March 29, 2008

Stairs!

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:03 am by melissasummers

This week I have gone up and down a flight of stairs a few times!  How to explain…the feeling of joy, the feeling of accomplishment, just THE feeling. Yes, my life exists without using stairs, but darn it, that sure made me happy.  I didn’t miss not using the stairs, but that feat left me with an aura, or bubble of happiness surrounding my person.

Of course, the day after first walking the stairs I had a terrible day with my balance!  Weebles wobble but they dont fall down was my slogan that day.  I really know inside that those days I should be using my cane. I keep one in my car, so that there is always one handy wherever I may roam. But, once again, is it pride, or convenience that just makes using a cane at work difficult for me? I have no troubles using it when I am in a store. I know it is a tool to fight the changes and allow me to maintain myself, yet there is that little part of me that sees it as a reflection of my disability. 

But overall, there is physical proof of me regaining my strength!  Yes, to all that have that question in your heads: I DO NOT play on the stairs on the days that my balance is off! My brain has not had that much damage to it!

March 19, 2008

Chuckles at the Doctor’s Office

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:40 pm by melissasummers

Today was the day for my one month follow up visit.   For some reason I was a bit anxious about this visit today, not nervous, just ready for this appointment. Now my appointment was scheduled for the afternoon, which of course means a nice long wait in the appropriately named “Waiting Room”.   Now, the seasoned “waiter” that I am, I nestled down into a seat with my book.  In the seat across from me, was a gentleman, dressed in worn clothing.  His ragged coattails brushed the floor, and his patched trousers were a bit large for his modest frame.  Curiousity now brought my attention from the pages of my book to the aura surrounding this being nearby.  He spoke of being a plasterer and how that occupation is in decline. He shared his story on how lucky he was during his health problems.  He spoke with a smile in his voice and cheer in his spirit, that was infectious to all.  This fellow didn’t need need his white painted smile to show his happiness in life, when his name was called, he rose with a spring in his step, and Chuckles the clown headed off for his appointment.

Another 15 minutes was my turn. Basically, my strength is returning. Yes, it will take some time. But healing is present. There is still delay in reponse from when I tell my leg to “MOVE”. And pivoting on that leg still is not graceful by any means.  Of course, I have never , ever been graceful!! I have started working on my gait on the treadmill this morning, something that I really can only do when I have some stamina. 

Good news is no medication changes are neccessary, something that I had wanted.  So, providing that nothing happens in the near future, I do not have to return to my neurologist until June!

March 15, 2008

Taper Time!

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:09 am by melissasummers

I am so excited! The time has arrived in which my dose of prednisone slowly goes down every couple of days. Soon, I’ll not be awake at 2:30am soaked from a hot flash and starving for omelets, no more wanting 10 meals a day! Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my food, but the drive to eat every two hours is a bit much. I have consumed more in the last week than a months worth of meals!

Next week is my one month follow-up visit with my neurologist. Can it really be that time already since my flare? Sometimes, it’s simply amazing.  There are a few things that I need to prepare for this upcoming visit.  He wishes to discuss changes in my medications, as there was some minor concern over the fact of me having a relapse while on interferon therapy.  Interferon therapy is medication that is used to help slow down the disease progress. It is not a cure, it does not prevent relapses, and it does not always work for everyone. What it can do, is slow down the chance of having a relapse, help limit the damage done to the nerves, and help the nerves heal more quickly. My opinion currently, is I am not ready to change my interferon treatment, but that may change after hearing his view. I have only been on my injections for six months, my body is still adjusting to them.  So, I will explain to my physician my  own reasonings and concerns. In return, he will do the same.  This is an important step in managing your health, communication is the key. No matter the disease, or issue, information is vital.  I am very lucky to have found a physician that listens and weighs my concerns. But yet, if he did not, I would be searching for one that has that quality!

