Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year - New ME??

We're over a week into 2013. Just like a lot of other MS patients' blogs that I read the change of the year seems to provide a good time to assess my MS.

I have progressive MS. That means that my abilities will continue to decrease without improvement. So as far as the MS is concerned I can't really have any goals. Just hopes and prayers that the progression is slow.

But there has definitely been progression. I feel like there was more in 2012 than in the past. And maybe I should have been writing this same blog for past years like other bloggers to give ME something to look back upon and compare.

I feel generally weaker now. Standing, walking with my walker, even lifting with my arms seem to tire me out much more quickly. And now, instead of just wanting to rest, I feel like my knees and elbows are about to give out. When I first start walking I can move pretty fast and decently. But in a shorter time my feet seem to drag.

I've had neuropathy in my feet and hands before. But now the numbness or tingling comes on much sooner. And it is much more widespread. Now instead of just my foot going to sleep, it sometimes feels like half my leg has joined the nap.

And now my hands have started shaking.Most often my right hand but my left hand is not always much better. Just yesterday Joe and I spent about an hour at our attorney signing updated documents. I was pleasantly surprised that my right hand lasted throughout the session with only the last few signatures looking a bit more cramped (as least to me). But then we went to renew my Drivers License. Signing that was back to feeling like a 4 year old learning how to write by having a death grip on the pen. And my signature showed the difference.

Then of course there is my vision. It is becoming harder and harder to get and stay focused. I'm not sure if it's detectible from watching my eyes but I'm well aware that my eyes want to drift separately of each other. Watching action movies is still fun, but now I simply let my eyes relax and see only blurs during the action scenes. Trying to focus on the action gives me a quick headache.

Finally, my mental cognition is definitely slipping more. I find I'm failing to produce more and more words. And I will say the wrong word without even realizing it.

All of this is not saying that I'm not just taking all of the setbacks in stride. I did make a HUGE step in December 2012. I had lap-band surgery. I knew that I MUST ease the burden on my body. I'm already amazed at how much weight I've lost and plan on following strictly to the incredibly tight diet plan to continue this progress.

Along with that I will be doing more exercising. Since walking with my walker uses up so much energy in the legs, back and arms, I've started using a recumbent cycle. For strength I'll be using pull cords.

Preparing for the surgery gave me a good look into how my muscle spasms have progressed. The surgeon wanted me to discontinue both the pain med (Tramadol) and muscle relaxer (Baclofen) I take for my MS. Going down to a half dose of each for only one evening woke me up only two hours later in severe pain with all of my arms and legs jerking.

So I am now well aware of how I rely on the Baclofen. My dose was increased this year and of course I wonder if that my be contributing to the weakness I feel. But at least it's without the screamingly tight muscle spasms.

But other than the physical problems I have been experiencing, I have been feeling very good. I've felt happier and calmer than any time in the past three years that I've known I had this disease. Even during the holiday season that has  always seemed to put me in a tizzy,  I was happy and relaxed throughout. I'm sure a big part is knowing that Joe will be retiring soon. But this year I didn't seem to regret what I could no longer do. I guess I finally accepted it.

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