Tag Archives: cold intolerance

MS – A Life Of Opposites

pick-n-mixMS is a bizarre illness – there are hundreds of combinations of symptoms and no one person’s MS is the same as another’s. It’s like an MS pick-n-mix, except MS does the choosing. We just weigh and pay.

What’s most frustrating though is the sheer contradiction in symptoms. One day I’ll have all the windows open, the fan going at full blast, an arctic wind whipping round my feet. The next, I’m chilled to the bone, wrapped in my duvet clutching my hot water bottle.

Or there’s the foot-drop – the days when my feet decide to do an Irish jig and every pavement becomes a minefield, in sharp contrast to other days when my legs are rigid and I walk like a wound-up robot.

On top of that is my old nemesis, MS fatigue, the bane of my life. Striking at any time, it drives me to my sofa, everything else on hold until normal service resumes. So why do I also have periods of extreme insomnia? Nights when I sit downstairs listening to the shipping forecast and World Service into the wee small hours.

It’s not just the physical symptoms – my emotions swing from one extreme to the other too. On Sunday I was feeling on top of the world but on Monday I had one of my gloomy days. Nothing had happened to explain it. Perhaps it is the daily pressure of trying to maintain a normal life while coping with the whole MS thing, who knows?

I’m off to the Hay-on-Wye book festival with friends today, a trip I’ve been looking forward to for months. Apart from the haematoma on my leg which is still as painful as ever, I’m praying that the fatigue also takes a day trip, in the opposite direction. I’m hoping it won’t be a day when I just want to go back to bed, pull my duvet over me and shut out the world.

MS can be a very unsociable illness and not knowing from one day to the next just what it’ll throw at you makes life even more difficult to plan, but for today, I am going out whether MS likes it or not. So if you’re in Hay-on-Wye today and see a chubby-faced woman fast asleep on a deckchair, that’ll be me.

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Nice Face, Shame About the Makeup

bad make upI sat down to write my list of things I must do, hugely inspired by comments from the last blog post, completely forgetting that I had actually attempted something for the first time ever last week.

Don’t laugh. I went for a make-up consultation. Yes, I entered the Glossy Hall of Terror and lived to tell the tale, albeit with a slightly bruised ego. I had done my research, knew which counter I wanted and marched with purpose towards it, then stumbled past the perfume-sprayers, the ladies who lunch and the gaggle of make-up ladies, in whose über-manicured hands my fate now rested.

At the counter, I nonchalantly pretended to examine the nail varnish until an assistant (Hi! I’m Carly!) with thickly-troweled-on make-up, surprised brows and a blowfish smile wobbled over to me in her 6 inch heels (jealous, much?). Out came my sorry tale, the heat intolerance, the cold intolerance, my poor, ravaged complexion, my battered soul. She nodded sympathetically, head cocked to one side as I pretty much flung myself at her feet, begging for help.

‘Now, do you want the ‘no-make up, make up look, just like I’m wearing?’

‘Oh, um’ (a quick glance at her face confirming my worst suspicions) ‘Well, I was hoping to , er…..’

‘Don’t you worry pet, my auntie had cancer, awful it was, so I know just what you’re looking for. You want something to help you fight back, face the world, feel strong and feminine again!’

‘Well, honestly, I’m just looking to, um, freshen things up a little.’

‘Super duper. Now, here’s our colours, our brushes, our pots, our testers, our dvd, our loyalty card, our massively overpriced eye cream. And what we do, what’s really special, is that I will call you next week, see how you’re getting on with your new make up. Isn’t that lovely? A nice little phone call. Should cheer you right up!’

Desperate to leave, I selected the make-up I wanted, chucked in a moisturiser and a primer and wangled some microscopic free samples, then diligently wrote down my telephone number and fled.

It was nice and girly to do something different, and some compensation for having such a limited range of shoes to choose from. Sadly, I still haven’t got the hang of blusher quite yet – less English Rose and more Spanish Beach Holiday Mahogany. And I’m still waiting for that special phone call from Carly…

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MS’s Little Joke

MS can make you heat intolerant. The slightest ray of sunshine can render you weak, trembling and vampire-like, seeking out dark, shady places. Now, I was slowly getting to grips with this. Until recently. It seems you can also be cold intolerant. MS, you crafty little joker, you.

The heat intolerance crept up on me, slowly dropping hints. I would feel unusually tired, unsteady on my feet and stressed when I was out in the sun. One day, though, it decided to clobber me over the head. I was sitting in the sun for about five minutes when a friend came rushing over, her face a picture of horror. ‘What the hell’s  happened to you?’ she yelled, dragging me out my chair. Huh? She was gesturing at my face and thrusting a little mirror into my hands.

I grabbed it and looked. In place of my normal face, there was a huge, throbbing bright red mess. My make up was sliding south, I looked like a hyped-up tomato and I suddenly wanted to lie down, then and there. From that moment on, any heat was a nightmare. It would leave me weak and sapped of energy and I had to carry little mini-fans at all times. I also invested in a huge fan for my house, which got me so hot and bothered putting it together that I had to lie down in front of it for an hour to recover.

So, when the cold season approached, I was ecstatic. At last, I could do normal things again. Go for long walks, sit at an outdoor cafe people-watching, do a bit of gardening. But that’s when the chills started. I began trembling with the cold, my teeth would chatter and I could barely function. How?? My central heating doesn’t know if it’s coming or going. I put it on to get rid of the bone-numbing cold, then whack it off again and open all the doors when it gets too hot. I checked with the MS nurse, and yup, it’s true – you can be heat and cold intolerant.

I’ve spent the last three hours huddled on the sofa, freezing cold to my very core, the heating up full. Now I’m getting too hot again. The heating’s going off and I’m going to find some gin to add to the ice cubes I found in the freezer…

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