Friday, January 4, 2013

YOU Again! An Unwelcome "Friend" Pays a Visit

I'm sitting here browsing through the Swank Diet Book (SDB), deciding what to make for dinner. Well, that makes me sound more organized than I really am. In fact, I am noting all the ingredients I'll need to get at the store tonight after my husband gets home (my car battery died).

We've agreed, via text messages, on seafood. I've noted in the SDB many, ummm, interesting recipes, such as:
  • Salmon Loaf II (yes, there is a Salmon Loaf I)
  • Tuna Balls (hahahaha)
  • Seafood Stroganoff
Okay, those don't sound so delicious, but there really are some promising recipes, and I've picked out ingredients to make Baked Fish au Chablis. It has French words in it -- surely a good sign! 

While thumbing through the SDB, I paused to read a section in the beginning of the book on fatigue. As Dr. Swank refers to it, an "old unwelcome 'friend.'" Darn tootin', Dr. S.! Fatigue is one of those delightful "invisible" symptoms. Whenever I say, "I'm too tired to do [fill in the blank]," I feel as if the person I say it to (usually my husband) will have a flash of irritation. 

"Oh, she's TIRED again. Sure. She hasn't done much today; why the hell is she tired?" he might think. 

Let me be clear: he's never said anything resembling that, or even made an exasperated face (at least, not while I'm looking). He's incredibly patient and kind. So it's probably my guilty conscience that fills my head with such worries. See, I remember when I wasn't tired so often; when we used to go hiking and out to parties -- sometimes staying out 'til the wee hours!  I worry that he'll eventually get sick of being with someone who's, well, sick. So that's a large part of the reason I decided to do this diet. I want to have more energy, remain mobile, feel enthusiastic again when he suggests going out on a Saturday night. I don't expect it to cure me, I just hope it will help me feel better. Lots better. And I'm most assuredly ready to make my relationship with that old unwelcome "friend" fatigue a lot less familiar. 

p.s. I'd be remiss in my duties as a hypochondriac if I didn't say that of COURSE I've suspected my fatigue is related to a lurking deadly disease. But just in case I'm among the 80% of MS patients who experience fatigue, I'll try to remain rational about it.  :)


  1. Anything that sounds even a little French is good! The salmon loaf is actually very tasty, if you like salmon.

    Funny about the hypochondriac thing. Many docs told me for years I was one. Aren't their faces red now that they know I have MS....hahahaha. Thing is, whenever I have a nasty symptom from MS, I will often say to Hubbers, "Geez, I wonder what the heck this is?" He calmly states, "It's probably the MS hon." And more often that is!

    1. I'll admit, the salmon loaf doesn't sound too bad. It just sounds kind of funny. I am sticking to my snap judgment of the stroganoff, though, owing to a very bad experience in my youth involving beef stroganoff in a peculiar orange sauce.

      The hypochondria is a real barrel of monkeys! My poor husband...last night, he said to me almost exactly what your husband says to you. (I had a rather large list of "Geez, wonder what the heck this is" items to go over!)

  2. I wound up on medication for the fatigue. It's been a life saver. After 2 years, my insurance refused to pay for it. I spent 7 months fighting them. And read A LOT of journal articles about MS fatigue in that time. (I won my appeal after writing what felt like a college thesis on the treatment of MS fatigue--just what someone with crippling fatigue has the time for, no?) For many, as for me, it is the single most debilitating MS symptom. But of course, because it is invisible, people tend to think you are a lazy scum. Or you get paranoid thinking they do.

    Karen, I feel for you. I was told for years, too, that I was a hypochondriac. It was actually a huge relief to get the diagnosis, at last.

    1. Wow - what a debacle. I am happy you won your appeal. Insurance can be a giant PIA...but, of course, I'm so glad to have it. I plan to ask my neurologist about medication for helping with fatigue on Jan. 18. I've just been reluctant to add more meds to my already huge collection. What's the name of the one you're on, if you don't mind me asking?

    2. Provigil. If your insurance gives you grief, I'd be happy to share my "thesis." :-) The latest double-blind placebo-controlled study showed that those who take it actually have less disability after 3 years than those who don't. My insurance company said that no double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed it worked... among other assertions.

      I don't know where the bulk of your lesions are, but one of the articles I came across suggested that those with brainstem involvement tend to have high rates of sleep apnea, and that some of the fatigue might actually be treatable sleep apnea. Since that described my MRI, I asked for a sleep study. Voila, the results just came back, and I'm being fitted for one of those delightful CPAP contraptions this week. Just thought I'd throw that out there for what it's worth. I suspect it won't be enough to get me off the meds--MS fatigue just seems less straight-foreward. But I'll try anything! The meds make a big difference. I can walk more easily and think more clearly when I'm on them, among other things.

      Good luck on the 18th!

    3. Thanks! I hope it won't be necessary, but one never knows with insurance...

      I don't think I have too many (any?) lesions on the brain stem; something to ask on the 18th for sure. I do feel as though I sleep quite poorly (I wake up tired many mornings), so it may be that I should investigate sleep apnea as a possibility. The CPAP contraption sounds delightful indeed. I'm afraid my husband wouldn't be able to keep his hands off me if I did wear one; there goes my good night's sleep! haha

      Good luck with the CPAP. I so want to call it the CRAP contraption because I'm juvenile that way.

  3. MS fatigue often is not a "I feel so tired" thingy. It is a muscle via nerve-operation experience. I am full of pep every day! I awake at 4AM bright and chipper! But my body can be severly fatigued. A slippery slope on the verbage re this MS symptom. ANYONE not getting enough sleep, REM deep stage sleep, will be tired. Activity can make ANYONE tired on any given day. In other words, "It ain't always MS." Your body is also attempting to change into Swanky, so...

  4. Today is one of my more "tired" days; 4 days on Swank may be taking a toll. I'm prepared to tough it out, but pep here.