MS Hug Struggles

As everyone reading this now and who has read some of my previous posts knows, I have had Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years. This has been something I have lived with for almost half of my life, and I still find it extremely frustrating. Even after all these years, there are still things I do not understand or know about this disease. The one obvious thing is how unpredictable it can be. I do find it amazing how much we can adapt to and tolerate life when we have no other choice but to keep moving forward.

There are many things about Multiple Sclerosis and days living with this disease that can feel like things will never improve, which can make you feel hopeless. Even though I have days when I feel like this, I also believe that we are not forced to deal with anything we cannot handle! Of course, it takes a strength we never knew we had, but it is possible to keep moving forward.

I wish I knew the name of the person who thought they were being clever and humorous by naming something the “MS Hug” because this is the worst kind of hug I have ever heard of. It completely ignored the advice from the experts about social distancing and never considered getting approval before hugging someone. I have always thought that MS Hug was very disrespectful and invasive.

Even though I still do not know who came up with the name, I do know that MS Hug is very uncomfortable, but it is not life-threatening even though it feels like it is at times. The MS Hug is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful tightness or pressure around the abdomen or chest. This can last for seconds or minutes, which is the best-case scenario but can also last hours or longer.

There are two effects of Multiple Sclerosis that can trigger the MS hug to happen. One is muscle spasms in the small muscles between the ribs, known as the intercostal muscles. The second is changes in sensations known as dysesthesia, which while they can be, are not always painful.

Just like everything else regarding Multiple Sclerosis, everyone experiences the MS Hug differently. The ways that help one person may not help another in the same way. Various things can help or even eliminate the MS Hug sensation including the following:

Discover your triggers:

This could include fatigue, temperature changes, eating a large meal, feeling unwell, or being stressed. It may not always be easy to discover what triggers the MS hug, but once you do it may be a good plan to avoid or at least reduce the issues you know are your triggers. Keeping a journal with what the temperature was each day, stress level, feelings of fatigued, and what you eat each day may help to determine what your triggers are.

Loose vs Tight Clothing:

For many people tight clothing triggers, them to experience the MS hug and even makes the sensation worse. This may mean not wearing an underwired bra or removing it as soon as your situation allows. It will just seem logical to wear loose clothing if you know tight clothing causes problems. As with everything else, tight clothing helps some people to deal with the MS hug. For reasons not always understood, the grip of tighter clothing can distract the brain, making the MS hug sensation less noticeable.

Moving and or Stretching:

For some people staying mobile and stretching relieves the pain from the MS hug, but for some people laying down is the only thing that offers them any relief. This is all a matter of personal choice and what helps you the most!

The use of hot or cold compress:

Again, different things work better for each person, so you just need to play around with heat and cold compresses until you know what works best for you. Hot water bottles, warm towels, or a heating pad when applied to the affected area may offer relief. If this does not work, you can try a cold compress or an ice pack to the affected area. Please understand and be careful of both hot and cold as it is easy to cause further damage to the skin.

Physiotherapy or other physical treatments:

his can include TENS which is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. I honestly do not know a lot about this because something about electrical nerve stimulation scares me, but I have heard it can be helpful!

Relaxation, Mindfulness, and CBT:

Relaxation and mindfulness exercises can be helpful for anyone, not just those dealing with MS and the MS hug. Things like self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been successful for many people around the world. Controlled breathing techniques can be found with a quick Google search and are inexpensive. 

Multiple Sclerosis has come along way with treatment since I was diagnosed, but for some reason there still is not a cure. I wish there was a magical medication that could make all the pain and issues I deal with daily go away, but until there is I will just continue to fight and not allow this unpredictable, frustrating, and ugly disease steal the light and fire I have inside me. As I am sure you can assume, I am dealing with the MS hug right now and it has been a struggle. I am SO thankful that I work from home because with the way I was feeling today, there is no way I could have driven to an office and dealt with being this uncomfortable for 8 very long hours.

