Monthly Archives: April 2014

MS hug or HEART ATTACK!

MS Hug or Heart Attack?

1:30 Home for lunch,  going back to work.

1:31 Heart pounding, chest pain

unnheart2

Ultrasound of my heart.

1:35 Left arm and hand hurt, radiating pain left from middle of back.

1:36 Pain increasing, using right hand to support left hand for relief.

1:36 Thought …WOW this hurts a lot. I’m okay, relax, take deep breathes. Back to work. Simple afternoon planned. Go.

1:50 Leave for work.

1:54 Nauseous, driving. Pull over. Pain sky rockets, call husband. I’ll be home, take me to the emergency room please.

2:06 Emergency room. Wheelchair.

2:08 E.R. check in, Husband gives insurance information and symptoms, parks car.

2:11 Toddler staring at me from Dads arms. My pain must look very scary to her. I force a smile.

2:12 Enters Rapid Response team. They whisk me away

I HEAR:EKG

I THINK:EKG not invasive. Sticky things on chest. No pain. Pain now …waaay over the top.

I HEAR:Heart Attack, Morphine, Nitroglycerin

I HEAR: Have you had any aspirin today? Swallow these.

I FEEL: Shirt coming off, sticky things going on.

I HEAR: Heart Attack.

I SEE: Husband listening to nurse.

I SAY: What do you mean HEART ATTACK? I’m not having a HEART ATTACK! Honey…this hurts.
I HEAR: You’ll feel better soon, morphine, nitroglycerine, Heart Attack.

I SAY: I can’t be having a heart attack, I’m a VEGAN!

I SEE: Mans unfriendly face close to mine with paper in hand.

I HEAR: SEE THIS! This says, in all ways, you’re a VEGAN having a HEART ATTACK!

I THINK: Screw you.

I SEE: Friendly face very close to mine saying, don’t worry, you’re going to see LOTS of people in the room doing LOTS of different things. It’s okay, just relax.

60 seconds later my clothes evaporate.

I THINK: WTH!

I SEE: My jeans moving toward my feet. No snaps, no buckles, nothing.

I THINK: OMG! But wait…my panties?! What if my period is on?

I SEE: Panties floating away, still inside jeans. No period. Thank you GEEZUS! Hello menopause.

I HEAR: Arteries blocked/ look inside/ heart working? Heart attack

I SAY: How?

I HEAR: Catheter/ groin/ artery/ heart/ look.

I THINK: Chest/sternum/ not cracked open /okay.

I SEE: New face, friendly, close to mine.

I HEAR: I’m Scott. I’ll be your bartender for the rest of the day.

I THINK: Morphine. Smile.

I SEE: I’m covered with a sheet.

I FEEL: Levitated.

I SEE: My toes, my husband, Scott, random people in hallway.

I SAY: My toes are really pretty. Honey, I need a toe ring.

I HEAR: Nothing.

I Feel: No pain.

heart. cathetermed

Can you see the catheter in my heart? The hook. Look closer. AWESOME

MS HUG or HEART ATTACK

Comments:

Have you ever experienced either?

What do YOU think it was?

18 Comments

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MS: You make me wanna “Sweat Like A Girl”!

A few weeks ago, I went to a very nice dinner hosted by Gilenya at “The Marble Head Chowder House”. A Neurologist and MS Specialist spoke for a short time about MS and then for an even shorter time about one of the new disease modifying therapies, Gilenya. It’s a pill that has pretty much the same efficacy as all the others pills, however it’s one pill a day, not two.

For half of a second my interest was peaked, and then they mentioned its heart concerns and the special care that must be given when first taking the drug.

Hmmmm, maybe not :/

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure my Tecfidera is twice a day but I’ve had zero side effects and if I did, heart health would not be one of them.

I did however, meet some really nice people. There were sisters who both have MS; talk about partners in crime. Another woman who brought her 2 siblings so that they could have a better understanding of the disease; I can’t take ALL of my siblings anywhere all at once, it’s too embarrassing. There was one other woman who like me, brought her husband. That couple talked a lot about Hippotherapy which I found fascinating. They convinced me that it was beneficial! I wish I could convince my Insurance Carrier of that.

