Learning to live with MS on the long haul is a bit like growing pains within a new relationship. You may be familiar with little MS symptoms and be able to ignore them for the most part, but sometimes something small and insignificant may arise to bite you in the butt and drive you absolutely crazy.
For the past day or two, I’ve had a collection of muscles around my hip and at the top of my thigh which have been causing a great deal of pain and a lopsided limp. At first, I thought that maybe pushing a REALLY heavy grocery cart, even for only a fraction of the time around the grocery store on Wednesday, may have caused an avalanche of spasticity.
Thursday morning, my leg and hip were so painful that I finally filled a prescription my nurse practitioner had given me in April (for diazepam) to combat painful muscle spasms. I’ve tried it and so far, it has made little difference. But each day has gotten a bit better as long as I limit how much I stand and walk around the house. Today the spasms seem to be almost gone.
This episode of muscle spasms and pain has been rather annoying but nothing which required a trip to the doctor. (Although if it had continued to get worse, I would have been seriously considering it.) I had a little talk with my muscles and we tried to come to some sort of agreement. I will try to remember to do things within my strength and ability without straining large muscle groups, and my muscles will attempt to remain non-spastic. That seems fair enough to me.
This morning I encountered something in the kitchen which caused an immediate emotional reaction similar to the one I experienced Thursday morning when I woke up and could hardly put any weight on my right leg. Dangit
I found one of our beige hot pan holders decorated in pizza sauce. Not on just one side, but portions of both sides. This poor hot pan holder is starting to come apart at the seams and is beginning to look a little fringy. Somehow the holder had managed to stay beige, non-stained, and in one piece for years. That is, until I had help in the kitchen by my loving husband.
It drives me a little crazy. We’ve had this conversation before about not getting food on the hot pan holders, especially with substances that stain like tomato-based sauces. And once the holder gets dirty, it needs to go through the laundry (not back on the countertop). I’m not sure how many more washings this particular beige holder will take, but it will last for awhile longer still.
Just as immediate feelings of "damn, not again" arose on both of these occasions, I do know that everything will be fine and life will go on. For my leg, I continue to be conservative in my activities around the house and will sit on the couch such that the full length of my leg can be extended.
As for the beige hot pan holder, it will get pretreated before going through the laundry once again and come out clean and functional. It may not be the prettiest anymore but nothing which gets used often ever stays perfect. When this hot pan holder is retired to the rag drawer someday, it will be replaced with one which is dark red, brown, or maybe even silicone.
Living with MS is a life-long learning experience. Finding compromises in a relationship is a life-long learning experience. With both, it is important to be patient and adaptable. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder. And, it doesn’t hurt to have an amazing husband who is willing to work knots out of muscles no matter how much I say ouch. Thank you, sweetie.
Lisa Emrich is a patient advocate, accomplished speaker, author of the award-winning blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA, and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers. Lisa uses her experience to educate patients, raise disease awareness, encourage self-advocacy, and support patient-centered research. Lisa frequently works with non-profit organizations and has brought the patient voice to health care conferences and meetings worldwide. Follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.