Let’s Compare MS Symptoms, and How We’re Handling Them
We all know, because we have heard it so many times, that MS is not the same for everyone — that no two people have exactly the same combination of symptoms.
That got me thinking the other day (pause for call-outs or derision) about the number of symptoms there are, and which ones I have to deal with.
As a start, I headed over to the website of the U.S.’s National MS Society. I found an imposing list of 22 symptoms. But how many affect me? What do I do about them? And how do you manage yours?
Fatigue – Oh, yes, this can knock me off my feet. But since moving to Spain, it hasn’t affected me. It might be the more relaxed lifestyle.
Walking (Gait) Difficulties – Probably the most visible part of the disease for me. My left side is affected, making walking difficult. I am pleased to say that my Vitamin D supplement appears to be helping me around the house and walking short distances. Fewer falls, too. Over longer distances, I still need a wheelchair — the great folding lightweight power chair I bought.
Numbness or Tingling – Yes, mostly in my left hand. I cannot use that hand to hold anything.
Spasticity – Having looked up the definition, I seem to have been spared this.
Weakness – Yes, mainly in my left knee but, again, apparently improving with Vitamin D.
Vision Problems – No, fortunately nothing yet.
Dizziness and Vertigo – A difficult one to answer, but I’ll try to explain. I rarely suffer from dizziness, but my balance depends on being able to see around me. In darkness, I am much more likely to lose my balance.
Bladder Problems – Yes, both infrequency and urgency. These are controlled mainly by medication, but if I’m going where public restrooms may be difficult to find, I wear a pad to be on the safe side.
Sexual Problems – Perhaps the most difficult symptom for many to discuss. Ok, so here goes: Yes, I have sexual problems linked with erectile dysfunction. But I still have a full and fulfilling sex life. How? Easy, Lisa and I talk. We understand each other’s needs and we both end up happy.
Bowel Problems – That’s me, but no risk of incontinence here. Constipation is my problem. I take laxatives to overcome this.
Pain – Fortunately, no. Nothing beyond aches and pains that can affect everyone.
Cognitive Changes – Not in the slightest. Just as alert, aware, and understanding as ever.
Emotional Changes – No. I am emotionally stable, calm, virtually worry-free, and happy.
Speech Problems – None, apart from an English accent.
Swallowing Problems – None. You serve it, I’ll swallow it (as long as I like it).
Tremor – None.
Seizures – None at all, but I take a daily dose of anticonvulsive medication because I also have epilepsy. Even so, no seizure for more than 40 years.
Breathing Problems – Yes, shortness of breath if I try to do too much. I find that sitting down gets me going again soon.
Itching – Occasionally, particularly after going to bed.
Headache – Extremely rarely, probably less frequently than many people without MS.
Depression – Never! Life is worth living, so live it.
Hearing Loss – Eh, what? No, seriously, Lisa says I have bionic hearing.
So, how are you getting along with your symptoms?
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