Me, My MS and I


Still feeling pretty awful at the moment, curled up in my PJs with my duvet. Collected my steroid rx from my GP today but no pharmacies stock it! Wasn’t a terribly happy bunny. Pharmacist at Boots was really helpful and ordered it, so will be available 0930 / 1000 tomorrow. Have to take a ‘gastric protector’ for a fortnight too to protect from gastritis and gastric ulcers. Oh, the joys! On 500mg of steroids orally per day for 5 days; apparently that’s quite a high dose, but I have no idea.

Now to explain my leg stimulator: I’ve now discovered it’s called FES (functional electrical stimulation) – thanks Squiffs : ) The MS Trust has a great factsheet on it which can explain better than I can – A quick cut and paste,

“In MS, damage to the nerves in the central nervous system prevents or interrupts messages passing to or from the brain via the spinal cord. One of the problems this poor transmission of messages can cause is dropped foot. Dropped foot is the inability to lift the foot and toes when swinging the leg forward during walking. This causes the toes to catch or the foot to drag on the ground, which can lead to falls and a loss of confidence.

Some people will compensate for the effects of dropped foot by altering the way that they walk. In time this can lead to further problems such as pain in the hips or lower back, a tightening of muscles and poor balance.

FES compensates for the interrupted messages from the brain by applying an external stimulus to nerves. Self-adhesive electrodes are placed on the leg and connected to a small stimulator, which is about the size of a pack of cards and can be worn on the belt or carried in a pocket. Small electrical impulses are used to excite the nerves that supply affected muscles producing basic but useful movement.

The impulse is activated by a pressure sensitive switch in the shoe, causing the foot to tilt to the correct angle when lifted. When the foot is placed on the ground again, pressure is reapplied to the switch and the stimulation ceases.”

The FES is working pretty well and I’ve been experimenting with the intensity of the stimulation to find which level moves my foot best. Feeling more confident walking but it’s still a chore. I’ve also gotten used to the sensation as the ‘shock’ is delivered, which has helped. A little unsettling at first, but I’m surprised how quickly I’ve become accustomed to it. The only downside is the control box beeps when I turn it on and off, which attracts the occassional look, but I don’t really care as it helps me. I’m sure I’ll find a way to deactivate the beeps ; ) My papa was an engineer (long standing family joke). Cognitive abilities are still impaired by the relapse at the moment, muscle spasms hurt like hell and the fatigue is killer, but keeping positive.

Bought a TENS machine the other day to help the muscle spasms and it’s great! Doesn’t completely stop them but does help reduce the pain and intensity. Got it from Lloyds Pharmacy – £29.99 for a dual channel heating and massaging unit.

Had my last dose of LDN last night until after the steroids as I start them tomorrow : ( Will start again as soon as the course is finished. Off for a bladder scan on Wednesday, fingers crossed they can do something to help. Needing the loo every 20 minutes is wearing thin now!

Off to sleep now. Will keep you posted when I’m up to it.

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