Appointment Update and other thoughts

I was unusually nervous about my appointment today with the Neurologist. I always worry they are going to give me the bad news and that the MS is progressing. It is always something that weighs on my mind and remains in the back of my mind. I know it is irrational, but it is a concern that I live with. Thankfully, the appointment went well, and the PA does not think the MS is progressing. She understands that the issues I am experiencing are worse than they have been, but it is something we will be working on. There is another medication she would like for me to try to help the neuropathy pain, but I am not sure I am completely comfortable with it. She also mentioned a therapy that might help with the increased dizziness I have been dealing with as well.

The medication the PA would like for me to try for Neuropathy issues is Lyrica. If anyone reading this has tried this medication, please let me know how it worked for you and if it is worth trying or if I should not bother. I am a little nervous to try different medications and other neurologists have recommended this before, but I refused. Yes, I know I am stubborn and sometimes we must take chances.  I would love to read your opinions on this!

I know the reason I did not sleep well last night is that my nerves were out of control. Crazy how being nervous about a simple appointment can keep you up at night or just not allow for a decent night’s sleep. Of course, I did wake up before the alarm went off, but I did wake up to good news! I do not live in the state of Georgia, but I was focused on the senate run-off election in the state. I was not and never will be a supporter of Herschel Walker because every word that came out of his mouth was a lie. Please excuse me for my next comment, but I did not think someone could lie more than the former President, but Herschel Walker proved me wrong on that!

I am not foolish enough to think any politician is honest, but to hear Herschel Walker speak his lies was offensive and a complete disgrace to the American people. I know how controversial abortion is and everyone has an opinion, but if you have already paid for several, you are obviously not against it. It is hard for me to support any politician because I think honesty is important, but it seems to be a lost personality trait in way too many people. Sometimes it might be hard to be truthful about things and it takes a strong person to overcome this, but it is critical to be truthful!

Is it just me or does it seem like people have lost the ability to be understanding and kind to others? This is something that bothers me tremendously because I feel that people should always be kind to one another. It does not matter if we agree with each other because we are never going to always agree with everything another person does. We are “supposed” to be living in a free country, which to me means we are entitled to our opinions. I know that I am firm in my beliefs and will not allow anyone to change my mind, but I also do not try to change how someone else feels.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have enjoyed what I have shared, and I do look forward to reading your comments. I will also appreciate any thoughts you may have about Lyrica. I hope you are having a good day and your afternoon is amazing! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Toxicity in The United States

The United States has been suffering from mass levels of toxicity for decades. Unfortunately, there have been and continue to be numerous issues that are engulfing most of us living in the United States. These toxic behaviors and thoughts are seeping into the rest of the world daily. The catastrophic events and issues Americans have faced end up being shown on the news for the entire world to view, which is shameful and a complete disgrace. It is tragic as an American to know about the devastations we are enduring, mostly due to those with bad intentions that are full of anger and hatred. Sadly, many have become desensitized, and the pain others are experiencing does not cause them any distress☹.

One issue that appears much worst in the United States than in any other country is gun violence. In other countries, when there was one case of gun violence, the country took the proper measures and banned guns for everyone. In the United States, you are unable to watch the news or read articles on any news outlets without seeing about shootings with or without casualties. There have been numerous school shootings in the United States and this needs to stop. Children and teens should never have easy access to a gun of any kind. If a parent or another adult in the household chooses to have a gun, they should take necessary safety measures.

Many Americans seem to believe because it is the 2nd Amendment is the right to bear arms that everyone deserves to own a gun, but there need to be more laws that are followed. We do not have to be in war times with each other or anyone else. There also needs to be more education involved regarding the purchase of a gun and gun ownership. An individual who has mental health issues and is a threat to themselves or others or has a criminal record should not be able to own a weapon, which I know is already a law, but it needs to be enforced much better. I do know of at least one person that has a criminal record of violence and the person was able to not only purchase a gun but was also given a concealed weapon permit.

