Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is it MS or is it OA? (Old Age)

It's so easy, when you have had MS as a companion in your life for several years, to blame everything that happens health wise on the misbehaving beast. But I have wondered more and more as I slide down the backside of the hill on that slippery slope to Old Age, if maybe some of this stuff would have come along anyhow.

For instance, my hips give me grief. Not the size of them, because fortunately I'm not overweight at 120 lbs. and 5'3" tall, but the creakiness (for lack of a better way to describe it). I get up in the morning and with my first Frankenstein, stiff-legged steps, I try to shush my joints from waking the entire neighborhood as I snap, crackle, pop my way to the bathroom.

I blamed it on the MS for causing me to need the steroids since every time I am on them I have incredible joint pain as I am tapering off the prednisone. My last bout was in May of '07 and it took forEVER for my hips to let me sleep through the night again. I thought I was doing fine -- I even spoke with my PCP and we mutually agreed that I could forgo the X-rays he had written me an order for since I was not in any more pain.

Then we went to Georgia at Christmas to see the closest thing to in-laws that I have -- my boyfriend (of 13 years)'s parents. It was downright cold up there where it's closer to a non-tropical kind of climate than north Florida is. Plus I slept in a strange bed that felt suspiciously like a cereal box full of cement with a sheet over it.

After 2 nights of agonizing torture, I was left waddling around wishing I'd brought the cane. We always go up there and wish we'd brought something you would think no person in their right mind would leave home without... like our son's nebulizer (breathing machine for asthma) the last time we went up. Turns out the "in-laws" had a couple new dogs and our son, whose asthma has been dormant since forever, started wheezing. We cut that trip short and high tailed it back to Florida.

Anyhow, here I was waddling around and explaining that my hips act up now and then due to the MS and so it's just something I'll deal with and get over, no doubt. The 3 hour ride home didn't help matters. I was so stiff I was practically stuck in a "sitting" position for days after that. It was a full week before the pain subsided.

Now I have figured out, to an exact science, the position my body must be in during sleep. Almost a fetal position with a pillow between the knees to keep legs aligned with hips, and always starting out on my right side. No matter that I wake up twisted at the waist, pillow on the floor, one knee in the air and the other leg flung out to my side at 90 degrees. Whatever...it works for me.

But as I creak around the house in the mornings I often wonder if the noise, pain and stiffness should really be treated as a product of my MS or is it just Old Age. For some stupid reason if I blame it on the MS it makes me feel better. I like having one fear to face. I'm not ready to face Old Age on top of everything else....there's no cure for IT either. Well, technically there is, but it's the same cure for MS and that's not an option at this moment.


Anne said...

Have you had a calcium blood level done in your bloodwork? A circulating Vitamin D level? If not, you need to get it done in your next bloodwork before you read below.

May I offer a piece of advice about the creaking, stiffness, and joint pain? (after the bloodwork)

I am a firm believer in supplements over RX medication. Given that, I take Glucosamine Chondroitin caps (3 caps, 2x day 500 mg), and Calcium Magnesium (all calcium should be taken with Magnesium for absorption and digestion purposes).

I take 2 caps 2x a day (caps contain 1,000 mg Calcium, Magnesium 500mg, with Vit D 400 IU added).

I do not eat a lot of dairy products so my body needs to get the calcium/bone protector somewhere else. A lot of dairy products are not on my regimen. My diet is mostly fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, water, juices (no sugar added), turkey and lean pork. No beef or beef products.

I know the walk you talk about that resembles Frankenstein walking (when just starting out to walk)and believe me, these supplements help alot.

After about two weeks of daily intake, you shouldn't be hearing the Rice Krispies song in your bones anymore.

Let me know what you think/how you make out. Anne

TickledPink said...

I did have blood work done when my PCP was trying to rule out rheumatoid arthritis. I don't know if that included the circulating vitamin D level, tho.

I'm lactose intolerant and haven't had any dairy for almost 9 years. I take 1200 mg of Calcium (2x 600) with 400 units of D in each, plus the D I get in my multivitamin.

I didn't know about the Magnesium being necessary for absorption of D. Interesting.

I've considered trying the Glucosamine Chondrointin but after asking both PCP (who said it helps minimally) and neuro (who thinks it's snake oil) I decided not to take it for now.

I don't drink caffeine or sodas (only fruit juice and water) and eat lots of fruits and veggies along with my chicken, fish, pork and some beef.

I'm going for my clinical trial checkup tomorrow so I will ask if the Glucosamine is something that I can take with the trial med. I'm sure it is.

It can't hurt to give it a test drive. It won't be something with negative results. It will either be beneficial or have no effect.

Sorry for reading before I got the blood test you mentioned, but I had that other blood work so that counts, right? :-)

Anne said...

Glad to hear you are considering it.

Since you are lactose intolerant, I was wondering why your PCP didn't offer you Fosamax or Boniva or something in addition to vitamins to take care of your bones?

A bone density test, if you haven't already had one, is definitely the first thing to do. Then onward to supplements or Fosamax/Boniva.

Good to see you are doing so well on the trials.

Please keep us updated,Anne

TickledPink said...

Thanks Anne!

I had a baseline bone density test done years ago and then last year I had another one done but never got the results from it. Thanks for reminding me because I had the test done at one hospital and then went to see my doc at his hospital thinking the 2 hospitals (one Shands Gainesville and the other Shands Jacksonville) shared information. Last I remember they were having a devil of a time getting my test results back. I forgot all about it after that.

I do know I am an inch shorter than I was before I got MS and became lactose intolerant. Pretty certain it was from a combination of calcium lacking in my diet and having so many doses of steroids over the years.

It wasn't until last year that I became proactive about my health and wised up. I was smoking, drinking caffeine and eating a lot of take out foods, not considering the effects all of that had on my MS.

Since I got on the vitamins (Calcium +D, Fish Oil, Cranberry, Multi Vitamin and B-12) and got the other junk out of my system, I feel 100 times better.

Thanks for the pointers! Do you know if what I heard about Knox gelatin is true? Is it the same thing as Glucosamine?

Anne said...

Gelatin is not the same as Glucosamine. Glucosamine Chondroitin (also sold with MMM)I have found it to be wonderful for joint creakiness!

Because of my swallowing problems, I have some kind of jello every day, sometimes with fruit added, sometimes without.

Bone density results are important in the decision making process of how much of a supplement to incorporate into your daily intake.

I am sure you will get your results with some perserverance.