One more thing I hate about you (MS)

There are plenty of reasons to hate MS. No need to go into all of them here. If you have MS, you know. If you don’t have it, you don’t want to hear about it. Anyway, I’m not sure there’s enough space on the internet to note everything bad about MS. But I want to write about just one more.

Doesn’t it stink that some of the triggers for MS attacks are also symptoms?

It just ain’t fair. Think about it:

MS is a very stressful disease. Worrying about the future. Battling insurance companies to get coverage for tests and meds and all that other crap MS requires. Anxious about money problems caused by all the simoleans you gotta spend to pay for all that crap insurance doesn’t cover. Worried you’ll look like a fool tripping and/or peeing your pants and/or dropping your coffee… And what does all this stress do? You got it: It brings on another exacerbation.

MS loves to cause UTI’s. It seems every person with MS gets one at one time or another. So what happens? You run a fever. What does that do? Puts you flat on your back until the temp comes down.

Involuntary body movements or spasms, often in the legs, sometimes painful, are a common symptom. I don’t know about others, but they get worse as the day wears on. By bedtime my leg (or legs) is so out of control I look like Elaine Benes trying to dance. What are the odds I’m going to fall asleep in that condition? Yeah, somewhere south of zero in a million. So I don’t sleep well. So in addition to being fatigued by MS, I’m wiped out from lack of sleep, which of course can… say it with me… cause an MS attack.

This was driven home when I read a paper from an MS meeting. It said:

Severe cognitive fatigue and anxiety were found to have an effect on MS patients’ visual learning. Specifically, cognitive fatigue had an effect on visual learning, such that cognitive fatigue had a significant effect on Trial 2. When controlling for severe cognitive fatigue, anxiety had an effect on patient’s learning for Trials 1,2, and 3. Anxious MS patients and those with severe cognitive fatigue on average scored lower on all three visual learning trials than those without the aforementioned symptoms.

My MS-addled brain has all sorts of problems trying to parse that message, but what I deduce from it is this: Anxiety, fatigue, cognitive problems, and learning are all wrapped up in this incestuous relationship that’s just one of the factors that make MS so “interesting”.

I didn’t need a study to know this. I experienced it aplenty in my work life. Sitting in a class trying to learn a new technology, I’m not sure which was the most dominant problem: the fatigue, the failure to understand, or the stress at knowing I couldn’t learn the stuff I needed to do my job. In the end, it was a dead heat.

I got so stressed, I… I forget.


About rickconti

It's not about me, remember?
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