|Life with MS is a bit like living with frequent thunderstorms that blow in, wreak havoc and blow out leaving us with the sunny days in between.|
Seems I'm having some MS speed bump issues this week. Maybe this is good opportunity to explain MS fatigue - as difficult as that often is.
MS Fatigue is light years different than plain old tiredness, than even plain old fatigue. It's often called lassitude. In that case, just call me The Lassitude Lassie this week.
The National MS Society explains it far better than I can and frankly, I'm too tired to type.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS, occurring in about 80% of people. Fatigue can significantly interfere with a person's ability to function at home and at work, and may be the most prominent symptom in a person who otherwise has minimal activity limitations. Fatigue is one of the primary causes of early departure from the workforce.
What Makes MS Fatigue Different?Several different kinds of fatigue occur in MS. For example, people who have bladder dysfunction (producing night-time awakenings) or nocturnal muscle spasms, may be sleep deprived and suffer from fatigue as a result. People who are depressed may also suffer fatigue. And anyone who needs to expend considerable effort just to accomplish daily tasks (e.g., dressing, brushing teeth, bathing, preparing meals) may suffer from additional fatigue as a result.
In addition to these sources of fatigue, there is another kind of fatigue—referred to as lassitude—that is unique to people with MS. Researchers are beginning to outline the characteristics of this so-called "MS fatigue" that make it different from fatigue experienced by persons without MS.
MS-related fatigue does not appear to be directly correlated with either depression or the degree of physical impairment.
- Generally occurs on a daily basis
- May occur early in the morning, even after a restful night’s sleep
- Tends to worsen as the day progresses
- Tends to be aggravated by heat and humidity
- Comes on easily and suddenly
- Is generally more severe than normal fatigue
- Is more likely to interfere with daily responsibilities
Cause of Fatigue in MS Remains UnknownThe cause of MS fatigue is currently unknown. Ongoing studies are seeking to find an objective test that can be used as a marker for fatigue and for precise ways to measure it. Some people with MS say that family members, friends, co-workers, or employers sometimes misinterpret their fatigue and think the person is depressed or just not trying hard enough.
That last sentence is the killer - when others perception of me is that I'm just lazing around lying on the couch eating bon bons..
Anyone who knows me very well knows I'm some half crazy driven type A gal that prior to MS worked three jobs and juggled a myraid of things. Since MS - there are days when simply washing my face, brushing my teeth and getting dressed sends me back to bed.
There are no gaping wounds in MS - it's an invisible disease, so often we MSr's hear "but you look so good". As well meaning as this statement is, it's then one that often makes me want to scream -" but I don't feel good..I hurt, I am too tired to hold my head up, I am not good!"
This isn't a plea for sympathy - just an explanation of one of the parts of life with MS. It's frustrating, and it's sometimes frightening, but it will pass and I'll be back full tilt boogie in just a few days. There's too much fun to be had outdoors right now, and I can nap in the shade of a cottonwood next to the river while I watch my catfish lines, just as easily as I can on my couch.
See you all when 'ol Rip Van Winkle here finally wakes up!