Friday, 21 March 2014

Week 80

The folic acid tablets are going well. I did a 12 mile run the other day and I didn't fall over asleep once. 

Okay, some (all) of that isn't completely true, but my fatigue ain't too bad at present. That could be the drugs, it could be that the invisible monster is on the decline anyway, or it could be a combination of both? Does it really matter? Who cares? Not me. 

One thing that has improved over the last few weeks is my balance. I haven't had a single fall in that time because of lack of it - I won't be publishing this blog until tomorrow, let's hope I don't have to delete this paragraph between now and then. That surely is the increased levels of folic acid in my system preventing the dizziness, that caused the head spins and potential falls when I stood up, or even when I changed direction when walking. 

I have met a lot of people with MS over the years and I consider most of them as friends, so I do get to chat to MSers about this wonderful illness that we share. They're the best people to talk to about it; forget you're Consultants, your Doctors, even your MS nurses, your fellow MSers really do understand you. 

I was speaking to someone about it recently. I was moaning about my fatigue issues and she suggested I start taking 'B' vitamins. I had already tried taking vitamin B12 in tablet form, all to no avail, so I stated my reluctance to try them as if you start going down the supplement trail, when do you stop? You'll rattle every time you move and it'll cost a fortune. However, they contain so much potential benefits, I've decided to give them a bash. I mean, what harm can keeping your B1,2,3,6 and 12 levels topped up do? They're not expensive either. It's just two more pills added to the ever increasing list of tablets I take each day. If you're interested in trying them, here's a link to the ones I've just ordered. Cheap as chips:

Once again, I have managed to get through a Gilenya diary entry without actually mentioning the drug. Why do you read this drivel?

Happy Friday, folks. 


Friday, 14 March 2014

Week 79

As expected, I got a phone call from my Doctor's surgery last week, telling me that my vitamin B12 levels are normal, but - wait for the but - but, they told me my folic acid levels were low. So low, in fact, my GP had written me out a 3 month prescription for folic acid supplements. I asked the receptionist what the symptoms of a folic acid deficiency were, and she informed me that common symptoms are tiredness, having little energy (lethargy), feeling faint, or dizzy and becoming easily breathless. Well that explains a lot!

A bit of research with my mate Google, and I also discovered that not so common symptoms include headaches, heartbeats suddenly becoming noticeable (palpitations), altered taste and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). You may look pale.
Other symptoms may include numbness is your hands and feet. Some people may also have depression. Numbness in hands and feet, you say? Ha! I'm not a Doctor, but I can tell you that my numb hands and feet are nothing to do with me not eating enough broccoli, brussels, or any other vegetables high in folic acid!

Does this mean I'm anaemic then? The Pharmacist told me not necessarily, but I could've ended up that way had my blood not been checked. Yay. Go me! Going to see my Doctor wasn't 'an exercise in futility' (Pulp Fiction) after all. 

I've been taking 5mg of folic acid daily since Monday and so far there hasn't been any noticeable changes, but it's probably too early. As well as the fatigue, I'm hoping my dizziness will subside too. I've had a few falls this week. Three already in March to be precise, and a fair few of my recent 'carpet dives'of late have been due to a loss of balance, rather than a slump to the ground because of a weakness in the legs. 

Here's hoping the 'proper' falls start to stop (???) soon. 

Happy Friday ,


Friday, 7 March 2014

Week 78

Did you have any pancakes on Tuesday? I did. I had five. Lemon and sugar. No messing around. I love Pancake(s) Day!

In other news, I FINALLY got to see my Doctor this week and I was told that I need to have a blood test to see if I am deficient in vitamin B12. I already knew that. It feels like the whole world has told me that recently. All seven billion of you!

I had my blood test today and expect to hear the results confirming my B12 levels are completely normal in a week or so. 

Where does that leave me? Well, to be honest with you, I probably won't approach my Consultant and ask for more drugs. My fatigue definitely feels like it is on the wane. I said a little while ago that it's either improved, or I've just got used to it? Can you get used to living with fatigue? Probably not. So assuming my B12 levels are normal, I'm not going to ask for medication either. So it's all been a waste of everyone's time? Well, yeah, but, no, but...

Whilst I was there, I asked to swop the  Anticholinergic
medication I was taking (Oxybutynin) for one of the newer ones that don't have an impact on the cognitive issues that are associated with the older ones as suggested by my Consultant. 

Anticholinergic medication is used to  stop the spasms and calm down the muscles in an over active bladder. In other words, you don't have that massive urgent urge to run (ha!!) to the toilet every 20 minutes. You can take my word as an expert on this subject, when I say bladder incontinence most certainly is NOT an invisible symptom!!

Doctor 'Doolittle' (No he doesn't talk to animals, he doesn't do much for his patients) told me that he hasn't ever heard of what I told him and that oxybutynin is his antichloergenic of choice. I repeated my neuro's advice - a Professor of Neurology, no less - and he reaffirmed his view and said that if I could get my Neurologist to put this in a letter, he would then (reluctantly) swop my oxybutynin for a newer antichloergenic. 

He did, however, write me out a prescription for a drug called Loperamide. This is just like Imodium. It hardens the stools, so it gives more feeling when your bowels need emptying. With that you would expect more warning too. Let's hope so, eh? So my visit to my GP wasn't a waste of time then. 

Do something frivolous this weekend. That's an order.