March 11, 2008

Phlebitis

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:58 pm by melissasummers

It is now one week after starting my steroids.  Do I feel better? Are they working?  These questions are difficult to answer , as each “flare” or “relapse” of MS is unique.  My leg has movement, at times…  The strength is limited, but there is some there.  All of this is very promising.  However, Sunday morning,  I noticed a redness going up my forearm, surrounded by a bruise.  Now , this of course is not abnormal after having an IV insertion.  Yet, this was the arm in which Tuesdays IV was placed, so the delay of the reaction concerned me somewhat.

So off to see a doctor! Imagine that! (Someday, if I get bored, I’ll have to count all my office visits)

End result is I have phlebitis in my left arm.  Phlebitis is an inflammation or swelling of the vein caused by the irritation of the IV line. It isn’t painful.  Just a little swollen, red and kind of itchy!   So while I am having hot flashes from the steroids, I have to have a warm compress on my arm.  Luckily this is nothing serious and it will be healed with time.

March 7, 2008

No more IV’s!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:06 pm by melissasummers

IV Solumedrol is finished!!!  Now I am on steroid pills, this week I have to take them every 4 hours, such fun!  This morning I had 2 breakfasts (oatmeal w/raisins and almonds, chased by a vegetable omelet and hashbrowns)! I have eaten more today, than I have in a week! This should calm down in a few days, at least I hope that happens.  As to judging the effectiveness of this , only time will tell.

March 5, 2008

A new Journey

Posted in multiple sclerosis at 1:34 pm by melissasummers

At the hospital for Day 2 of Solumedrol InfusionBecause of my experience with my right leg last year, I was able to immediately realize that the troubles with my left leg was due to another relapse. Neurologist’s office was able to get me scheduled quickly and an early treatment started to begin this battle.

The first step is a 3 day IV infusion of Solumedrol, a steroid, to give the nerves a jump start on the healing process. Now Solumedrol is a unique experience. First, I am admitted to the hospital on an outpatient basis, meaning that I only have to be there during my IV infusion. This works out wonderfully as I can still attend work, take a long lunch break for my infusion, and then head back to work without much disruption in my day.

When I arrive at the hospital, I am nestled in a comfortable reclining chair. A nurse starts up an IV, and then adds the medication IV. The process takes a little over an hour. Now the fun part!! Once the Solumedrol begins to drip, a horrible taste develops. this I have learned to battle by bringing in sour candies to keep in my mouth. Now a benefit of this drip is I now have a nice colorful red glow to my face! this delights me as I have had NO color at all due to being under the weather. I have just completed my second day of the three day infusion process. I spent last night sleepless, a common side effect of the medication, and sweating like crazy!  So far , no fantasies of eating omelets at 1:30am, like I had last year have arrived. But I am prepared with a full carton of eggs in my fridge when that craving visits me!

Multiple Sclerosis

Posted in multiple sclerosis at 1:04 pm by melissasummers

Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with MS. MS is a neurologic disease that attacks the central nervous system. It attacks the protective coating around the nerve fibers, causing inflammation and damaging the nerves. Sometimes the damage is temporary, sometimes permanent.

Think about the electrical wiring in your house. A little mouse decides that a wire looks like a good thing to chew on and begins to work on the wires coating. Now you have a light dimming or going out due to that electrical damage, so you set off to repair the damage. Once the wire is all taped up, the light MAY work again, or it may work on occasion, then again it may not work at all!  This is what happens in the body when MS attacks the nerves.

Five years ago, I lost the vision in my right eye from optic neuritis, a common precursor to MS. Time and healing returned my sight.

Last year, I lost the ability to control my right leg. It too returned , with some residual damage. Now 11 months after that relapse and one week after registering for my annual National Multiple Sclerosis Society fundraiser walk, I have lost my left leg. Left leg working or not, I have an upcoming 3 mile walk in May in which I will proudly walk every step of the way!

My World

Posted in multiple sclerosis at 12:48 pm by melissasummers

Welcome to my world.  Here I hope to blog my experiences as I travel on this life journey.  No trip is without detours, but sometimes those detours can open into a place that you would not have discovered otherwise.  Roadblocks and detours, I have plenty. But I know that I am not alone.