Friday, August 01, 2008

MS and Muscle Spasticity

This ia what muscle spasticity looks like.
As I'm already blogging before 6 am on a morning that did NOT require me to be up all freaking night for a job related issue, it can mean only one thing. MS strikes again. I'm irritable, tired, frustrated, sore and pissed off. That being said, I'll move on. No two people are effected by MS in the same way. Sure, the actual disease process is the same, but the symptoms and severity of the disease can vary greatly patient to patient. Some MSers have vision issues, some don't. Some lose their hearing, some don't. The same with mobility issues, bladder and bowel issues etc. It depends on where the location of each person's lesions are. The location of the lesions determines which of the wonderful (notice the sarcastic pissed off wit this morning) myriad of MS symptoms an MSer will have. Generally speaking, I've been pretty lucky. Other than my hearing and a very slow progression of mobility issues, MS has been "kinder and gentler" than it could have been. However, for me, there is one symptom that I battle that takes every bit of strength I have to fight when it flares. Unfortunately it started raising it's ugly head three days ago and hit full force last night. Muscle spasticity. What's that you ask? In basic medical terms: it's the involuntary contractions of muscles and increased muscle tension. In MY terms: Muscle Spasticity is an unbelievably PAINFUL several days (for me) of such intense muscle cramping in my legs that I can't walk, straighten my legs during the 15-20 minute severe attack which occurs about every half hour for hours on end. This in turn means that in about an hour I get freaking 20-30 minutes of "pain free" time in which I stop crying, hobble to the bathroom, crawl back to bed a pray to God to stop the cycle. This morning the muscles are continuing to spasm non-stop. I've taken everything I can possibly take for the spasms. At this point I think the actual muscles are so exhausted THEY don't have enough energy left to fully contract anymore. They are simply spasming. Kinda bizarre to watch. I can actually see the individual muscles contracting and relaxing under my skin. (Think back to the scene in Alien, you know the one). They are no longer painful, just annoying. (THANK GOD). For the past two days the spasms were limited to all the muscles below my knees. Feet, calf's, shins etc. Last night they moved up to involve both legs entirely. Including the hips. That's the first time it moved so high. I've had them reach the quadricep muscles on the thighs before, but never the hips. Ahhhh. A new experience. I could EASILY have done without! . It is what it is. Hopefully, the twitching my muscles continue to do, even as I type, will continue to wind down and the pain is over....for now. Past experience has taught me it will take days to recover. My legs will be painful, walking will be more of a challenge, as will balance. At least I've been through this enough times to know what to expect. I just pray that the cycle doesn't continue tonight. I also pray that this isn't the beginning of yet another exacerbation. If so, it will be my third since mid June. I'm not up to round three of steroid in 6 week. So, I'll march forward. "This too shall pass". I'll take it easy this morning. Trying to rest. I'll set my alarm for 8 and make myself get up and start my day. I'll take my time, use my cane and get things done. Just another day in the journey with MS.

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