Monday, November 29, 2010

Today sucks....

Well, shit...  Today I have the awesome exploding legs, numb skin all the way from feet to neck, popcorn popping in my legs, muscles twitching in my back and a couple in my face.  WTF is happening??????!!!!  No training dogs for me today.  Guess I should have listened to my body yesterday when it said I shouldn't go training.  I gotta learn to rest I guess.  I am so sick of this shit!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Retrievers don't care about that!

Well, if you have a couple of fiesty retrievers, pretty sure they don't care if you have an affliction.  They say, just take us and all will be better! I wish I could bottle up their energy, happiness and love and keep some for myself.   For my particular girls, being them means speeding around a field or in the woods looking for a stick to carry, jumping in ponds or black suckermud they might find, retrieving birds and bumpers, riding in the front seat instead of the dogbox, having themselves a popcorn eating contest, and laying around waiting for me to take them back out again...

If I am having an MS problem, they like to help fix it by jumping not so carefully upon me while I am stuck on the couch.  They are sure that by rooting around in my neck while wallowing on top of me I will be instantly cured.  Sometimes they are right!  Probably if I didn't have them I would sink into self pity and have nothing to look forward to...

Last winter when all my troubles started, I had decided to quit training dogs.  It made me sad to think they wouldn't get to sit on the mat looking out at the gunners.  But I was so dizzy and falling down.  I could't stand the look on my training partners faces when I had problems walking.  I was so confused also...  I sold my wingers when I was on medication, and am so mad at myself for doing that.  What an idiot!  I will never be able to afford new ones....  Anyway, I got stronger, got used to the medication and started training again...

Dogs don't care if you are sick, so get over it, and get back out.... 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My symptoms...

My MS lesions are 2 on my spine, and 2 tiny ones in my brain.  My troubles are all caused from the ones on my spine...  There are all sorts of medical terms for my awesome symptoms.  Like Spasticity, Transverse Myelitis which I have lots of.  Well, maybe not in comparison to others with this shit, but still.....  I will tell you what this means for me...

Spasticity for me causes my legs to have the feeling of popcorn popping all over from the inside out.  I can actually see zillions of tiny muscle twitches all over my legs.  Sometimes I get it in my arms and back.  It also causes my hips to hurt.  My ankles will get so stiff that it's hard to bend them.   I could take this drug called baclofen for it, but don't want to after my experience with Neurontin for the nerve problems....  Also can stretch and lift weights.  But half the time I feel so shitty that I don't want to go.  Excuses?  I guess so..  I used to love the gym.....

Well, I guess I will just post a copied link for TM and make bold the stuff I have.  Not that anyone cares, or is even gonna read this...

What are the symptoms of transverse myelitis?

Transverse myelitis may be either acute (developing over hours to several days) or subacute (developing over 1 to 2 weeks). Initial symptoms usually include localized lower back pain, sudden paresthesias (abnormal sensations such as burning, tickling, pricking, or tingling) in the legs, sensory loss, and paraparesis (partial paralysis of the legs) ** I have awakened at night with a paralyzed leg and a few times my arm. Paraparesis often progresses to paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower part of the trunk). Urinary bladder (I gotta pee alot sometimes but really don't have to.  Weird and annoying...) and bowel dysfunction is common. Many patients also report experiencing muscle spasms, a general feeling of discomfort, headache, fever, and loss of appetite. Depending on which segment of the spinal cord is involved, some patients may experience respiratory problems as well.
From this wide array of symptoms, four classic features of transverse myelitis emerge: (1) weakness of the legs and arms, (2) pain, (3) sensory alteration, and (4) bowel and bladder dysfunction. Most patients will experience weakness of varying degrees in their legs; some also experience it in their arms. Initially, people with transverse myelitis may notice that they are stumbling or dragging one foot or that their legs seem heavier than normal (mine weigh a ton!). Coordination of hand and arm movements, as well as arm and hand strength may also be compromised. Progression of the disease over several weeks often leads to full paralysis of the legs, requiring the patient to use a wheelchair.
Pain is the primary presenting symptom of transverse myelitis in approximately one-third to one-half of all patients. The pain may be localized in the lower back or may consist of sharp, shooting sensations that radiate down the legs or arms or around the torso.
Patients who experience sensory disturbances often use terms such as numbness, tingling, coldness, or burning to describe their symptoms. Up to 80 percent of those with transverse myelitis report areas of heightened sensitivity to touch, such that clothing or a light touch with a finger causes significant discomfort or pain (a condition called allodynia). Many also experience heightened sensitivity to changes in temperature or to extreme heat or cold.
Bladder and bowel problems may involve increased frequency of the urge to urinate or have bowel movements, incontinence, difficulty voiding, the sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation. Over the course of the disease, the majority of people with transverse myelitis will experience one or several of these symptoms.

