Thursday, August 29, 2013

Migraine as an Early Symptom in MS

In two recent studies, researchers suggest that new or worsening migraine which doesn’t respond to treatment should be considered as a possible symptom of multiple sclerosis, especially early in the disease.

Researchers in Rostock, Germany, conducted a study investigating headache symptoms in patients already diagnosed with MS.  Their aim was to detect the prevalence of headaches, and of subtypes of headaches (such as migraine, cluster, and tension-type headache), in an unselected group of MS patients (n=180) and to isolate the possible influencing factors for those headaches.

The group comprised 125 women (69.4%) and 55 men (30.6%), which included patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (n=86, 47.8%), secondary progressive MS (n=67, 37.2%), primary progressive MS (n=24, 13.3%), and clinically isolated syndrome (n=3, 1.7%).  Patients were chosen, regardless of gender, age, or disability.

Read this post in its entirety:
Migraine and Headache as Early Symptoms of MS

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carnival of MS Bloggers #146

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

by Joan of A Short in the Cord

It has been over two months since I returned from my trip (aka my “heroic journey”) to Provence in southern France.  

I continue to process my feelings and experiences from that great adventure, but think it's time to share some things with you because people keep bugging me asking me, "was it a good trip?" :-)

Okay, so I brought back some things: postcards from the Chez Christine cafĂ© in Saignon, bookmarks from an art gallery in Bonnieux, jams from a cherry festival in Casenuve, tapenades and placemats from a souvenir shop in  Fountain de Vaucluse.

I ate tender and tasty lamb wrapped in eggplant in St. Pantaleon les Vignes, and rabbit in Apt.  I tried goat cheese, sheep's cheese, French coffees and wines.  I marveled at the amazing geology of the mountains, explored the trees and plants, and tried to identify birds.  I hiked, I drank, and I sat by the pool having deep conversations with deep people.  I said "wow" and "yum" a lot!  It was exotic and exciting.

But I was exhausted for almost the entire trip.  I'm not complaining.  Really.

I'm reminded of the song "My Body" by Young the Giant, which goes "…my body tells me, 'no,' but I won't quit 'cause I want more." And I wanted more of the experience of France.

I had physically prepared for this trip by working out and increasing my time and distance on the treadmill.  But I also studied meditation and practiced awareness, and worked on living in each moment. 

I had no problem with the walking, the climbing, the carrying luggage.  But I did have a problem with fatigue from over- stimulation, communicating in another language, dealing with disruptions in routine.  By the third day, I wrote in my journal that I was scared, didn't think I could make it to the end of the week because I was just so tired, so overwhelmed.

But then my zen training took over and I told myself to live in the moment.  Just this moment.  Right now.  Only right now.  Don't worry about the rest of the week, worry about just this moment.  And I can get through this one moment.

I savored each moment.  Then another.  Then another.

As I mentioned earlier, I brought back a few souvenirs (and pictures).  But they really don’t matter.  What matters is that I brought back a desire to continue to have fresh experiences, a willingness to try new foods, and a renewed confidence that I can go out in the world again with multiple sclerosis and debilitating fatigue.  Even if it's just for one moment.

So, YES, it was a good trip!

Back to Home Page

PS - In case you missed it, here are links to my Heroic Journey:
Part 1 - The Call
Part 2 - After the Call Is Answered
Part 3 - What to Take on a Heroic Journey

This concludes the 146th edition of the Carnival.  The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on September 19, 2013. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Avoiding Accidental Drug Overdose

It can be helpful to develop an organized system of handling your medications.  Some people like to use the weekly pill organizers which contain individual pockets for each day of the week into which you can place the pills you need to take at regular intervals during the week.  Some pill organizers are more specific and contain separate A.M. and P.M. pockets for each day of the week.  These organizers can be very useful.

However, I have a number of medications which are taken on an as-needed basis (such as pain medication) or a once-weekly basis (such as methotrexate).  As RA is associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety, you may have other drugs on hand such as the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam (Xanax) as I do.

Last month, I had a scary experience when I mistakenly took 10 pills of alprazolam instead of my weekly dose of 10 pills of methotrexate one late Friday night.  There were several contributing factors to the mistake.

Read this post in its entirety:
Medication Safety: Watch What You Put in Your Mouth

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression in MS

Higher levels of depression and fatigue are not significantly correlated with vitamin D deficiency in Iran, says a new study.

Researchers from the Department of Neurology at Isfahan University investigated whether lower levels of vitamin D were associated with depression or fatigue in MS patients in Iran.  In 200 MS patients [154 female (77%) and 46 (23%) male], the relationship, if any, between FSS scale (measuring fatigue), BDI-PC score (measuring depression), EDSS (measuring disability) and low Vitamin D status were determined (Ashtari, 2013).

The prevalence of low vitamin D status was 48.5% (97/200).  Researchers found that low vitamin D status was associated with depressive symptoms in MS patients. However, results did not reach statistical significance.  There was also no significant correlation between vitamin D status and fatigue symptoms.

Read this post in its entirety:
Is Vitamin D Deficiency Associated with Fatigue and Depression in Iranian MS Patients?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ordering Household Supplies in Bulk

In running a music studio at home, one which is equipped with a private bathroom, it is important to keep well stocked on basic supplies such as toilet paper, hand soap, facial tissue, and towels.  As I have taught each piano student to wash their hands before every piano lesson, helping to not only keep the piano keys clean, but to cut down on germs and illnesses, the studio can go through a large volume of paper towels.

Rather than making several trips to the store throughout the year, using gas, time, and energy, I discussed the ease and benefit of ordering bulk supplies online a long time ago.  It is really very simple.  The same large office supply stores or discount stores which offer annual back-to-school sales frequently offer free shipping for online orders over a certain cost. 

Read this post in its entirety:
Easy Living with Chronic Disease: "Back to School" Anytime of Year