Chronic Pain & Sleep

Chronic pain can be challenging to live with, especially when relief from the pain is rare. Pain can make falling asleep and staying asleep feel almost impossible. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle of pain and lack of good quality sleep can cause an individual’s overall health and wellbeing to worsen.

There are numerous causes of chronic pain, but there are also many causes for increased pain at night. Of course, some causes for pain are well known, but not all the causes are as well known. The increased pain at night is like clockwork and gets increasingly worse around the same time every night. For anyone living with pain, you are not alone. It may be helpful to understand some of the reasons for the worsening of pain at night and possible ways to counteract the pain.

1. Body position can play a major factor in increased pain at night. Laying down to sleep causes your body weight to put pressure on your nerves that do not occur when you are upright during the day.

It might take time but trying to find another body position at night that does not increase pain is important. This is going to be different for each person depending on the cause of their pain. If the pain is knee pain, it could help to try a pillow between your knees at night to reduce the pressure on your knees. The type of mattress you have might be too soft or too hard and a different mattress may help.

2. Many people sleep better in cooler temperatures and struggle when it is too warm. Depending on the root cause of the pain, cooler temperatures can worsen pain no matter what time of day it is.

Experiment with different temperatures until you find the temperature that works the best for you. Finding the perfect temperature for your sleep may be difficult, but keeping a journal of your quality of sleep, your pain levels, and the temperature in the room is a good way to start.

3. At night we are more aware of the pain and less distracted by our daily responsibilities, such as work or school. This does not mean the pain is not real because the pain is very real, but during the night there is not anything to occupy our mind which allows us to focus more and notice the pain.

4. Hormone levels in our body contribute to how well we sleep. When we prepare ourselves for sleep, hormone levels, metabolism, and other biochemical process adjust. Hormone changes can increase pain creating a battle for sleep. Cortisol is a type of hormone that has anti-inflammatory effects. Cortisol levels decrease halfway through the sleep cycle that allows us to rest, but this can also heighten some forms of pain.

5. The timing and dosage of medication that helps control pain during the day start to wear off too soon. For some their biochemistry and symptoms may require a different dosage and or medication at night. Talking to your pain management doctor to determine the best course of action can help with the ability to sleep better.

It is crucial to establish and maintain a sleep routine that helps prepare your body for rest. During the day we are all over-stimulated and reducing this issue can help tremendously. Turning off any stimuli, such as the TV and other screens 1-2 hours before bed may help your mind and body relax. Practicing other things that may help you relax such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Other things that may help your mind relax are meditation or deep breathing exercises as these can lower your stress and help reduce pain.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you will find the information I have shared helpful. Even though I understand how challenging sleep is with chronic pain, there are ways to work around this and get a better night sleep. I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can. I hope you are having a relaxing and safe weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

My Week Long Absence

Happy weekend y’all! I hope you had a great week, and your weekend is going fantastic. I was a little absent from blogging last week because I was trying to get the essay that I entered into a contest perfected and submitted. Thankfully, with the help of my “editor” help, that being my husband, mother, mother-in-law, and my mother’s boyfriend, I was able to get the essay entered on my birthday. I can admit that I was being overly critical of my writing abilities and almost changed my mind several times. However, I know if I had changed my mind, I would have regretted it because I would always wonder what would have happened and that would have tormented my mind. We should always try new things because we do not know what exciting new opportunities might avail. I have always thought the only way we can truly fail in life is if we give up or just do not try.

The contest I entered was a personal essay, which I wrote about when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Of course, it was a challenging time in my life, but I do think all that transpired during that time has made me a stronger person. There is a part of me that wishes I did not have to endure this diagnosis, but at the same time, it could have been far worse. Thankfully, the form of MS I have is not the worst case, but it does entail hard times that I continue to fight through. Unfortunately, I have to wait until late December to know the results and if my essay was a winner or not!