Anyone that is reading this and has Multiple Sclerosis, have you dealt with this issue before and if so what helps you? The funny thing is, normally heat is my enemy, but for this issue and other types of pain, my heating pad is my best friend. The only way I can be comfortable is wearing loose clothing because I find that to be the most comfortable. The weather has been changing each week, so I can only assume that might be the reason the evil hug is back!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope the information that I have shared was useful and interesting to you. I am looking forward to reading your comments because I am sure what you have to say will be helpful. I hope you had a good week and you have an amazing weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Inspirational Wednesday

Happy Midweek day! I prefer to not use the actual name of the days because it makes it seem like the week is never going to end! Just saying midweek makes me think the week will be ending soon! I think it is mostly due to the weather, but this has felt like an extremely LONG week, and I am looking forward to the weekend more than normal! I do hope your week has been great and you are feeling well!

How do you feel about rainy and chilly days? The past few days have been much chillier than it has been and yesterday was rainy and chilly! I think the rain and cooler temperatures have something to do with the miserable headache I had on Sunday night, into Monday morning. The cooler temperatures are much better than the alternative of insanely HOT weather I dealt with for too many months, but it does cause my muscles to tense, which does increase pain. Do you notice any differences in how you feel when it is rainy and/or chilly? This is the kind of weather that makes my cats want to cuddle much more!

One thing I will say is, I do prefer the temperatures to be cooler instead of too hot. When the temperatures are in the upper 90’s, I feel miserable because that level of heat causes more exhaustion and irritation. It is awful when you are unable to walk from your front door to your car without being drenched, almost like you just got out of the shower, again! When it is cooler, you can add more clothing to warm up. Of course, when it is extremely hot, you cannot take enough off clothing to cool down.

What would your perfect temperature be? In a perfect place, I would view things as not getting warmer than the upper 80’s and then not colder than the 40’s. Maybe people who live with Multiple Sclerosis experience temperatures differently because no two cases are exactly the same. It seems so strange to me that I cannot handle the extreme heat, but a heating pad in the winter helps my leg and back pain tremendously.

Now that we have almost made it through this week and there are fewer days before the weekend returns, I think we could all use a little inspiration! I hope you will find the quote I am sharing with y’all today inspiring, and that it helps you survive the last part of this week! The good news is that the weekend will be here soon, and we do not have much longer. I think the rest of this week is supposed to be cooler, but there should not be any more rain😊!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you are having a good week and you are keeping your stress levels as low as possible. I am very interested to read your comments and I promise to respond as quickly as possible. Thankfully, we are always through this week, so we are much closer to the weekend than we were yesterday😊! This is the only way I can get through these weeks as they feel so LONG! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes! 

Always, Alyssa

Pet Therapy

For those that view their pets more like a member of their family, it is easy to develop a close, long-lasting, and loving bond with them. Animals have amazing intuition and instincts of how we are feeling at any given time. I can speak from experience considering the fact I live in constant pain, and I have noticed my cats seem to be aware of where I am hurting.

Unfortunately, I do not think animals are given credit for their abilities and too many are not loved and respected the way they should be. I detest seeing stories about animals being mistreated and abused because none of them deserve this type of treatment. I will never understand why some people have pets when they are not willing to care for them and provide them with a loving and safe home. My cats are spoiled rotten, and I would rather ensure they have food than myself having what I need.

Recently, I had to miss work due to increased pain. I have always known that pure love from our cats can make anything better, but they took it to a new level last week😊! While I was out of work I had the best kind of medicine ever, it was personal and dedicated kitty therapy😊! We have three cats and they all participated in helping me to rest and feel better. When I have a terrible headache, which happens frequently, our cats think they can make it better by laying on or near my head and purring so sweetly! They typically will lay on whatever part of my body is hurting and can help that pain so much.

Many people only view cats as small creatures that cannot protect their owners and do not see how special they are or think of them as an annoyance. There are numerous ways that a cat helps people. A cat’s purr can relieve stress, feelings of anxiety, and depression. Your cat’s purr can help you to heal from illness faster and to live a happier life! Cats are better than any human doctor or psychologist.

