Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pain In The Hip

Have you ever had one of those days? A day where it seemed like things became progressively worse and completely overwhelmed and stressed you out. Today was definately one of those days. The last month has been a rollercoaster of emotions with our work, personal life and our future desires. My wife's MS is always playing a role in what we do and how we do it, and today is no different. We received a phone call from an apartment complex that was needing a reference for our renters. What? Why would our renters need a reference? They haven't turned in a notice or even said anything about moving. So, we called them and sure enough, they are moving out next month.

We live over 9 hours from our rental property so this added a ton of stress to an already stressful time in our lives. We have had to change our Easter plans, try to figure out how to get our house rented again, and hope that we will not have to figure out a way to pay our mortgage if we can't find a renter quickly. While my wife was on the phone with our renters, I could see her body stiffen and her demeanor change. As soon as she was off the phone, the emotions came gushing. We were already at a hightened state of emotions, so this just topped off the stressed out feeling. She began to physically hurt immediately after the call. Her whole body ached and she couldn't help but cry from the overflow of emotions and pain.

After a few minutes she started to gain more control over her emotions and we talked through what we were going to do and she began to explain the pain. During the first 30 minutes or so, her whole body was hurting. After that time she said it started to move out of the upper body and just hurt in her lower body. Her arms stopped hurting and her chest and torso stopped hurting, but her lower body was feeling even more pain now. After another hour or so her lower body stopped hurting all over and settled into her hip. Her left hip started hurting so bad that she was having a hard time standing or walking. If she shifted her left leg wrong, I could see the pain almost take her breath. Her left hip hurt like this the rest of the day and only lessened after some pain meds and laying down. She was OK by bed time, but it amazes me how one stressful phone call can cause such pain in her body.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stopping Chest Pain In Multiple Sclerosis

Chest pain for my wife can be very painful. It can take her breath away and cause her to wince when she moves wrong or takes deep breaths. I saw her eating a banana the other night and asked her if she was having chest pain again. She said she had been having chest pain off and on for a few days but it wasn't severe yet. I have written other posts about past chest pain and even emergency room visits for what felt like a heart attack. She has learned from those experiences to do a few things immediately when she starts having pain.

We have learned that for my wife, the chest pain comes from a lack of pottasium. Our understanding is that her lack of pottasium is a combination of things, but can be caused from too much salt in her diet and a lack of the vitamin itself in her diet. By eating bananas and other pottasium rich foods, she can stop the chest pain almost immediately and relieve future issues. All of this has shown us how important it is to have a balanced diet when dealing with disease. It seems so simple that pottasium could be the fix for my wife, but I think that is why it gets overlooked so often. Multiple Sclerosis can cause so many complications but this is one thing we feel like we have control over. I hope others with MS can have the same results and maybe next time a little potassium can help relieve their pain.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weak Grip With MS

This morning my wife needed to open a bottle of juice and just didn't have the strength to do it. She normally doesn't have a problem, but there are days when her strength is just not there. She doesn't feel any MS pain or numbness in her hands, they are just weak. She doesn't have this issue very often, but does have weakness when she is tired and doesn't sleep well. The last couple of nights she has struggled to sleep after she had a late night over the weekend. Her sleep rhythms are thrown off very easily, so she will spend the next few nights trying to get back on a regular schedule.

Many times over the years my wife has squeezed my hand so that I can have a base point to work from when she experiences weakness. It is amazing how much weaker her body can become from just one day to the next. The only thing we have found to bring the strength back is rest. Once she is rested, the strength comes back and everything is back to a normal state. Many years ago we went to visit a Alternative Doctor and one of the things that I thought was really odd was he checked the area between her thumb and first finger. He said that when someone was having major Multiple Sclerosis problems the muscle in between those fingers would be almost gone and there wouldn't be any strength in their grip. My wife has good muscle tone in her hands, so he was very happy about that and gave her a good report based on many different parameters. I know that my wife's mom's hands are curled up now after years of MS working on her body. She has very little use of her hands, and they only continue to become worse. For my wife the weakness is just a temporary annoyance, but I know for others it is an everyday problem.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How Can I Tell If My Daughter Has Multiple Sclerosis?