Life is not easy, and we are all faced with different challenges, but it is how we adapt and handle these challenges that let us know our true strengths. Life takes a strong will to survive and overcome the challenges in our path. I will always keep the promise I made to myself and my late grandfather close to my heart and that was that I would NEVER surrender to the MS and would continue the fight until I will the war going on in my body. Of course, there are times when it gets almost unbearable because the pain is out of control, but if I stopped fighting what kind of person would I be?

Throughout my forty years on this planet, (I just turned 40 on September 30th) I have dealt with various situations that could have broken me. I decided as a little girl to not allow the evil in my path to destroy my happiness. So many times, during my life, people have done their best to tear me down and make me feel like I was not worth anything, but those were the evil people that do not deserve the satisfaction of defeating me.

I am sharing all this with y’all, so you know that no matter what you go through in life you are not alone. It is crucial to NEVER allow anyone to make you feel you are worthless because that is so far from the truth. I think most people that prey on those they think are weak have demons within them that they have not faced or overcome, which I think is sad. Seriously, what kind of monster would prey on a child or a woman? I think the answer is a weak and pathetic individual that needs to seek help so they can face their demons and be better people. It is not only men that can behave this way because there are women that have the same kind of demon within them. The agonizing truth is mental health is a tragic situation and it is not being handled in the best way. It is possible if mental health was being treated properly, maybe the world would be better than it is now.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have enjoyed what I have shared, and it resonates with you. Everyone around the world needs to learn to accept others for who they are and help when it is feasible. I look forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can. I hope the rest of your week is spent relaxing and safe! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Pain Awareness Month

Since 2001, the ACPA declared the month of September as Pain Awareness Month. Considering pain is something I have lived with for many years, I thought it would be a good time to explain more in-depth what I go through daily and raise awareness for others suffering from it. Pain is something you can learn to deal with, but it does not mean that it gets any easier. For myself, the pain has become part of me, and I thought it was best to embrace it because it seems like it is never going to go away completely, and I do not think dwelling on things we do not have control over is a healthy way to live. Even though some days are worst than others and some parts of the days are more intense, I refuse to allow the pain to dictate my life. Throughout this post, I am going to explain the different types of pain there are the causes of these types of pain, and ways to discover relief.

Acute pain comes on suddenly due to something specific, such as surgery, broken bones, dental work, burns or cuts, labor, and childbirth. Typically, this pain lasts between 3 and 6 months. Acute pain tends to be a sharp, throbbing, burning, stabbing, tingling, weakness, and numbness pain.

There are several ways acute pain can be treated including resting the part of the body in pain, apply heat or cold to the area, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen, physical therapy, massage, and relaxation practices that can help with acute pain.

Chronic pain is continuous and long-standing pain that lingers past the typical recovery time or is accompanying by a chronic health condition. This pain normally lasts longer than six months, which sometimes may be on strongly, then off with no pain felt, or incessant. This pain can affect people to the point they are unable to work, eat properly, partake in physical activity, or enjoy life. The areas of pain can include the back, joints, mouth and face, muscles and bones, or neck. The pain might feel like pins and needles through the body.

Approximately, 25% of people suffering from chronic pain will go on to another condition, referred to as chronic pain syndrome (CPS). When people end up enduring CPS, their symptoms are more than just pain and may experience other issues, like depression and anxiety that interferes with their daily life. Treatments for chronic pain include nerve medications, acupuncture, stress management, and relaxation techniques, electrical stimulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and massages. Personally, with the pain I deal with daily, stress management would be very useful because stress only intensifies the pain.

Neuropathic pain is commonly felt as shooting, burning, stabbing, tingling, numbness, and the pins and needles sensation. The pain can be felt in the feet or hands and can extend into the legs and arms.

The common causes of this pain include nerve pressure or nerve damage after surgery or trauma, viral infections, cancer, vascular malformation, alcoholism, neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, and metabolic conditions like diabetes. The ultimate goals for treating neuropathic pain are to treat the underlying disease, provide pain relief, and improve the quality of life. There are some common medications used to help this pain that includes anti-seizure drugs such as Gabapentin, Pregabalin, Topiramate, Carbamazepine, and Lamotrigine. There are also topical treatments available such as lidocaine or capsaicin.

Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to body tissue. This can occur when there is something that caused harm to the body, such as chemicals, hot or cold temperatures, or physical force. Nociceptors can sense physical damage to the skin, muscles, bones, or connective tissues in the body. This type of pain can feel sharp, aching, or throbbing.

A few common causes of nociceptive pain include bruises, burns, cuts, fractures or broken bones, pain created by repetitive or muscle overuse, and joint damage. There are also several conditions that can cause this pain such as alcoholism, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and joint problems in the spine.

The treatments for this pain include physical therapy to assist in strengthening and stretching affecting the muscles and joints, over-the-counter medications (OTC) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, hot and cold therapy, and surgery.

RADICULAR PAIN AFTER CAR COLLISION

Radicular pain is a form of pain the radiates from the back and hip into the legs through the spin The leg pain can also include numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The pain that radiates down the back of the legs into the foot is known as radiculopathy or sciatica. The pain can be deep and consistent but might worsen with certain activities like sitting or walking.

There is various cause for spinal compression that can lead to radicular pain, which includes herniated disc, foraminal stenosis, diabetes, nerve foot injuries, and scar tissue from spinal surgery. Treating this pain involves treating the underlying condition or discovering the best-suited combination of pain management strategies. A few non-surgical treatments include physical therapy and epidural injections.

Pain is not easy to deal with and if you are experiencing pain, please know you are not alone. One in five Americans suffers from pain issues in the United States. Pain can be isolating and make us feel alone and misunderstood, but there is help for everyone. Of course, I have had Multiple Sclerosis for twenty years, but I have not experienced pain the entire 20 years. Yes, during the last fifteen years the pain has been increasing steadily, but I will never surrender to the pain, and I will defeat it someday.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and read this post. I hope this was helpful and gave you a sense of comfort because I can understand the pain and what I struggle it can be to handle. I wanted to let you know if you ever need someone to vent the pain to or need anything, I am here for you! I am only a message away and will respond to all as quickly as I can. Please remember that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

Happy Monday y’all! I hope you had a nice and relaxing weekend. It is hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2021, but I guess it is because we have been through some challenging and stressful times. Did y’all do anything fun and exciting over the weekend? I know you will not be surprised that I did not do anything and hardly leave the house, but that was in part due to the rain causing my pain to escalate. Normally, I do not allow MS to dictate my life, but sometimes pain has different ideas.

It is always hard to leave the weekend behind and start a new week, but that is where we are right now. We all know the weekends fly by and the weeks can drag by, but it is important to do our best to start the week with a positive mindset. I think we could all use a little motivation to start the week so we can be more productive and optimistic! Life is not easy and things happen that cause struggles or grief, but I do believe there is something good in everything we do and face. It is all about trying to see the silver lining in all we face because there is always something positive in all situations!

I hope you were able to feel the positive within the quote I have shared with you today. I planned to share a post with y’all about the Delta variant, but was too exhausted and in too much pain to do so. I am hoping to be able to share this with you soon though because I think it is extremely important. I am actually going to have my normal routine bloodwork done today and have my antibodies for COVID tested. Y’all know that I did get both of the vaccines, but I need to make sure I am protected so I can feel more comfortable and safe, especially because there are things to celebrate in the next few months! As soon as I get the test results, I will be sure to share them with y’all!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope I was able to provide you with enough motivation to start your week the best it can and hope each day gets even better. I know most of you have been vaccinated with the COVID vaccine, but please continue to stay safe because the Delta variant is no joke and probably not the last to come. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Defeat Chronic Pain

Pain is not something anyone wants to deal with or finds easy to manage. Of course, there are many that battle with chronic pain due to an illness. It does not mean anyone experiencing pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year any easier, but they may become used to it. Since my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis 20 plus years ago, my days have been accompanied by pain. At the beginning of my MS journey, my pain was minimal in comparison to what it is now and mainly focuses on my legs. To be honest, the leg pain generated pain significant enough to make standing, let alone walking challenging and agonizing.

