Tuesday, 16 November 2021

I have MS - Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

I had my second visit with my neurologist (in January 2017, when aged 53), and was diagnosed with mild MS (or "Multiple Sclerosis"). At this stage, it is thought that I have what is called mild "Relapsing-remitting (RRMS)".

STOP! DON'T PANIC! And DON'T Google it!

➤  So... what does this actually mean?

I mainly suffer from numbness/tingling/pins-and-needles in my hands (amongst other things). This will randomly come and go over my lifetime. It's not painful (thankfully), nor is it a loss of muscle strength, grip, or motor skills... it's more like a loss of sensation/touch in my fingers/hands.

Try picking up a wet cake of soap whilst wearing a wet plastic oven-mitt - you get the idea. That's about the best way to describe how my MS affects my hands.

Yes, I can still look after myself, drive... somedays, typing/using a mouse can be a challenge as well, as can be writing-by-hand. Playing the guitar is a no-go for me now, sadly.

My MS also slightly affects my left foot, sometimes making me 'roll' a bit when I walk. I'm using a walking stick & walker, to help my wonky sense of balanceMy days of either being bare-foot or wearing just thongs/flip-flops (when I'm out) are now past.

It's all very frustrating, but I'm not depressed or unsettled by it all, to be honest. That does surprise me, but I'm fully aware that there are people with this condition who have it a LOT worse off than I ever will!

Oh! I most certainly have NOT lost my fun warped sense of random absurdist humour, either, thank goodness!

I'm also fully aware that a lot of people will not know how to react or what to say when they hear this news from me. That's OK... I appreciate that everyone has different ways of dealing with information like this. But please keep in regular contact with me... I honestly need that from you, OK? Thanks.

BUT... what IS "MS"?

► Please watch this video:

MS is a nervous system disease, where my own immune system attacks the protective covering ("myelin") of tiny parts of my spinal cord (ie." Demyelinating disease"). The name "Multiple Sclerosis" refers to scars - in particular in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Mine are mainly in my neck, and tiny fragments in the brain (seeing my MRI scan results was amazing!) The resulting 'scaring' disrupts the way my nerves work, sending confusing messages - in my case, numbness/pins-and-needles to my hands (and possibly other parts of my body from time to time).

It's like the protective coating ("sheath") around little parts of my spinal cord (in my neck) have come away slightly, sending some of the nerve messages to my hands/fingers astray.

The relapsing-remitting ('RRMS') is characterized by unpredictable relapses followed by periods of months to years of relative quiet (remission) with no new signs of disease activity.

It's similar (and possibly related to) what has been happening in my bowel: as an auto-immune disease of unknown/non-contagious origin, it's like the fluid around my spine slowly started attacking the spinal nerve.

Yes... my exact set of conditions are quite rare! Trust me! D'oh!

With MS, everyone is affected differently.

It's not known was causes MS, nor is there a cure.

While there isn't currently a cure for MS, it is possible to manage it with various treatments that can reduce symptoms, relapses and the diseases' progression, with the help of my neurologist & associated health team. (Oh... lots of Vitamin D helps, too!). I am not on any medication for my MS.

MS won't necessarily affect the length of my life, but it will affect aspects of the quality of my life.

All of this is quite frustrating for me, as I was always quite well health-wise overall, until my mid-40's! (I'm 52 now [upon writing]). I guess the 'joys' of a life lived with stress, anxiety, and depression has caught up with my physical health!

(NOTE: This post is not a "pity-party/woe-is-me" thing, as I'm simply sharing a very brief insight into some of the reasons as to why I may act so "up-and-down" from time to time.
All of this is quite frustrating for me, as I was always quite well health-wise overall, until my mid-40's! (I'm 57 now).
Blimey... I don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, nor gamble, nor video games (Boring old fart, huh? lol)
I guess the 'joys' of a life lived with stress, anxiety, and depression has caught up with my physical health!)

More info about MS: (PS. Don't use 'Dr Google')!

► MS Information & Resources

► Be MS Aware
► Some MS Facts
► Some Common MS Misconceptions

► My own personal MS journey (blog)

➤  Bookmark this page: Multiple Sclerosis

Peas be with ewe 

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