Thursday 11 June 2009

back to work

Well, that extra week off work has finished now, so I'm typing this in my lunch break on my second full day back at the grindstone.

(to let you into a secret, I actually came into the office for a couple of hours on Monday and did a bit of work from home on Tuesday - don't tell my GP)

Anyway, things seem to be OK, although I had a severe case of 'heavy-leg' yesterday afternoon - I put this down to the fact that I haven't done a whole lot of walking recently, but it was a bit of a bummer nonetheless.

My experiences over the last month or so have only reinforced the fact that I don't want to muck about putting crap chemicals into my body unless absolutely necessary. The course of steroids was great (near miraculous!) but the whole business with the Amantadine was just a real, unnecessary pain in the arse.

So for now I'll "keep on keepin' on" as Curtis Mayfield said.

And anyway, Amantadine is a drug that was designed for people with Parkinson's. So many of the treatments for MS are ones 'borrowed' from other diseases with similar pathways. I pray for the day when it's announced that this condition can be cured by a glass of Lucozade and two Paracetamol.

Until that day, it's regular rest, healthy-eating, responsible alcohol-intake and Yoga.

My God, if I met someone like me at a party, I would hate myself.

Thursday 4 June 2009

and the nurses say...

... I should reduce the dosage today and tomorrow, then stop taking the Amantadine completely. So hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

Time to look into other ways to manage fatigue.

PLEASE NOTE: This is just my experience of this drug, anyone else might get along with it just fine.

no major effects... but side-effects...?

I should just say that, although I haven't noticed any major effects from taking Amantadine (see yesterday's post), I have realised that I've been having some fairly intense side-effects.

Anxiety? Check.
Shortness of breath? Check.
Mood-swings and depression? Check.
Tiredness and insomnia? Double-check.

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head without cribbing off the information leaflet.

I'm sick of feeling like this and not seeing much benefit as far as my energy levels are concerned, so I'm going to call the MS Nurses for some advice later on.

I am, as the legendary John Shuttleworth says in the following song, Up and Down Like a Bride's Nightie.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

so, where were we...?

You find me at home writing this having been signed off work for another week (at least). Here's what's been happening:

I went back to work last week at the end of my two-week doctor's note and decided to just get it over with and tell everyone at work about my condition.

In my head I had a perfect vision of how this was going to go - ladies sobbing and offering hugs, men fighting back tears and punching me on the shoulder. Well this wasn't perfect - the only person in tears was me - I can talk quite dispassionately about 'demyelination' this and 'steroids' that until the cows come home. But when I have to look someone in the eye and say, "this is what this is", I tend to lose it completely.

Take my advice - if you're going to do this, make some notes beforehand.

Everyone has been cool about it so far; apart from the Health & Safety Officer who wanted to use me as a guinea pig in their Evac+Chair training, and even he was coming from a good (if misguided) place.

The first two days back were rough - lots to catch up with and my boss was going away for a holiday, so we had to hand lots of stuff over; meaning that I ended up working a couple of really long days. It was only on Friday evening when I was dragging my leg back home that I started to think that maybe I'd gone back to work too soon.

Back in the real, non-work world, things have been ok on the whole. I've started taking Amantadine to help with fatigue - I can't say I've seen any major effects (good or bad) so far - but it's only been four days. Although I did manage a two-hour shopping-shift in Marks & Spencer's on Sunday without complaining once.

And then last night, our bedroom was insanely hot and my mind was racing all over the place with work stuff. All of which adds up to one sleepless night, the start of some slight relapse-like feelings, a trip to the doctors this morning and another sick-note.

The doctor was shocked by how quickly I'd returned to work and tried to give me a note for two weeks off - we talked her down to one week. I suppose if I've learned anything from the last month, it's that I sometimes need to listen when my body is saying, "take it a bit easier".

An aside:
Woefully inappropriate music overheard in the doctor's waiting room this morning - Norman Greenbaum's Spirit in the Sky ("when I die and they lay me to rest" etc.) followed by the Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive. TRUE.