Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pre-Op Symptoms

It's a very dreary Saturday...the perfect type of weather to sit in front of the computer with a nice cup of tea (Jasmine green tea...I think I'm addicted to it, btw) and blog.  Where is the sun, anyways?

I thought it was a good idea to list all the MS symptoms I have Pre-Op so I can compare them Post-Op, as other MS bloggers are doing.  Plus, it's always interesting to read about what other MS'ers have to deal with, and sympathize, because unless you have MS 'you really have no idea' what we deal with.  The last bit is in quotes because my husband is, frankly, sick of me saying it...but it's true!!

I actually find this a bit uncomfortable to do because I don't want to come across as being a 'wimp' listing all the things wrong with me...makes me feel kinda like a hypochondriac or something. LOL  Especially since I don't look like there's anything wrong with me...which, as many MSers know, is one of the most frustrating comments many of us get..."but you look so healthy" is one of my favourites...yeah, well, looks can be deceiving!

OK, so on the EDSS scale my neuro put me at 4, (I think)..I would have rated myself a bit lower (like a 3) but I'm only basing it mostly on mobility and I know the neuros look at a number of other factors.

So, the symptoms (which I've put in order of how much of a pain in the butt they are for me):
  1. FATIGUE - varies day to day, hour to hour but it really restricts what I'm able to accomplish and it's responsible for my having to completely go off work for the rest of the school year (I'm a teacher) which was one of the hardest things I've had to do because I LOVE teaching
  2. LEGS - this encompasses a couple of symptoms that I experience elsewhere on my body but numbness and stiffness in my legs has restricted how far and where I am able to walk.  I now can walk about 1/2 km (around the block) before my right leg starts gimping on me and I feel like if you were to tug on me gently, I would keel over.  Plus I have to concentrate very hard on walking straight...forget about looking around, that would send me off balance! To put this in perspective, before MS I used to run 5km every day, or almost every day, 2 years after being diagnosed I was able to walk 5km on a regular basis, and now (7 yrs later) I'm lucky if I can make 500m.  and of course I have to rest for about an hour after.  Yeah, this one sucks!
  3. BLADDER - I used to have a steel bladder...honestly, I could hold it all day, no problem. Let's just say that when I have to go...I have to go NOW!  You know its pretty sad when you can swap pee stories with your 82 yr old father...we both know all the rest stops along the Coquihalla/Okanagan connector!  And yes, I have to get up in the middle of the night...but usually only once or twice on a good night.
  4. NUMBNESS - I already mentioned the legs but I generally have numbness/altered sensations over a good portion of my body.  If you drew a straight line across my body, I would have numbness from the chest/upper arms down...it's actually kind of weird.  And the further down the extremities you go, the more numb I get, so that my hands and feet are the worst.  I think the numbness in my feet really affect my balance, which of course affects how I walk.  Driving was a little weird because of the altered sensation but my brain seems to have adjusted to the difference.  I used to be able to touch type 55WPM but since I can't feel where my fingers are, I've resorted to the two finger typing method.  Sometimes my handwriting is a little off because my hands are numb and stiff (?).  I'm waiting for the day someone looks at my signature on the credit card slip and questions it (okay, I don't really think my scrawl is that bad...but I have thought that)  I like the PIN thing...no signature required.
  5. MEMORY - I have to laugh at this one because I'm not sure how much is MS and how much is aging!  But this one drives my husband crazy because apparently I don't remember things I've said or he's said to me.  Hmmmm...maybe that's NOT MS.  I do find I have to write things down...but don't most of the over 40 crowd??? LOL
  6. COGNITION - I don't have the brain fog that many MS'ers complain about but I do know that I have trouble sometimes finding the right word or mixing up words.  This can be quite funny or frustrating...especially when you're teaching a concept and what comes out of your mouth makes no sense at all except you don't realize that's what's happened until you look at the puzzled/blank faces of your students, or better yet, your ├╝ber-achiever in the class points out that you've said something nonsensical..oh, yeah...that's priceless.
  7. COLD HANDS/FEET - this one should have been further up on the list, like #5 but I've always had cold hands and feet and just deal with it.  The only difference now is that, especially at night, it's very difficult to get my feet warm...I typically wear socks to bed.  Now, having said that,  I have been experiencing HOT hands and feet???? go figure.  Although I did read in a post that it may be menopause??(great)
  8. TINNITUS - This is an interesting one because I've had tinnitus at least 8 years before I was diagnosed with MS and never connected it with MS until I started reading that other MS'ers suffered from it.  Which of course begs the question: "was this the first indication I had MS?"     I will say that when I am not feeling well, the ringing in my ears becomes a roar!
  9. PAIN - I sometimes get stabbing pains particularly in my hips but they don't last very long.  Not sure if this is MS or age related, but I thought I would add it here.  I occasionally do get unexplained muscle pains at night...mostly in my legs.
  10. RESTLESS LEG - I used to get restless leg almost daily, usually in the evening, but since I went on the pseudo best bet diet I have not had this issue.  I do get it if I've eaten something I shouldn't and then I think "serves me right". :)
Well, I think that about covers it.  It'll be interesting to look at these symptoms post-op and beyond to see which ones improve.  I'm looking forward to being able to say there are changes for the positive.  Only time will tell.

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