heat sensitivity

Coping with MS Symptoms in the Summer: Question of the Week

Amy Gurowitz Health Guide August 30, 2011
  • The summer is ending. I'm so glad. These few months have been the most stressful months I've experienced in a long time. Why you ask? Well, it started with my mother-in-law having a stroke. Next my BFF, sister suddenly had to move 5 hours away (a work thing, a family thing, it's complicated) followed...

10 Comments
  • Cathy
    Health Guide
    Aug. 31, 2011

    Amy,

     

    Ah, yes, summer and MS.  It seems to me that during the last few summers I have been quite disappointed in my summers because, inevitably, my MS acts up and the season I've been looking forward to during the harsh winter months has vanished.  As a child, I had a very Mayberryish existence.  Playing with the neighborhood children until...

    RHMLucky777

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    Amy,

     

    Ah, yes, summer and MS.  It seems to me that during the last few summers I have been quite disappointed in my summers because, inevitably, my MS acts up and the season I've been looking forward to during the harsh winter months has vanished.  As a child, I had a very Mayberryish existence.  Playing with the neighborhood children until it got dark outside, catching fireflies, spending time with a million friends at our community pool, reading summer romances, sleepovers and waiting for the Good Humor Man.  In recent years I get disappointed that I can't get that old feeling back of lazy summers days and being able to ride a bike, take a hike, and lie outside in the sun.  Somedays I want to crawl inside my old journal and experience how I felt when I was young - I think it would reignite a part of me that has long been gone. 

     

    As a trooper, I will forge ahead, keep good thoughts, and continue to work on my de-stressing/coping mechanisms.  Knitting, reading, music, art, films plus I am going to try a low impact Zumba class.  Whoa!  Wish me luck that I can even walk after trying that!

     

    Hey, Amy, let me know about your TM class - I'd be VERY interested to give it a whirl!  Let's hope fall will be a better season for us all!

  • Joan Arlene
    Sep. 08, 2011

    My boyfriend of 10 years just doesn't understand that I am never going to be the same old girlfriend that he met and fell in love with 10 years ago. He doesn't understand that the minute I get outside when it's in the upper 80's and very humid, I cannot stay outside very long because I immediately start having beads of sweat run down my temples and my forearms...

    RHMLucky777

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    My boyfriend of 10 years just doesn't understand that I am never going to be the same old girlfriend that he met and fell in love with 10 years ago. He doesn't understand that the minute I get outside when it's in the upper 80's and very humid, I cannot stay outside very long because I immediately start having beads of sweat run down my temples and my forearms immediately are wet to the touch. My body never reacted like this before I was diagnosed with MS. We have a vegetable garden and I felt bad because I haven't been able to tend to it like I'd like to, and my broccoli turned to pretty yellow flowers! We have a fence around the garden to keep out woodchucks and other animals of the like. I have difficulty lifting my right leg to get it over the fence. I attempted this and fell INTO the garden, right on my left side/butt! How humiliating as well as embarrassing! He looked at me and asked if I was ok. Didn't offer to come over and help me up. Just asked if I was ok. Luckily I was ok. I really wish he'd believe that this illness has changed the way I maneuver in my world. I did as much as I could to help but when I was able to finally go inside and change out of my now dirty clothes, I sat on my couch with the air conditioning on and was practically in tears. This illness is so frustrating to me but even moreso because he doesn't cut me any slack. He still treats me like a physically "normal" person.

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Sep. 08, 2011

      Joan,

       

      It is hard to adjust to the symptoms of MS and how it changes our life.  To some, summer heat and humidity are not kind.  I hear your pain as far as your boyfriend is concerned.  I found that when I was diagnosed (and I was dating my husband at the time) giving family and friends reading material about MS helped to educate them about...

      RHMLucky777

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      Joan,

       

      It is hard to adjust to the symptoms of MS and how it changes our life.  To some, summer heat and humidity are not kind.  I hear your pain as far as your boyfriend is concerned.  I found that when I was diagnosed (and I was dating my husband at the time) giving family and friends reading material about MS helped to educate them about the disease.  I found it helped me, and perhaps that can help you, too.  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nmss.org) offers written materials that could help you to educate your boyfriend.  Perhaps if he better understands MS he will have a better idea of what you are going through. 

       

      Another suggestion is for you to attend a local MS support group where you can talk about your problems, and perhaps receive some useful suggestions from your peers.  You can find a listing of support groups at www.nmss.org.

       

      I hope I have helped you.  Let us know if there's anything else we can help you with.

       

      Best in health,

      Cathy

    • cathy strach
      Oct. 06, 2011

      dear amy,

       

      i,m sooooooo glad that summer is over!  i love to take care of my garden  but when i get overheated, i get very nauseated, so i have to into the house, sit in the a/c, and my gardening is  over.  the heat  also causes involuntary movements and weakness in my right side, which is where i have ms.  i,m depending...

