Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emotionally Fuzzy Face

In the past week, someone asked me - "What symptoms do you know will trigger a relapse?"  This person does not have MS but was trying to figure out how someone with MS might handle their disease.  I explained that this isn't exactly the way it works...well for me anyways.

Symptoms do not cause or trigger a relapse.  A relapse may cause and trigger new or increased symptoms.  This has been my experience and it fits the accepted 'definition' of an exacerbation or relapse.

However, there are a select collection of symptoms which seem to precede a relapse in my case.  Not always, but often I will notice that I begin to experience INCREASED sensory symptoms.

I say increased (capitalized) because I live with sensory issues every single day.  I joke that I always dare the neuro to make me flinch or make me say 'ouch' when he/she uses the safety pin to prick my legs and arms (even my back).  The neuro nurse insists that she doesn't want to draw blood, but I say go for it.  Make me feel something.

One particularly annoying sensory symptom which has become a barometer of how my body is dealing with stress is plastered across my face.  This symptom literally spreads across my cheeks, nose, eyebrows, and forehead.

It is my FUZZY FACE. 

I remember when a random floating cat hair would drive me crazy when it hit my face.  That cat hair was so difficult to grab hold of and remove.  My fuzzy face feels more like soft, fluffy cotton has permanently landed on my cheeks.  No amount of brushing it away will make it go away.

When I am stressed, my fuzzy face shows up.  When I have been an insomniac for too many days, my fuzzy face shows up.  When I am emotionally drained, my fuzzy face shows up.

The past two weeks have found me emotionally drained, an insomniac, and a tad bit stressed.  My face started feeling fuzzy about three days ago.  I need to breathe and let it go.

I feel that I'm crushing under the pressure of keeping up with things.  I have an article re: joint surgery which was due earlier this past week.  I spent much of last weekend lamenting just how I didn't feel like reading any more info about joint replacement materials or techniques, no more about scientific studies on replacing toe joints, and definitely no more about common hip or knee replacement surgeries.

No more, please.  No more images of fingers sliced open during surgery.  No more attempting to pick the relevant information and compile it into a neat-and-tidy 800 word essay.  Simply no more.

Sometimes I get tired of seemingly giving and giving.  Today some friends gave me great words of support when I expressed a little exasperation.  They confirmed that I'm not being selfish to want to benefit from my own efforts on occasion.  I really needed to read those words.

So after a big cathartic (internal) scream, I hope that tomorrow I will wake up and have a normal-feeling face.  If so, then I will know that emotional stress has been the cause.

My emotionally fuzzy face - always a good sign to back off and try to relax.  So unlike an ostrich, I will 'face' this one head on.  I owe it to myself.


  1. I guess we all learn these sensory feelings after time. I still am not sure what is MS or whatever, with some symptoms.

  2. My tell tale symptom (triggered by fatigue that thing that never disapears completely for me) is a change in my voice...I become disarthric...followed by a foreign accent.

    anyway...SELF CARE....YES. Lisa you do so too, lately, we have to remember to take the time to relax and rest our tender bodies (or tingly know what I mean!)

    I hope you do take the time for your self to just be, and not DO so very much.

  3. I have the EXACT same symptom when I get fatigued or overly tired !I thought it was only me !

  4. Thank you for all of the support. And, Matt, it's nice to meet someone else who has this crazy fuzzy face. I've not really heard others talk about it too much. Also, welcome to the blog.

  5. Thank you!! I to have this, I keep getting conflicting diagnoses of MS and Transverse Myelitis. When I'm stressed or lose sleep my face feels fuzzy, it's the only way to explain it. My Dr. Doesn't seem to know what to say she sorta just let's it go. I also have tingling hands, feet ,and that buzzing down my body when I tilt my head. I recently experienced a flare up and was numb over most of my body for a few months, it's better but not completely gone. Now my left eyelid is starting to droop a bit, has anyone had this?

  6. Hi Sandra,

    Your comment got caught in the moderation box and I didn't see it until just now. So sorry.

    Before I received the official MS diagnosis, my neurologist at the time dx me as having transverse myelitis. There is so much overlap.

    Sounds like we have very similar symptoms. The fuzzy face has got to be one of the most annoying ones.

    I hope that you are doing well and have a really good neurologist. If you don't already, I would suggest that you see an MS specialist. They are most familiar with all the bizarre things which MS can throw at you.