There is no denying that the leg pain I endure is a direct result of neuropathic pain due to my MS. Neuropathic pain is typically described as a burning sensation in the affected areas. This type of pain is caused by short-circuiting of nerves carrying signals from the brain to the body due to damage inflicted from MS. Not only does the painful sensation feel like burning, but also like a stabbing, sharp, and pressing sensation. For anyone that deals with this neuropathic pain, it can be acute or chronic, which I will explain further.

Acute Neuropathic Pain may be an initial symptom of MS or part of an MS relapse. This can be described as a rapid onset and is for a short duration. The four different types of Acute Neuropathic pain are:

Trigeminal Neuralgia is typically described as a sharp and or shooting pain in the face or jaw area. This pain may occur as an initial symptom of MS or as part of a relapse. Considering the location of this pain it has been misidentified as dental pain, but this is caused by damage to the trigeminal nerve. Like many other issues associated with MS, this pain is unpredictable and comes and goes as it pleases.

Lhermitte’s Sign is a sudden and momentary sensation like an electric shock traveling from the back of the head, down the spine, and often extending into the arms and legs. This issue is often due to bending the neck forward. The pain indicates there was damage in the cervical spine caused by MS, which could be the first sign of MS or a relapse.

MS Hug most commonly is due to damage to the spine due to MS. I do not like the name of this issue because it is a hug that no one in their right mind wants to have ever! The best way to explain how this feels is a tight squeezing sensation around the torso, almost feeling like the blood pressure cuff on your arm or possibly how it would feel if a snake wrapped itself tightly around the torso.

Paroxysmal Spasms can be described as a sporadic and painful tightening of muscles. This is commonly a brief twitching that comes on suddenly and disappears as quickly as it came on. Frequently, this is felt in the arm or leg and occurs several times throughout the day and or night.

Chronic Neuropathic Pain tends to be the continuance of acute neuropathic pain I previously explained. When MS is involved, the pain can be experienced daily or nearly daily but is often unpredictable. When someone endures acute neuropathic pain, the likelihood it will become chronic is significantly higher. Some specific issues can increase this type of pain, including higher levels of stress, fatigue, illnesses, and becoming overheated.

Unfortunately, pain plays a vital part in many illnesses. Most of these illnesses are lifelong because cures have not been discovered as of now. Pain is not easy to live with, which is why it is so important to continue searching for various ways to keep the pain as under control as possible. I do not plan on allowing the pain I experience to dictate my life but will use the pain to fuel my determination to find pain relief strategies. Throughout my 20 plus years of living with various severities of MS pain, I have learned ways to tolerate the pain better including but not limited to the following. I say not limited to because I am sure there are many other amazing ways to handle pain and if you have any ideas, please share!

Utilize your breathing:

Of course, when the pain becomes high it is common to become increasingly tense. During these times it is crucial to try attempting relaxing techniques in a quiet, comfortable body position, and block out any distractions. You can envision the area below the navel or the area your pain is in and breathe into that area calmly, filling your abdomen with air and slowly exhaling. Imaging a deflating balloon may help with this part.

Decrease stress in life:

Pessimistic emotions such as depression, anxiety, stress, and all other negative emotions can drastically increase our body’s response to pain. Once we learn how to overpower the nagging stresses we may feel, we are likely to feel less pain. I think we have all heard that stress is a silent killer and I do passionately believe this.

To be completely honest, stress has been the most common culprit when my pain becomes more intense. Many techniques can help reduce stress, but everyone is different with what will work best for them. Often soothing and calming music can create a relaxing environment, which may promote feelings of less stress. Truthfully, most types of music will relax me because I enjoy listening to the lyrics and feeling what the songwriter was feeling.

Natural Endorphins Through Exercise:

When we are experiencing constant pain, it is very understandable we do not feel like we can be active. We may think the activity will make the pain we already feel worse, but that is not always the situation. Often when we are challenging ourselves physically, it can be beneficial if it is not too hard, long, or too much exertion. It has been stated that exercise strengthens muscles, which can help to reduce additional pain or further injury. It is advised to discuss exercise regimens with a professional because they will have the most knowledge and be able to describe what the best possible exercises would be for everyone.

