Hooray! That's a Bug on Me!

Last updated: January 2023

I have always had an appreciation for nature and enjoy being outside - in moderation. I'm just not what one would consider an 'outdoor person.' The primary reason is, I'm not a fan of bugs. Particularly bugs when they target me as their landing strip. And particularly after multiple sclerosis (MS) has limited my arms and hands from quickly and effectively swatting them away.

Skin crawling sensations with MS

I'm also not fond of any of the symptoms of MS, and there are some aspects to having it that just never cease to amaze me. For instance, how can a condition make a non-lover of creepy crawlies actually feel relief, and almost a smug sense of joy, when a crawly is spotted on her person?

"Is there something crawling on my leg?"

"Do you see anything on my head?"

"Do you see anything crawling on my foot?"

*Shakes arm at the feeling of 'something' quickly crawling to an unknown destination.*

*Wildly swats at the 'invisible' fly-y, crawly 'thing' that's attacking my face.*

*Wildly shakes head at the feeling of something crawling on my scalp.*

It truly feels like something is crawling on me

All of those are me. Dealing with the sensation of random crawlies on me that are not there. How weird to actually look at a specific spot on me where I distinctly feel 'where' it is and the 'direction' it's going, yet, there's nothing there. It is the most frustrating, the most annoying, the most irritating experience on a good day, but some days it's so bad that the more I 'feel,' the more I feel like screaming - loud! And this level of exasperation is definitely not conducive to effectively managing my level of stress that can exacerbate other issues - also compliments of MS.

Thankful when I spot a bug

With all that said, there are times I feel a crawly sensation, and voilà! There is a fly on my leg...or a mosquito on my arm...or some little crawly that decided I wished for their company. Which I certainly did not, but I still say "Hooray!" And it's then that I feel that sense of relief, and even a smug sense of joy, because it's not MS messing with me. There is indeed a real bug on me!

Sensory issues are common

The why of the issue: Sensory disturbance. This symptom can affect those who live with MS likely due to the damaged nerves caused by the disease. Other than the crawling sensations, there are other abnormal sensations that may also be experienced such as numbness, tingling, itching (without a rash) or, one of the painful ones, a burning pain. Pretty much any part of the body can be affected - arms, legs, face, etc. I can personally attest to it (unfortunately).1

Another oddity to add to the list

As I said, MS amazes me...Not in a complimentary way, but more in a 'brings me pause', 'shaking my head' kind of way. A disease that produces a symptom that can make a non-lover of creepy crawlies actually feel relief, and oddly, almost a smug sense of joy when a crawly is on her person. All because it's real. And because finally, even if just that particular instance, it's not the disease MS'g with me.

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