Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A new symptom and an older one getting worse

My newest symptom (or at least the symptom that I've recently identified as probably MS-related) is choking. Lately, I've been having instances where I go to swallow, the food starts to go into my throat, but I don't swallow. I choke. Then I start to panic, my eyes water, and I gag/cough for several seconds, before self-preservation kicks in and I'm able to calm down, close my eyes, and tell myself to swallow. And then it's over.

This has happened at least twice a day for the last 4 or 5 days and each time the situation is different. I'm choking with food, without food, while standing, while sitting, while watching tv, while cleaning, and even while singing. I've been choking so much that my throat is sore. I don't know how to make this stop or happen less frequently, but I am on alert.

I'm mostly optimistic about dealing with this because I can usually get my throat clear by just concentrating and telling myself to swallow. It seems so simple, but it's like when I start to swallow my brain forgets what it's doing midway and I just need to remind it. It's pretty scary, but I'm dealing with it. I also know how to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself, just in case that ever becomes necessary (and since the falls started I've been carrying my phone around the apartment with me just in case).

The symptom currently getting worse is numbness in my legs. Since last week I've been having these episodes where, on just one side, my baby toe will go numb. That's fairly normal, but over the next 30-45 minutes, my other toes will go numb and then the numbness will spread up my leg to my hip. I will remain numb from toe to hip for about 2 hours and then it disappears. It's really strange and painful. When my leg is numb, it feels heavy and achy. If I touch it or try to put weight on it, sharp burning pains shoot from the point of contact throughout my leg. I have no idea why this is happening or how to make it ease up. Luckily it only happens on one side at a time and the most I get an attack like this once a day.

Oh, and regarding my eye, I haven't noticed any improvements yet. I think the darkness has lightened a bit, but it's hard to tell. It is still painful to move the eye.

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