My Side Effects Have Side Effects

I feel like if you’re reading this, you are familiar with Multiple Sclerosis and the treatments for it. Not only do you have to deal with treating the illness itself, you also have symptoms to MS that are not treated by just the MS DMD.

So let’s just say you are currently experiencing pain, fatigue, spasms and cognitive dysfunction. You are prescribed medication to help you manage each symptom. Again, there is no one medication for ‘all of the above’. So you are looking at four different medications that you have to take, most likely, on a daily basis.

Easier said than done

An issue I’ve come across when around others is when they see me struggling or dealing with symptoms like I listed about, they just tell me I need to take my medicine if I have it. This is easier said than done, for me at least.

While I do want relief from the symptom(s) I’m experiencing, almost all medications available have one thing in common. That is side effects. For instance, pain medication and spasticity medication both have side effects of drowsiness. Well, I’m also dealing with really bad fatigue, so those medications are going to make my fatigue worse.

The daily struggle

Well, why don’t I just take my fatigue medicine along with my pain medication and spasticity medication? I’ve done this; it seems to cancel each other out. Meaning, I’m doing better pain-wise and spasticity-wise, but I’m still tired. Now, take in to account the cognitive issues I’m having. It tends to get worse with fatigue, so I need to be alert for better cognitive function.

For those that are ‘outsiders’ and don’t know what this is like, I hope this gives you a better understanding of the daily, yes daily, struggle of living with a chronic illness.

A domino effect

I’ve come to realize that the whole situation is a domino effect it seems. There is always one thing that causes another. You treat one thing, and then something else arises.

And people wonder why we’re so tired all the time. Just dealing with this and even trying to explain the situation is exhausting.

Risk vs. benefit thought process

I’ve started to really go with a risk vs. benefit thought process when I’m dealing with symptoms that become bothersome. Let me also say, that my symptoms are almost always present. However, when you have lived with this disease and become familiar with it… you tend to just ‘get used to it’. Meaning, symptoms become life, they become your ‘new normal.’

I feel like there needs to be more awareness about the symptomatic issues and managing them, along with more awareness about MS. Yes we have a disease that is chronic, there is no cure.

The symptoms are a constant

Yes it affects us everyday. But our nerves aren’t getting ‘attacked’ every day, at least I hope not. It’s the symptoms that are a constant. It’s the symptoms that become our everyday life.

Not to mention that the symptomatic treatments (medication) don’t last all that long. The relief we are getting is temporary. Personally my symptom severity is reduced after taking the prescribed medication, but it is never GONE.

Misconceptions about MS

I feel like there are many misconceptions about MS, and many other autoimmune/chronic illnesses that need to be brought to light.

Did I mention that most of these medications it is ‘recommended’ to take with food… So while dealing with a laundry list of symptoms and not wanting to move, you have to go get yourself something to eat in order to feel better.

Don’t forget, while dealing with all of this on a daily basis we still have to continue on with our daily life.


Ashley Ringstaff

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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.

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