All in all we had a great night! I think we should get together again and have a mini support group. Next time we should meet somewhere more exciting…I dont know, maybe for a class at “Sweat Like A Girl”. It looks like fun. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

We_Can_Do_It!Comments:

 

4 Comments

Filed under Mind-Body Connection, MS and Exercise, MS and Oral Medication, MS Drugs, Uncategorized

MS: Let’s talk about Mental illness…mine.

Today I want to write about mental illness… my own.

Anyone who knows me, just a little would use these words to describe me: happy, cheerful, and never stressed. My husband calls me his “optimism”.

Is this the face of depression? Look again.

Is this the face of depression? Look again.

He also says I can be a “Pit Viper”.

I’ve suffered off and on with depression since 1997. I know what I’m talking about. Not sad or a little down but, depressed. During these years, I raised two children, maintained a healthy marriage and taught school. How? You ask. With the help of my big sister who suggested (insisted) that I, at a very young age, twenty-two to be exact, go to a clinical Psychologist. “GO!” She said. “Just trust me and GO!”

She didn’t explain how it would make my life better, but assured me that it would. She was right. I was exhibiting signs of depression then and she saw it. My psychologist helped me to have a deeper understanding of myself and how certain depressed feelings could be affecting the choices that I made. Not his job to judge my choices or to change them, just to help me make the connection between my depressed feelings and my choices; after all, I did have free will. Looking back, he never even used the word depressed. I was young and he was good. No stigma, no darkness, no shame.

This was unheard of in the deeply southern black community from which I had come. This was and still is taboo. Suggested remedies would have been; go to church, pray harder.

Mental health just doesn’t work that way. Neither does dental health. You could no sooner pray away depression than you could pray away a cavity. We do best when we pray and use the resources we’ve been given. Abandoning my Southern Baptist upbringing was not necessary but being open to other things, was.

Mental Health needs to be dealt with aggressively, like Cancer. We pray…yes, but we also use Chemo when we need it. Is there any shame in that? No.

What did help me? Exercise, Mindfulness Meditation, journaling, therapy and years later…medicine.

Managing all of these in the name of depression also gave me a great defense mechanism against stress, which causes my MS to be more active. I can never really separate these things; MS and depression and stress.

The larger point of this post is: a few days ago a beautiful young brown girl, Karyn Washington, only twenty-two years old to be exact, committed suicide.karyn-washington-http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/news/karyn-washington-suicide

Karen was the creator and founder of “For Brown Girls”, http://www.forbrowngirls.com/, an online inspirational blog which was there for other girls, an undertaking well beyond her years. Her mother recently died of cancer.

She was a gift.

I wish she had had a big sister like mine; or an Auntie, a Teacher, a Minister, a Friend …a STRANGER who cared enough to say “GO! Just trust me and GO to a psychologist”! Someone who understood what was happening and could take the ridicule. There is no shame in that.

There is shame however in letting our ignorance and fear cause us to lose even one more precious gift. We need to open up. Talk about mental health and suicide. Talking about it doesn’t make it happen, just the opposite, it prevents it.

Helpful Links:

New York Times Article: Suicide Prevention sheds Light on Longstanding Taboo.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Depression and Chronic Illness

Psychology Today Magazine

Please share your thoughts and experiences:

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Mental Well-Being, Uncategorized

MS: De-stress strategies when you are a TEN

My stress level this morning on a scale of one to ten, was a TEN!
I’m happy to say that I knocked it out of the park! I can’t control how much stress comes my way but, I can control how I respond.Black-woman-meditating1 Do I internalize it, or not? Honestly, in some cases, stress does break through. Usually family stuff, but even that is better controlled with strategies. But work? I don’t think so!
So, what did I do after a horrible morning? When asked to stay extra time (because it would look good to my employer) I said yes, then gave it a second thought, and said, no. I recognized that I was already a TEN and knew that going home to decompress would be smarter. I then drove home, sat in the garage and talked to my husband (who was at work) for 10 minutes about my morning. Talk therapy and support. I eventually came inside the house, and now this…writing.journal50019628_n I had actually written this in my head, while sitting in the car decompressing. Once this is written I’ll do 30 minutes of Mindfulness Meditation, eat lunch, take a nap and head back to work, making sure to stop for a frappaccino on the way.

COMMENTS: What would bring you down from a TEN?

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, Riding Out a Relapse, Stress Management