I visited a few doctors recently, and wanted to give you an update as to how my overall health is progressing:
- May is Mental Health month. My mental health is currently stable … depression is being managed by a successful medication at a successful dose. Figuring out that dose took some time, but it is now sufficient to allow me to maintain my interest in things I love to do. I haven’t quite maintained the energy to do all that I love to do, but I can work on that as long as the interest is there.
- I had double vision for most of the past three weeks; with it came balance issues, and an inability to see in large busy rooms, such as the quilt shows I went to a few weekends ago. It’s not the first time that warm weather has brought this my way. It’s called Uhthoff’s syndrome, and is to be expected with MS. There is no medical treatment; just the advice to stay indoors with AC and avoid the sun as much as possible. Humidity makes it worse. Our dry weather this week (so far) has minimized the symptoms.
- This morning I went to the AJ Hospital for an infusion of Reclast, my annual treatment for Osteoporosis. The endocrinologist I saw a few weeks ago found all my labs in the good/normal range. He was pleased, as I was. The annual infusion is so much easier and less troubling than the weekly oral med was. And, unlike the MS meds, it is administered by a registered nurse in a hospital setting, which is most reassuring to me. I have no side effects from this treatment. I will have another bone density test next year to see whether Reclast has reversed any of the bone weakening, or at least kept it from worsening. For now, I remain a high risk for fracture. I am more careful walking now. I am fortunate to have not broken any bones in these past two years. I’ve had only one fractured rib, probably initiated by a fall on ice early one winter morning before I retired.
- My recent visit to the dermatologist showed no new need for more biopsies. Four or five more cryo-surgeries on my face took a few weeks to heal but they are now fine. Again, I am advised not to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes in sunlight, and always to wear sunscreen if I am outside in the sun at all. I do keep my hat and sunglasses on, even into the early evening/sunset hours. And yes, in that guise, I bear an unfortunate resemblance to another person from Southie. Who probably also has melanoma.
- Mosquitoes are beginning to return to our neighborhood, which is another reason to stay indoors. Last year a friend of ours here in town lost her husband to Triple-E (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), which is a fatal fever carried by mosquitoes in areas with horses. Our playing fields were off limits for the end of the school year and the summer town athletics, because mosquitoes carrying the virus were found here in town. I’ve ordered, from my favorite Avon lady, a spray that will work both as a sun screen and a mosquito repellant. And no, I won’t leave home without it.
So, if we can have a low humidity, I will be myself. If the temps and humidity climb again, I will be less than myself, and will stay inside until it drops. The Uthtoff’s syndrome, while limiting sight and balance, is sometimes scary but always temporary. Knowing that I have returned to new normals each time it hits is very calming.
Rick and I will be walking again this weekend for the MS fund raising. While it doesn’t compare to Michelle’s 14 mile run for lymphoma ~ she did that in about 2 hours, which is amazing to us ~ that’s about how long it takes us to walk 5 miles ~ it does feel good to be able to do that. Praying for low humidity so that I can finish the walk.
Someone asked me why I’m walking a second walk. It’s simple … because I can, for those who cannot.