Friday, 28 March 2014

How To Be Sick When You're Already Sick

This week my body outdid itself and I went down with the Norovirus for the 2nd time this month.
Your average person usually won't contract it again within 3 months but MS + a treatment that is an immunosuppressant like Tysabri leaves you more than vulnerable. 

My local hospital is currently on lockdown because of it, and the first time around I managed it quite well, but I had more going out than I had coming in and my body was starting to dry out. I needed some advice and the local helpline said I had to talk to my GP ASAP. Luckily I did and they knew as well as I did that if I was admitted to hospital with this there was the very real chance of me not coming out again for months (or worst case scenario not at all). I've managed to stay out of hospital.

This virus is a bastard even for a healthy person. 

But how on earth do you cope when you're already sick in the first place? 
It's not easy.

A simple sniffle can hit MSers like full blown flu, so dealing with this bullshit is a whole new tournament. Here a few things that have helped me "exist" the past few days.


I take a lot of Ondansetron for my usual MS nausea. These medications really do work miracles but I couldn't keep them down at all. Thankfully, you can get it in a gum soluble tablet. Just stick it high up between your lip and gum and let it dissolve. Much easier. They have never taken this nausea away completely but they still help a lot. 

Throat Lozenges

With all of the retching you will rip your throat to shreds. Try and find some with an antiseptic in them like Strepsils.  

A Bedside Station

Everything you think might possibly help belongs next to you. Extra water, tissues, medication, phones, bucket, lip balm, hair ties, handheld fan for hot flushes and so forth. The number for a priest might help too. 

Wet Wipes

I haven't even been able to get into my shower let alone had the energy to scrub down. When you can hardly move from pain, weakness and sickness you will suddenly realise that wet wipes are gifts from heaven. Just wipe down with a nice fresh scented tissue of the gods and you feel so much better. I've been using my Nivea facial cleansing wipes to keep fresh.

Microwave Meals

Family life doesn't stop, and if you've got small mouths to feed you need something superfast, minimal clean up and something that you're not going to be thinking about for too long in fear of throwing up for the 99th time that afternoon. Microwave meals aren't what they used to be, and there are plenty around that are healthy. Don't feel guilty, your child's belly will be full until you're back on your feet and that's all that matters. My best advice for this strategy is to stock up on them as soon as you start to feel off, because once this shit is in full swing there's no way in hell you're going to be able to go pick them up. If you don't use them they are always handy to have in the freezer.

Medication Charts

I was confused, hallucinating and generally not on this planet, and without me writing down when I had taken each medication I would have been in real trouble.

I'm not going to make light of it, I have never been this sick in my life. If you're reading this and you have the Norovirus my heart goes out to you and I hope your body deals with it better than mine did. Everything I've just said is going to mean jack shit when you're feeling at your worst, but for the times surrounding that we have to do what we can. The most important thing is to just try and sip fluids, easier said than done when you can't keep it down but if you have not passed urine for more than 12 hours you need to get your ass to A&E. 

When you reach the otherside of this hell, I'm sorry but there is going to come a time when you have to go out the house. Comfort is key, think leggings and jumpers. You will probably be rocking some deathly shades on your face, for that the only answer is Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturiser. Don't bother with brushes or sponges, just rub it into your skin like a regular moisturiser to bring some colour back to your poor face. 

Another thing is make sure you never feel like you HAVE to eat. The human body can survive without food for a few days, just concentrate on your fluid intake. 

Don't try and be a hero. This is nasty, nasty stuff.

Blessings x

Monday, 24 March 2014

Stopping Amitriptyline - Update

I feel like this is a good background track for this post!

- First of all I would like to say that I am not a doctor. 
Everything that I write about my medical issues is based on my own personal experience unless stated with proof of research articles etc.
As with everything on the internet like this, you have to reach your own conclusions.
Everyone's body is different and will respond to medical treatment or behave in a different way. What works for me may not work for you.
I will always stress the fact that you must seek professional advice when it comes to medical matters. 
I'm just here to share my experiences. -

As of last night I am now completely off Amitriptyline. Of course it's still in my body and will take a couple of weeks to be flushed out entirely. But, I can hand on my heart say that I am feeling really great. 
I haven't had a single hot flush today, which alone has put me on a real high. 
Until you've experienced major hot flushes every 40mins that make you feel so rough you're physically sick then you have no idea of how much it effects you mentally as well as physically.
I'm sleeping so much better. I still wake from discomfort occasionally through the night but it's nothing to me now. (The cat does still wake me randomly. I've come to the conclusion she is having some major lucid cat dreams induced by the extortionate consumption of organic catnip that no matter how well I hide it still ends up all over my floor suspiciously.)

The other horrid symptoms are all either gone or nearly gone. I'm able to get out of the house a lot more now that I don't find myself chained to the toilet, and I'm feeling so much lighter and less sluggish. My walking is still a little off, but I feel stronger to cope with it and I'm able to successfully rebalance myself more than before. It's still hard, I'm not going to lie. Every single step is calculated and executed with extreme concentration. But, that's just me tbh. Something as an MSer you just get used to. 

My performance in the gym is up almost 100% and I feel like I'm on fire. OK I'm still quite pathetic compared to your average healthy person's abilities but hey, sod it.
I'm impressing myself and my PT every single day and my god does it hurt, it hurts so so freaking much but I still smile and laugh with it. I'm having fun, and with every single rep I smash yet another goal. 

(You know what isn't fun? Having a B12 jab into really tense muscles after the gym.)

