Saturday, October 24, 2009

Night Blindness With MS

After going blind 4 times with Multiple Sclerosis, it is no surprise to me that my wife's eyesight has some issues. She has one eye that is half the brightness and often has issues with reading signs and making out words at a distance. The other issue she has is seeing well at night. Her eyes don't seem to adjust very quickly and when headlights are coming at her, she has a hard time seeing after the car passes. It is worse when she doesn't feel good or is tired, and this last week she had both issues. I know it really concerns her during those few seconds when she has a hard time seeing, and she will almost always choose to not drive at night unless she just has to.

The other issue she was having this week was twitching in her eye. Her eye started twitching the other night and she finally just gave up and went to bed because it was annoying her so bad. Even though she hasn't gone blind in years, the effects of her losing and regaining her eyesight is still causing her grief. We are able to trace all the previous times she went blind to specific circumstances, and we have learned things that she can and can't do. We know that eye strain and stress on her body can cause issues, so we have to make hard choices sometimes and choose not to participate in certain things and make sure she rests. We are very thankful that her eyesight has always returned, and we will take all the precautions we have to so that she never has to worry about going blind again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Multiple Sclerosis Issue - Laziness

This past week we took our daughter to the doctor with concerns about Hypoglycemia. I have had issues with low blood sugar most of my life, and I feel like our daughter inherited the issue from me. After hearing the symptoms and some of the issues that the doctor informed us about, I wonder how much blood sugar plays a role in Multiple Sclerosis. Over the years I have noticed that sleep seems to affect my wife more than eating. What I mean by that is if I don't eat, I am pretty much a grouch and unbearable. If my wife eats late or skips a meal, it doesn't seem to bother her much. Now, if she misses sleep then you better watch out. :) Without sleep, she can become irritable in a hurry and has problems concentrating and focusing on anything.

What we have began to notice the past few years is that my wife is affected more and more by diet and food. When she eats poorly it begins to show up a lot quicker and more pronounced. She can become irritable, frustrated, unfocused and have the shakes if she misses a meal, especially if she hasn't drank enough water for the day. She starts to notice many issues if she misses her daily water intake, and has become light headed and had other issues because of it. All of this seems to really wreak havoc on her MS since stress and other issues seem to bring on her MS problems. When she doesn't eat properly, and doesn't eat on time, you can almost count on some MS symptoms showing up. Some of this may be related to gut issues since we know that she had a leaky gut when she had a bad attack years ago.

Diet is so important with any disease, and Multiple Sclerosis is no exception. Too much sugar and bad foods, and you begin to feed the bad "bugs" of the gut and can have candida issues, which I know my wife has had. Candida issues along with other "bugs" of the gut seem to shut down the natural processes that feed our bodies and detoxify our bodies. We are going to see a dietitian for my daughter and I have a feeling that our whole family will soon start to become much more serious about our daily eating habits. We know we should be doing this anyway, but to be honest, we have been lazy. It is much easier to eat out, eat junk and justify it by saying it saves time and energy, but in the end, we are just making excuses. We tried a little experiment with our daughter last week and noticed that her grades, friendships and our interaction with her became so much better when she ate regularly and healthy.

I know that Dr. Swank used diet to control MS, and every book ever published on MS talks about food and how it affects our bodies. When we have disease in the body, how much does it affect our assimilation of food etc.? I have studied the affects of water on the body and all of the books I have read on it say that we are living in a state of dehydration. We don't drink enough water and our hormones that control the water in our body are so messed up, that our bodies are running inefficiently, stressed out. I know that we already have enough stress in our lives without making the issue worse by not feeding our body properly and hydrating it. I guess the question is, would my wife live more fully, with more energy, and feel better about herself and her MS if she ate properly and hydrated? I know the answer is a resounding YES, then I know for us it is a matter of not making excuses and breaking the laziness cycle.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shingles With MS

My wife had a familiar pain this past week during our trip. One morning she was raising her arm awkwardly and telling me about the sharp pain in her armpit area. She said it felt like needles poking her and anything touching it made it worse. She has dealt with this type of pain before when she had shingles. She even had the shingles in the same area as this pain, which really worried her. I remember that the pain she felt the last time this happened was extreme. She would walk around with her arm raised so that there wasn't anything touching the sensitive areas. She was able to recover from it after a week or so, but it was not a pleasant experience.

This past week it seemed to move on her. The pain started in the armpit area and then moved to her arm. After about an hour, the pain went away and she only had one other short episode all week. This is not a common problem for her, so it took her by surprise when it started hurting. I am very glad it came and went, and I really hope that it doesn't start hurting again. This type of pain is very different from the "normal" MS pain that she feels, and I could see the nervous look on her face when it started. We know she pushed too hard this last week and the stress is taking it's toll on her body. I know she didn't have any sensitive areas this morning, so hopefully this was an isolated problem.

Weird Week Of MS

This last week was a roller coaster for my wife's MS. One day she is having leg issues and is wondering if her legs will go completely numb, and another day she feels great and has no issues. Multiple Sclerosis has to be one of the most confusing diseases. Symptoms come and go and then come back again. Sometimes it can all happen in the matter of a few hours. This past week my wife dealt with numbness, tingling, fatigue, pain, headaches, memory issues and frustration from all of the above. She is at home now trying to rest and recover and we feel like she may be coming down with a head cold. She has had a very hard time recovering completely since we made our last move, which has only caused more MS issues. This week we will make time for her to rest and recoup, even though I know she will try to continue to push herself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Legs Tingling, Bladder Problems And Feet Numb

This morning we woke up to a few issues. My wife found that her feet were completely numb, her legs were tingling and she was running to the bathroom way more often than she would have liked. We knew that we needed to act or it could become bad fast so we decided to plan a quick trip to Dr Atchley in Albuquerque, which is about three hours from where we were going to be. It's in these moments that I really miss living in a large city where you have resources available within minutes. We made our way to our first stop of the day, thinking that we would then need to head down the road to the Chiropractor. My wife turned on the seat warmers in the car and we drove about 30 minutes when my wife said that her legs were feeling better. By the time we made it to our first stop, her feet and legs were feeling OK. She still had some tingling in her feet but it wasn't bad and it was going away.

We know we have been walking a fine line lately with how much we are pushing my wife's body. My wife has been standing and walking a lot with our work. This week we have been at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair where we have been walking and standing most of the day. She knew her legs were becoming tired yesterday and had commented that they were sore from so much physical exertion. This morning was a wake up call that she needed to rest more. I could see the stress on her face this morning when she knew something was not right. I know it frustrates her to not be able to push through things like this and that she has to manage her life with her MS. I also know she is really struggling right now trying to make some decisions about how to better handle the work and personal loads she has placed on her.

Multiple Sclerosis doesn't care if you're busy or don't have time, it just attacks. Sometimes MS attacks without warning, but most of our experience has been with some specific trigger like stress, toxins, exercise or traumatic event. We know why she is having issues right now. We have been stressed lately, both physically and emotionally. She has pushed her legs everyday, and has been struggling with short bouts of insomnia. Just a few days of poor rest really seems to wreck her body and the MS just takes over. I know she didn't sleep well last night and when you add that to the physical stress of working long hours on her feet, it really shouldn't surprise either one of us that she is having leg and feet issues. We made the decision today to put off the 6 hour round trip to the Chiropractor, but we realize that she will have to rest and we will need to plan that trip later. Tonight her legs are back to normal and her feet have all the feeling back, but we both know that everything could change by morning. So goes life with MS.