Anytime I am having a bad day, am stressed, or upset our cats can sense something is wrong immediately. I remember when I was devastated when I was laid off from my job, our cats did everything they could to console me, laying on my lap and purring! It seems to bother them tremendously when they see me crying and it almost makes them just as sad.

Do you have any pets, and do you consider them your family? If you have any pets, do you feel they help you feel better daily? There is no denying the fact that animals love unconditionally and are more loyal than most humans. What I do not understand is why so many animals are abandoned and mistreated because all they need is love. When humans are mistreated and or abused by another human, the abuser faces serious criminal charges, right? In my opinion, a human that abuses or neglects an innocent animal should face criminal consequences just as seriously as if they were abusing another human.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you are enjoying your weekend and you found some meaning in what I have shared today. I would love to read you 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

I try my best to never miss work, especially considering I work from home, but I did have to miss work yesterday. I have been dealing with increased pain and dizziness for several days, which I am assuming has to do with the constant weather changes because my body takes time to adjust so when the weather changes too frequently, I do not have time to adjust. The weather changes tend to wrack havoc on my body and make me miserable, but I should be used to this after over 20 years of living with Multiple Sclerosis.

It has always been difficult for me to call out of work sick because I end up beating myself up about it and think I should have just pushed myself a little harder. Missing work yesterday took a lot for me to do, but I will say I needed the time to take care of myself, which has never been something I was good at doing. I am much better as the caretaker of others than I am at taking care of myself. Even though I hated missing work, I will say that my amazing supervisor was understanding and a few of my co-workers even sent me messages to check on me. I guess you can say, I work with some incredible and very caring people😊!

We have made it through the majority of the week and only have a couple of days left before the weekend returns. With that said, I think we could all use a little pick-me-up to help us through the final part of the week! I hope you will enjoy the quote that I am sharing with you today and that it provides you with the fight to get through the last part of this week! The worst thing we can do to ourselves is to be an obstacle and get in our way of success because we are better than that and deserve more. We are strong and amazing individuals with much determination and strength! Of course, we all need a reminder of this!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have had a good week and you are feeling well. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared today and you found the quote helpful to get through the rest of the week. I am looking 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 Give Up

At this point, I am not sure how we survived Monday. The day itself was not too bad, just another Monday and fighting against getting used to the time change. It really should not be too hard because we did gain an hour of sleep, but the change to sunlight is a little challenging. Of course, regardless of when the alarm clock is set to go off, I am always awake before it has the chance to make that awful and piercing sound. Needless to say, I was awake for more than an hour before my alarm was going to go off. Super annoying, but it will get better.

The strangest thing happened to me last night and I still do not understand it. It was close to 9:00 PM and suddenly, I had this intense pain in my lower back and abdomen. This pain was so awful I was on the floor unable to move and catch my breath. It felt similar to the MS Hug, but MUCH worst. I have dealt with the MS Hug many times before and it was never as bad as things got last night. My husband was so concerned he wanted to take me to the emergency room, but I refused because I was hoping it would get better. I felt so terrible, I hardly could eat dinner.

I guess the only good thing about living with Multiple Sclerosis is it pushes me to limits I never knew I had. I know this evil disease is not going away anytime soon, so the only choices I have is to fight hard or give up. The choice is clear because I refuse to surrender to this disease. It may win the battle at times, but I am going to win the nuclear war we are battling. I strongly believe that the only way I can fail with Multiple Sclerosis is to let it win and do whatever it wants. For as long as I am still able to breath, I will continue pushing my limits and prove that I am too strong to lose.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you have enjoyed this post and it provided you with the determination and peace to keep pushing forward. Trust me, it is NOT easy to push your limits, but it may surprise you as to what you can accomplish in this life. I am looking 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

Sunday Thoughts

Hello Sunday! I hope you have been enjoying the weekend and you are feeling well. Even though I knew we were supposed to turn the clocks back an hour before we went to bed last night, I completely forgot to do so. Of course, for some reason that is unknown to me, I did wake up every hour on the hour since 3 AM. Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night. Honestly, I think one reason I did not sleep well is that I was ridiculously HOT. It is early November and I do not think we should be experiencing warm temperatures, but it appears that until Tuesday it is going to be a little too warm. Tomorrow the high is going to be 80 degrees and then it will begin to get cooler again.