Our little girl is growing up and is 11 now. It is amazing how much she is like us and what habits and personality traits she has picked up from us. I guess my concern lately is how do we know if she will one day be diagnosed with MS. The doctors for years said that MS is not hereditary, and now I am hearing that they think it might be. As I have written before, my wife's biological mom has MS, so maybe it could be passed down or maybe you are more predisposed to it if your family member has it. I don't know, but I do worry that some of the things we have seen in our daughter might manifest itself later as Multiple Sclerosis.

From what I have read, juvenile MS is becoming more common. Since we don't know what exactly causes it, I guess no one really knows why it is affecting more children. With my daughter, I have been watching some of her issues like stomach problems, her need for sleep, huge mood swings and other odd issues that seem common for my wife. She has the same motion sickness issues and can't tolerate certain foods just like my wife. Now, some of her issues have to do with her being 11 and all of the changes her body is going through. I guess I am worried though when I see so many similarities in some of the health complaints that she has.

For the most part, she is a health young lady that is athletic and energetic. I will do more studying on this, but I know there are others concerned out there about their children having MS. This blog has lots of hits from parents asking the question about whether MS is hereditary or not. I wish there was a clear cut answer, and I pray that my daughter never has to deal with the struggles of MS. As a dad, it does concern me though when she displays so many characteristics that my wife shows. I know my wife's MS didn't start really showing until her late teens, early twenties, but I know there were "symptoms" she talks about that may have been precursors to her MS back in her childhood. I will try to write about those later and give some background to the early stages of her MS. For now, I will keep a very close eye on our daughter and pray that she never has Multiple Sclerosis.

Pink Hair, Kids Everywhere, Multiple Sclerosis

There has been a lady volunteering time to cut our children's hair at the Children's Home for free. She owns a salon in town and comes out once a month and spends about 4 hours cutting hair. A few of the ladies decided to go and get highlights put in their hair since she was going to give them a discount. Now, my wife has had highlights before, and usually has blonde or auburn highlights added to her brown hair. This time the hair dresser used a ruby red with violet color and her hair is an iridescent pinkie purple, if there is such a thing. She describes it as an Easter egg color just in time for Easter. So she calls me when they are done and asks me if I am going to be OK if her hair is a little brighter and "redder" than she first expected. I couldn't believe how bright and wild her hair looked, with hot pink stripes all through it. We joke now that we have a punk rocker on campus!

She had all of this done last Friday, knowing that we were supposed to take our kids over the weekend to a new church to promote the home. What a sight! We come walking into this conservative church with a bunch of kids and her punk rock, pink hair just glowing. It was great! Everyone was looking at her hair wondering if that was for real and some people would just smile and others would give her a "you should know better" look. It has actually been fun with her hair like this, especially when she forgets it looks that way. She will be out doing something and will forget, and then someone will be smiling at her for no reason or one of the kids will comment on how much they like it. Who knew that a mistake in hair highlighting could bring so many smiles to so many faces. So for now, I am married to a punk rocker with MS. How cool is that!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Motion Sickness Playing Rock Band

My wife and I have learned to connect with our children's home kids on all sorts of levels. One of those is playing video games with them. The other night my wife sat on the couch and played the guitar on Rock Band for an hour or so. When you play Rock Band the notes for the buttons you press roll up onto the screen at a pace equal to the level you play the game, ie easy, hard etc. Now, my wife has had motion sickness problems since she was a kiddo so I have become used to her turning the A/C on in the middle of winter in the car when she starts to become sick. It can make trips quite interesting. What neither one of us expected was her to feel sick playing Rock Band.

After about an hour of Rock Band my wife had to lay down and close her eyes. She felt the normal motion sickness she feels with riding in a car, flying, riding in a boat, watching 3D movies and a host of other activities. What is funny is that by playing Rock Band she was able to connect with one of our teens and he opened up to her about all sorts of things. She has continued to play in short spurts and played drums yesterday with all of us. After a few songs she decided to take a break but it was fun to watch her try to keep up with the beat. We all need distractions from life and we have found Rock Band to be one of those.