A figure in the distance is walking down an unknown path towards a mysterious trunk opening.

Identifying New MS Symptoms Feels Like Opening Pandora's Box

Have you ever heard someone use the metaphor “opening Pandora’s box?” It is often used to refer to big trouble that can arise from something small. I am not a believer in Greek mythology and did not enjoy it in college, but it can be interesting. In Greek mythology, Pandora was said to be the first woman on Earth. Long story short, she was created as a punishment to mankind. The myth of Pandora’s box came about because Pandora was given a box from the gods that was said to contain gifts from them. However, they told her she was not to open the box. After a while, she could not contain herself and opened the box, which she found contained illness and hardships that the gods had hidden inside. So much for the pleasant gifts!

New symptoms are like Pandora’s box for me

Overall, I aim to be proactive with my health, but it brings fear and anxiety when new symptoms arise. Over the past few months, I have been experiencing some circulation issues in my feet that are causing my toes to be a dark shade of purple, and at times they even appear gray. I have had circulation issues since I was younger; in fact, my purple feet were one reason I started going to the doctor in my teenage years. Those doctor’s visits turned into tests and investigations into my issues until I was eventually diagnosed with MS. However, my feet have never looked this bad. My dad is a fire chief, and his exact words were, “I’ve seen worse looking feet on a corpse.” Yikes.

Poor circulation in my feet

Not only have my feet been looking dead, but I’ve had wounds and bug bites that take longer than expected to heal, and my toes have been dry to the point of peeling despite the lotion I pile on daily. Those symptoms and a sensation that a string is sometimes tied around my pinky toes causing numbness have not been pleasant. The lousy circulation in my feet causes discomfort, and my legs often feel restless and weak.

Afraid to confront my new challenges

After a crazy busy year raising a five-year-old and my one-year-old triplets, and my son having to have unexpected and expensive surgery, the last thing I want or need is issues with my health. I do not take for granted the fact that after pregnancy with multiples and my first year as a mom of four, I have overall had excellent health. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful. Yet, it was difficult for me to find the motivation to finally call my doctor and let them know because, honestly, a large part of me is afraid that something is wrong. Sometimes, as a busy wife and mom, it feels easier to ignore my issues and push forward rather than face them. I know that is not the wisest thing to do, but sometimes convenience takes the cake. I just recently started a new MS medication because of low lymphocytes, so adding one more thing on top of that felt overwhelming.

I suspect it may be Raynaud’s phenomenon

This past week after having my husband tell me one too many times how scary my feet looked, I bit the bullet and called my doctor to let them know. I suspect something along the lines of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Raynaud’s condition causes decreased blood flow to the fingers and, in some cases, toes, ears, nipples, knees, and even your nose. Spasms of the blood vessels happen in response to cold or stress and cause changes to the skin color. There are several types of Raynaud’s, and Raynaud’s Phenomenon is caused by an underlying disease like MS.

Hoping to find answers soon

I’ve had my doubts that this is what it is as the color changes in my feet do not go away when my feet are warm. The only time I do not notice the severe discoloration is after getting up from lying down in bed. After speaking with my doctor, they ordered an ultrasound of my legs and feet and blood work to see if we can get to the bottom of what is causing my feet to look this way. I am opening Pandora’s box, but sometimes we don’t have an option. I am hoping to find answers soon and that it is something easily treatable. Again, I am just thankful, especially in this year of COVID-19 and so much sadness in the world, to have such minor issues.

How do you react to new symptoms?

Do you all feel like dealing with new and unwanted symptoms is sometimes easier ignored? Do you think that dealing with things feels more like opening Pandora’s box as well? I would love to know your thoughts! Thanks for reading!!

With love,

Calie

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

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

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.