Understand that alcohol creates problems:

Pain and alcohol cause problems with sleep. With that being states, drinking less or none may improve the overall quality of life, decrease pain levels, and enhance sleeping quality.

Journal daily activities and pain:

To treat pain effectively, it is important to be able to explain how we are feeling to our specialists. It is easy to forget things during doctor’s appointments because we might feel flustered, which is why it is crucial to document daily pain levels and what activities may have caused them. We will be able to discover what we were doing before the times when pain is highest. It could also be beneficial to document daily meals because some foods can increase pain.

Beneficial to maintain a healthy diet:

There are several reasons a well-balanced diet is of vital importance to one’s overall health. Nourishing our body with this type of diet can assist the digestive process, decrease the risks of heart disease, provide weight control, and boost blood sugar levels. Deciding to follow a low-fat and low-sodium diet the options can include the following: fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked dried beans and peas, whole-grain bread and cereal, low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, and lean meats. A few examples of lean meats are beef, lamb, veal, pork, chicken, turkey duck, fish, and seafood (fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, clam, etc) I do not eat seafood so I am not 100% sure what somethings are, but you might enjoy seafood and know a lot more than I do about it.

Discover enjoyable distractions:

If we allow ourselves to focus solely on our pain, it will get worse before it gets better and consume our life. Activities that keep the mind busy and thinking about other things besides the pain can be a successful way to decrease pain. Even if this is only for a short time, I think it is worth trying, don’t you? Sudoku puzzles are thought-provoking and fun, or at least I think they are.

Life with a painful chronic illness can be incredibly challenging, but I think together as a community we can help one another through these times. I hope the information I have shared in this post will be helpful for you or someone you know. Please just remember that I am not a medical professional and everything I have written was based on research and personal experience.

While I have been dealing with pain for over 20 years, I have been able to expect it, but I do not enjoy it obviously. Some days are worse than others and on the truly miserable days, I will keep fighting my battle because I am not ready to surrender to it. I guess it is the same with anything, good and bad days come and go, but they do not need to restrain life!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I know it was a little longer than my normal posts, but there was a lot of valuable information to share. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. I hope your week is going well and you are staying as safe as you can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Life is complicated

There have been many challenges we have faced during the past few years. All of this takes a lot of courage, perseverance, dedication, determination, and a great amount of internal strength. I completely understand how this can feel overwhelming and we might want to throw our hands up and give up on what we need and want. Sometimes it might feel like the battle within is too demanding, but if we do everything we possibly can and continue fighting we will eventually win the war.

For all of us that are living with a chronic and incurable illness, the obstacles may seem like they are endless and maybe they are. However, if we do not keep pushing through with all we can, we will never know what we are capable of. I have always believed that behind every door we close, something better is waiting around the next corner. We will not be able to know our full potential if we do not at least try.

All the small or large issues we deal with in life provide us with an opportunity and a learning experience. It might never seem like it at the time, but surviving these issues makes us the strong people we are today. It is crucial to view the struggles we face in life as a building block to the incredibly strong people we were meant to be instead of as an inconvenience.

If you take a few minutes to think about your life, would you be who you are today if it were not for what you have been through? Honestly, I do not know who I would be if I did not have the experiences I did have. Of course, not all our experiences have been pleasant and sometimes we do not want to remember them because they may have been awful. The hardest things we have gone through gave us the most valuable lessons.

You do not have to answer this question but at least think about these questions. What were a few of the most hellacious, painful, and complicated things you have gone through in life, and what did you learn from those experiences? I am not going to go into detail about one of my experiences that was like this, but I will tell you this ordeal taught me to be strong and to never allow anyone to mistreat me. For the most part, we can decide who we allow in our life.

It is extremely important to understand that trust is something that is earned and not given immediately. It is not easy, but we should try to at least give others the benefit of the doubt, but without putting too much trust into that person. The hard part about this is, we are all human and sometimes people will do something to betray our trust. Once trust is lost, it is not easy to get back because it takes a lot of work and healing from whatever hurt the betrayal caused. There is not a timeline to when we “should” heal from times when another’s deception because we are all different and heal in various ways.

