Day by day with Multiple Sclerosis
It is not easy, but the fight is on!
When I got a diagnosed with MS seven years ago, I had no clue and no idea what was MS. From being a regular 29-year-old, relatively healthy full of life, I became a woman with an illness, a serious one. Day by day with Multiple Sclerosis became my life. MS the joke is on me! From that moment on life has been a roller coaster.
MS became a name I did not like and did not understand. The journey has been long, the relationship with MS is at best rocky, and my life, therefore unpredictable, and accordingly I live day by day with Multiple Sclerosis, prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
The beginning of an unpleasant journey
It all started a few months after my third kid was born. One night I woke up feeling numb from the shoulder to the leg of my left side. The numbness I was feeling made me think of a heart attack! Yikes! I was only 29 years old, is that even possible? My family took me to the Emergency Room where they probed me in every way possible, did x-rays, blood tests, MRI’s…
When the physician came in with the results and his prognosis, I felt as numb as when I first went in, maybe more so. A feeling of uncertainty along with the name of this illness, unknown to me, made it sound terminal. Was I going to die? How much time do I have? Is this like Cancer? I have three kids, am I going to be able to see them grow? When you don’t know the meaning of the illness or its seriousness, the uncertainty of it all is crushing!
After that first introduction, it was apparent that MS was not going to be a friend. Ever since I keep myself immersed in studies and attend informational meetings related to MS. I also have a close relation with my neurologist and his assistants. Having always been organized, I keep a journal where I write all my symptoms and problems to discuss with the doctor and where I write my to-do list. All of this because MS affects your cognitive and thinking process system, you may find yourself in a brain fog, forgetting names, places, where you left things. That is very hard!
What is Multiple Sclerosis
Not confirmed facts are known to cause this disease, is not hereditary although your chances are slightly higher when there is a sibling or close relative who has it. It does fall into the autoimmune illnesses along with arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and others. Sometimes this condition can be triggered by an environmental factor. In MS the autoimmune system attacks the myelin – which is the fatty liner that surrounds the nerve fibers, and consequently, the nerve fibers get damaged as well.
When this happens the damaged myelin becomes scar tissue or sclerosis – this is how Multiple Sclerosis gets its name. Much like electricity, when the myelin and nerve fibers are damaged the normal course of action in the brain’s functionality, and the spinal cord aren't transmitted, or it gets cut, this brings all kind of symptoms.
MS also has different ways of affecting people. For example for some, the symptoms are mild, and for others, the symptoms are severe. My MS falls somewhere in the Progressive Relapsing kind. I have semi- good days and severely hard/bad days when even straighten up my body is impossible and very painful. A severe disease, but by no means, it should be a demise letter or an end to one’s life. All things considered, I do feel lucky, it could be worse.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
There are several types of MS. Of course factors like gender, age, and overall health conditions before being diagnosed among other factors may aggravate conditions among patients.
Relapsing- Remitting MS - When you have this kind of MS you may have attacks and flare-ups, some recovery and maybe for an extended period you will be symptom-free. Some of the symptoms associated with RRMS and with all types of MS are:
-Numbness and tingling, extreme sensitivity to heat/cold temperatures, feeling weak and tired, hard time thinking clearly, dizziness, depression, loss of balance and muscles that are stiff making your body difficult to move.
Progressive Relapsing MS – This kind of MS continues to deteriorate from the very beginning. You get relapses, and between relapses, the condition continues to aggravate. This type affects a smaller percentage of the cases of MS and is more severe. Relapses last anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks. The difference with this MS: your symptoms do not go into remission.
Primary Progressive MS -Mainly this MS condition gets diagnosed when you go to the doctor because of trouble walking or a muscle weakness. Once the illness sets off continues to worsen over time. For instance, with this MS there are no relapses and remissions. Primary progressive attacks more forcefully the nerves in the spinal cord and as such the disease causes problems with balance and walking. It does not remit; you are constantly with some symptom.
Secondary Progressive MS – This happens after a period of 10-15 years of being diagnosed with primary progressive MS. Somewhere around 80% of Relapsing remitting will develop secondary progressive MS. Relapses with Secondary progressive MS are not as distinctive, and when you do have relapses the recovery is not complete.
Do not ignore the early warning symptoms:
Numbness of your legs or arms, fingers, toes, face
Tightness of the extremities
Fatigue for not real reason
Although all the symptoms above can be related to other issues, above all, do not ignore the signs your body sends and visit your doctor. Taking care of one’s self-health is first and foremost priority, not a second thought. Do not wait for matters to get worst. After been diagnosed, it is critical to keep a record with all symptoms, changes, conditions when your symptoms flare up. From here on your best friend is that journal which you will share with your neurologist.
Next time I will cover the different treatments and alternative medicines to treat MS and to better live with this uninvited guest. Learning to battle, keep yourself together is as important as the support around you to improve your chances of keeping MS under control. Check out this article "12 brain superfoods choices", with the superfoods to help sustain the health of your brain tissue and cognitive skills.
Are you or someone you know fighting a chronic illness? Leave us a comment below. We love to hear from you! When we are informed, we can make better choices!
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