      RHMLucky777

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      dear amy,

       

      i,m sooooooo glad that summer is over!  i love to take care of my garden  but when i get overheated, i get very nauseated, so i have to into the house, sit in the a/c, and my gardening is  over.  the heat  also causes involuntary movements and weakness in my right side, which is where i have ms.  i,m depending more and more on my left hand.  the dog has learned to move fast and i don,t iron anymore (for her safety.)

       

      it was great to read your letter, amy.                  your friend cathy

    • Amy Gurowitz
      Health Guide
      Oct. 07, 2011

      Hi Cathy~

      It is great to be able to relate on this stuff, isn't it?! It sometimes feels like your the only one who isn't happy it's summer. Reading that we are one of many is makes it feel a bit better.

       

      Enjoy the Fall season and it's many colors!

      Thanks for responding~

      Amy

    • Cathy
      Health Guide
      Oct. 07, 2011

      I know what you mean, Amy.  Yesterday, my husband and I took a day for ourselves, drove to the beach at the end of the day, spread out a blanket and listened to the waves.  Wearing sweaters for the cooler beach weather, I felt more alive than I did all summer!  Welcome Fall!!!

  • Julie
    Aug. 30, 2011

    Amy:

    I can completely relate to your description of feeling symptoms worsen, knowing that I'm in the middle of an attack, and then being told that it's not an attack after all. Soooo frustrating and crazy-making. Not that we want an attack, of course. But it's very frustrating to know that the least bit of stress can make my legs weak, my hands numb, my head...

    RHMLucky777

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    Amy:

    I can completely relate to your description of feeling symptoms worsen, knowing that I'm in the middle of an attack, and then being told that it's not an attack after all. Soooo frustrating and crazy-making. Not that we want an attack, of course. But it's very frustrating to know that the least bit of stress can make my legs weak, my hands numb, my head dizzy, etc. And this can go on for weeks!

    I don't think that MS-ers are given enough information about the impacts of stress.

    My daily goal is serenity. Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where George's father seeks to de-stress his life and continually screams "Serenity now!"? That echoes in my mind during my stressful moments and always makes me smile.

    • Amy Gurowitz
      Health Guide
      Aug. 30, 2011

      Yes I remember that! If only it were as easily attained as a command. I intermittently do yoga... but often the routine makes me dizzy no matter how I try to compensate, and ultimately even more bummed than before the attempt. I'm just about to turn to transidental meditation.. a friend recommended it- maybe that will work. Wish me luck and thanks for your...

      RHMLucky777

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      Yes I remember that! If only it were as easily attained as a command. I intermittently do yoga... but often the routine makes me dizzy no matter how I try to compensate, and ultimately even more bummed than before the attempt. I'm just about to turn to transidental meditation.. a friend recommended it- maybe that will work. Wish me luck and thanks for your response Julie.

      ~Amy

  • garlicfrau
    Aug. 30, 2011

    Amy, your summer was indeed stressful and hot! (I watched the weather reports from back there.....UGH). I certainly hope as the weather cools, the stress relents as well. There is nothing worse.

     

    Out here in the PNW,  it was cooler than normal, even here on the normally HOT and dry side of the mountains. Most days were 90s, with only a handful of...

    RHMLucky777

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    Amy, your summer was indeed stressful and hot! (I watched the weather reports from back there.....UGH). I certainly hope as the weather cools, the stress relents as well. There is nothing worse.

     

    Out here in the PNW,  it was cooler than normal, even here on the normally HOT and dry side of the mountains. Most days were 90s, with only a handful of triple digit days. We have good air conditioning, so I can readily keep my cool.

     

    What was NOT so pleasant was the  nasty fact that increasing disability really limited all my activities--indoors or outdoors---------and that continues to be something I am wrapping my head around, attempting to cope and adapt.

     

    Thank heavens for the computer and books, but I really would like to be more physically active, and perhaps even be able to go someplace (like drive to town for groceries) without fear  /danger of falling at some point in the venture! (Thankfully, my husband does a good job of town errands! )

    • Amy Gurowitz
      Health Guide
      Aug. 30, 2011

      Thanks for your response C. The Pacific North West does have its temperature advantages. Course you have earthquakes... wait a minute... ;) I'm so sorry to hear that you are coping with increased symptoms. I feel we are in the same boat... and while I try to be thankful for the computer... it doesn't take the place of physical abilities... like standing for...

      RHMLucky777

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      Thanks for your response C. The Pacific North West does have its temperature advantages. Course you have earthquakes... wait a minute... ;) I'm so sorry to hear that you are coping with increased symptoms. I feel we are in the same boat... and while I try to be thankful for the computer... it doesn't take the place of physical abilities... like standing for example. It's always helpful to know that I'm working to cope along side terrific PWMS like you~

       

      Thanks for keeping me in touch with the grand perspective.

      ATB, Amy