It is a little ironic that I started a post about headaches and have been dealing with one ever since. I am hoping for the headache I have had for several days will get better soon, so I can finish the post to share with y’all. I think the information that I have so far will be beneficial to anyone that experiences headaches more than just occasionally. Considering I have been dealing with headaches most of my life, I would have thought I would be used to them by now, but unfortunately, I am not. Even though I deal with pain 24/7 the pain does not stop me from doing what I want in life, but a headache will stop me completely. I guess no one has or could get used to them though.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I am sorry that I have been a little absent lately, but hopefully that will change soon, and this headache will go away. I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I possibly can. Even though I know the COVID cases as decreased greatly, I hope you are all continuing to stay as safe as you can. Please remember that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

My Weekend…..

I hope y’all are having a good weekend and you are staying safe. I know we all look forward to the weekend because it gives us time to rest and recuperate from a long week. How is your weekend going so far? Did you have a good week? I do hope last week went well for you and your weekend is everything you want it to be. Last week was a mixture of stress and more stress for me, but at least that is in the past now!

My day on Thursday was a little stressful because it started at a consult with the endodontist that will be doing my root canal next week. I did not like this doctor right away because he was a little rude and extremely offensive. His assistant was sweet and told me that doctor was a straight shooter, but there is a fine line between being honest and rude. I told him right away that I knew my mouth was a mess because of all the medications I have been on due to my MS, mainly steroids when I had a relapse, and I was only concerned with the two teeth that were in pain. Instead of addressing my reason for being there, he went onto telling me I needed a good dentist that was not going to be terrified when they looked in my mouth. For someone that has HIGH anxiety with the dentist, this was not a good start.

My weekend did not start in the best way because our older cat, Sundance was not acting right on Saturday morning. I think it is safe to say that y’all know how much I love my cats and that I would do anything in the world for any of them, so seeing him being lethargic was extremely. Every morning Sundance gets two medications for his asthma and he takes them in a pill pocket, which he never has a problem with because he thinks they are treats. He would not eat the pill pockets and would not even purr like he always does. While in complete panic, I called his doctor’s office. The veterinarian called me back about 15 minutes later and said there was a cancellation and to bring him in. Typically, Sundance fights me when I try getting him in the carrier, but he did not fight me at all. His doctor’s office is only 1-2 miles from our house, so it does not take but a few minutes to get there, but he cries the entire way. Today, he did not make a peep, but I made it in record time because I might have been speeding.

With COVID, owners are not able to go into the office. So, I texted the number when we got there and waited. The vet tech, Sarah, is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and she was there last week when Sundance had to go for his yearly check-up. She came out and with her kind and understanding personality said to him, “Sundance, you were just here baby, what is going on?” Through my tears and hysteria, I filled her in on what was going on. She told me they would take good care of him and that I did the right thing to bring him in. She told me that she understands worrying about my baby because she is the same way and that she has an older cat that is going through chemo. I cannot even imagine how stressful that must be, but I appreciated her kindness and empathy.

After waiting about 15 minutes, but it felt more like an hour, Sarah came back out to explain what was going on with Sundance. She said his heart and lungs sounded great, but he had an exceedingly high temperature of 104.9. Sundance has a UTI, which could have been caused either by the stress of the two new kittens or the car ride last week to get to the doctor’s office. As I said, he hates being in the car and hates going to the doctor and he is a baby about things, especially when I cannot be with him. They gave him an antibiotic by injection, so I would not have to give him more pills. The antibiotic will work for 2 weeks and he should start feeling better soon. They also gave him pain medication, just to keep him comfortable. The vet tech and doctor said he will be sluggish from the pain medication, especially because this is the first time, he has had one.

My poor baby feels yucky

Once I got Sundance home, he just laid around and looked very confused. He still would not eat or drink, but just wanted to sleep and rest. The new kittens, Willow and Penelope tried getting close to him because they seemed concerned, which was sweet to see. I have tried leaving him alone because I did not want to upset him, but I did put his water dish close to him so he could drink when he wanted to.