Another major issue that seems to be much worst in the United States is the opioid crisis. I have wondered why this seems to be the case and what I have discovered was not too surprising. The people that are to blame for this crisis are the greedy pharmaceutical companies pushing the dangerous and addictive medications, the doctors who are overprescribing these drugs, and the drug dealers who are selling fentanyl. Of course, many people are suffering from chronic pain due to illnesses or are gravely ill due to cancer. Unfortunately, some are addicts and careless. The overdose death rate in the United States is twice as much as in any other country in the world. Preventable opioid deaths are occurring among individuals between the age of 25 to 54. The overdose deaths of those older than 55 are increasing rapidly. The drug dealers that are pushing the extremely deadly drug fentanyl are out of control which has been the cause of 80% of the overdose deaths in 2022.

A very controversial issue in the United States is abortion. This was a legal action for women for almost 50 years. I am not saying that I am pro or against abortion, but I am pro-freedom. This includes for a woman to have the freedom to decide what she does with her own body. You can probably say that I am pro-choice! If a woman gets pregnant after unprotected and consensual sex and can admit she does not have the means to provide for a child or she is raped and decides she cannot carry her rapist’s child, it is her body and her choice to terminate the pregnancy. If the United States wants to continue saying we are a free country, then a woman should be free to her body. Doctors and the government should not be in control of a woman’s body in a free country!

Mental health has been a critical issue in the United States for many decades. There is a very negative stigma that surrounds mental health causing people to feel shame and afraid to try getting help. Even when a person decides they want help, there are limited resources for them to do so. Once they can locate a facility that offers the help they desperately need, the wait list is so long, and the expenses are too high causing them to give up. We need more places to be readily available and affordable to help those who are suffering silently from mental health issues. We need to find ways to remove the negative stigma and be more open to anyone with mental instabilities. This could be a solution that may prevent mass shootings and suicide.

The United States is the only developed country that does not offer free healthcare, but instead, the cost is on a steady and consistent rise. The increase in the cost of healthcare in 2022 was 6% and is expected to increase another 5%. This is ludicrous and unacceptable! The United States is the wealthiest country in the world by a long shot. With this fact, why can healthcare not be a free right for everyone? So many people cannot afford healthcare in America and therefore are left to suffer from ailments and diseases. Even those with expensive healthcare still nearly can go bankrupt due to all the other costs. In a country with outlandish wealth, no human being should ever have to suffer from illness or disease without affordable healthcare.

In my entire 41 years in the world, I have only lived in the United States. I have lived in the northern and southern states, so I do not know if equality is an issue in other countries but do know it is a major issue in the United States. People are judged and treated differently based on where they are from, the color of their skin, religious beliefs, political following, and who they love. None of this makes sense to me and never will. We are all human beings and while I do have my strong views on certain things, I do not judge or think negatively about how others view things or how they live their lives. I only judge and feel a certain way about others based on how they treat other people. I wish everyone from sea to shining sea could learn ways to express love and acceptance more because hate is only going to destroy the planet, we are sharing.

As broken as the country and system appear, there must still be hope for it to be better. The good and honest men that fought for this country many years ago should not have risked their lives in vain. Mine and my husband’s late Grandfathers were a couple of these amazing, strong, and kindhearted men who fought for this country. Their risks along with countless others should be remembered and we should be doing better for people like them and stop the evil hatred the world is conflicted with. Hatred and misery will never do anything positive for anyone, but they will damage the people we love.

Thank you for visiting my site today. Even though what I have shared was emotional and safe, I do hope you found it interesting. I am aware not everyone is going to agree with every word of this post, but this is how I feel about things in the country I live in, and it breaks my heart. I wish the world could be filled with love and compassion, but I do not have any control over how others behave and can only control myself. We do not have to agree with our family or friends, but we need to be respectful of their feelings. I am looking 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

Quick Sunday Thought

Sunday is “supposed” to be a day to relax and get ready for the week ahead of us, right? Unfortunately, I woke up early this morning with a killer headache/migraine. I am not sure what caused this to happen, but it has left me thinking the “daith” piercing might not help these. I do tend to get sick with a cold or something like that every time there is a weather change, which could explain the body aches and head pain. Needless to say, it was not a good Sunday for me at least.