What do you think about the time changes? We do have to do this twice a year and I look forward to a day when we do not have to do this because it throws me off each time. I have never understood why most states in the US this does because there are a couple that does not participate in the time change. If I am not mistaken, most other countries do not participate in time change, which makes sense to me. I have heard this is going to be the last year of time change in the United States, but I guess we will see because things are always changing!

I had a doctor’s appointment last week with my pain management doctor, which always goes the same way. I did explain to the Nurse Practitioner something new that I have been feeling for the past few weeks because I wanted to know her opinion as to what could be going on. Every morning, for the past several weeks my feet and ankles have been so painful that it is hard to stand up. I did not want to let my MS specialist know about this issue because she would more than likely want me to have an MRI and she never has any good news. The Nurse Practitioner said that it sounded like arthritis, so that was not the best news, but she might not be correct, and it could be worst if I had told my specialist.

Thank you for visiting my site today and reading my Sunday thoughts. Anyone reading this that has MS, have you ever heard about a connection between MS and arthritis? If you have, what treatments have you read or heard will help this pain? I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond to all comments as quickly as possible. I hope you have a nice day, and you are preparing for the new week that will begin tomorrow. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

20 Plus Years….

For the past 20-plus years, I have been forced to live with an incurable illness, Multiple Sclerosis. There have been various challenges I have encountered during the years, but the most frustrating has been how extremely unpredictable this illness is. It does not seem to matter if I follow my doctor’s recommendations and take the necessary medication daily, things can still go wrong. I do realize that I am one of the lucky ones living with this illness as it has not caused me to be disabled and required to use a wheelchair or a cane, but it has caused me many issues.

Of course, I have learned to deal with the pain that I feel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year as much as anyone can. Lately, the issue that has made me nervous is the increase in dizziness. This is an issue I have dealt with randomly before, but it has been way too frequently over the past few weeks. I have not let my doctor know about the increased dizziness and not sure that I am going to unless it gets worst. After all, I already know what this could mean and do not want her sending me for an MRI or pushing me to take steroids because both make me miserable.

In the past dizziness was a sign there were new or active lesions on my brain. I think to avoid increased levels of stress. I would rather not have a doctor tell me what I already feel like I know because all that would do is make my stress skyrocket and then cause even more issues. Considering I have lived with MS for so many years, I know the most important thing to do now is to, limit and reduce my stress levels, which will hopefully make things better with the dizziness.

I think taking the right steps to reduce stress is going to be the best course of action. I recently did a post about the benefits of journaling, so I am going to try doing this daily and still blog. Writing is a great way to reduce stress and express positive thoughts and vent negative emotions. Now that the temperatures are cooler, I am going to start crocheting again because this has always been relaxing for me. I would love to be able to donate the blankets I make to those who need them to stay warm.

Do you have any specific things you do to reduce stress and relax? We are all unique and have different ways to handle issues in life, but they are all important. No two people are the same, which is what makes the world so interesting. I believe if we were all the same, the world would be boring and not at all interesting. It would be great if we could all learn to accept our differences and still be kind and understanding to one another because this would make the world a better place.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared, and you are enjoying your weekend. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as I possibly can. Thankfully, we do still have one day left to enjoy the weekend and I hope you can do so safely. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

Motivational Monday

Here we are again, another Monday and a new week to get through. It never feels like the weekend is long enough, but I hope you were able to enjoy every minute of the weekend and that you are ready for a new week. I hope your week is full of amazing new opportunities and you can capture all of them with ease😊. It often seems impossible to let go of the weekend, I know our cats hate when Mommy has to work all day and leave them to cause LOTS of trouble. I hear them acting up during the day, it seems like we have elephants and not cats because they make SO many loud noises. 

