Don’t call it a relapse- I had my appointment with my new neuro yesterday. After my examination, she explained why she felt the extreme numbness and other symptoms I’ve been having over the past 2 1/2 weeks was not a relapse. Obviously I’m thrilled, but I am left to wonder what exactly is going on with my body.
My physical examination was normal and the doctor noticed no deterioration other than my reflexes were not quite as good as they had been previously. She did note that the difference “wasn’t significant enough to cause concern.” She didn’t feel my symptoms were from an actual relapse, but possibly caused by either stress or a virus. I did have a cough right about the time the symptoms started. The doctor ordered an MRI to be safe, but assured me she saw nothing in my exam that was cause for concern. In addition, the doctor saw no reason to switch my medication from Copaxone- I’m actually happy about that as I have tolerated it well with no noticeable side effects.
All great news.
However, I’m left to wonder about why the symptoms started. I’ve never been one who has likes non specific answers which start with “it could be due to.” I’d rather know exactly what is going on. Not surprisingly, I have my own theory on what caused the symptoms to flare up- a theory which I didn’t share with the doctor as I know better and I’d rather avoid ‘that look’ if possible. I did mention to her from the outset of our initial introduction that I was a bit of a ‘free thinker’ to gauge her response. From the look in her eyes, I knew it was best to keep my opinions to myself.
Leading up to the attack/flare-up, I had been exercising infrequently and my diet had been far from strict. I was consuming foods that I knew I shouldn’t be and the frequency with which I was cheating on my diet had been slowly increasing. In addition, this past winter (which only ended a week and a half ago) was relentlessly long. It is my belief that these factors directly contributed to the flare up. Anecdotal I know as I can’t prove it. However, I have noticed a pattern with both my major attacks (undiagnosed in 2004, diagnosed in 2007)- they both occurred during the winter months. In addition, I have noticed that when I stray from my diet and exercise plan, I usually experience some form of numbness. The numbness isn’t as extreme as what I have been experiencing lately, but definitely worse than normal. Again, nothing I can prove as I can only report what I have experienced.
This last flare-up may have been a blessing in disguise. What it has caused me to realize is that I have to recommit myself to the dietary strategies and exercise program that I know have a positive impact on my fight against multiple sclerosis. I’m not saying I don’t believe in the value of the treatment prescribed to me by my neurologist. If I felt that way I wouldn’t be taking the drug. I just believe that I can help myself be even stronger, healthier, and give myself the best possible chance at a long and happy life by aiding my treatment with diet and exercise. I have to be firm in my resolve to stick with my plans.
It has started as another sunny day here in Central Alberta. I hope the skies are clear wherever you are.
Until next time,
PS- I watched a pretty good documentary on the food we eat last night. It is called, “Hungry For Change” and it is on Netflix if you have that service. If not, you can find the homepage for the film here.