Half-Way Through the Week

Happy Half-Way through the week! I was, unfortunately, unable to work on Monday because of an awful migraine that was making me extremely nauseous. I get migraines too much and I would rank this one of the worst I have had in a long time. I thought I was going to be able to work, but after twenty minutes decided there was no way I could make it through the day. I was miserable with pain that went into my neck and shoulders. I could hardly see straight much less do anything else. I am used to dealing with pain, but it was so bad nothing helped. I ended up being on the couch with my cats and an ice pack all day with NO relief. Thankfully, I was able to work yesterday, but still had a slight headache throughout the day.

Talking about headaches/migraines, do you get these frequently? I would not have wished the one I had on Monday on my worst enemy because no one should have to deal with that. I can normally use an ice pack to help the pain in my head subside, but nothing was helping me at all. My poor cats did not leave my side and I mean that literally. When you get a nightmare headache/migraine, what do you do about it? I feel bad because I think I probably neglected the cats on Monday, but I could hardly take care of myself, so they were lucky to have been fed.

Enough about migraines/headaches, how has your week been? Thankfully, we are closer to the weekend than we were on Monday, so it will be here soon! Of course, we do still have two more days to make it through and I think we could all use something to make us smile and give us some kind of hope! We have a choice to be happy with the life we were given and if there is something we are unhappy with, we need to find a way to change it. I understand change can be scary, but life is short and we need to make the most of what we were given!

Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope you found what I have shared interesting and you might even be able to relate. I look forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Never-ending Headache

Happy Sunday to y’all! I hope you are enjoying your weekend and of course, staying safe. I found out some slightly upsetting information the other day. The mother of a friend of mine from high school has COVID. Unfortunately, so many people are under the impression that COVID is something from the past and is long gone now, but the hard truth is, that COVID is still lingering around and invading the lives of too many. My husband and I have done everything possible to stay safe and I think we are the only two people in our circle of friends and family that have not gotten COVID.

I have been unable to do a post for several days now because I have been battling with an evil headache/migraine/sinuses. Over the past several days, this pain has eased up and came back full force numerous times. Considering I have been used to pain for over 20 years, I can normally ignore the pain, but head pain is something I have not learned to ignore. This typically puts me in the bed or on the couch with the cats in misery. If I had to guess, I think this is coming from the weather changes and stress. We are just now in June and the temperatures where I live have already been too close to 100 degrees. I am dreading the next several months of summertime heat!!!!

Regardless of any stress or pain, I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am for June 10th when I get to meet my literary idol, James Patterson. I know this meet and greet will only be a few minutes to tell him how honored I am to meet him, shake his hand, and hopefully get a picture with him, but those few minutes will be amazing! Many people dream to meet a celebrity or rock star, but this man is a rock star in my eyes. I am in complete awe of his writing abilities and only wish I had his talent. I do not think I have ever looked forward to something so much in my life. I am excited and a little nervous because I do not want to become tongue tide and not be able to tell him how much I appreciate his work and enjoyable books!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared today and that you might have some advice for when you meet your idol! Today is the last day of the weekend, so I hope you enjoy it to the fullest. Tomorrow is another Monday when the new week starts, so rest up and get prepared. I am only working four days because I am off on Friday to go meet James Patterson. 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

Motivational Monday

Today we welcome Monday’s return and find the strength to tackle another week. As always the weekend went by in the blink of an eye and we are left with the short-lived memories, which I hope were wonderful and joyful. We need to view the week as a week filled with many amazing opportunities because that is what all weeks should provide. Sometimes, we need to create and go after the opportunities because they are not always clear.

Staying motivated on a Monday can be challenging, but we are all strong enough to do so. While finding the ability to stay motivated, we all need to remain and understand what it means to be humble. I believe the more we can be humble and understanding of others, the more motivated we will feel! I hope the quote I shared today offered you strength, motivation, and encouragement. I understand not looking forward to Monday and another long week of work can be, but the weekend will return soon!

Unfortunately, nothing much has changed with my constant migraines. They never get any easier, but I try to not let them control my life. Yesterday I woke up with a nasty migraine and it never got less intense all day. Of course, my sweet cats tried to help me feel better because that is just what they do. All animals, no matter how needy they are or how aggravating they can be are all just innocent little creatures filled with nothing but love!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you had a nice weekend and you are prepared for the week ahead of us. It might seem like it is a lot time before the weekend returns, but we need to stay focused and time will pass quickly! I look forward to reading your comments and will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Thankful for Tuesday

Good morning Tuesday! I have NEVER been so happy that Monday is gone and it is a new day! Yesterday felt more like a direct punishment, instead of an ordinary Monday. I woke up with a massive migraine and it NEVER got any better. The only good thing was it did not get worst, but it sure did not improve and I had to work all day long. The things that typically help my migraines improve did not help at all. It was not even noon and I had already taken 8 Advil, so I could not take anymore☹.

