Yesterday, my husband and I went for a nice long bike ride. The weather was particularly warm for Autumn and the sky was gorgeously clear. I was compelled to take advantage before it gets really cold.
We packed up the bikes, parked near the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) trail, and rode at “breakneck” speed to points west of town. I’ve loaded the MapMyRide app on my phone and was using that to keep track of our ride. It was fun to hear our distance, time, average speed, and split speed every mile.
For the first six miles, we averaged 15 miles/hour. It was so cool!! Then we hit some serious hills and long, slow inclines. Our speed slowed to about 8.5 miles/hour. Rob could have gone faster, but I was pushing as hard as I could. My competitive streak was a little less than subtly hidden and I wanted to see what I could do.
Our half-way point was my mother-in-law’s house. There were a few things she wanted Rob to do and I needed some rest. She was kind enough to feed us before we hit the trail again. We took a slightly different way back and averaged 11.75 miles/hour for the first five miles, then slowed to 10.15 miles/hour for the remaining 3.5 miles.
I stopped at a bench about half-way back to our car. Rob and I were just chatting. I mentioned to him that my body was buzzing like crazy. “My body feels like what I imagine a vibrating bed would feel like,” I told him. Not just my legs, but an all-over buzz.
My MS lesions have always been located in my cervical spine and sensory changes are one of my more common symptoms. There have been times that after walking a distance, I haven’t been able to feel my feet or legs at all. Totally numb, but tingling like jumping beans or bubbles were under my skin.
Physical exertion is not the only time I feel this “jumping bean” sensation. Sometimes when I haven’t slept enough and am awakened much too early in the morning, my body feels all jiggling, tingling, and bubbly, particularly under the skin of my thighs and torso. My cat is often the culprit of these early morning awakenings.
The tingling seems to be strongest just before I completely wake up. It seems that being fully conscious can quickly overcome the cognitive confusion of feeling like you’re in a swirling hot tub without the tub or the hot water.
Altered sensations, called paresthesias, can be caused by different things. If you’ve put pressure on a nerve for an extended period of time, like while sitting cross-legged for too long, you might feel “pins and needles” when you try to get up. But the sensation quickly goes away once the pressure is relieved. Paresthesias can also be caused by an underlying neurologic disease, such as MS, or traumatic nerve damage.
My buzzy, bubbly, jumping-bean sensations would rank as curious in severity level. They do not reach pain, but they do warn me that perhaps I have done too much or need more rest. As I’m sitting here with my legs up and typing this post, my legs continue to buzz. It’s much less intense than it was on the bench, but still present in a strangely pleasant way.
Not everything about MS is painful or disabling; sometimes MS can be curious and peculiar.