Coping with MS Symptoms in the Summer: Question of the Week
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 up by the possibility that my British cousins won't be able spend "holiday" here after not having seen them for three years and my daughter had been counting the days and would have been crushed if her BCF Neisha couldn't come, and oh, there's that MS thing.
Summer is rough for everyone living with MS. The heat swells our neurons making that ole-conductivity thing practically impossible. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that staying cool is our top priority as the mercury rises. (Do they still use that metaphor now that it's all digital?) So while everyone is playing in the garden, we spend the day with our simulated air buddies. Yeah, Ken and I spend a lot of time together over the summer; Kenmore, that is.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. For the most part the MS response to heat is topical. So when you are out of the heat, the ability returns. (At least that's what it says in the books - it doesn't always work in the fields that way.) I wasn't surprised that I felt worse in the summer, everyone living with MS does. But when suddenly/finally noticed that my symptoms continue to worsen and aren't heat specific, the MS mind games begin.
"OMG, I can't stand for more than five minutes, am I always this way? Am I getting worse? Is this how it's going to be for the rest of my life? Wait a minute... This is an attack! What a relief! I'll just spend a little time with my "buddy" Sol, umedrol of course! A few days of, 'Hey how are you, haven't seen you in a while -- I gotta go!' and I'll be back to what is my normal."
Cut to me, leaving my doctor's office with that perplexed expression verging on tears. I'm not having an attack; there is no quick fix. It's stress. Of course if the stress goes away (as if anyone with a incurable, unpredictable, progressive disease can be free of stress) and the symptoms remain, I'm worsening. I don't know about you, but it's awfully difficult to find my inner Zen while the aforementioned is playing out in my every day.
Sigh. I'm off to meditate.
So how'd your MS summer go?