For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from nasty migraines. Of course, because of my Multiple Sclerosis, I deal with pain 24/7, but migraines are the only pain I cannot deal with. I told my husband yesterday it felt like someone was drilling nonstop inside my head. It was not the best way to start the week, but hopefully, I will not get any more of these nightmares headaches for a long time.

There is one day of this week over and there are several more we have to get through. Considering yesterday was so miserable, hopefully, the rest of the week is better. I am not sure how in the world I managed to make it through an eight-hour workday with the nasty migraine, but I did. How was your day yesterday? I sincerely hope your week began better than mine did and your days get even better until the weekend returns!

Thank you for visiting my site today. Even though it was a post about my mean migraine, I hope you found it interesting and a little inspiring. I look forward to reading your comments and will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Pick Me Up Thursday

Good morning, Friday eve y’all! How has your week been? I meant to do a post yesterday but was battling with a nasty migraine/headache and was not able to. I am not sure if it came from looking at a computer all day long, allergies, stress, or somewhere else. Unfortunately, this started mid-day and I still had several hours left at work, but I somehow pushed through it. Even after my workday was over, I still was not able to rest to get rid of the evil migraine because I had to run to the pharmacy. Sometimes it seems like my day is never over!

The past two days I have been in training for my new job. There is such a difference between the mortgage job I did have and the one I am doing now. Considering this was only day 2 of training, I think I am picking up on this well and will continue to understand what this job entails. I did get frustrated a few times because nothing was making sense to me, but the trainer is patient and helpful with her explanations.

I guess I found the mortgage industry easy because I did it for six years and had a great handle on things. I know learning something new takes time and I need to be patient with myself. Of course, like always I am hard on myself and discourage myself. I will work on this, I promise. I honestly do not think this job is too difficult, it is just an entirely new world from what I am used to. I will continue to put my best foot forward and keep y’all updated!

We have almost made it to the weekend, and we only have one more day to get through, which may seem impossible. I feel like we could all use a little pick-me-up to help push us forward. I hope the quote I am sharing with y’all today provides you with the strength and courage to get through. Life gets challenging and overwhelming, which is why we need to focus on taking one step at a time. Do you try taking on too much at the same time as I do?

Unfortunately, Ukraine is still experiencing tragic times. During these times, we need to continue sending them as many prayers and good thoughts as we possibly can. There are no valid reasons for anyone to go through what they are and it is past time for the invasion of this country to end. It is a blessing they have a fearless and strong leader who is standing with his people and not running.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared and the quote helps you get through until we are finally enjoying the weekend. I look forward to reading your comments and will respond as quickly as I can. I will try to do better with blogging and not miss a day again. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Invisible Illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for visiting my site today and reading what I have written. I hope this provides some clarification to the issues I deal with that are truly invisible and why I hide some of them. I am not hiding things because I am ashamed, but because it does not help. I do look forward to reading your comments because I know they will be insightful. I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Frustrations of living with Multiple Sclerosis

Living with Multiple Sclerosis has been challenging and frustrating at times. Yes, the disease itself is painful, but many do not understand the symptoms and how they affect daily life. If someone does not have the disease, they are not able to fully comprehend what it is like to deal with the symptoms. Even those that are closest to me and see me daily but do not suffer with the consequences of the disease have a difficult time knowing what it is like to manage. Many people I meet would not even know that I have Multiple Sclerosis because I look perfectly normal, but underneath the mask I wear is a battle with my own body. 

When your body manages to attack itself and you have no control over the symptoms, it can be challenging to explain to others that do not understand because they do not have to endure the difficulties. It is not easy when you have no control of how your body reacts to the pressures in life or even to just being awake. I have said to some that they would not understand unless they could live in my body for one day, but most could not handle it well at all.

One extremely frustrating symptom is the constant feeling of fatigue. It does not matter what time I go to bed or how much sleep I get (which is normally NEVER enough), the fatigue issue consumes my life. I can say that it does get worse as the day progresses and by about 1:00 PM I need a nap, so by the time my husband is ready to have dinner and watch a TV show I am spent and exhausted. I have explained this to him numerous times, but it does not register to him, and he continues to want to have dinner and watch TV or a movie later at night. I guess I can understand this because he does work nights, but I still think there needs to be some compromise and meeting in the middle.

