Living With MS and Chronic Headache – Invisible Symptoms
When people meet me they often comment how well I look. This is often the case for people who are living with MS, or headaches. There is nothing that you can see that gives you an idea of what I am feeling on any given day. You cannot see that my leg is heavy until I start to walk (MS symptom). People cannot see that I am losing the sensation in my hands, or that everything feels like sandpaper (MS symptoms), or they cannot see that my head feels like it is just about to explode, with some invisible bomb (Whiplash symptom). I have many invisible symptoms that I wish I could show so that people could somehow understand how I feel. These are my symptoms of living with MS and Chronic Headache.
Impact on my life – concentration (whiplash headache)
As a result of the car crash that I was in 3 years ago, I have constant headaches. Every day I start with a headache (pain scale: 5/10), and depending on my level of activity (mental or physical) it can climb to a 7/10-8/10. The work that I used to do before the accident was usually using my brain. I was usually in a leadership position, and/or working on accounting/legal projects. My ability was to solve problems, and this required concentration. Often, for long periods.
Now I can only concentrate for 30 minutes at a time, and the quality of this concentration is poor. For example, to write a post for this blog can take me several hours, because I just cannot get a flow. So, I take my time. Take frequent breaks, and eventually, I have a post. The most important thing is that I am doing something, and I have when I am finished, something to show for my effort. This is very important for my well-being.
Impact on my life – mobility (multiple sclerosis)
Now I need a stick to walk, as my right leg can get heavy, or my ankle doesn’t work as well as it should. My mobility can change depending on the weather. Anyone who knows Ireland, and particularly the West of Ireland know that we have lots of weather. In 10 minutes the temperature can vary 5C ( 9F), it can rain, be sunny, and even on an exceptional day snow!! The biggest impact on me is the temperature. I was doing a survey at the Galway Arts Festival. It was a beautiful day, and then suddenly a thunderstorm arrived. The temperature dropped, and the heavens opened. Flooding everywhere. This sudden drop in temperature meant that my leg decided that it was not going to work anymore. I think it wanted to go back to bed!
The impact on me was that I now could move slowly to my next location. That wasn’t a total disaster.
Living With MS and Chronic Headache
I have adapted my life so that I can live with MS and chronic headaches. This has involved a change in my life of the type of work that I do. The choice I faced was either to rebel against my constraints or, as I decided, to work within them. I am happy with the job that I am doing, and I am trying to be the best market research surveyor that I can be!!