There is no single test to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis – it is a clinical diagnosis, meaning that the diagnosis comes about as a result of multiple tests and symptom analysis. When I was diagnosed an MRI, a lumbar puncture, and paralysis in my right arm and on the right side of my face were all taken into account. Although it took years to get to this point, you could say that I was fortunate to have such a clear case – many individuals have a very difficult time receiving a diagnosis while others may be incorrectly diagnosed with MS. The lumbar puncture, or a crude version of it, was developed in 1889 to relieve intracranial pressure for tuberculous meningitis. It has been somewhat refined over the years as many different uses for it were discovered, but the basics remain the same.
My one year anniversary of taking Gilenya occurred in May, but my first MRI results and latest blood test since beginning treatment occurred only recently. Multiple Sclerosis can be a very unpredictable disease, but prior to treatment with Gilenya I averaged 2 – 3 relapses per year. My neurologists have told met hat the average gap between relapses is 18 months which I have never achieved. However, I am getting closer every day as this is the longest relapse-free period I have ever had since diagnosis. My Gilenya test results during my last office visit were overwhelmingly positive.
Every step that science takes toward a cure for Multiple Sclerosis is a step in the right direction. Here are some of the latest findings in the realms of MS research.
Sooner or later it will happen – you’re going to have a bad day and you’re going to feel completely screwed. It’s happened to me a few times over the years and it usually involves a car. My husband and I share one car and this usually works out well for us. Then there are the peak vacation times when I discover at the grocery store that the new car battery is defective and have to call a tow truck (and front the cash) call a taxi (with cash on hand) find the one car left in town that has not been rented out and take a $48 ride to pick it up. In 97 degree heat. It was this particular occasion as the stress and heat ganged up on my MS that I realized I needed to prepare better. We must be prepared for Multiple Sclerosis emergencies.
Has our faith in Western medicine completely faded? Although one would hope that treatments for Multiple Sclerosis are ever-improving, lately I have heard time and again that individuals with the disease have abandoned Western medicine altogether in favor of diet, exercise, and marijuana. One recent supplement fad for MS is Evening Primrose oil. I have personally chosen Gilenya for the time being, but I see no point in excluding natural and healthy treatments that apparently work so well for others. Cannabis use with MS has already been covered recently. While I intend to cover the evolving family of alternative therapies in future posts, right now we will focus how to treat Multiple Sclerosis with diet.
Every summer I am amazed at the heat. Ridiculous – right? I have a virtual 2 degree window of comfort (I’m so annoying). Cold temperatures are made bearable with cardigans and blankets. Warm weather, on the other hand, seems to melt my brain. Heat and Multiple Sclerosis work together like two villains in a comic book.
Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis are notorious for heat intolerance resulting in an endless variety of possible repercussions – this is known as Uhthoff’s phenomenon (or Syndrome). Summers may be beautiful, but they are also difficult for us.
Work can be stressful and tough without a disease like MS. What’s a person to do when confronting a challenging career and a challenging disease? Plenty of people (and celebrities) have flourished in their careers in spite of MS. What can you do to be one of those people? What are your options if you simply can’t work anymore? What do you need to know about Multiple Sclerosis and disability?
Last week I began a new position at the company where I’ve worked for over a decade. The coming months are certain to be incredibly stressful. The primary challenges I face on a daily basis in a technical office career are cognitive issues, speech issues, walking (even though it’s primarily short distances), and fatigue. I abstain from many medications because they cause too much lethargy for me to power through a work day while taking them. While these are not all of the challenges I face with Multiple Sclerosis, they are the symptoms that affect me most in my job.
Many times when I meet someone, they are surprised that I do still work. I often think about how I could spend the time I’m stressed and tired at work instead resting, doing yoga, swimming, anything to help myself physically and mentally. Then again, who doesn’t dream about being somewhere else when they’re busy on the job? Certainly doctors and hospitals seem to expect everyone to have open schedules ready to spend hours and days in their offices.