Anyhow, that's pretty much it..  It never goes away, and is always there in some varying degree....  Drives me CRAZY!  There are drugs to combat this stuff.  I took Neurontin for awhile because of the skin pain, and it DID work, but the side effects were hideous.  I was like a zombie with no feeling amotionally, dizzy, floaty, confusion...  There is a whole month I can't remember.  So I quit taking it.  Plus I wanted o see if any of the symptoms were gone, which the hot burning skin was.   I am used to the feeling of wearing wet jeans, and other weird crap, but I am so tired of my hips hurting.  Sometimes my toes hurt terrible....  
Sometimes my legs feel like they are exploding.  This doesn't hurt, but is more sorta quivery and achey....

My hands are numb alot of the time.  I find this quite annoying and terrifying.  Because if I lose the use of my hands I won't be able to make a living.  Wonder if I will lose my house...

WTF is MS anyway?

Well, of course a person could just google it if actually interested..  But it's an autoimmune disease that makes your body attack itself somehow destroying the nerve coating called meyelin.  So, I guess sometimes it can regenerate itself.   There are 4 kinds or stages.  I was diagnosed as most people are with Relapsing Remitting MS, or RRMS.  This particular kind has remission and relapses, which I have never experienced.  I am always thinking when it calms down that maybe I am gonna have a remission, but then it all comes back and sometimes with new stuff that stays in some degree.  I have only had two periods of 12 days each since steroids in February 2010 where I felt  pretty good, and two 4-5 day periods.   I have never been symptom free...

  I believe that I am actually Secondary Progressive MS, or SPMS.   I also know that I have had this disease for a long time, as it explains lots of weird pains and "twinges" that I have had over the years.  My doctor believes that years of steroid use kept me from having a huge onset until it finally did...   Anyhwo, here is what I copied from a website:

About 50% of people with RRMS develop SPMS. This happens gradually, usually within 10 years of the initial MS diagnosis. People with SPMS have fewer and fewer relapses, but begin to have constant, steadily worsening symptoms.  

I hope I don't end up in a wheelchair.  If I do, my plan is to take my own life and be done with it.  I will not be a burden to anyone.  EVER....  But of course knowing y luck, survival instinct will set in and I will not be able to do that, and will just be stuck here.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving.......

I never got the whole Thanksgiving thing..  I mean, arent' we supposed to be thankful everyday for the little things as well as the big, and not just one day a year?

I am thankful I live in America.
Am thankful I have kids who love me no matter what...
Am thankful for my friends who stick by me all the time, with no questions asked...
Am thankful I have my dogs who make me laugh and keep me busy..
Am thankful my health isn't worse.  I mean, I could be in a wheelchair tomorrow..  So better enjoy...
Am thankful my hands still work so I can make a living...
Am thankful I met a man who made me feel like an interesting, attractive woman at least for awhile...

Am thankful for lots of stuff.  So everyday I should remember these things, when I get down.  That way I won't feel sorry for myself when I start falling down again....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steroids are so sweet.... OMG

So, if you really want to feel fucked up, and not in a good way, just jog on over to the hospital and get plugged in to some fabulous SoluMedrol.  Usually the nurse is super chatty, and this causes you to become on the edge after the 5th day or so...  Be sure to bring a friend in case you are like me and can't look at the sun and the road, the cars driving by...  Also one good thing to do, is have a large quantity of Xanax on standby because you are sure to be a psycho after the first injection...   Drink some apple juice right after so you don't throw up.  The urge to puke doesn't last long at all, and sometimes doesn't even happen..  

You will need to take some Xanax before the 2nd injection, so that you won't be tempted to kill someone or start throwing hospital supplies at the awesome friend who has so kindly brought you. 

