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Things our doctors don't tell us.

Despite its name, you know that there is nothing romantic about the “MS hug.”

The MS hug is a multiple sclerosis symptom that feels like there is a tight band around the chest or torso. It is also known as banding or girdling. Like many MS symptoms, the MS hug feels different from person to person.

What causes the MS hug?

The technical name for the MS hug is dysesthesia. It results from the damage that MS causes to the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. MS impairs the normal transmission of messages to and from the brain, making it difficult for the brain to interpret the signals it receives. In those situations, the brain can respond with a sensation, or mix of sensations, that include tingling, itching, burning, stabbing pains, or an electric shock-like feeling.
It’s important to know that these sensations are not a sign of damage to the areas where they are felt. Rather, the damage is in the nerves that communicate to the brain what’s happening in another part of the body. Pain in the chest can be an exception to this general rule, however. A doctor needs to examine it to make sure it’s not a heart problem — unless it has already been diagnosed as MS hug.

Although the above paragraphs are copied from another source, I feel that they best explain the inexplicable MS Hug. the first time I experienced this, I hadn't even been diagnosed. I thought the sensation had something to do with the fact that I had recently given birth. Maybe it was a combination of all my internal parts resuming their place in my body after carrying around something not normally growing inside of me. Maybe I was working too hard to regain my girlish figure.
I had no idea what was going on. I just knew that it most often  hit when I was driving the car. So, I adjusted my posture. It didn't help.
I added and subtracted a combination of daily stretches. I stopped practicing the plank pose and any exercises that required me to twist my torso.
Upon diagnosis six months after the birth of my son, I was diagnosed with MS. A lot of information was thrown on me, but not one mentor of such a thing as a HUG was ever nor has ever been mentioned to me by a medical person.
I don't suffer often from the HUG, but I have noticed that stress activates it for me. And, boy, have I been stressed lately. Anyone out there raising a teenager? 'Nuff said.

There are so many things your doctor does not tell you about MS. Whether it's because he/she doesn't know, is not interested in educating you, or is simply passing all the weird symptoms off as hearsay. Regardless, there are true and troubling facts about living with MS.
             It becomes more and more difficult for me to reign in my emotions. When I get upset, I cry.  I begin crying and the tears often continue to the point of near hyper ventilating. I cannot stop or control them. 

                     MS took a definitely toll on any social life I enjoyed before diagnosis. Te folks who swore t heir undying devotion to the strongest friendships on the Earth simply flew off to another plant. Or was it me who bought a travel ticket? I didn't necessarily expect my drinking buddies to track me and my disease, but it would have been nice to hear from the fro time-to-time. I am the same person I used to be. My abilities are limited, though. 
                      Oh, I could on and on about this, but it wouldn't do any good. If you don't get the MonSter, you just don't get the MonSter.

                         Truer words have never been stated. Every day is a lesson in MS etiquette. It would be nice to be able to state  your condition once and move on, but the public is not interested in remembering our imitations and recognizing that this is not going away. And it is never going to be consistent. IT IS NEVER GOING AWAY. Life changes drastically. To be successful we must change with it.

                         Unfortunately that support is not always going to be your immediate family, those individuals you need the most. It is sad, but it is not necessarily their fault. Warriors need to learn how to ask for help. That is hard. I'll be the first to admit I'm not good at that. I would rather crawl to the kitchen and prepare a meal for the family than admit that I'm just not up to it this evening.

Proverbs 11:2 

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Now, that's a tough pill to swallow.

Living with multiple sclerosis means that we must humble ourselves at times. That doesn't make us any less strong, because it takes great strength to bow. When others don't know how to comfort us, they appreciate directives. There is no need to feel guilty about asking. The folks who really want to assist will. The one who do not didn't really want to in the first place. Is that the kind of friend you want in your life? (Also a tough pill to swallow. Reality bites. Put on those big girl panties and move on...says the gal who has spent the last twenty four hours wallowing in a dark cave of depression.)

Living with MS is not fun. We all know that. But the longer we learn about our disease, the more MS Warriors we collect in our arsenal of friends, and the less we surround ourselves with negativity, the more informed we become; the more we become empowered; and the happier we will be.

Enjoy your weekend!

Lisa, The Lady with the Cane

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