Speaking of B12 I feel like that's also making a huge difference to my energy levels, perking me up a bit in the process. They're definitely making up for the Vit. D that I've had to halve. I was doing brilliantly on it but suddenly it reached a toxic level in my body so we had to bring it right down. I'm having to have them every other day until my Dr says she's happy with my bloods. 

As for my mood? Well apart from being so busy with a million and one things to do I'm feeling great. I feel like I'm just at the start of a permanent high. Everything is going up and showing no signs of stopping. I'm so grateful for everyone around me at the moment, I want to hug everyone. My friends, my PT, the guy who owns my gym, my doctors, my nurses, my consultants, the guy in Subway who knows my order, the old guys in Costa early in the morning who always say hi and compliment me, the apple sales assistants, my neighbours, my car salesman, everyone!

Dyllan has also been amazing lately. He's turned into a real little gentleman. Well behaved, polite, doing brilliantly at school, he's perfect. Even if he does say that Mummy has "M&S".

Oh and I have no idea if I've lost anymore weight, I've been far too happy to even think about scales ;)

Blessings x

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Jaimie Got Fat. Thanks Amitriptyline.

Something didn't make sense.

Unless it's a special occasion I stick religiously to no more than 1500cals a day.

Yes my gym attendance had been crap, but that was only because my MS symptoms were just too much.

My clothes were getting tighter.

I had put on an entire stone in weight since Christmas. 

So I told my GP, she knew I wasn't one to just let weight pile back on, and she agreed that something was wrong. 

We eliminated possibilities. Pregnancy, bloodwork, other medications.

She then reminded me how the past couple of times I had seen her I had said that I had some new - what I thought was - MS symptoms. 

She asked me to list them all again and she wrote them down:

Fatigue worsening
Blurred vision
Itchy skin
Constant urge to pee even on an empty bladder
Bouts of rapid heart rate even after stopping Adalat
Unbearable hot flushes
Excessive sweating
Hair loss
And of course the sudden weight gain

She double checked her screen, and then calmly told me that all of these symptoms are side effects from the Amitriptyline that I was taking. 
She said that it was ultimately my decision, but her advice would be to wean off. 

I was suddenly petrified. This medication really helped me get over my breakdown at Christmas.
But I thought about it, weighed up all the options and within a few hours I realised that coming off was the best option. I couldn't say that it was helping me sleep anymore because I was waking all through the night with the hot flushes. And this was never going to be a long term solution anyway. Nope, time to come off. 
That night I went through another sleepless hell, so the next day I decided to immediately halve my dose, 100mg to 50mg. Drastic and a bit fast, but I can't cope with these side effects anymore. The withdrawal I might have will be nothing compared. 

I've been on the half dose for 3 nights now and I'm already seeing a change. I never realised just how drowsy it was making me, I thought I was just more fatigued from the MS. The drowsiness now isn't even half of what it was before. This might be because I'm also sleeping better, now only waking a few times with a hot flush or discomfort.
The day time awfully hot flushes have reduced to a handful, where as before they were every 40mins-1hr.
The constant urge to pee has almost disappeared.
I've even lost a couple of lbs in just 3 days. 

So now that things are under control and positive I now have to really step up my game to get my weight back to where it was at Christmas. 
I know that the weight will drop off me quickly, but I've lost 3 months training because of this crap. Obviously I'm going to be careful but that doesn't mean this body of mine will get an easy ride. 
I just have to keep reminding myself of how lucky I am. If I hadn't been controlling my calorie intake, god knows what size I would be right now. 

Blessings x

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

On My Way

I'm still here! 

I have had a terrible few weeks if I'm being honest. My laptop has decided it's had enough so I've been MIA for a while. On top of all of that I have been under so much stress and my MS is just...ugh.

I have no idea what my body is doing at the best of times but lately I've felt really strange. 
The good news is that all problems are in hand and being sorted, but it's almost as if my mind has got so used to feeling so low about everything, and now that a miracle has happened and everything is being sorted and quite a few of my dreams are about to come true, I still feel low about it all.
I have been trying to train my mind to get used to the idea of all the positive things happening and it's getting better so it's working. I'm also in shock to tell you the truth. Complete shock that all of these really heavy problems are being waved away. Like I said, a miracle. 

As for my MS well it's a bitch still. My pain hasn't changed and I'm able to just about manage it, but all the other stupid niggly symptoms are going nuts. I'm finding it very difficult to walk lately, but it's nothing to do with my leg strength and being able to hold myself up, it's the walking itself. I'm stumbling and waddling all over the place - the typical 'she's not sick she's drunk' scenario. If I try and walk with my crutches it's even worse and I end up falling over the crutches. I'm feeling weird all over really. My tremors have been quite bad and my cognitive functions are backfiring. 
Because of all this I've been quite frightened to go to the gym, I haven't been in a month and it's killing me but I just don't know what my body is playing at and until I'm confident I can't risk it. 
I've been so stiff and tired, with nausea 24/7 I've struggled to keep myself going. I'm only just about managing to look after myself, Dyllan and the house so I must force myself to sit back and rest. 

During the coming weeks I have so much exciting and positive things happening it's unreal. I feel like pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Thinking ahead takes my mind away for a while to concentrate on happy and positive things. I should use this resting time wisely as I'm probably not even going to have the time to think when everything comes together. 
I have a lot of things to meditate on and plans to be made. I just don't know where to start! 

This is the calm before the storm. An extremely positive storm.
So sod you MS and your stupid niggles, I've got stuff to do!

Blessings x