Friday, May 19, 2017

New Badge and an Update

Proud to be listed among Healthline's Best Blogs of 2017 and sport my new badge. 

Whenever this happens, I feel especially obliged to say something about MS, which I don't very often address in the blog. There are several reasons for this. One is that I'm kind of marooned outside the MS community, in that very few people in Indonesia even know what MS is, including the doctors. For this reason, I no longer bother seeing a doctor for problems that seem related to MS - a frustrating waste of time and money. Instead, I do my own research, experiment with the medications that are available and try to arrive upon something that is helpful. These would all be symptomatic medications, as I have not used the "interferon" type category since around 2009. 

When one is not involved in the routine of doctor visits, diagnoses, MRI's, and treatment plans, one finds himself outside the mainstream - and occasionally feels rather stupid for being so. On the other hand, the alienation from the medical community decreases, in some ways, one's awareness of the disease on a daily basis. 

To be honest, my "Plan A" had always been to return to America once I was old enough to benefit from Medicaid; however, this seems anything but certain in the current political climate, with proposed cuts to Medicaid and the possibility that MS will not even be covered as a preexisting condition. So, I guess Plan B is to just stay put for the time being. 

I continue to struggle with what I take to be neuropathic pain in my shoulder and back. I have addressed this at earlier dates, but, to summarize, what first seemed to be a case of cervical radiculopathy has turned out to be associated with MS, in my opinion, rather than with any mechanical injury - having persisted since last August. Given that the pain is mitigated, to a degree, by neurontin and methylpredisolone, this would seem to incidate the neurologic connection rather than radiculopathy. And, of course, I suffered no traumatic injury or mechanical back or muscle injury at all, which made cervical radiculopathy rather unlikely from the outset. 

Other than this, I find that I go through periods of time where my deficits from MS will appear more pronounced than usual, and then will eventually recede. Cognitive dysfunction, for instance, seeems to come and go. At present, I seem to be in a period of greater mental sharpness - more able, less confused, less forgetful. Another symptom that varies is the numbness in my feet and legs. Sometimes this will be quite pronounced, and sometimes, as at present, it is barely noticeable. The same pattern is evident in the degree of fatigue I experience. Sometimes, I will want to fall asleep during the day, and then sometimes I feel energetic and have no need for extra sleep. 

I have also started to exercise in the form of daily walks, usually in the evening when the temperature has cooled down. I find that this has already strengthened my legs and that I am able to walk farther and faster as the weeks pass. Although certain problems with balance remain, these seem to be lessened by the strenghthening of the muscles in my legs. 

So, that's kind of where I am right now. 

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