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Saturday, September 22, 2012

♪ He's An On Time God, Yes, He Is! ♪

Four weeks ago I was at the mall returning and exchanging a couple of things. My right arm felt very weak.  I thought if I needed to wave at someone I would have to use my left hand to pick up that right hand for that wave. I thought of how it had happened about four times that week. I made it home and felt very weary. My right eye felt weird; my vision was blurry; my balance was off; and I felt incredibly fatigued. I wanted to nap but I was afraid I wouldn't wake up. My uncle recently died unexpectedly so I thought I better stay awake as best I can. I checked my blood pressure. It was 85/62. Usually my blood pressure is from 90 to 100 over 60.

I'd been taking a medication for endometriosis for eight days and I was worried that I was experiencing a stroke. I asked my husband to drop me off at the Emergency Department. I was admitted and I had a million dollar workup. The admission presented such irony for me because I had been sick all summer with pelvic pain 24 hours a day. I refused to go to the ER because I was convinced they would admit me. I ended up getting admitted anyway for something completely different.

Most of the tests I had  were to rule out a TIA, commonly referred to as a mini stroke. Most of my tests were negative except for an MRI of the brain which showed lesions on my brain as seen in diabetes, strokes, hypertension, and MS. The neurologist I saw was certain I didn't have the former three. He suspected the latter based on my symptoms.

The last day of my hospital stay I had a lumbar puncture. I was nervous but relieved to learn that they use guided X Ray to find just the right spot for the removal of the spinal fluid. It was much less dramatic than the spinal taps I've assisted with as a pediatric nurse, and less painful than an epidural as well. I did have a moderate headache for about four days afterward.

The results the doctor needed for further confirmation took four weeks to come back. The protein that is elevated in MS was elevated in the spinal fluid. The neurologist, Dr. Lufti, would like me to start injections every other day to prevent further relapses and to maintain my mobility.

My main symptoms right now are extreme fatigue and poor short term memory recall. I have from two to five hours of extreme fatigue a day which require rest and usually long naps. The fatigue is somewhat depressing. Mornings are good. Late afternoons are the hardest. My work shifts are difficult, especially from 3 AM onward. I am now making full use of the Reminders app on my iPhone. What a Godsend for me. I can't leave a grocery store without triple checking my Shopping List app either.

I'm happy to know that I have multiple sclerosis. I'm glad to find out why my eyeglass prescriptions only seem helpful for about six months. I understand too why my right hand was swollen for about six months three years ago, making it even difficult to maneuver the steering wheel. I was told I had a trapped nerve. It was indeed a nerve problem. :) About a year ago I had a couple of incidents in which I couldn't find my way thru two neighborhoods very well known to me. I had numbness and tingling in my face and loss of balance after a flu shot about three years ago. That too was a relapse. Anesthesia  seems to give me relapses as well. I've had numbness and tingling on the top of my feet since 2009. I thought it was because I had flat feet. No, that's not it. God is good and I'm glad to have answers.

Now I can make some adjustments in my lifestyle that need to be made. One major adjustment is I'm saying no to many things. I'm not doing much besides going to the gym, church, work, and a little shopping at Publix, Wal Mart, and Aldi. I also decreased my gym workouts from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. The neurologist says I shouldn't be exercising to the point of complete exhaustion so I take my foot off the accelerator when I start to feel very taxed. I'm not going to the gym right after my 12 night shift any longer. I delay that day's workout until I've had some sleep and food. Grin.

I am so grateful that I never knew until now that I had MS though. I would have babied myself at the gym and I would have convinced myself that I was not able to get fit. Thankfully, I have lost 13% body fat since 2009 and I've lost 20 pounds. Don't be concerned that I did something in the gym to give myself MS. I started my exercise routine after my first relapse in 2009. Exercising actually improved the symptom I was having at the time. My swollen and painful right hand slowly returned to it's normal size.

Another blessing is now I have more time to relax and read. I like that. I've read The First Year: Multiple Sclerosis: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Now I'm reading one of four of Montel Williams' books.

Please pray that the injections won't make me very sick. Dr. Lufti asked me not to judge the medication by the first two months. Please pray that I can keep making simple meals, that I would be well enough to check the boy's school work, and that I would be able to complete my scheduled work shifts. I need to keep centered on Christ and not go back to my old ways of comforting myself with sugar.

I've had so many blessings throughout this summer. I've been listening to some gospel music I was never exposed to. The music is very encouraging with lyrics that are catchy and easy for me to recall throughout my day. He's An On Time God, as Dottie Peoples sings, in that old school black gospel song. Oh yes, He is! Amen?!?

God Bless!