It did not help that my pain doctor screwed up and NEVER called my refill in for today like she was “supposed” to. I called the pharmacy on Friday afternoon to follow up and ensure the Nurse Practitioner did what she was supposed to. When I learned the Nurse Practitioner did not call this in, I did call the office and was told they were taking care of it. They did NOT! Sadly, we need to make sure our doctors do what they are supposed to, especially with our medications, but I guess it is what it is! I am unsure if this is just an issue with medical professionals in the United States or if it is worldwide!

I hope you have had a nice and relaxing weekend. Do you have issues with your doctors or Nurse Practitioners not doing what they are supposed to do? How do you handle these issues? I already left a voicemail for my doctor’s office to let them know their so-called care is unacceptable. I am not sure they fully understand what it is like to live life in constant pain because if they did I am sure they would not be so incompetent and inconsiderate.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as I can. I feel confident that most of you understand my frustration with my doctor’s office, so I would love to know how you would handle things. I try to always be polite, but I think that seems to make them think I am a pushover and they can screw up. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Heat, Headaches, and MS Hug

For the past several days I forced myself through my workday and the things that I had to do. Unfortunately, I was unable to do any posts, work on my essay for the writing competition, or read because I have been battling a headache that seemed to be never-ending. Anytime I thought it was improving, I was proven to be incorrect when the massive pounding in my head returned with a vengeance.

Many of you reading this post today and may have visited my site before are already aware that I have Multiple Sclerosis. Anyone new to my site, thank you for taking the time to visit and I hope you will return. I enjoy writing about various topics and hope you will enjoy what I write about as well.

I have lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years, so basically more than half of my life. Over all these years, I have had numerous challenges, setbacks, disappointments, frustrations which fueled stress, and enough tears to fill the ocean. The one thing I have not experienced is giving up and letting MS control my life.

One of the main reasons why I refuse to give up is I made a promise to my late grandfather shortly after my diagnosis that I would always continue to try to move forward, and I would never surrender to MS. Although he has been gone for almost 9 years, I will continue to keep the promise I made to him. It might help that I am also extremely stubborn and obviously a born fighter, just not the violent type of fighter😊!

During the 20-plus years of living with MS, I have dealt with vision impairments, numbness, various forms of pain, stress from the harshness of symptoms, fears from potential disease progression, changing and deciding the right medications, relapse, neuropathy, doctor’s appointments, dizziness, and much more. Most of my pain does not prevent me from living my life and I just push through it and try my best to ignore it. After all the years of experiencing head pain, I am still unable to tolerate it. Unfortunately, it does not matter how many headaches I have already had in my life or how often I battle with them in any given week, the headache always wins our war.

There once was a time when I had a headache, I could take Advil and lay down with an ice pack for an hour or so and the headache would be gone. I wish I could explain how much I miss those days! Unfortunately, over the past few years, nothing provides me with any relief. Although I had many reservations, I ended up trying everything my doctors recommended, but they were all a complete waste of time and money because they did not help. I have tried combinations of over-the-counter medications, such as Advil, Excedrin, and Sudafed, which have helped more than anything else.

Over the past several days, not only was I dealing with the headache straight from hell but the invasive tight band feeling also known as the “MS Hug” visited me. The only good thing about COVID was social distancing, but I guess the MS Hug did not get the memo. I am just speculating, but I think I am experiencing the tight band feeling because of stress, the insane heat, or a nasty combination of the two.

This outrageous and uncontrollable heat is my enemy because it always causes me to feel awful. Over the weekend, I had to run out to two different stores and when I finally made it back home, I told my husband I am not leaving the house again during the day until at least November. I am pretty sure if the temperatures get any hotter, it will be the death of me. I do understand that this massive heat is being felt all around the world, and I do not think anyone can say global warming is not real anymore.