Hopefully before taking them, you were told that this lovely drug would cause the munchies shortly after the puking stage is over.  I mean, you will be belly up to the snack bar all day, because if you haven't taken enough Xanax, you will be very busy, and your brain will just be scurrying around like a gerbil on a wheel.  Being this busy makes a person hungry.  So, if you were lucky enough to know about the munchies, you will have not purchased any fritos, dips, cheese etc.... 

Now, being on steroids might make you quite chatty after the Xanax starts to wear off, or is no longer working because you have built a tolerance, or have become addicted to it.  You will want to blow up people's phones with rambling messages that you won't remember sending.  You will assure everyone that you feel just fine and might even sound normal.  More like you will sound like you are on speed or something...  At least I have been told this is what I sound like...  Be sure to warn your friends that you may also become extremely depressed and might send Sad Song Monday texts and emails...  Hopefully you will still have some friends when the Steroid Crazies are over...

Noises might send you over the edge..  Any loud noise, or any constant sound.  Quick movements may also toss you over the edge of insanity. 

Insomnia is also quite nice.  After the Xanax quits working, and you have actually finished the course of medicine, this will last a couple of weeks.  You will probably be tempted to experiment with ways to make the Xanax work again.  You might want to double up on it, you might want to drink wine with it.  I can assure you that this is a BAD idea.  It doesn't work and is quite possible to make yourself sick or worse.  The other bad idea is to take an herb supplement called Lean Dreams.  That stuff has salvia'something in it that causes vivid crazy dreams....

Anyway, after a couple of weeks of this,  you will probably start to feel a bit better for whatever your ailment is... 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Diagnosed with MS.. How awesome..

Well, I will make this story short..  Last year October 2009, while watching my first and only big field trial in Connell, WA, I noticed that my legs felt like I was walking on spongy stuff.  The had been getting tingly like they were falling asleep for about a month, only they never really DID fall asleep.  My ankles felt tight and weird.  I thought it was my back and that I needed to go to a chiropractor. 

This continued on, and then I was planning a pheasant hunting trip in Eastern Oregon with a special friend.  A couple of weeks before going down I became numb from the waist down, and then that went away.  While hunting I was kinda clumsy and fell.  I marveled that it didn't hurt.  That weekend I felt very week and awoke a couple of times feeling as if I was thrashing my legs..  My feet were very tingly, but in a weird way that I can't describe...  Like electric swirling...  I was also quite emotional for some reason....  I had the sensation of walking on golfballs but cant rememebr when that started.  I did have a great weekend in spite of that and shot lots of birds and didn't tell my friend what was wrong.....  For some reason I didn't want him to know..

Finally Christmas morning came and so did the electric shocks called L'Hermittes Sign.  Felt like a #2 continual  on the collar from the neck to the feet.  Every time I looked down.  The sensation made me throw up and I knew then that something was terrible wrong...   I self diagnosed myself with Cervical Stenosis, and decided to get some insurance.   In February by the time I was able to get my 1st MRI, I had numb skin from the neck down, was terrible dizzy, was falling down.  My self diagnosis told me that I would just get a quickie neck surgery and be done with it.  But instead, the doctor said she thought I had MS, and referred me to Dr. Lada.  I was bawlingmy head off about the possible diagnosis, as my ex-mother-in-law died from complications from it.   I immediately called my special friend, and he calmed me down somewhat. 

Dr. Lada got me in that day for steroids, scheduled lumbartap and tons of blood tests.  The tests came back positive for MS..  Well, now we had a name for it and sort of a sense of relief that it wasn't something even more hideous....  The steroids were hideous, the lumbar tap was gruesome...  Thankfully my best friends Stasi and Linda took care of me....

Now I would get to learn to DEAL with it....

About me...

HAHAHAHHA!  I can't believe I am making a blog.  Probably it's going to be one  of my more glorious ideas.  So, about me:

Hmmm...  Well, I don't need to bore everyone with the sordid details, but I in my dreams I am a professional badass (you know, a Secret Agent with the CIA or something), a pirate on the high seas, world traveler, rich, beautiful, and have a super buff kickass body.  But alas, I am a humble hairdresser, someone's mom, retriever trainer as a hobby, fisherman ...  I have no patients for idiots, slow drivers, cheaters (you know relationship cheaters) and wrongdoers...  I despise whining and figure instead of whining DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! 

I am a swingin single.  What does this mean you ask?  Well it means that at night I sit at home after I train my dogs, and pretend that I have something to do, and someplace to go.  Guess I really do, but I like to watch movies and dream about how I need to come up with a scam to become rich.  Or at least buy myself a new camper..

I love to train retrievers and hang out with my retired field trial friends and throw birds for their dogs.  I grew up in Colorado and miss having horses and miss my Granny and Gramps...  I wish I could go back in time when my kids were little so we could just hang out on the Anchor Point beach....

I was recently diagnosed with  Multiple Sclerosis, and so I guess that's what this stupid blog will be about since it likes to wreck my fun...  Maybe I will get better all around so some poor soul with this shit will feel inspired should she stumble upon it.  Or maybe if one of my friends or someone I know stumble across it, he/she will understand what my problem is since I don't really like to talk about it that much...

If my dear friend Daisy knew I was making a blog, she would be horrified...  :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

$65.00 Lesson.....

Our 2nd AM went a little better than our 1st.  No crying for me that day!  Not that we placed or anything. Not that we made it to water - cuz I didn't!  I did however hear thunderous applause when Princess Darla got her long retired mark after smashing the 1st two! (I hear that Howard was in the gallery commenting that he hoped I didn't use the whistle.  When Howard watches us from the gallery, if he isn't covering his face with his hands, his face is turning different shades or red and purple as he tries to hold back his loud string of comments about something stupid his student is doing...)

Then came the blind. It was placed at the end of the treeline after the sidehill. The bird was directly across from the old retired gun. I figured that was the secret to the blind. You know, just don't let the dog go to the old fall. Never mind about the sidehill. Forget about that! Sucked because I was third dog in the rotation so I didn't get to see how to properly do it! Yikes! So you just know I let her roll down the hill, stopped her and gave my first cast. YAY! She took it! After getting to the bird like a good girl (she did everything I asked) you know I turned around and shouted "YAYAYAY! Did you guys see that?!?! She did it! Waaahaaaaa!" and everyone was festive and was happy with me although a couple of my training partners looked down for some reason.. I did a little skip and busted out laughing.  I was stoked, and figured I better call all my non dog friends to tell them the good news.

When I got back I started noticing how the "big" dogs were taking the side hill. Jack Volstead was first one I saw and I thought, uhoh! I skrewed up. And after my big show of happiness. Crap!

Callbacks came. We were one team of two who didn't get called back. I knew it was because of that sidehill business. The marshall said the judges wanted to see dog number 10. So off I went. They looked at me with kind faces and began to explain. I was right! I didn't challenge the beginning of the blind. I was assured that next year we would be kicking some Q a$$$$$! Maybe even an AM.  One of the judges had judged us in a little Senior Hunt test, and when we couldn't get the blind nicely, she threw me out of course.  She was explaining to me this particular day that she tried to convince her co-judge to let me stay in, since the last time she saw us run, we were the worst team on the planet!

It's those expensive lessons that we don't forget....

My 1st AM

Yeah, so after getting a green ribbon when I should have been thrown out of the Q, I was talked into NOT scratching my entry in the AM by Howard. You know, for the experience! So I gathered up all my inner strength and began my walk to the line. Pretty long walk to the line in between holding blinds! Gotta lot of time to plan your strategy or in my case, realize you are walking to the edge of a cliff.



"Dog number 10 to the line!" I froze. Just stood there. My White Coat friends silently willing me forward. I was looking into the black abyss of 350 yard triple terror. After an eternity, I took the last few steps to the line. Darla was practicing her best 2 foot circle! "Look mom! Gunners everywhere! Wahoooooo! Gonna get some birds! Gonna get them now! Gonna creep forward! C'mon! Show em to me! Boy I can hear the fliers!"



So I showed them to her. Spent alot of time on the 2 retired guns, called for the birds. And then she creeped. 6 inches. A foot! Maybe 2! As I stared down at her, saw every creeping step of her pointy little feet, I couldn't bring my right foot forward to try to influence her to turn to the left bird. I thought she would move some more! All I could do is just stand there. Frozen. Stand there knowing that I just skrewed myself.



She just blasted out to the flyer of course. Then knowing that she didn't see the short left, I sent her to the long, figuring I would pick up the short as a blind. I had a plan! I could feel Howard standing behind me in the blind. Crap! And then, she split the difference, or decided that she thought maybe there was another flyer. Don't know. Just know she was going to no man's land, and that I had to call her back.



Then the words came." Please put your dog on a leash for the honor". OMG! That's the worst ever having to put your dog ON LEAD! I had the biggest lump in my throat. I wanted to run! Hide! Then I was released and I began the Walk of Shame. I didn't look at anyone. I knew I had no business there. None! The ringing in my ears was deafening.



Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Teaks dad coming over for the fatherly talk. "Not now!" I prayed. I knew I would cry. I told him I would talk later. The he grabbed my arm with one hand, and put his other on my shoulder and the flood-o-tears came! Regular blubberfest! I could barely hear what he was saying. The blood was pounding in my ears. The tears wouldn't stop coming. I was humiliated by my display of emotional girlishness! OMYGOD! Get me outta here!



That's it! I was quitting. I was NEVER GOING TO PLAY THIS GAME AGAIN!!! I couldn't wait to go home ! But alas, I was stuck there cuz I had to buy the stupid ducks for our club. So, there I sat. Waiting for Howard to come put the collar on me. I just wanted to make him proud I kept thinking. I am wasting his time I kept thinking. And just when I thought I was done being a baby, he was there. Man-o-man! He in his matter of fact way told me that if I can't master the emotional factors of this game, then it was the wrong one for me. And how every White Coat has been there. All of that. Uh huh..



So pretty much, I figured I was done. DONE!!!!! I wished Black Mama was there to toughen me up. To tell me to quit being such a baby. But no! I was all alone in my misery. Pretty soon a few other White Coats came my way to let me know it was A-OK! yeah, anyway....



Fairbanks to Anchorage is a long way to think. Pretty sure that now I was done feeling embarassed (mostly because I was crying and stuff) I shall go training today. Got a lot of stuff to work on

This is why we do it... Field trials I mean...

Hmmmm... Do we play these games because of ribbons? Or is there something else... You drive to the event full of hope, happiness and excitement that you have trained you dog for his/her first event. Nevermind that you couldn't possibly train yourself for YOUR first event! You are going to hang out with the people who coached you along the way, and people you have heard about, and people who you have talked into coming..

You roll in to the festive atmosphere and grab your catalogue and watch the test dog. You have heard about the test dogs wonders, and you start to feel the fear gripping your stomach when you see the test dog blowing it. If the test dog screwed up, how is your dog going to perform? Yikes! Back to the truck you go, and you remember to air your dog, and start to get ready for your 1st time to the line... Maybe just get back in the truck and chill for a while...

The marshall has sent someone to look for you. Ugh! You have to run ahead of someone! What?! Now you Get out of the truck, and immediately go puke behind the truck. Then get your dog, and with shaking hands put her on lead. Pray that she doesn't notice you are nervous and drag you to the line. On the way to the test area, relish the feeling of the thunderous stomach ache that has all of a sudden over come you again. Only this time you have to make a trip to the woods and pray that no-one sees you, and pray that you remembered some paper products.

Once your internal organs are completely empty, you continue on to the holding blinds. You start to notice that you can hear nothing but loud rushing sounds in your ears. You try to shake that and clear your head. You realize how stupid it is. You realize that you don't even know why you are playing this dumb dog game, and that you should just go home. You wish you could go to the woods again. You wish that no-one would notice you because you just KNOW that EVERYONE is staring at you and only you, instead of watching the test.

Your feet begin to feel as if lead weights are in the soles of your shoes. By the time you get to the last blind your feet will have sprouted roots and you will be unabe to move them when the judge calls your name. Finally when you have mentally been able to force yourself out and up to the line, you will be horrified that your genious dog has just knocked over the judge, pulled birds off the rack, or has just positioned herself about 5 feet ahead of the line. So then you feel a new surge of panic. You forget what you are allowed to say and do. You pray you can get your dog back into somewhat of a heel position. You call for the birds and with each one your dog creeps forward again. You just know she will launch early. And then the relief sets in when the judge says "dog".

And after he gets the birds, and the rushing in your ears passes, you can hear the gallery clapping and your legs feel like rubber as you walk back through the crowd. This is why we do what we do. You get sucked in that 1st time and can hardly wait to do it again...