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

Pain & Neuropathy

Over the weekend, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my legs, feet, and back. This is nothing new, but it was so intense it was hard to get comfortable. At one point, I was so distraught about this pain I asked my husband, “What in the world could I have done so wrong in life to deserve this pain?” Of course, my husband was trying to help make me feel better and told me I did not do anything to deserve the pain I live with. The same as my grandfather did when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, my husband told me how strong I was and even though I should not have to deal with these issues, I could conquer them all and he was there to help me in any way he could.

Unfortunately, when my pain gets too bad there is not anything anyone can do to ease it. It is frustrating when nothing helps, and all tears do is give me red eyes the next day. I cannot even say if the pain or neuropathy is worse because they are both miserable. Maybe it was silly of me to think I did something in my life to deserve the pain and neuropathy, but why else would this happen?

I do know that stress only increases pain and I think it increases neuropathy issues as well. The bad thing is they both make me stressed because I want it to end so badly and cannot find a way for it to STOP! My levels of frustration and disappointment can become so out of control, being logical is a foreign topic that seems so far away.

I would say it is unfair to have to endure pain and neuropathy, but it could be worse. I know others are dealing with much more and I should not complain. It takes a lot for me to complain because it does not change anything, so I do not see a point. I know stress is a HUGE cause for symptoms to increase, but it is also incredibly defeating when there is NEVER any relief. Even the strongest people in the world need a break sometimes!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope your weekend was wonderful and you have a great week. I would love the chance to read your comments and will respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa