Complications, side effects, secondary, and tertiary symptoms. Call them what you want, these consequences are the truly crippling effects of multiple sclerosis. My MS is not going to kill me; I can live a long, albeit hindered, life with numbness, pain, bladder problems, spasticity, etc. Multiple sclerosis will not be the direct/primary cause of my death. If all goes to plan, MS will be no factor when I die at the glorious age of 109-years old.
But, and I’m just hypothesizing here, if complications as a result of multiple sclerosis are a cause of my premature demise, here’s my top five list of ‘MS Things That Are Probably Going to Kill Me’.
5 – I will suffocate/choke to death
I should have this down pat, as I choke on food and drink all day, every day. Choking is normally no cause for alarm; I maintain a carefully measured protocol, ensuring my airway is cleared with minimal fuss or mess. It remains, unfortunately, one of my less graceful moves, as I continue to find new ways to scare the hell out of myself at least once or twice a month.
How many times can you play the lottery before you win?
4 – I will die in a fall or have an accident
There are a multitude of scenarios under the general ‘accident’ category. Many of the more likely candidates list under common activities such as driving, cooking, or swimming. I’m currently safe in all areas, or I recognize my limits and keep clear, but I do understand my ability will change more than the ‘normal’ aging man.
I don’t go in water over my head, for my comfort level in the one arm, one leg dog paddle is minimal.
Brie, can I use this is my excuse for wanting to eat out all the time instead of cooking?
I’m a good driver, a safe driver, safer now than ever before. Nevertheless, I watch and evaluate this one constantly…
Falling should be a category of its own, separate from other accidents. While I’m cautious, I still fall regularly. This past winter, I cracked ribs when I fell getting out of the shower, then again shoveling ice and snow. Just a few years back, I suffered a dual-spiral fracture while roller skating (don’t ask, it sounded like a good idea at the time); I have the titanium rod in my leg as a permanent reminder. I still push myself, for it is worth the risk to avoid becoming immobile/sedentary. I still go beyond my limits regularly, for I don't know where the moving bar is, nor is my brain ready to accept some limitations. Today, I fall often, with minimal permanent consequence. All could change at any moment. Hopefully, I will recognize this before I regret it.
3 – I will die from an infection
Medications come complete with a variety of infection potentials. In 2007, I nearly lost my leg, or worse, due to the reaction that developed into a staph infection. Aspiration pneumonia is a constant concern, caused by the food and drink so often going into my lungs. Cuts and scrapes are common; often I don’t see and cannot feel them to properly care for the wounds.
2 – I will die from a medication reaction
Reactions and side effects are plentiful, some are critical while others are just annoying.
Biotin, or Vitamin B7, is a supplement normally taken to promote healthy hair and nail growth, as well as other common afflictions related to a deficiency in the vitamin. Normally, it’s taken in daily doses of 20 to 45 micrograms (mcg). There’s preliminary evidence, and a current phase 3 trial is underway, to support benefits with the use of high-dose biotin in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. I’m currently taking 300 milligrams (mg) daily, the equivalent of 300,000 mcg! As you can imagine, my hair and nails grow at a phenomenal rate.
Some of my medications cause nausea (take with food, take on an empty stomach).
Many of my injectable medications over the years have caused bruising and other site reactions.
I would love to know what the heck I am taking to give me such incredible/offensive gas!
Then there the bad reactions I’ve experienced: bacterial infections, staph infections, gastrointestinal reactions, anaphylaxis, meningitis.
I am on an immunosuppressant, which reduces my body’s immune system, I get it. Medications are one area where the Army Strong mentality of, “give me what you got, I can take it!” does not apply. I can’t take it, so please give me only as much as I need.
1 - I will kill myself
This is a hard phrase to imagine, even harder to write. I honestly have no idea how far down the rabbit hole I went on my other trips, nor do I care to find the answer. I don’t want this to happen, and am shaken to the core merely discussing the topic of my suicide.
Suicide is a reality for everyone. For those at increased risk, whatever the reason may be, it will always be a danger, one which will not go away and must be acknowledged, confronted, and respected if it is going to remain suppressed.
If you are in need, if you are scared, reach out.
You are not alone.
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