Well…I had better update you about the past couple of weeks. I have had a number of phone calls and e-mails about it, so I figured it was easiest to update you all here! 😉

The week before Mother’s Day was a very stressful one…and turned out to be the logical culmination of a number of weeks of high stress, work overload (home and professionally), and me simply trying to burn the candle at both ends (as usual). During that week, a number of stressful events occured, daily and incrementally adding to my ever-increasing fatigue and doing a Grande Finale number on Friday. I woke up for a final night shift feeling ill, with a headache and nausea…but passed it off as nothing to worry about. I took some pain relievers (extra-strength, of course), and went about my usual routine of working out and getting ready for my shift. I was still feeling ill after my shower (which I had hoped would help my head) and then trying to eat…so I took a couple more pain relievers. By the time I arrived at work, my head was about to explode. In my wisdom, I figured I needed a caffeine boost, so tried to swig a caffeinated drink. By then, I was beginning to have difficulty catching my breath. At that point, I kinda clued in that maybe this was something more than just a headache…the breathing difficulties were not alleviated by the puffer (obtained last summer after a similar sudden attack) and I began hyperventilating as I tried to catch my breath…and by this time, I began to experience the virtigo, in full force. Added to it all was extreme nausea…and numbness and tingling in my hands and feet.

Well, my poor beleaguered colleagues had called 9-1-1, and an ambulance came to bring me to the hospital. So I was wheeled out (feeling like my head was going to explode with every move of the gurney and subsequent ambulance ride)… leaving my poor colleagues one person short on shift. Oooh…I hated that!

In subsequent discussions with my sister (who was in constant contact with the hospital) my blood pressure was spiking so high the paramedics couldn’t get readings! Long story short…I ended up spending the next 24 hours at the hospital as they monitored me…and after initially high readings, my pressure came down well over the course of the night. And my pain went away after they injected me with something to help the nausea and pain, together.

After a number of different tests to rule out stroke and clots, and sitting around waiting, the doctors came to the same conclusion as I had…this was another sudden-onset MS attack. In reflection, it seemed very much to have been an attack similar to the attack I experienceed late last summer (sudden virtigo, headache, and difficulty breathing). While this is not a typical MS grouping of symptoms, no one can say it is not MS either. So…now that I have experienced 2 similar attacks…I can see a pattern. And again…I know my own body very well…and I am my best advocate. Next time, I will not simply wave away my symptoms, but take earlier steps to try to control them. Another thing is that my inspiration to maintain my exercise regimen is reinforced yet again…my sister told me bluntly that she figures I survived the entire ordeal with spiking blood pressure only because I am in such great shape now. Unfortunately, my mother’s similar MS attack/symptoms killed her instantly. Wow. Fear is a great motivator, ya know? 😉

On that note, a fairly new song has been resonating with me particularly strongly in the last week as I have been bouncing back from all of this (impersonating Tigger once again ;-). The song is by country singer Gary Allan…and is very poignant. It is so applicable to those of us with challenges in our lives…MS or otherwise. I have included the lyrics below… I hope you find as much meaning in the words as I do.

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful (Lyrics)
Artist:Gary Allan

Life ain’t always beautiful
Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life ain’t always beautiful
You think you’re on your way
And it’s just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin it’s sweet time

No, life ain’t always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain’t always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride

Life ain’t always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin’ all these lonely miles

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don’t work that way

But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has its own way of takin it’s sweet time

No, life ain’t always beautiful
But i know i’ll be fine
Hey, life aint always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride