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Lost Time and More

I was thrilled to attend the ACTRIMS 2018 conference in San Diego, in early February. Who wouldn’t welcome the chance to be in sunny weather while my home state of Ohio was in the throes of winter? ACTRIMS, the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research In MS, is a gathering of scientists to review their latest findings and thoughts on MS and its treatment. The three day conference was full of reports I want to share with you, but I also tacked on a few extra days of relaxation before heading home.

Blame it on 8D

Now almost two weeks later, this is the first writing I am doing about ACTRIMS because unfortunately the souvenir I brought back from San Diego was the kind we all wish to avoid – I contracted the influenza B virus. I blame it on the person in the seat across the aisle from me – 8D on my San Diego to Dallas flight. Shortly after takeoff, 8D commenced with sneezing, blowing and stuffing nasty used tissues into the seat back pocket. As hard as I tried to avoid it, I had to breathe during the 2.5 hour flight, and obviously inhaled some of 8D’s germs. Two days after being home, I came down with what I thought was simply a bad respiratory cold – sneezing and blowing but no high fever or the usual chills, or the aches you would associate with the flu.

I toughed it out from Wednesday until Sunday, when I finally gave in to the fatigue and went to urgent care for the official diagnosis of Influenza B. And so, I officially join the thousands of others who  suffered through this virus, which has affected all of the US.

 I thought MS fatigue was bad

The worst for me was the exhaustion – I though I knew fatigue well because I have MS fatigue all the time. This flu fatigue was 10 times worse – and kept me off my feet. Every bit of energy was needed just to roll out of bed. Taking a shower or changing clothes was a long drawn out process, because I had to stop and rest. I slept 20+ hours a day for several days.

No, I didn’t have the flu shot this year.  That’s something I have religiously done for 20+ years, but I put it off this year because I was on a new MS treatment and wanted to clear the vaccine with my doctor first. I just never got around to asking or having the shot – that’s a mistake I will never make again. The vaccine may be not so effective this year, but any added protection I might get will be worth it.

Resurfacing now

It is now 9 days after my first symptoms appeared, and I believe I have turned the corner. I was hungry today at lunch and ate more than chicken noodle soup. I’ve started doing laundry- washing everything I may have come in contact with to prevent reinfection. And I’m writing about this experience. Until now, just looking at a screen caused pain in my eyes from the lighting. Writing about ACTRIMS will continue to wait a bit longer.

The medical experts say it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine – if you haven’t already, you should consider it. I know I wish I had done it sooner. I’ve lost over a week of days just waiting for the flu to pass – I wouldn’t wish this on anyone else.

Hoping you’re well,


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie
    2 years ago

    I’m sorry a wonderful trip ended up badly for you. I can’t wait to hear about any detail the conference gave you. Be well.

  • Yoshitail9
    2 years ago

    Let’s find out 8D’s telephone number, call at 2:00 AM, on a conference call, and cough and sneeze into the phone !!!

  • skcullers
    2 years ago

    Sorry as any infections are hell on our bodies. Planes are notorious virus sharers as they only change the air every 2 weeks. We now wear masks when we travel. I ,like you, had a guy cough continually on a 5 hour flight sitting next to me and sure enough 3 days later wham. Took me 3 weeks, a doctor’s visit and antibiotics to survive. Shame on the airlines for not having disposable masks and making sure the sickies wear them.

  • potter
    2 years ago

    Don’t feel to bad about not getting a flu shot, I got the one for seniors that is extra strong. I came down with the other part of the flu that is diarrhea and vomiting. I was just getting over a relapse and had been on steroids when I had a scheduled check up at my GP. I called my doctors office and asked them if I should come in or not. They said they hadn’t had any flu cases yet so I would be safe. I was sick two days later, then gave it to my husband. It took me two weeks to get back to normal and him one week. If we weren’t sleeping we were watching TV. Potter

  • itasara
    2 years ago

    I guess I’m lucky but I never get the flu shot and so far don’t get the flu. My PCP is hesitant to give me any vaccines he did recommend two vaccines for pneumonia which I did get. He feels that I’m compromised have an MS. Then again I don’t travel much. It seems like the flu shot is always kind of a “crapshoot“ that doesn’t work for everybody or just don’t get the right current Causes of fluids here. I’ve read from my readings here and there that one does not get a full-blown case of the flu after getting a flu shot however I know a few people that have come down with a very bad case of flu and they did get the flu shot.
    The conference I’m sure was good. If it ever comes to Rochester, A very high area for MS, I’d like to go to but to California I do not want to go. I have two children living there and I still don’t want to go there.

  • itasara
    2 years ago

    If there is a way to edit our house I certainly would like to know where it is.

  • itasara
    2 years ago

    Sorry for the typos. My phone always changes things I can’t catch them mistakes but I’m sure you can figure it out. I wish there were a way to edit this on my phone but I haven’t been able to figure that one out yet or maybe you can’t ever take down the side

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