Thursday, February 22, 2007

Flare up vs symptom

I would hope after 10 years (almost) living with MS, I would know the difference between a flare up and a symptom. Right now, I am probably having a flare up BUT it is so minor, I am not going to my neurologist.

The top part of my hand is temperature sensitive. Back when I had my very first flare up, my leg was temperature sensitive. So much so that when my dress brushed up on it, I felt pain as if someone had just put a really hot iron on my leg. So my hand is pretty similar to this - though not as severe. And because I have gone through this feeling before (when it was worse) without any drugs (because they didn't know it was MS) and it eventually went away, I am waiting it out. And I think it is getting better.

Should I have just gone to the neurologist. I weighed the pros and cons and the cons won out. I thought of two reasons to go see the doctor. 1 - He MIGHT give me a steroid that would help make the sensitivity go away quickly and 2 - This flare-up MIGHT be a pre-cursor to a bigger flare-up and if he gave me any steroids, it might cut off the Big flare-up before it started. But I had about 10 reasons not to go. 1- When I had my flare ups when I was pregnant, they were MUCH worse and his advice was to wait & see if it got better because he'd rather not give me any medicine being pregnant 2- When I got Prednisone back in 2001 for a flare-up of my leg, it didn't really make it go away any faster than it did without drugs in 1997. 3 - Steroids make me wake up early and with the two girls, I'd like to sleep as much as possible. And if he gave me Ambien or something to help with the sleep problem, I wouldn't want to take it because then I might not hear them if they needed me. 4- Ok, minor reason. It is a pain to schlep the girls to the doctors office. 5 - If the feeling started to progress beyond just my hand, I could always see him within 24 hours.

Ok so I may have exaggerated the 10 reasons but it was enough to make me wait it out and I think I made the right call because it still feels different, but only slightly. Someone asked me how do you know what to do. And I think the answer is it depends on you. MS is such an individual thing. Another person with MS I was talking to said "It is your body and you know what makes sense." I agree now that I have been living with MS for 10 years and have gone through 5 flare-ups. But had this happened in January 1998, I probably would have gone to see the neurologist because I wouldn't have know what to do. I think one of the most frustrating things about MS is a lot of the answers are "It depends."

I think I have babbled enough already. As my younger daughter says - nigh-nigh.


Disclaimer - Anything I write about is my personal story and should not be taken as advice for what to do yourself. MS is a very individual disease - what works for 1 person may not work for the next. I am not a doctor and if you have any medical concerns or needs, you should consult yours.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Hi there.

I thought this might be a way to communicate some thoughts I have collected over the years dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. I will try to update this post at least once a week, time permitting (with the two little ones and all). I welcome comments to the postings.

A little about me. I was diagnosed almost 10 years ago when I was 24 years old and married for 6 months. I have relapsing-remitting MS. I have been immensely lucky with the disease - 5 official attacks. My 6th is probably happening right now but it is minor so I haven't gone to see my neurologist because I know what the outcome will be and since I am only minorly affected, it seems like a waste of time and money. I will describe the other attacks in later blog entries as some people reading this might be able to benefit with what I went through.

I have two little girls - now 4 and 2 1/2 - the picture is outdated. If you do to the math, you'll note they were both born way after MS. And I had the "luck" of having flare ups with the disease with both pregnancies but not after delivery. Future blogs will probably talk about having kids when you have MS but again, I have been very blessed not to have significant issues (yet) since they were born.

I have been married for 10 years and my husband has been giving me my Avonex for about 7 1/2 of those years. (Doctor didn't recommend it until a year after I was diagnosed and I "took off" during the pregnancies & nursing after they were born.) Another blessing has been my husband.

So, hello and I look forward to posting again real soon.