How are y’all handling the incredibly dangerous heat? One thing that I believe helps is to stay hydrated. I have four different stainless steel insulated water bottles. I fill the bottles about a quarter of the way with water and put them in the freezer. This makes it so I always have ice-cold water handy! I strongly recommend them, especially during the summer months. These stainless-steel insulated water bottles are very affordable on Amazon and there are any colors you can think of😊!

Another thing I recommend during these HOT summer months is if you must leave the house, start your car, and let the A/C run for a few minutes. It is never a good idea to try driving when you are hot because you could get overheated, which can cause you to feel dizzy and faint. The heat can do some terrible things to our bodies and minds, so it is best to do everything we can to stay as cool as possible.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope what I have shared was helpful for you. If you have any other suggestions regarding staying cool with these drastic temperatures, please share. Also, if you have experienced the evil MS hug, is there anything you do that helps? I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as soon as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Each person that lives with Multiple Sclerosis will have a unique journey, as this illness impacts everyone differently. I believe this is one reason why it is often referred to as the “snowflake” disease. The symptoms are vastly different from person to person, and we all handle the symptoms in our way. Of course, each symptom is frustrating, but some can be much easier to tolerate or even get used to. 

For over twenty years, I have battled with Multiple Sclerosis. When I was diagnosed, I was young and did not have extensive knowledge regarding the disease I would be forced to live with for the rest of my life. I was terrified, angry, sad, confused, and everything in between with the diagnosis because of what I did know about MS. I knew MS did not have a cure and it could be extremely unpredictable and there was a possibility to become disabled. Given my age, I was naïve and could not see any hope for my future, which made acceptance almost impossible.

Over the last two decades, I have experienced many different symptoms that had a variety of challenges. For instance, the first and only symptom I had was optic neuritis. This is commonly one of the first symptoms of MS. Optic Neuritis is a temporary problem. When the optic nerve is inflamed it can cause pain and partial or complete vision loss. Typically, this issue gets better on its own, but some cases require steroid medication to reduce the inflammation. 

During the early years after being diagnosed, I went through several frustrating days. Accepting the doctor’s diagnosis was painful and emotionally draining. Every appointment would start with me being argumentative and dismissive of anything the doctor said but would then end in tears. I could not fathom why I had this condition or why my life had to be altered so drastically and at a very young age. The truth is, I have always been a strong-willed person who could take care of herself without any help! I’ve never wanted to rely on anyone for help and was scared I would have to at some point in my life. 

The other frustrating part was deciding on a medication to slow down the progression of the disease. Back then my choices were limited to injections. I have never had an issue with needles but did not think there would be a way to give myself a shot. Even though I hated the options offered, I decided to try one that was three times a day. Unfortunately, after successfully giving myself a shot Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a few months, the miserable side effects became too much for me to handle and I started slacking the medication, which made things worst. My first Neurologist was a sweet elderly man who has patience for days. He knew my fears, so to convince me to decide on another medication, he used my fears against me. It was a ruthless way of forcing someone to decide, but it did work. 

Of the various symptoms involved with MS, I did not suffer from pain in my early years. Unfortunately, during the past ten or so years, my pain issues have become increasingly more problematic. There has not been even a second, I have not experienced at least one form of pain. Considering it has been going on for so many years, there is a HUGE part of me that expects it and I can manage. Before I had MS, there were many types of pain I did not know existed. 

Through the rest of this post I am going to explain the different types of pain I deal with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without a break in between. The reason I am doing this today is that my pain levels have become more intense and now in addition to all the other pains, my right shoulder and arm hurt so bad I can barely move my arm. I know my pain has become worst because of the incredible amount of stress I am under, which I am assuming is why my right shoulder hurts too. 

Although everyone has a different experience with MS, pain is a common symptom. Pain affects approximately two-thirds of people with MS worldwide and can impact their daily activities such as work and recreation, moods, and the ability to enjoy life. Most pain is a direct result of MS and is caused by damage to the nerves in the central nervous system. There are other forms of pain due to changes in the body due to MS, which could include experiencing weakness in your arms and legs, which forces you to walk differently causing pain in the back and hips. 