It is important to try beginning a new week with a positive and motivated mindset. Yes, I know it is never easy, but we do it every week so I know we can do this. If we can view the week as an opportunity for success instead of a nuisance, we might be pleasantly surprised by how great the week will be😊. Life may always feel challenging and we have to try a little harder and believe that everything is going to work out the way it is meant to. Even if we do not understand at the time, I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I do not believe people or events happen by mistake and they are all meant to teach us lessons or fulfill something that is missing.

How was your weekend? For some reason, I did not feel all that great over the weekend. I had a lot of pain throughout my entire body, which sucked! A really great friend, who reads my blog and knew about the pain I was dealing with in my feet and ankles sent me a surprise to try and help. What was sent to me were these amazing heated socks, which have already helped the pain in my feet. In a world full of hatred and violence, it is nice when one single person restores my faith in humanity. There are very few people that make me believe there are good people still in this world, but I am thankful that I do have a few in my life😊!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed what I have shared and the quote helps keep you motivated and optimistic. I hope your week begins well and gets even better with each day. Try to take things one step at a time and not become overly stressed as this will never solve any problems, but it will create more. 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

The adjustments

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been numerous changes to the weather. While I am thrilled the temperatures have cooled, the changes have caused havoc on my body. The hot weather I had to deal with all summer long was miserable and I could not wait for fall to arrive😊! Now that the fall weather is here, it is taking me a longer time than I would have anticipated adjusting. I know I can adjust to cooler temperatures because I love hoodies and snuggling up in a warm blanket😊! The issue is the constant fluctuation. If only it could just remain constant, I would be able to adjust and not be in unbearable pain!

Last week felt like an incredibly long week that I did not believe was ever going to end. Monday always seems like the busiest and most aggravating day of the entire week, but they all ran together and were just as frustrating. Working from home has many amazing attributes, but it also makes me feel like I am always at work because my work laptop seems to sit there and mock me. Yes, I do understand a laptop cannot really mock someone, but it does constantly remind me about work and what has gone all during the week.

The good thing about my job is, I truly do appreciate my team and my supervisor. One of my teammates always knows how to make me laugh and my supervisor appears to think highly of me, and I trust that she will have my back if I ever need support. I do believe this is uncommon in the United States because it has been a LONG time since I had a supervisor that is supportive and caring. Living with Multiple Sclerosis and dealing with the challenges is not easy, so having a supportive team at work is helpful and makes the week not as bad as it could be.

I am thankful the weekend has finally arrived, and I do not have anything that is a must do. I was even able to sleep in this morning, which is VERY uncommon. Two of my cats did start trying to wake me up earlier, but I was able to ward them off because I was not ready to move yet and was WAY too cold! This morning the issues I have been having with my feet and ankles were much worse, which I assume was due to be EXTREMELY cold. It is amazing what a heating pad can do to help with my issues with MS.

After a long week, what do you feel is the best way to recuperate? Are you doing anything fun this weekend or are you planning to just rest up in preparation for next week? I have a book that I need to read because I feel like it is going to help me with a challenging issue I will be dealing with soon. I think it is best to over-prepare when you know something seems like it is going to be impossible to handle. Even in the most challenging situations in life, there should always be hope, right? Right now, I need all the hope and preparation I can have because things are going to be hard in the coming weeks.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you enjoyed and found meaning in what I have shared today. If anyone has any advice for ways to deal with an impossible situation, I would love to know! I hope you have a great and safe weekend doing what YOU want and not what others think you should do. I am really looking forward to reading your comments and will respond as quickly as possible. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes! 

Always, Alyssa

Quick Sunday Thought

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

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

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

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

Always, Alyssa