all have any plans for the weekend? We were thinking about going to look at kittens, but I think we are putting this on hold for a little while. We might hold off for summertime because there is a ragdoll mama that will be having kittens and they will be available!

There is always so much bad news we hear about daily, so when we finally get good news it is something to celebrate and share! I believe I told y’all that I was waiting for my reapproval for my Gilenya copay assistance. This medication had worked very well keeping my Multiple Sclerosis at bay, which is wonderful. The only problem with this medication is the cost. With insurance, but without copay assistance, this medication would cost $8,000 per month. Logically, who can afford something this outrageous?

I had mailed the application to the Gilenya Go Program about 2 weeks ago because I do not have a fax machine at home, we all know how slow mail is! Anyways, last week I received a request for additional information from the Gilenya Go Program. Thankfully, while I was at my doctor’s appointment last week, the nice ladies there faxed the paperwork that was requested for me. Today, I heard the BEST news I have heard all month, and my application was approved. Instead of paying $8,000 per month for this medication, I will pay nothing!

Of course, I have not had an appointment with my Neurologist to go over the results from my MRI, but I did read the report. From what I read and not having a medical license, it appeared that the results were stable, and nothing had changed from the previous MRI I had a few years ago. In my naïve and not professional thoughts, no change is much better than changes for the worst! This is all thanks to the Gilenya that I take daily for my MS. Previously, after I had an MRI, I dreaded the results because there were normally negative results. 

I have an appointment on March 23rd to hear my neurologist talk about the results in medical terms. I am not dreading this appointment because from what I read, my results are not awful and remaining better than they were in the past! I am just extremely relieved that my application with the Gilenya Go Program was approved and I will be able to get the medication every month, without any delays or problems!

Thank you for stopping by my site today! I know we are all busy and I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrong, and share your amazing comments. I hope you have a great Friday and a fantastic, and safe weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa