Thursday, April 19, 2012

Doctor Appointments

Okay, so in my blog I talk a lot about my personal feelings, my personal issues... but I've been thinking a lot about what I want to write about and I decided on Doctor Appointments.

So yeah, we know no one likes going to the doctor, the drive, the wait, the news that we could possibly hear.. etc. What I want to talk about, is what we can do to prepare for these appointments. Having MS, things get difficult to remember when going to see your neuro for instance, asking you your symptoms, your meds... and the list goes on and on.

So here are some things that I do to make things easier...

  1. Get a good nights sleep, the night before your appointment! 
  2. Keep a journal of symptoms & when I experience them
  3. Keep a list of medications, w/ MG and how many times I take it
  4. Keep side effects in a journal, of the things that I think come from taking my medications. 
  5. To remind myself of my appointment, I have an alarm set on my computer and phone to remind me days before and hours before. 
  6. Make sure you have eaten before you go to your appointment, just in case it takes longer than expected. 
  7. I actually use a website to help me with keeping track of everything. It's called
  8. Take a notepad with you to your appointment so you can write down what the doctor says, that you want to remember, but know you won't unless it's logged. 
  9. In the journal you keep your symptoms and such in, WRITE DOWN YOUR QUESTIONS! Because we all know that we have a question we want to ask, then end up forgetting until after the appointment. 
Ok, so I'm going to tell you a little bit more about the website I listed... on that website,  you can track your symptoms, quality of life, medications, etc. AND when it's time for a doctors appointment they have a DOCTOR VISIT SHEET! All you have to do is print it out... there is all the information your doctor will need! 

Remember, this is a doctor your going to see, so don't feel embarrassed about anything you are going through due to your MS! They have heard it before, trust me. I mean, trust me, I know it's hard to get the words out... but it's totally worth letting them know, then just ignoring the symptom and dealing with it. It was hard for me to tell my doctor... I keep peeing my pants, but hey, I'm not doing it anymore, because I talked about it! Just keep telling yourself, "Okay, I'm not the only one who is dealing with this." It helps out a lot, trust me. 

Something I do, I ask for my medical records periodically. That way I can keep track of things, and have them on hand if I want to remember something, or if I need them to show to any other doctor that I go see. Plus, it's pretty neat looking at my brain at home! lol 

Okay, so this is a bit of subject, but I found it very interesting... I looked up what part of the brain controls what... then I looked at my records, so I could say, okay I have a lesion there, that's why I have mood changes... Here is a link to give you more information about what part of the brain, controls certain things with your body.

Now, I don't know if you read any of my previous blogs... (shame on you! jk) 
But I'm leaving tomorrow for New Orleans to go to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Meeting.

So, I have a 'separate' blog for this meeting, where I want people living with MS to ask questions on my blog... or give me feedback. The questions that are asked, I will try and get answered by doctors at the meeting! So to know more about the coverage I'm doing with MSWorld you can go to:

You can view that stuff even if you aren't a member... and if you aren't a member of MSWorld, shame on you again... JK! 

Anyways, I think I'm done rambling on... I kind of went from one subject to another, but hey, I have MS... give me a break already. Oh by the way, thanks for all the comments! Love getting them! And you can ask me questions also, I'm pretty much an open book for the most part! 


Check out this video about MS, from the National MS Society: 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cost of MS...

Okay, so I've been doing some research on how much MS actually costs... and I was kinda shocked by my findings...

Did you know that on average, the cost for someone with MS is $69,000 a year? That's like an average persons yearly salary, doubled! Now, on a national level, it costs $28 Billion Annually!!!!!

When people ask me about MS... I give them the basic run down on what it does, and all that... the "normal" overview of it all.

When someone actually wants to get in an in-depth conversation about things with MS... I say that I get frustrated that their isn't as much "attention" towards MS Awareness as other diseases.... and they give me this confused look, like... "what?"

Well this is my personal opinion, and I'm sure others will agree with me.

When it comes to things like Cancer for instance... it has a big awareness with people and everyone knows what cancer is, and what it does. Because it can kill people...

What I try and explain is.... MS is a disabling disease that, usually, doesn't shorten the life of someone with MS. So, you look at someone who is dying of cancer, their medical costs are high, but it isn't for a normal life span. These costs aren't imposed to them for a persons normal life span, because they usually don't make it that far, which is horrible, don't get me wrong.

But then you look at those who are diagnosed with MS.... where on a normal basis, doesn't shorten the life span of those who have it.... these medical costs DO NOT end... So I feel that MS is a really big burden financially in the long run, instead of just a short period of time.

And then we have these insurance companies, who make things even more difficult! It's hard to get insurance with a pre-existing condition.. I just did an experiment and applied for insurance and entered all my medical information, and I was denied coverage due to my medical history.

I then tried a different company and my cost out of pocket was $600 a month w/ a $1500 deductible, so there's a litte run down for you.

I understand that we can only do so much, being diagnosed with MS.... but in all honesty I think it's bullshit that MS doesn't have the awareness it should.

When I heard "You have MS".... I was like, okay, what's that?? So I'm guilty of not knowing what it was... Once my diagnosing neuro told me more about it... I started crying. Crying for happiness that I finally had an answer, but then crying because I had this disease that had no cure... that I would have to live with for the rest of my life.

So, after my diagnosis by MRI, they did a spinal tap, to check to make sure there was nothing else, and do a total confirmation that it was MS. I went in to see my neuro ( who is not my neuro anymore, btw ) and he stuck me 5 times to try and get my spinal fluid, couldn't do it.

So I had to schedule w/ radiology to get my spinal tap, I went in for that.... they had to stick me TWICE... turns out I have spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), oh, and I have degenerative disc disease.

So here is a run down on the conditions I had to enter in on my insurance application:

Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, Arthritis, Vision Loss, Hearing Loss, Urinary Incontinence, Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Acne, Surgery on right ankle, Surgery on left elbow, Anxiety, Depression, Swallowing Problems, Migraines

And I'm only 24 years old... How's that for falling apart for you?? Oh, and remember, according to the Social Security Administration, I'm still able to work... and am not considered "disabled".

On my last MRI, I read the report... I have over 20 lesions in my brain... that's all they could count.

So I guess you could say that I'm angry in some sense, that Multiple Sclerosis is the disease that no one talks about, no one knows about, but yet it has devastating effects. MS has no cure, and it is unsure as to what causes it.

So when people tell me, "it could be worse", they're right, it could be worse, but how can they say that to me.... being healthy, w/ no illness to fight. Yeah, I could be worse, but why do I have to deal with this in the first place?

I'm not wanting people to feel sorry for me, I don't want pity... I want people to get off their butts and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! The best thing people can do for those diagnosed with MS, is not feel sorry, not sit there and be like "awwww poor you"... it means a lot when you try and make a difference on behalf of those living with MS.

This is why I volunteer, this is why I raise awareness as much as I can, this is why I try and help all those diagnosed, this is why I blog... It might not seem like a lot, but at least it's something.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's all catching up to me...

Okay, so if you read my last post, "The Disabled taking care of the Disabled"... you kind of know what I've been going through lately. I was doing really well with handeling everything that was going on around me... but I think that it's all catching up to me now.

I've been trying to focus on the fact that I'm going to the AAN meeting in New Orleans at the end of the month... so I've been trying to prepare myself for that and really looking forward to just "getting away". But it seems as if all the stress of the events that have been going on around me, have been catching up to me all at once.

We found out two-days ago that James's Captain passed away, which is heart breaking. I guess sometimes, no matter how much you pray to God for the person to get better, God knows what's best for that person, and needs that person in Heaven to serve a better purpose.

I'm getting really aggravated with the detective that is working James's case with this whole assault thing. He isn't contacting me, and he isn't calling me back when I leave a message or anything. Friday, we went to the neuro surgeon for a follow-up, and this coming Friday James can get the stitches out and return to work on Saturday.

My oldest son Jason, ended up having Pink Eye in both eyes last Friday... and he is over that now as well. My grandpa went to the ER last Sunday for an "Anxiety Attack"... and I'm just like okay, what else is going to be thrown at me... cause I really don't think anything else can be thrown at me. Well, I was wrong.

I've been really fatigued lately. The adderall is helping with my fatigue, but it's my body that is fatigued... if that makes any sense. And then this morning I woke up, to have the whole left side of my body hurting and weak. I'm like oh you have got to be kidding me.

I'm wondering if my body is just reacting to the stress I've been put under the past two-weeks... or if something is actually going on inside my head. I'm hoping that my body is just reacting to the stress. I've contemplating calling my neuro, to see what I should do. I don't know if he would set me up for a round of steroids, just to be sure.

I don't know why I'm sitting here contemplating calling him... I guess in the back of my mind, I don't want to have to hear (again) that my disease is progressing. Because that means I'm pretty much out of options... and they would look at me being Secondary Progressive MS... which I've thought that I am this whole time.

Another part of me, just doesn't want to show any kind of weakness right now. Because I'm having to be the strong one and hold everything together right now. I just don't know how long I can put on that act that everything is okay. I just am waiting for someone to see through my lies that I'm doing okay.

I've been saying that I'm doing okay for so long now, I started believing myself... in a way at least. I'm hoping that the coming weeks are going to settle down so I can just take a break and relax my body and mind. I just don't want to think about anything, or be depended upon to do something for someone for a whole day. Lost cause, right?

I think that I'm just going to suck it up and call my neuro and tell them the stress I've been under and see what they suggest. We will see where to go from there, and I will keep everyone updated.

I'm gonna go watch a movie with my youngest son now, see if he will just RELAX today! I might wait a day to call neuro now that I think about it, because we did just get a "cool front" and that can contribute to why I'm feeling the weakness and pain in my left side. Fingers crossed?


Here is a picture I took in my front yard... enjoy: