The “FALL” Out

Fall Weather and MS

Changing of Seasons and MS

Ok, I realize most of you are really excited about the arrival of Fall and the cooler temperatures; unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Each year without fail, this time of year begins many issues with my Multiple Sclerosis and this year hasn’t disappointed me yet. Yes, I have gotten my first cold of the season and it’s a good one. Many people have relapses during the heat of the summer, but being the odd ball that I am, the cold affects me big time! So much so, that even in summer when the air conditioner is on, I am under a blanket if just sitting around. The air from the ceiling fan even aggravates me, so needless to say fall and winter really brings on problems.

I believe the fall is worse because of the constant changing temps each day; cold in the morning and evenings and warmer during the day. It doesn’t provide my body enough time to adjust to one temp before it changes to another. Of course this increases pain and muscle issues for me. Then on days when the sun doesn’t want to shine at all, it has a negative psychological effect on me. Evidently my body runs on solar power. The sun and all its glory provides me energy, puts me in a good mood, and seemingly I can get more done on warmer sunny days. I guess you can say that I am a good candidate for seasonal depression. We all know what this means, everything seems worse…the pain, fatigue, etc. There was an ad on TV the other day for Christmas….ALREADY!  Anxiety was ready to set in because the Holidays can be extremely stressful. It is sad to dread the “Happiest Time of Year”; but it’s true. Planning ahead can take a great deal of stress off but there always seems to be many last minute things that must be done before each Holiday. Let me get off this subject before it opens another can of worms lol.

Have you ever wished you were independently wealth so you could move around to different parts of US to live in temperatures that are pleasant for you at different times of the year? My mind keeps searching for that one place which offers continuous temps year round which also offers affordable housing, a job which my husband would enjoy, have access to my children and grandchildren, but also a place where I could get to my doctors without much hassle. I love my doctors, and the thought of finding a different one and starting over is truly an overwhelming concept to me.

The winter months also increase my social isolation problem. My White Blood Cell (WBC) count normally runs on the lower side, but certain medications makes it drop significantly lower like Gilenya. This makes me susceptible to infections and viruses and therefore keeping me away from large groups of people (like shopping) or social gatherings with friends and family. You never know who is carrying the beginnings of the flu or other diseases, which infections seem to enhance relapses. My doctor encourages me strongly to take the flu shot each year and the pneumonia vaccine every 5 years. Needless to say already having my first cold, I’m set up for my appointment for these two things. I do want to add though; I do not use isolation as an excuse not to get out and walk or to get exercise! Exercise helps to keep your immune system in check, build stronger muscles so when you are relapsing, you aren’t losing a lot of muscle mass.   Strong muscles will keep you up walking longer without needing an assisted device such as a cane, walker, or even a wheelchair during your relapses. You’ve heard that term “use it or lose it”.

Remember to take your Vitamin D in the cold months, if not doing it already every day. With the decreased amount of sun we get each day, our levels do seem to fall lower during the cold months. MS’ers already have low levels anyway so, if you are not already on a daily regimen, speak with your doctor about testing and starting V-D.

I would love to hear how most of you get through the cooler months and if you have problem with these temperatures; so I encourage you to leave comments. Maybe your tips will help me or others dealing with these same issues. Have a wonderful Fall.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.