Tuesday, January 13, 2004

False Alarm

Folks with MS are going to sympathize with me on this one, while folks who don't have it won't really understand.

Yesterday, I woke up with a nasty headache, centered behind my right eye.

Folks without MS: Sounds like a sinus headache.

Folks with MS: Oh, no! Was it optic neuritis?

Since my major attack was a bout of optic neuritis, that came to mind first for me. Time to panic. So I take some Tylenol (the only thing we pregnant women are allowed to take for pain), and check to see if my vision is blurry. No. Not yet, at least. A few hours later, when the headache is still nasty, I take more Tylenol and check my vision out of that eye again. Still OK. Finally, I just can't take it anymore, and I leave work, head home, and take a nap. Ah, headache better. Time to stop being scared.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Amy's Big News

In my last entry (two months ago - yeah, I know) I hinted at some big news. Well, I'm now prepared to share it with the world. I am PREGNANT.

I didn't want to say anything out here on my blog until I had gotten past the first trimester. Plus, I think my family would have been a little disappointed in me if I had told the WWW community before telling them. But now, I can share my news that I'm due in late June.

What about pregnancy and MS?

When I was first diagnosed, I had so many women say things to me like, "Don't let this disease discourage you from getting pregnant" and "I felt better pregnant than not." What I've read in numerous books and articles backs these statements up. During pregnancy, women with MS are significantly less likely to experience symptoms or have a major attack. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that there's been hormonal research has been because of this reduction in problems during pregnancy. Researchers think that something must be going on with hormones to trigger this, and are looking into why so that they can apply it on a broader basis.

I am at increased risk of attack for the first 6 weeks after delivery. Some experts speculate that's because of the sleep deprivation and stress, which most folks with MS know are recipes for disaster. This means that breastfeeding is a major decision for me. Do I try it and risk an attack, or do I feed my baby formula and go back on my Avonex right after delivery? Right now, I'm willing to take the risk. I have loads of family and friends around to help me, and Tim will be on summer break when the baby's born, so it's worth a try.

Speaking of Avonex, am I on it now?

Nope, my neurologist wanted me to be off of it for a few months before we tried to get pregnant. I have to admit, I was nervous about stopping the medicine. After all, I've been doing well while on it, but how long could we risk my being off of it? Luckily, I got pregnant right away, so we never had to worry about that question.

What about my pregnancy in particular?

I had an easy first trimester. My morning sickness was limited to a few instances of nausea - that's it. The biggest thing I noticed was the fatigue. Having MS actually prepared me to deal with that. I'm used to taking a break and conserving my energy when I'm not feeling well, so it wasn't difficult for me to do that during the first trimester. I can see how women who are used to going 100 miles an hour and ignoring their body's signals to slow down could have major problems in the first trimester of pregnancy. But I'm used to taking a nap or going to bed early when I'm tired. I didn't fight the fatigue, I just dealt with it.