Monday, November 22, 2010

Little Man's Journey through the Faux Panama Canal

Little-Man is driving me nuts! He has this new habit. Escaping! Luckily our apartment complex is like the Panama Canal, with locks. So even though he's taken to hiding under the little table in the hallway, and slipping out the front door when I enter, he'd still have to go through several more doors to reach the outside world. Still, the worst part is that with four animals it's not always obvious that one is missing. Like today, I didn't realize he was out, until I was leaving the apartment again. He's hopeless.

I thought about my Halloween Pumpkin today. I had such grand plans for it. But when the time came to carve it, I found it was already dead. On the inside. It was so sad. I tried to pick it up, and it literally deflated between my palms. :-( Why, Pumpkin? WHY??

Speaking of "why"...why is the intro to "Three and a Half Men" so bizarre? Maybe "bizarre" isn't the best word for it. I think "Stupid" is the more appropriate term. But, who cares...because AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE IS ON! Hooray!

I should go to bed. Terence is working late tonight. I'm not sleepy.

So, I've taken several conscious steps to reduce stress in my life, to get control of my schedule (and thus, my time), to work out more, to eat better, to read more....and what is my reward? Numbness, and pins and needles, from the waist down. Do my drugs not work? What's going on?? I'm amazed how all these "flares" since June are literally running a relay race. I'm scared that this means my MS is progressing away from Relapsing/Remitting. Not good.

This week's "House" episode couldn't be more relevant. They are discussing how MS lesions in the temporal lobe can cause strange experiences, changes in mood and personality. Great. Super. And how come nobody ever told me about Marberg's MS? Fatal in a matter of days? Obviously since I'm still alive, I am assuming that's not what I have. But that doesn't mean it's cool to find out about the existence of such a gnarly form of MS, from a TV SHOW! Hrmph.

I just found another person's MS oriented blog. She has written a very clear entry about what MS is, and what it can do. I'm always looking for better ways to describe this nutso disease, so I'm going to copy and paste it here. The way she has categorized the possible's clear that what is happening to me is "normal." Which leads me to believe that there is no overwhelming reason to go to the doctor every time I notice something from this list. No medical professional has ever addressed my memory issues, or the fact that I can't reasonably solve problems sometimes.

It's sometimes hard to stay focused on "being positive". It becomes a matter of endurance. No choice but to try harder, I suppose! It's Thanksgiving Week, and there really is so much to be grateful for. Everywhere around me. My amazing husband, my amazing friends, my amazing family, my amazing pets.

A turkey was purchased today! We are one day closer to the epic meal! (As Lauren pointed out today - It's probably best that I don't agree to steroid infusion before Thursday, or the insatiable hunger that follows would cause me to eat at least 9 lbs of that 16lb bird)

Not to purposely revisit the symptom issues...but I honestly can't recall if I cancelled lessons this week. And that SUCKS, because if I call and ask, and DID already cancel the lessons, I just sound stupid. Frustrating. I feel like I can't even trust what I've written down in my calendar.

The woman's blog that I found today, can be found at and I pasted part of her entry on various symptoms below.

(from Melissa's blog)
The most logical place to start this series of awareness week posts is with some basic information. Multiple Sclerosis is believed to be an auto immune disease in which our immune system mistakes proteins within the myelin sheath around the brain and spinal cord as an invader to be killed, causing lesions and subsequent scarring where the attacks occur. To better explain the role of myelin, here is a favorite analogy of mine: Picture a plastic coated power cord, now scratch off some of the plastic. It may spark, it may work sometimes but not others, eventually once that exposed wiring rusts it stops working altogether. Now picture that coating is the protective layer of your brain, and your brain is the copper wiring. That is essentially what happens with Multiple Sclerosis.

Once the myelin is worn away, the brain's signals to the body don't work correctly. Because of this, virtually any and every part of your body could potentially be effected by the disease. Here are a list of some of the more common symptoms of MS:

Muscle symptoms:
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
  • Problems moving arms or legs
  • Problems walking
  • Problems with coordination and making small movements
  • Tremor in one or more arms or legs
  • Weakness in one or more arms or legs
Bowel and bladder symptoms:
  • Constipation and stool leakage
  • Difficulty beginning to urinate
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Urine leakage (incontinence)
Eye symptoms:
  • Double vision
  • Eye discomfort
  • Uncontrollable rapid eye movements
  • Vision loss (usually affects one eye at a time)
Numbness, tingling, or pain
  • Facial pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Painful muscle spasms
  • Tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs
Other brain and nerve symptoms:
  • Decreased attention span, poor judgment, and memory loss
  • Difficulty reasoning and solving problems
  • Depression or feelings of sadness
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Hearing loss
Sexual symptoms:
  • Problems with erections
  • Problems with vaginal lubrication
Speech and swallowing symptoms:
  • Slurred or difficult-to-understand speech
  • Trouble chewing and swallowing
Fatigue is a common and bothersome symptoms as MS progresses. It is often worse in the late afternoon.

It is believed roughly 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Some say that number could be as high as 4 million if one takes into account the misdiagnosed and undiagnosed cases. There are approximately 400,00 diagnosed cases of MS in the United States, with an estimated 200 new cases diagnosed every week. MS strikes women twice as often as men, though men seem to progress in the disease faster than women. The average age of diagnosis is 30-40 years old, with symptoms starting between 20-40 years old. Diagnosis is often delayed because of the sporadic, unpredictable nature of the disease. Multiple Sclerosis can effect anyone, of any race, gender, or age.

There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Those are the basics of Multiple Sclerosis, and really, only the tiniest glimpse as to what life is like living with it. MS is a greatly misunderstood and underestimated disease, largely because so many with it "look good" but suffer greatly with largely invisible symptoms. I'll be touching on this topic more as the week goes on.

I challenge everyone reading this to help spread awareness of Multiple Sclerosis during this week. Why? Because you never know when this disease may strike you or someone you love. I know two years ago, even though I was already having symptoms of MS but didn't realize it, I'd have never thought in a million years I'd be sitting here with this disease writing this blog. It can, and does, happen to anyone.

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