Another frustrating symptom is the never-ending pain. Being in pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with hardly any relief is not easy. I try to ignore the pain, but there are times when it is extreme and overbearing, and I am unable to ignore it. Pushing through the pain when it is at the worse and it is hard to stand, or move is immensely demanding. Heck getting out of bed when I know what the day holds, is aggravating and irritating. It is not that staying in bed would help much because just lying in the bed, I still hurt! 

The issue with neuropathy is also a challenge. The feeling of pins and needles or spiders crawling around on my legs and feet is hard, especially because NOTHING helps. I am already maxed out on the medication that is “supposed” to help so how can I have hope for relief, when the medication that should help the neuropathy is not helping? I know it is best to believe things will improve, but it has been many years of this, and it is not coming to an end.

Thankfully, even though I do experience dizziness frequently, I have learned how to cope with it. I have learned that when I do get a dizzy spell, if I focus on a still object, it will help to get the dizziness under some control. However, when it happens when I am driving, it can be a little terrifying, but then I will focus on the lines on the road and manage to stay in between the lines.

I am sure there are other symptoms are not easy to handle, but the one I want to mention is the headaches/migraines. Out of all the other types of pain I endure, this is probably the worst and the only one that will have me in the bed for hours or at least until it gets better. Most pain is something we can learn to deal with, but headaches/migraines I have not been able to learn to deal with and I have been experiencing these since I was a child. I guess when the pain is concentrated on the head, it starts to affect the way we think and communicate.

I know that stress is my biggest enemy and not a friend to the Multiple Sclerosis. The only thing that stress does is make any symptoms with MS more intense. Right now, I am trying to get my medication that helps keep the MS at bay but going through the process and jumping through all their hoops is stressful. This is a medication that without the Gilenya Go Program would cost about $8,000 per month and that is not something any normal person can afford. Unfortunately, I only have enough medication to get me through until Saturday and then I am out. This medication has done well keeping the MS under control and being off of it will only cause me stress.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you found this post helpful with understanding the frustrations of living with an uncurable disease. This post was meant to be a quick overview of the complications of living with Multiple Sclerosis. I would love the change to read your comments and will respond to all of them as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Two Days of Head Pain

For many years now, one of the most consistent parts of my life has been the pain issues. Living with pain 24/7 is not easy but most pain I can deal with. I suppose I have learned how to continue living my life, despite the pain because I have realized it was not going anywhere. Over the years, there have been several frustrating things I have encountered when I would say, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” There are no ways to join the pain, so acceptance is the next best thing to do.

Regardless of how I have learned to live with pain, there is one type I am unable to tolerate. Everyone handles pain differently, but for me, head pain is the most unbearable. Unfortunately, headaches are something I have endured long before I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. One of my first memories of having a headache was as a child. A little girl in kindergarten getting off the school busy with so much head pain I was on the couch all night unable to move.

The painful truth about headaches is, they seem impossible to get used to. All I can do is lay down in a dark and quiet room with an ice pack on my head waiting for the pain to lessen. Every headache I get is a miserable experience that I would not wish on anyone, even my worst enemy.

Since Friday evening, I have been battling with a sinus/migraine. A normal sinus headache or migraine are bad enough on their own, but to gang up on me was just evil. Nothing was helping to ease my pain. I tried an ice pack on my head, but it continued to get too warm. I took Excedrin, Advil, and Sudafed, but it refused to ease up. This double hit of head pain caused me to feel nauseous and dizzy. After staying on the couch with my cats trying their best to make me feel better all day yesterday, I am finally somewhat better today. As I write this post, I am still dealing with the head pain, but I can tolerate it much better now.

Several years ago, when I was getting these nasty migraine/sinus headaches on a regular, I tried going off the Gilenya that I take for Multiple Sclerosis. I had known that sinus issues were a side effect of Gilenya and thought if I went off the source, the sinus headaches would stop. Of course, my doctor advised against this, but I was so sick and tired of the sinus pain, I was willing to do anything to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, going off the Gilenya for a short amount of time caused the MS to get worse and I ended up with additional lesions.

I made the decision years ago that I would rather endure the head pain rather than allow the MS to get worst. Gilenya has been a saving grace because it has slowed the progression of the MS and that means more to me than not having head pain. Yes, I do get sinus and or migraines weekly, but at least my MS is not progressing and putting me in a wheelchair. NO, being in a wheelchair is not the worst thing that could happen, but it is something that I have been terrified of since being diagnosed with MS when I was 19 years old.  I will continue to fight the MS with everything I have and if that means dealing with the head pain, so be it!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you are having a great and safe weekend. I am sure y’all have heard that COVID numbers are increasing again, so I hope you are either already vaccinated or plan to do so soon! I would love to read your comments on what I have shared today and 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

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