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Do you have a particularly rough time of year for your MS?

In my life with the disease, I've noticed that I have had a tendency to have exacerbations in certain months. So while the summertime is always difficult for me because of the heat, I'm primarily battling existing symptoms there. However, when I look back to all the times I've had relapses and new/worsening symptoms, they have almost always been in October/November or March/April (At one point, I actually wrote about it making me fear March: https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/monstrous-march-past-experiences). It's probably a coincidence, but over 20+ years it's been pretty consistent for me.

Have you noticed anything like this? Any time of the year that seems to be particularly tough for you? Have you tracked when your relapses have occurred?

  1. Hi Devin, when temperatures shift in most places, the humidity increases (the soil-to-air temps being very different) - is it possible that the humidity is higher in Oct/Nov and Mar/Apr where you live? I know that that differential in land-and-air temps is really kicking my butt right now!!!

    1. Yup, stress and high humidity are a nasty combination. I love being outdoors, and it just guts me to have to stay in a room with an air conditioner/dehumidifier most of the year.

    2. it's a fine balance isn't it: how to find that sweet spot of equilibrium between our MS body health and out mental well being? I live in a temperate rainforest on the North West coast, so humidity's a given. FWIW, Vancouver living is great for my skin (eczema) and my sprit 😀

  2. Devin, my MS has been remarkably stable for many years now, particularly since I went on Glatiramer Acetate (then Copaxone) in 2000. I had one serious exacerbation in April 2008, which resulted in my developing bipolar disorder, but which was marked at the time with my second episode of nystagmus. I remember because I insisted on going to Boston to hear James Levine conduct the Boston Symphony in Berlioz' opera, Les Troyens. But it was April, which in New England is very WET, and teeters between bone chilling cold and steamy.


    Other than that, it was a hell of a performance.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Therry! Also I'm very glad you have been stable for so long, I've been pretty stable since starting Tysabri, so most of what I mention here is from my time prior to starting that.

    2. it's always something. Even stable MS is definitely something !

  3. Hi Devin

    With my PPMS the rough times for me is summer due to the heat which triggers Uthoff's, lightheadedness and dizziness. The real killer is stress which comes around trips, family events, holidays etc.

    Stress is the real one that isn't easy to deal with. Being stressed triggers worse fatigue and an emotional rollercoaster. Hope this is what you were looking to hear?

    1. Thanks Mike! I totally agree on stress! The holidays in particular can be very difficult. While the heat of the summer is tough, a good AC can really help with that. There's nothing that really can fight stress that effectively, at least for me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I share that phenomenon with you, Devin. My first attack was in November 1998, second in March 2004, and the third in February 2009. I had an additional event two years later in July 2011--but I am convinced that was a rebound exacerbation from quitting Tysabri a couple of months prior. It was different symptom-wise from the others, and fully resolved without causing further permanent damage, which was uncharacteristic of my flares. I haven't relapsed since starting Tecfidera in 2013. I also share your intolerance of heat and humidity during the warm months, and have only (!) experienced Uhthoff's phenomenon during those months, as well as just having to cling to the air conditioner morning, noon and night, lol. Isn't it amazing what we adapt to over the years? --Kim

    1. I have PPMS and I find the summer months and January- March is bone chilling even with moderate temp indoors. Thermostat between 70-73. Anything outside that range is bone chilling or too hot. It’s a slippery slope. I have learned to dress for the occasion.

    2. Thank you ! Find that perfect temperature is definitely difficult and crucial!

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