Sunday, 26 June 2022

A Picture of Health (in the world of multiple sclerosis)

WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER PILL BOX

Or a bucket.

When I can’t sleep at night because my leg won’t stop twitching – another wonderful symptom of having MS – I sometimes while away the time by counting up how many pills I take a week. Here’s a quick inventory:

40 to 50 Baclofen – to help control the aforementioned twitching. They work quite well but not all the time.

14 Levothyroxine – you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is all about.

7 One-Alpha calcium tablets – again, you’ll have to read the book.

14 Amantadine – to help give me a little more energy. They work up to a point but their efficacy is somewhat blunted by the fact the my sleep is so broken these day because of the leg spasms.

That’s up to 85 prescription pills. For a short time I was also taking Dantrolene for when the Baclofen failed to squash the spasms. That pushed my quota up to 99 for a couple of days before I had to sack them off because they were making me feel so rough.


Added to the mix are the non-prescription additives that are supposed to slow MS’s progression:

7 Vitamin D tablets

14 Omega-3 Fish Oil tablets

That pushes my pill count over 100 in any given week. Is that normal? Maybe if you have HIV or a serious heart condition. I recall a scene in Gone Fishing with Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer where Paul was lining up all the pills he had to take each day. There were around a dozen. I imagine most people were thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of pills.’ I just thought about how many I take and inwardly pretended that I didn’t understand the point they were trying to make. ‘Yep, looks totally normal to me.’

Of course, added to this pharmaceutical soup is the fact that I  stick a needle in my leg on a regular basis. Yes, if the pills weren’t enough, I inject myself with Brabio three times a week. It’s supposed to reduce the number of relapses I might suffer otherwise, therefore reducing the threat of further disability. It took around three months to get used to that one, mainly because it led to a stinging pain around the injection site like a wasp had done its worst. Now it’s just another part of the bedtime routine. As much pain and side effects as brushing my teeth.

Some people don’t like the phrase ‘the new normal’, but I can’t think of any other words that sum up these aspects of my life better.

[TO READ FURTHER POSTS, CLICK ON THE ARCHIVE AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THE PAGE ON DESKTOP, OR THE HOME BUTTON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IF READING ON A PHONE]

[To order Balls to MS: 20 Years of Discovering Your Body Hates You, follow this link - ORDER NOW]

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

I'm a Man. Well, technically I am.


Hi, there. If you get the cultural reference of the title above, we're already on the same page, so that's good.


So a bit about myself: I've worked as a copywriter and quality controller for more years than I would have liked and I regularly contribute to a number of podcasts, such as 'Adrift' and 'The Jason Manford Show'.

My symptoms of multiple sclerosis first started appearing in 2002 and MS of course continues to be a pain in the arse, but I'm still walking and clinging to the coattails of a positive attitude.

I love books, music, history, popular culture and football.

I live in West Yorkshire with my wife and son, though he'll soon be off to uni.

What more do you want to know? If you read my book, 'Balls to MS', you'll feel like you know me inside out by the end. So I would suggest doing that.

As well as exploring this website, you can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

T: @andy_reynard

I: @balls_to_ms

F: Balls to MS

Saturday, 18 June 2022

I'm Not Drunk. I Have Multiple Sclerosis

DRUNK DRIVER


A way to squeeze a little entertainment out of having MS is to pretend that you’re a drunk driver. Occasionally, I might walk a short distance without my stick. This usually means that by the time I approach my car, I’m staggering and swaying from side to side. Like a drunk.

If I’m in a car park or on the street, there’s always likely to be someone around who is watching this legless buffoon. I imagine their internal dialogue: ‘Oh my, he appears to be using his car for support now. How pissed is he? Please tell me he’s not about to attempt to drive it. Oh God, he’s getting in…’

Of course, by the time I’m seated, I’m fine with driving. No problem at all. There’s nothing wrong with my arms and the car is automatic so I don’t even have to depress a clutch. As I depart, however, I often can’t resist swerving from side to side a little as I leave the car park, just for the benefit of my audience.

Yes, I realise there’s nothing funny about drink driving but when you have a chronic condition that stops you being able to walk very far without your legs turning to barely-set jelly, you have to take your kicks where you can.

[TO READ FURTHER POSTS, CLICK ON THE ARCHIVE AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THE PAGE ON DESKTOP, OR THE HOME BUTTON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IF READING ON A PHONE]

Married to MS

Being Best Man is never without its stresses, but being a best man with multiple sclerosis gives you other matters to think about... I’ve re...