a woman sits on a cloud surrounded by clouds raining and holds a grasshopper in one hand and holds out her other hand to feel the rain

Catching Feelings With 'Sensational' MS

Last updated: January 2023

Returning to college for the new school year brought about the need to handle administrative business, hence, time spent in long lines awaiting the next available representative. One year, while in said line, I found myself behind the most amusing fellow student. His humorous and chatty conversation kept me quite engaged thereby averting my attention from the very long wait. Our chance encounter ended in the exchange of phone numbers leading to many riveting conversations and 'catching' fond feelings which led to a period of dating.

The itch from mosquitoes

I enjoy summer barbeques where family and friends gather for good food, fun, and fellowship. The shrieks of children playing, the sound of laughter and chatter from the adults 'catching up', telling jokes, sharing stories, and the smell of the meat barbequing on the grill permeating the air evoke such happy feelings. Nothing like it. Tiredly returning home to get cleaned up and settled from the wonderful day, you feel it... The itch from the mosquito(s) that managed to affix itself to your skin bypassing the bug repellant you'd used in preparation of spending a day outside. It is non stop scratching for relief as you search the medicine cabinet for something, anything on hand to ward off that itch!

That feeling made my skin crawl

1980... Fourth grade... recess... the lower playground. Now although I don't quite remember how long the recess period was, I do recall it was way too short. I mean, you had to get to the sliding board to the monkey bars to the swings to the seesaw... PLUS because class time only allowed talking to consist of asking or answering the teacher's questions, discussing the lesson or reading aloud, recess was the time to get out all of that 'very relevant' 4th-grade commentary to your friends. But twice I was unable to enjoy my short interval of free time. The first, while happily enjoying my recess, I felt a sudden stinging sensation on the back of my arm. Quite taken aback, I found the culprit to be a bumblebee! The second time, again enjoying the period of 'me and friends ', I remember feeling a tickle to my leg Initially ignoring the sensation, I then thought 'Is something crawling on me??' Lifting my pant leg. I did indeed  - a grasshopper had found its way to make acquaintance with my leg and that feeling made my skin crawl! (No pun intended.)

Skin crawling, tickling, and burning

Sitting in my lift chair, primarily in the evening, begin the 'ants'. The tee-hee-hee is that there really aren't ants - or a grasshopper- on my legs - but rather the sensation of bugs crawling on my skin and atop my head. My itching skin has no culprit - such as a mosquito bite - that I can conceivably scratch until virtually raw in an attempt to feel even a small piece of relief. With no bumblebees around, one would wonder where that stinging and burning sensation in my feet and legs comes from. I'd be remiss in not acknowledging the numbness, tingling, pain, pins and needles that I experience. The malefactor? Sensory symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis.

Sensory symptoms caused by MS

Because multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system, its symptoms can cause abnormal sensations such as the burning, numbness, or itching, pins and needles sensations (dysesthesia). These sensory symptoms can be irritating and even debilitating, but their effect on daily life can be minimized and the symptoms themselves, manageable. There are medications, physical, occupational and mental therapeutic management, and exercises that can help. Everyone is different so it can be beneficial to try various options before deciding the best one for you. The primary piece of advice is to consult your doctor to discuss your symptoms in order to promote safety and avoid injury.

"Sensational" MS

At any rate, I have a lifetime of feelings, emotions, sensations and countless experiences which induced them. Now, I have MS. And the myriad of feelings and sensations it brings. During my 12-year trajectory with this chronic disease, I can't say its challenges have brought about fond feelings or pleasant memories like the time I met my friend waiting in that long line for instance. However, I am happy with me and how I'm governing myself along my journey. With an optimistic perception, some humor, and recognizing the power of positivity, I'm not "waiting for the storm to pass, I'm learning how to dance in the rain” even amidst catching ill feelings and unwanted sensations.

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