I’ve been a wee bit quiet recently so I thought I’d share a quick update on what’s been going on. Over the past few weeks I’ve had an MS relapse.
What is a relapse? “the appearance of new symptoms, or the return of old symptoms, for a period of 24 hours or more – in the absence of a change in core body temperature or infection”. (MS Society)
This relapse has displayed itself in a few different ways. First, my left arm became extremely sensitive to touch like it had been scalded. This was painful but at the same time a bit numb – I know, MS doesn’t make any sense to me either. After a week or two, the pain dulled and it was just numb. I could cope with this, as I’m right handed, but the second symptom was with my left leg, which impacted me further and was more visible.
As MS damages the nerves in the body, something had happened with this relapse which meant the nerves somewhere between my brain and leg got disrupted. More simply put, when I’m walking, the signal from my brain to lift my left leg gets a bit scrambled. This means that I’m very slow, trip over my left foot and am walking with a limp. Do you have to really concentrate when you’re walking? Of course you don’t, but at the minute I do.
On top of this, I’ve had a flare up of existing damage in the top of my spinal cord with results in my right calf heating up when I look down. Then there’s my biggest MS battle that I constantly deal with, the crippling fatigue.
So now I’ve explained it all, I’m staying positive. Last week I made the decision to sign myself off work this week and rest. I decided that every now and again, it’s okay to give in and stop for a while. I’ve always struggled with giving in when my body is screaming at me to stop and take a break. I’m my biggest barrier to resting, maybe I’m just too stubborn!
Earlier this summer I wrote a guest blog post for the MS Society about the invisible symptoms of MS. Since then I have been inundated with lovely messages from other young people with MS. This has meant the world to me and makes it all worthwhile. We can all help each other stay positive as we’re all in the same rocky boat.
Back in 2006 when I was diagnosed with MS I felt very isolated and in denial. I didn’t know anyone with the disease so I just buried my head in the sand and tried to ignore it. Now I’ve spoken to lots of different young people who have recently been diagnosed and shown them that they aren’t alone. I’m trying to give them the support and understanding that I wish I’d had over 10 years ago.
To get these lovely messages from fellow MS warriors and hearing how my MS Society blog post has helped them, I really can’t put into words how happy this makes me. I want to make the most out of having this disease by doing all I can to raise awareness and help others. If you had a broken arm, you’d get all the sympathy in the world. If you had any of the invisible symptoms associated with MS, you might feel very alone and like no one understands – but I do! And together we can help other people understand too.
I recently bought the beautiful paper cut picture below which was made by my super talented friend Laura. She has ME so completely understands the struggles with having an invisible illness. Together we help each other keep our positive pants on. 😄 You can see more of her crafty creations over on Instagram.
Hopefully my week of rest with help improve my recent relapse, but who knows how long it will take to completely get back to “normal”. In the mean time, I’ll stay positive and keep my smile on.
If you have any tips for staying positive, let me know!