As I sit here today, another day off work due to being sick, feeling extremely sorry for myself, a big part of me feeling guilty because I'm not capable of working today, I can't help but notice the toll that this flu/cold has had on my body compared to what it would have been like a couple of years ago. MS is basically my immune system attacking my brain and nerves (apparently not on purpose though, is this reassuring?), which means that my immune system is a lot more welcoming now to viruses, bugs and colds - it basically rolls out the red carpet for all of these and can't wait for them to come inside and show them the venue. It also means that any illness I get will temporarily flare up my MS symptoms, so it doesn't feel as easy or as quick now to recover, basically it sucks. So I thought I would list some of the symptoms that I have experienced so far. I also want to list them as many people I tell I have MS to say that they don't really know what it is and because I still look fine on the outside, I feel like it doesn't come across as serious as what it actually is. It is an invisible illness, which to me is even scarier, because each day I wake up not knowing what it is up to or which part of my body it may or may not effect today. Another strange little thing about MS is that no two people that have it will have the same experiences, it is unique to you, which means the symptoms that I have had over the last year may never effect another person with MS - it is very unpredictable and I am just here along for the ride. So here goes nothing...
- Numbness - sometimes in just one arm or hand, sometimes everywhere
- Pins & Needles - I know everyone has suffered with this at one point, but sometimes it can last all day for me
- Lhermitte's phenomenon (Spine vibrates when I bend my neck) - this is probably one of the most strange symptoms as it doesn't hurt, it just feels really odd and makes me feel like my body has just received a text message and is vibrating like a phone??
- Weakness in mainly the right side of my body - it is not all the time, but when it hits I usually need a walking stick for support. Which can be confusing for people as they wonder why one day I am limping about and the next I am fine.
- Fatigue - I am so sleepy, I am not sorry.
- Cramping in legs - I know people earn these after they exercise usually, I earn them by getting out of bed.
- Regulating body temperature - I am either too hot or too cold, very rarely these days am I just a comfortable temperature.
- Regulating emotions - definitely not as unstable as teenage me, but can still be just as hard.
- Brain fog & Cognitive problems - it can be very hard for me to focus or even retain information
- Memory problems - this is a hard one, but sometimes it can make me giggle if I find myself getting a pan out of the cupboard to make myself a cup of tea
- Aching - this one never really lets up and happens everywhere in my body
- Headaches - pretty self explanatory
- Sexual Problems - enough said
- Bladder & Bowel issues - need I go into anymore detail with this one?
- MS Hug (Dysesthesia) - it feels as if someone has constantly got their arms wrapped around your torso or neck pretty tightly and can be super uncomfortable
- Muscle spasms - I'm not dancing, my muscles are
- Random Shooting pains - anywhere, anytime
- Itching - promise I've not got head-lice or fleas, I'm just itchy
- Dizziness - you know when the room spins when you've had way too much to drink? Sometimes I get that from doing nothing
Mental Health Issues - I feel like this is kind of an obvious one, but still a hard one nonetheless
Well there you have it, a long and kind of detailed list of what I have experienced so far. Of course I am yet to start treatment, so I am positive that once I do, it will give me more quality of life. I do hope that people give this a read and if anyone reads who also has MS, I would love to hear from you and what you have also experienced!