You all know what happened a couple weeks after having my son, there's a blog post about that so I felt like I definitely needed to update everyone. About 8 months after what happened, I had another episode. The doctors came back and officially diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
What is MS? MS is a disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, causing internal scar tissue and nerve damage. When the nerves are damaged, it disrupts the body's ability to send signals from one part of the central nervous system to another, causing MS symptoms. You can find tons of information on MS at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/. It's a great website.
What are "symptoms, episodes, attacks, relapses"? MS symptoms vary widely from person to person. Some people face mobility issues, vision issues, strength weakening, etc. What are some things I face? A big symptom people with MS deal with including myself is fatigue. My body is constantly in a state of fatigue which can make everyday activities harder then they should be, however I have the ability to still to push through. Some other symptoms that I have are headaches, occasional insomnia, heat intolerance, pins and needles in my left wrist & forearm, and occasional anxiety. Some symptoms go away as lesion become inactive, which has happened to me. During my relapse, which can also be called an attack, new lesions either from or old lesions progress and are "active". This can cause symptoms to flare up, or new symptoms to occur. I've also experienced dizziness, double vision, blurry vision and dimmed vision. Thankfully those have all gone back to normal.
Is there anything that can be done about it? Yes! There are many many people researching how to eliminate MS all together which is great. And while they work on that they have come out with 10 different types of medication available to help MS in different ways. There are Immunesuppressors, and immunomodulators. An immunomodulator is any substance that helps to regulate the immune system. This "regulation" is a normalisation process, so that an immunomodulator helps to optimise immune response. And immune suppressors do exactly what it sounds, it suppresses the immune system so there are less fighting cells in the body to attack itself. The side effects of MS medication are a bit scary so there is a lot of thought put into deciding which medication someone is comfortable with. There are IV treatments, oral medication, and injections. Injections tend to be the safest and with the least amount of side effects. Oral medications are the most risky, and require routine blood work because it can cause chaos inside the body. I personally after talking over everything with my doctors office and husband have decided on an injection called Copaxone. I am currently one week in and have a lot of hope that it will work and stop MS in it's tracks. My doctors are very confident in that as well. Copaxone is an immunomodulator, so it will not suppress my immune system but it does cause it to be less than it normally is. It is also an injection that just goes under the skin into the fatty tissue and not muscular, so that causes it to be much less painful and the side effects to be much less likely.
Does everyone with MS become disabled? No. It is something that happens though, and many people live out their lives without becoming bed ridden or needing to use a wheel chair. MS is technically a disability, however many people with MS continue to live their lives normally. You may not even be able to tell someone has MS when they do. MS is a big disease that is often invisible to the outside viewer.
When I first was diagnosed I really wanted to stay in the denial part, but I forced myself to face this disease head on and do as much as I could to help my life be as normal as possible for as long as possible. A lot of people with MS become depressed and I learned that shortly after reading up about this disease. I have decided to stay on top of it with routine MRI scans with my doctor and to keep up on my medication. I have also changed up my diet and will be trying to do as much exercising as my body with allow with my fatigue that I experience daily. Staying positive only helps me more each and every day. And I hope my positivity will help others battling this disease along with me.
If you have any questions or know someone struggling, feel free to share my blog or comment below with your questions/well wishes. It is definitely appreciated.
This has been another wild whisper, just for you.