Neuropathic pain stems directly from damage to the nerves in MS. Pain from weakness, stiffness, or other mobility challenges is thought to be Musculoskeletal pain. Neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain can be acute with a rapid onset and short duration or chronic, which starts gradually and stays persistent. 

Neuropathic pain is miserable and, in my experience, not much helps ease the pain. This occurs due to “short-circuiting” of the nerves which carry signals from the brain to the body because of damage from MS. The pain sensation feels like burning, stabbing, sharp, and squeezing. The best way for me to describe this is, that it feels like spiders are having a constant dance party on my legs and feet. Neuropathic pain can be acute and chronic. 

FOUR TYPES OF ACUTE NEUROPATHIC PAIN

Trigeminal Neuralgia- stabbing pain in the face or jaw area. This can be misinterpreted as dental pain. Most often it is unpredictable, so we do not know when it will occur, but it does come and go.

Lhermitte’s Sign- is a brief stabling, electric-shock sensation that runs from the back of the head down the spine and possibly into the arms and legs. This can manifest by bending the neck forward. It typically means there is or has been damaged to the cervical spine from MS.

MS Hug- is a squeezing sensation around the torse. This feels like a snake is wrapped around your body and refuses to let go until it takes the breath out of you. An MS hug is the kind of hug no one wants and is an invasion of personal space!

Paroxysmal Spasms- is a periodic and painful tightening of muscles. For instance, this can happen in your arm or leg several times throughout the day and night.

Chronic neuropathic pain is normally the continuance of acute pain. This is unpredictable and may be experienced daily. Several issues can increase the likelihood to experience this pain, such as stress, fatigue, illnesses, and becoming overheated. 

Musculoskeletal pain with MS occurs because of weakness, stiffness or coordination struggles that change your walking or other mobility. This is often seen in the hips, legs, arms, and normally when muscles, tendons, and ligaments are immobile for a long period of time. 

Headaches and migraines are other common symptoms of MS. Although I deal with numerous other forms of pain daily, I am unable to tolerate migraines. These put me in the bed with an ice pack for hours and often even when I try to sleep them away, they are still present when I wake up. I have dealt with pain for many years and it never gets easier, but I also know crying or giving up does not fix the issues. I just try to keep pushing forward the best I can. 

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found what I have shared interesting and that it helps you with anything you are experiencing. I hope you have had a safe and relaxing 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

Good News, Finally!

Hello and welcome to Saturday! Hopefully, you will have a nice, relaxing, and safe weekend! There are so many challenging and disturbing things happening in the world today and unfortunately, many of these challenges feel like they will not end. Ukraine is still under siege, but the people are staying as strong as they can. I admire the Ukrainian people’s determination and their President’s strong will to stand for his country. We all need a leader that has hope, loyalty, faith, and strength in the country they represent. I know I have said this in all of my posts recently, but please continue to pray for those in Ukraine because they need as many prayers and hope as we can offer.

After several days of being stressed about getting the medication needed to prevent my Multiple Sclerosis from progressing, I finally heard from the Gilenya Go Program yesterday morning. I was terrified I was going to be forced to go without the Gilenya for an extended period, but thankfully I am going to be receiving it on Wednesday. Missing three days of this medication will not cause too many issues, so my stress levels have decreased somewhat. I am fully aware of how bad stress is for everyone, but it causes me to experience unwanted relapses.

What do you have planned for the weekend? As always, I do not have anything super exciting planned, but I will be working on the essay for the writing contest and the short story I have been working on. I also have a few posts that I want to finish before the weekend is over. I am wanting to finish the book I have been reading by one of my favorite authors, James Patterson. I find James Patterson’s writing to be inspiring and amazing. If you were able to meet one author, would you want to meet? I think it would be amazing to meet and chat with James Patterson because I would love to understand where his thoughts and processes come from.

