Saturday, 18 May 2013

How a Different Way of Viewing Things Helped My MS

The last time I posted, I was talking about how flipping marvellous I found my reflexology session.
It put such a spring in my step that I was able to go away to Brighton to see my brother and have a great time without constantly worrying about how I'd cope. 

In fact, I was able to do so much, that I actually started to worry. I mean, this can't be right can it? I have reflexology and it helps my MS this much? There must be something wrong! (yes....I know that doesn't really make sense...)

I mulled it over during my first night in Brighton. I honestly felt like I had travelled back in time, health wise. I certainly wasn't symptom free, but I felt so much more 'normal'. I was able to drink without a huge flare up of tingles, I kept up with everyone and had energy to spare, and my legs hadn't stiffened up after walking a moderate distance. (If you read my blog then you'll understand how, after suffering badly from fatigue recently, this must have come as quite a shock!)

And that's when it dawned on me. This was how I used to feel when I was in remission. I used to have severe attacks, then be pretty much symptom-free. Then over the years, certain symptoms started creeping in on a day-to-day basis (such as the tingles, stiffness after walking, etc), which used to vary with their severity, but ended up always being there. But instead of questioning why they had become worse, I just accepted that 'it's the way my MS is now'. It's like I thought that because I had MS, any medical symptoms I had were definitely MS related. 

But the change I felt from having reflexology showed that this wasn't the case. 

I never thought that the tingling that had surfaced during times of remission could be down to another cause. I always had the impression that without my MS I would be in perfect health, but reflexology made me realise that perhaps these day-to-day symptoms would have been there, regardless of having MS.

To illustrate my point, here are some of the common symptoms of everyday deficiencies. I think you'll agree that many of them could be mistaken for symptoms of MS
(For a whole symptom list and more information, just click on the links):

  • Cold feet and toes - not just in winter time
  • Cold hands and fingers
  • Feeling numb in certain parts of the body especially the extremities
  • Feeling tired or having a lack of energy much of the time
  • Cramps and pins and needles
  • Poor blood flow to the brain may affect memory
  • Swelling (and tightness) of affected body parts
  • Feet, ankles and hands are commonly affected
  • The affected body parts may ache
  • The joints may feel stiff
  • dizziness
  • headache 
  • coldness in your hands and feet
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • lethargy (lack of energy)
  • breathlessness (dyspnoea)
  • weakness
  • faintness 
  • headache
As well as general symptoms of anaemia, a folate deficiency may also cause
  • loss of sensation, such as a reduced sense of touch or pain
  • muscle weakness
  • depression

  • an altered or reduced sense of touch
  • a reduced ability to feel pain
  • a change in the way that you walk and move around
  • disturbed vision
  • irritability
  • depression (feelings of extreme sadness that last for a long time)
  • psychosis (a condition that affects your mind and changes the way you think, feel and behave)
  • dementia

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not dismissing or belittling any MS symptoms, and just putting them down to poor health! No, I just wanted to show that it might not always be about the MS. I think for me personally I was suffering from poor circulation as well, and that's why reflexology had such a huge effect for me. 

I definitely feel though that from me being a bit pro-active, keeping an open mind and trying something different, and taking into consideration the bigger picture of my general health, it has made a difference to my life as an MS sufferer. I now feel like I'm firmly in remission for the first time in years and have realised that to just 'accept' your MS, isn't always a good thing. 

I've learnt that sometimes it helps to look at things a bit differently and try and claw back a bit of control from the beast they call MS!

Tingle-free at Brighton Pier