Saturday, October 18, 2008

Overwhelmed With Multiple Sclerosis

MS can take over your life, and there have been a few times in our lives when it seemed like everything revolved around my wife's disease. We have had to be intentional about not letting the issues and problems take over and cause us to not live our lives to the fullest. Every once in a while we get complacent and stop doing the things we know that we need to do and then BOOM, MS strikes and brings us back to reality.

My wife and I have had a lot of talks about this situation. We have had to really think about what would happen in our future if she became sick, or if she was paralyzed or if we couldn't afford the health care she needed. There have been nights that I have not slept due to the anxiety this caused, and I know that she stresses over everything. I have even considered changing careers to help MS sufferers and have looked into medical school and other education to gain the knowledge I would need to really treat the disease. We still have a lot of decisions to make, and the part that stresses me the most is that we will never get away from it.

I really hate to give her disease that much control or power. Every once in a while we go through a period where we don't seem to think about her MS because it isn't affecting our everyday routine, but that doesn't happen very often. I guess everyday brings us closer to the fact that we need to be more intentional about diet, rest and care. I know that it is fear that is causing me so much anxiety and for the most part, it is fear of the unknown. Multiple Sclerosis has a sneaky way of affecting things at the just the wrong time and in just the wrong way, and the unknown is just that much harder to deal with. I know that once I get more rest I will be able to deal with all of this better, but it is in these moments that I realize how little control I have and how little power I have. Tomorrow will come, and my wife's MS will still be there, so we will continue to fight the disease and deal with the complications, but in the end we will win. The disease only has the power that we choose to give it, and fear only has as much control as we allow it. I would choose no other way than to fight, and today that choice is to have no fear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Chest Pain

Two times in the last 5 years my wife has had the feeling that she was having a heart attack. Both of those times, she felt extreme pain in her chest and arm. The first time we rushed her to the emergency room and waited 3 hours to see a doctor that told us it wasn't a heart attack, but a lack of a particular vitamin. Little did we know that the attack was brought on by a lack of Pottasium in her cells. As soon as she took Pottasium vitamins, the pain stopped and she was OK.

She had the same issue this last week. She had the chest pain with arm pain and a general feeling of dizziness and lack of energy. We realized quickly what it was and immediately started treatment. We learned the first time that salt can push the pottasium out of the cell, which literally causes the bones to ache. So, we have gone back through the routine of increasing pottasium in her diet and decreasing salt intake. We were amazed when the doctor gave us a list of the sodium content in normal foods we were eating. This has been a hard shift for my wife since she craves salty foods, but she has done great to stay away from the bulk of it.

We are not sure how all of this ties into Multiple Sclerosis, but I would be curious to know if anyone else has had this same issue. We know that vitamin deficiency and MS is an issue, and we have taken vitamins by IV and orally for a long time. This time, we were able to easily fix the issue but last time my wife's health deteriorated rapidly after the pottasium issue. One of the issues we realized was the blood tests for vitamins are not always accurate. The doctor told us that what you are seeing on the test is the vitamin outside of the cell. The problem is that you can't see what is in the cell, and it is hard to replenish those vitamins after they are pushed out.

The first time she had the problem, we had to take IV drips to increase the pottasium enough to make a difference. This time we caught it soon enough, but it is a reminder of how MS is always lingering. Living with MS is like living with a puzzle where you never seem to find all of the pieces. You get a piece here and a piece there, but it doesn't ever seem to come into view clearly. I will keep studying these issues and we will figure it out at some point, but until then, life is always interesting.

Multiple Sclerosis and Chiropractic

After our move to Albuquerque, my wife's health continually improved. She was bike riding, walking, working with rambunctious kiddos and all the while just enjoying her new found energy. A few weeks ago we travelled to a College to promote our children's home and found ourselves staying up late, getting up early and working all day long. Once we arrived back home, we had a few days to rest, then our children's home kids came home. The first few days were rough, and my wife knew she was out of alignment. We immediately went to see the chiropractor and sure enough she was way out bad. She had started to feel numbness creeping up her neck to the side of her face, and also some numbness in her toes. This wasn't anything new, and we knew we had pushed it too far and were paying for those long days.

After the chiropractor adjusted her with his Pro Adjuster machine, we left the office to go eat. At first, we weren't sure if the adjustment worked, but within an hour, all feeling was back in her neck and face. Overnight, she started getting the feeling back in her toes, and by the next day all numbness was gone. If this would have been 5 or 6 years ago, we would have weathered the numbness hoping that there wouldn't be any residual effects. Who knows how long the numbness would have lasted, or how many days my wife would have been sleeping to try to counter the tingling. Now, we immediately go to the chiropractor and usually see results within minutes if not hours after the visit.

I truly believe that chiropractic can help Multiple Sclerosis, and it is sad that more of our MS friends won't try it. She went back to the chiropractor two more times that week to make sure everything took, and she hasn't had anymore numbness since. We have made it a habit to schedule a chiropractic appointment regularly and also to schedule a massage regularly. We have learned that specific types of massage seem to compliment the chiropractic and that my wife's MS can be controlled better with the regular visits. We are still looking for the type of massage therapist we want in ABQ, but we know there is one that will be perfect for our wants and needs. Multiple Sclerosis and chiropractic can be a great team when you find the right Chiropractor with the right skills and knowledge.