Thank you for stopping by my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared, and I look forward to reading your comments. I promise to respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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

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

Brain Health with Multiple Sclerosis

~Ways To Keep Your Brain Healthy~

Living with Multiple Sclerosis over the past twenty years has taught me a lot about strength, determination, and the power of the mind. Of course, I am always wanting to learn more about different ways to beat this unpredictable illness and I would like to share with y’all something that I learned with research. I have said this in previous posts, but feel it is important to say again, I am not a doctor or a medical professional and what I write about when discussing anything related to the medical field is based on my research.

It is common knowledge that Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the brain and nervous system. With that said, I am going to explain 5 approaches that can help protect our brain health.

1. See a neurologist:

A neurologist is a doctor that specializes in the nervous system, which includes the brain. There are several ways a neurologist can be helpful that include, but not limited to:

A . Monitor any progression of the condition we are dealing with.

B. Evaluate the treatment plan to ensure it is providing the best prevention of progression and or disability.

C. When necessary, recommend changes to the current treatment plan

D. Disclose information regarding any new and/or experimental treatment options.

I think it is crucial to have a neurologist you trust and are comfortable with because they are the ones helping prevent the progression of the specific disease. This type of specialist tends to have a personality of a gnat, but there is one out there for all of us. Over my 20 year stretch with Multiple Sclerosis, I have seen around 5 or 6 and at least 3 of them did not work because I did not trust their abilities, nor did I feel comfortable with them. You must feel comfortable and trust the specialist you see because your health is basically in their hands.

2. Discover the disease-modifying treatment (DMT) that works best for you:

Disease-modifying treatments are a class of medications that were designed to slow the progression of MS. These medications can help in several ways which include, but not limited to:

A. Ward off the growth of lesions on the brain and/or spinal cord

B. Decrease the frequency and seriousness of relapses.

C. Diminish the risk of disability.

The specialist you see should be able to explain the various types of DMT’s, which include explaining the potential benefits and risks of each. During my MS journey, I have tried several and found some that worked well for other people but did not work for me. I think it can be one of those trial-and-error situations. I learned quickly that I cannot do shots and it has nothing to do with the needle, as I do not have a fear of needles, but everything to do with the side effects I could not handle.

3. Be involved with Cognitive Rehabilitation:

Cognitive rehabilitation entails utilizing memory or learning exercises to improve cognitive functioning. These exercises have the potential to help many things which include the following: Memory, learning, and attention.

4. Find time for mentally stimulation activities:

If we try taking part in mentally stimulating activities daily, it can increase brain volume and expand our cognitive reserves. By doing these activities daily or at least every other day, they can help protect us from memory loss and other cognitive changes. Simply giving our brain a good workout with thought-provoking activities could prove to be fun and keep our brain healthy. It may be beneficial to make time in our schedule for something such as:

A. Complete a crossword puzzle, Sudoku puzzle, or any other word or numbers game. I love Sudoku puzzles but have never been good with crossword puzzles, but then again, I have not actually tried.

B. Read books, magazines, or other types of materials.

C. Write diary/journal entries, short stories, or poetry (all for your eyes only if you choose)

D. Paint, sculpt, or other types of work of art.

5. Try getting some exercise:

Getting a little regular physical activity is vital for our overall health. This does not mean we must join a gym and go every day; it can be something simple and easy to do at home. Exercise can possibly help with various things, such as:

A. Preserve OR increase brain volume.

B. Improve cognitive processing speed

C. Boost memory

D. Lessen fatigue.

E. Decrease the risk of depression.

I hope the information provided in this post was helpful for you or someone you know. It is important we do all we can to protect our brain health, which can help to prevent any additional challenges with Multiple Sclerosis. I decided 20 years ago when I was first diagnosed with this disease and promised my late Grandfather, I was not going to allow it to defeat me, and I would continue to fight until I lost the ability to do so which has not happened yet!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I always appreciate your continued support and enjoy reading your comments, which I do my best to respond as quickly as I can. I hope your week is going well and you are looking forward to the upcoming weekend, which is finally almost here! I do hope any plans you have for the weekend you will remain safe!! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa