Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stress and MS

When your laptop decides it is ready for retirement (read: die) when you are in the middle of a project or just surfing the internet – stress comes into play like a hard fast bodyguard trying to keep you out of an exclusive club, throwing the entire day out of whack. And if you have MS – it just makes your day a whole lot more “interesting” to say the least.

Stress actually acts to protect you (thus the bodyguard analogy) by releasing chemicals – a hormone called cortisol - into your body that helps make your reactions faster and your mind sharper, but for a person going through MS it also can make the symptoms more pronounced (sometimes referred to as an exacerbation). Stress can make anyone feel worse, be it an upset stomach to knots in the neck; however, if you have MS you also get to experience such things as the “MS Hug” (a girdling sensation around your torso) to speech and walking problems.

While there have been a lot of studies about the effects of stress and MS there is still no conclusive evidence that stress causes exacerbations, but try telling that to a person who is experiencing both at the same time – it is not a pretty day or picture.

So how can one avoid exacerbations that are caused by stress? Unfortunately there is no hard fast way or answer. We all live with stress in our daily lives, but at times something throws you a curve ball – like a dead laptop – and you get to experience the hormone rush. As things begin to calm down, the stress is released. When a person with MS has their stressed released, the fatigue that is prevalent throughout the course of MS can be more pronounced, but the other symptoms that had been exacerbated lessen becoming less troubling and/or less severe.

Relaxation has to be learned and practiced from modified yoga to simple meditation exercises – they all can help relieve stress and keep things on an even keel. As always, speak with your physician before starting any form of meditation or exercise.

So how did I relieve my stress from my dead laptop? I bought a new one and spent three hours getting everything back up to speed and then fell into a deep hard but restless sleep. Today, I feel better, but fatigue and the residue effects will linger for a few more days. One day at a time that is the only way to handle stress and MS.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Rare Side of MS

Ah, the “joys” of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – well, that’s an oxymoron – but hey you have to keep up a positive attitude no matter what, right? So, on the fun loving note, today I am going to be discussing some of the rarer symptoms that may occur during the progression of MS. It is widely understood that MS is different for each person – one can experience one thing (such as change of gait) while another person may not have that effect at all. At one point in time a person may run the gambit of all the symptoms (another blog for another time). So let’s get to some of the rarer symptoms:

Trigeminal neuraligia: Neuraligia means “nerve pains”. This symptom causes severe shock-like or burning pain in the face lasting up a few seconds up to a few minutes per episode and usually along the cheek or jaw line. Some feel a numbness or tingling before the episode. This is actually one of the more common or the rarer symptoms.

Gloss-pharyngeal neuralgia: These severe pains show up in the tongue, throat ears, and/or tonsils (if you still have them) as shocks or burning sensations. These can last up to a few moments for be as brief as a few seconds. These symptoms can be brought on (triggered) by chewing, laughing, swallowing, speaking or coughing.

L’hermitte’s sign: This symptom allows the person to suffer from sudden “electric” sensations that run down their spin and legs when the neck is flexed (bent forward, looking down). This pain confirms that there is demyelination in the neck area. I suffer from this and do have demyelination in my neck – I just call it my personal wake up call every time I look down. It is not that bad and you do get use to it.

Paroxysmal symptoms: These are sudden and momentary spasms of an arm or leg and often confused with seizures. Sometimes they are can also occur in the muscles used for speech or swallowing. They are a result of abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that have been damaged or scarred.

Pseudobular affect: commonly called an emotional incontinence and is characterized by uncontrolled laughing or crying that follows no emotion reasons or feelings. This is a result in damaged to the area of the brain that controls emotions. Further, it can cause a person suffering from this to become withdrawn or isolated because it can be embarrassing.

Pruritis: “itching” along the lines of “dysesthesias”. This form of itching is neurologically (nerve) based, it will not respond to normal topical ointments. It further can occur on any part of the body, but mostly on hands, arms, legs and feet.

If you begin to experience any of these, you should speak with your doctor as there may be options that can help you overcome these symptoms and continue on with more important things. Until next time, smile when you want to, cry when you need to and laugh whenever possible.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Beginning....

…Sounds like a good place to start. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2004 [although I mistakenly wrote 2003 in previous articles – chalk up a mark for the disease/disability]. I continued to work but MS took its toll. All was not lost, because of the MS I was brought back to my one true passion – writing.

During the day, I am a freelance writer and at night I write fiction. I have been lucky enough to publish articles with Associated Content where you can find me at http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/251855/della_buckland.html. I have also sold two short stories with http://www.sorceroussignals.com/ .

Yes, there is a reason behind this blog – I am in hopes that others who suffer with Multiple Sclerosis can find solace and maybe even learn something new or even learn to laugh despite all that they are going through or facing.

To help you on your way, I have included five links to the non-fiction articles I have already published:

Diamond Days Stone Weeks: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1212255/diamond_days_stone_weeks.html?cat=12
Multiple Sclerosis & Aspartame – The Email That is Going Around: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1071797/multiple_sclerosis_and_aspartame_the.html?cat=5
The Multiple Sclerosis Diet: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/986546/the_multiple_sclerosis_diet.html?cat=70
Multiple Sclerosis - The Good, The Bad, The Funny: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/932839/multiple_sclerosis_the_good_the_bad.html?cat=5
Ten Tips To Surviving Las Vegas with Multiple Sclerosis: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/932623/10_tips_to_surviving_las_vegas_with.html?cat=16

I hope in the coming days to make you smile and learn something new. Without a smile and a laugh MS can seem a lot harder. Smile when you want to, cry when you need to and laugh whenever possible.