I have always taken great care of our cats and it was torture seeing him not feel well. I hated not being able to help him feel better. I have never felt so helpless because there is nothing, I can do to speed up Sundance’s healing. I am glad we never had two leg children because I think I would be in the ER every other day. Of course, Sundance is not able to tell me how he is feeling, but I can tell from the look out of his eyes that he does not feel well.

Thank you for visiting my site today and reading what I have written. Please keep Sundance in your thoughts and hope he feels better soon. I will keep an eye on him throughout the night and hope he is back to his normal self in the morning. Sundance has a huge personality and even though he is 10 years old, he still plays like a kitten. I think because of what we went through with Chloe in early February, I am overly cautious and on top of things. I have always been the type that worries, but our cats are like our children, so I worry even more. I will keep y’all updated on Sundance’s healing from his UTI and pray he gets better soon!

I hope the rest of your weekend goes well and you stay safe! I would love to know what you thought about this post and I will respond as quickly as I can. Considering I have been a ball of stress because of Sundance, the only way I can stay calm is to write about it. We all need an outlet in life, and this is mine! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes.

Always, Alyssa

Been Out Of Sorts

I have been trying for several days to write a post, but I have not been able to. I have a few reasons why things have been so challenging, and I will try to explain. One issue is I have not been sleeping well due to awful tooth pain. I know my fear of the dentist is very irrational, but I have never been able to shake this fear in all my years. After several mornings waking up at 3:00 AM in excruciating pain and it takes me a while to fall back to sleep, I finally scheduled an appointment with a dentist. My husband and I are still relatively new to where we are living and I did not know any dentists, heck, I hardly knew of any doctors besides my neurologist, but I reached out to an extremely sweet couple that has lived in the city for years for a recommendation. This couple is kind, trustworthy, and I feel confident they would steer me in the right direction, the only problem is the dentist did not have any openings until April 19th, but I have dealt with it this long, what is a few more weeks?

The other issue I have been experiencing is my legs and feet are feeling the annoying tingling, pins, and needles sensation, and a great deal of spasticity. This seems to be getting increasing worst at night, which makes it hard to get comfortable and fall asleep. Even though it is known to those with MS that heat causes issues, previously a heating pad on my legs would help calm the problems down. Unfortunately, a heating pad or a warm bath is not helping at all and I am just having to be patient with my legs and feet, which I am not good at being patient at all!

As y’all know from things I have said in previous posts fatigue is a huge issue with people with Multiple Sclerosis, so not getting anywhere near enough sleep due to my tooth pain and twitchy legs is only producing more fatigue. I do not know about you, but when I get too overtired, I become very irritated with everything. It does not matter how small the issue is, it will make me want to scream and or cry. You can only imagine how I would feel if something huge happened.

I like to think that I am a patient and tolerant person, and always try being understanding because I do know everyone is going through something in their life. It takes a lot to push me to my breaking point, which is not always a good thing because that involves a lot of pent of frustrations. While it can be a good quality to be able to let go of things that are not crucial, the built-up of frustration can be like if a volcano, collided with a tornado, and an earthquake happened simultaneously. This is just me and I might be abnormal because I hold onto things for extended periods of time before anyone would ever know something was bothering me and I know this is something that needs to be worked on and improved.

I am not making any promises because I do not like breaking a promise, but I am going to try finishing the posts I had mentioned before. I know March and Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month are over, but there are still a few things I want to mention. March being over does not mean that those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis get a break because unfortunately, we still have the same battle to fight.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit my site today. I still have so much that I would like to write about, and I am doing the best I can. I hope your week is going well and you are continuing to stay safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Triggers and Ways To Avoid Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa

9 Multiple Sclerosis Facts

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

A few additional facts regarding MS to understand are:

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

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

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

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

B Neurologist Exam

C. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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

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

F. Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

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

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

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

*An inability to concentrate or pay attention

*Decreased problem-solving skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa