Jan 172007
 

In response to Gwen’s post my exacerbation pre-dated the holidays. I am just a little slow to get to posting about the exacerbation, etc. (the exacerbation pre-dated Thanksgiving, and just being the 5 of us at home probably doesn’t count as holiday stress – just regular stress ;-). In fact the Solu-Medrol was completed weeks before Christmas. I also agree that many exacerbations just go away by themselves, most within a couple of days. This was not the case with the hands, and was the exact same track that led to the really bad exacerbation (from which there is residual damage). I did not want to risk any additional damage to the hands, and for the record I was recently re-tested and no carpel tunnel (nor any other tunnel problems in the arms) that would be causing residual problems.

Secondarily, does the cause of a significant exacerbation (holiday stress, etc.) matter other than for academic purposes. Regardless of the time of year, and surrounding circumstances I will treat hand problems aggressively. Conversely, pain, itching, balance, fatigue, dizziness/vertigo, numbness elsewhere, etc. will not be treated aggressively – and probably not treated at all (other than the normal routines). I think everyone needs to have thresholds with MS for exacerbations that are tolerable, and exacerbations that are not tolerable that will be treated aggressively. Some people may find walking problems to be more serious than I do, and treat those aggressively.

I’m curious, where do you work that you get 6 weeks of paid vacation (and are they hiring!)? (I get 4 weeks, but that is above average in my experience)

  5 Responses to “Holiday Stress?”

  1. I have to agree about setting up a threshold in dealing with exacerbations. Sometimes every little ache can cause anguish when I wonder is this —? Then again there are some aches that just stick around for years on end and you just learn to ignore it as best you can.
    Maybe Gwen works for the fortunate golden google machine.
    May you be free of any further ailments this year!

  2. 6 weeks .. egads! That being said, I tend to sluff off the minor stuff too. The only one I got concerned about was the ON. Blindness did not suit my current job well … (eyes are kinda important to me for other reasons too).

  3. No, it’s not Google. I’ve just worked for the same company for almost 22 years, so although I’ve built up the maximum Paid Time Off (vacation, personal time and regular sick-leave rolled into one), I’m almost certainly paid a lot less than I would be if I’d moved around a lot as a Domino developer in the Washington, DC area, especially since I started out with the company as a “Reporter/Editor” at the princessly salary of around $13,100 annually. But in addition to the vacation-time, I’m allowed to telecommute full-time, and my boss is very understanding, letting me pretty much set my own hours. Since we know another developer would cost quite a bit more, I don’t worry too much about the times when I’m tired and not very productive.

    Stress is a big factor in how the disease treats me. I strongly suspect that if I had to get another job, just the stress of looking for a new one would push me over into disability, let alone having to go to the office 8+ hours/day and work under pressure.

    Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask: I’m supposed to get a spinal MRI (if I can ever get through to radiology scheduling). I’ve had MRIs of the head and neck, but not a spinal. Is there anything different I should expect?

    –Gwen

  4. Must be nice to have a job that is understanding at all these days, let alone one that will pay you for extended time away.

    I no longer work because of my combined medical problems. Unfortunately it all just became too much. I agree with both Mouse and Mdmhvonpa. I think as you go along with this illness you start to get familiar with what your everyday symptoms are and what you can tollerate….it may be bothersome but you just deal with it (some numbness, tingling, pins and needles, etc.) but when it comes to the bigger things like ON that is when you want to get treated right away.

    I have come to the conclusion with this illness that there are really about 3 things that I can’t handle. The idea of loosing my eyesight, hearing, and memory/mental capability (however you want to look at it). I can deal with the physical stuff, even though it is always an adjustment, but these things are just TOO important! This is where I would draw the line and take about any medication or treatment they told me about to make sure I would be okay.

  5. I’ll take steroids if I have an exacerbation that doesn’t start clearing up on its own in a few days. In my experience, the symptoms of an exacerbation always develop over a few days, peak and then begin to subside. Recovery takes weeks, but it sounds like it takes weeks, with steroids, too.

    I also seem to be able to tell the difference between an exacerbation caused by disease activity v. one caused by fatigue. “Real” exacerbations usually start with tingling at the tips of my fingers, toes or even my scalp and nose. Pseudo-exacerbations tend to affect the middles: I lose proprioception and can’t feel my ankles or knees.

    When I first started having symptoms 20 years ago, there was no systemic treatment for MS and no easy means of diagnosis. So although I’m sure my doctor (an elderly Dr. Welby type) suspected that’s what it was, he just prescribed Nicobid (a time-release formulation of the vitamin niacin)and told me to “go out and live your life.” After pharmacists grumbled about preparing it, I started taking OTC niacin, which has more side-effects (flushing and tingling in the hands and face).

    Now, there are a few interesting things about the niacin. First, it only made a difference for a “real” exacerbation. Second, I’d have the flushing in the area affected by the exacerbation, rather than my hands and face (except the time when the exacerbation made my face numb…)

    But the most interesting thing is that at the time, Nicobid was the state-of-the-art cholesterol-lowering drug (when prescribed at much higher doses than my doctor prescribed for me). I think this is interesting because today’s cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins Lipotor and Zocor, supposedly work as well as the injectables at controlling MS (but they haven’t figured out whether people with normal cholesterol can take them safely for an indefinate period).

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