So today I went to visit Dr. McKee at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. McKee is the spasiticity doctor.
Spasticity is a feature of altered skeletal muscle performance in muscle tone involving hypertonia; it is also referred to as an unusual "tightness", stiffness, and/or "pull" of muscles.
Clinically spasticity is defined as velocity dependent resistance to stretch, where a lack of inhibition results in excessive contraction of the muscles, ultimately leading to hyperflexia (overly flexed joints). It mostly occurs in disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) impacting the upper motor neuron in the form of a lesion, such as spastic diplegia, but it can also present in various types of multiple sclerosis, where it occurs as a symptom of the progressively-worsening attacks on myelin sheaths and is thus unrelated to the types of spasticity present in neuromuscular cerebral palsy rooted spasticity disorders.
Precise cause aside, whenever there is a loss of muscle tone inhibition from the brain to the spinal cord such that muscles become overactive, this loss of inhibitory control can cause an ongoing level of contraction, with decreased ability for the affected individual to volitionally control the muscle contraction, and increased resistance felt on passive stretch.
The clinical underpinnings of two of the most common spasticity conditions, spastic diplegia and multiple sclerosis, can be described as follows: in spastic diplegia, the upper motor neuron lesion arises often as a result of neonatal asphyxia, while in conditions like multiple sclerosis, spasticity is thought by some to be as a result of the autoimmune destruction of the myelin sheaths around nerve endings — which in turn can mimic the gamma amino butyric acid deficiencies present in the damaged nerves of spastic diplegics, leading to roughly the same presentation of spasticity, but which clinically is fundamentally different from the latter.
Overall, a defining feature of spasticity is that the increased resistance to passive stretch is velocity-dependent. Lance (1980) describes it this way: “...a motor disorder, characterised by a velocity-dependent increase in tonic stretch reflexes (muscle tone) with exaggerated tendon jerks, resulting from hyper-excitability of the stretch reflex as one component of the upper motor neurone (UMN) syndrome”.[citation needed] Strangely, however, rather than being in the motor nerves as might be assumed to be the case, spasticity actually stems from the sensory nerves.[citation needed]
Spasticity is found in conditions where the brain and/or spinal cord are damaged or fail to develop normally; these include cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury including stroke. Muscles affected in this way have many other potential features of altered performance in addition to spasticity, including muscle weakness; decreased movement control; clonus (a series of involuntary rapid muscle contractions often symptomatic of muscle over-exertion and/or muscle fatigue); exaggerated deep tendon reflexes; and decreased endurance.

Looking back on his past observations, I am showing improvement.  Improving in strength and tone. The walking time is still a meer 20 seconds in a 10 foot stretch. So my career as an Olympic sprinter is still far from reality.

I can even feel the improvement by longer times standing in the kitchen for one. So I guess its safe to say I wont be cutting my thumb off using my clever. Now if only the double vision can be decreased or even fixed!


Mardi Gras ...and traveling with MS

So this past Wednesday we decided to take a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take in the Spanish Town parade. Not only that but to see the sights and travel to New Orleans and take in a much quieter Bourbon Street..before the large crowds gathered.

The ride took a total of 19 hours. The ride down and back were straight through with fuel and restroom breaks and one food break. The ride down I rode and the ride back I drove for 3 hours..much less then what I was used to driving. Both ways after sitting for so long, once I would move a leg it would feel like someone took a knife to the bottom of my heels. Eventually the pain will cease.

The other obstacle was the restroom breaks. Thankfully with my  rollerator walker, it took care of the issues of getting in and out easily. Much better then trying to lug a wheelchair in and out of the trunk. Now anyone that knows anyone with MS knows once you feel you need to use the restroom knows you need to use it right now..no waiting around. The rollerator  also makes getting in and out of restaurants and attractions easy to. Though the one nature center / swamp we visited required a great deal of walking so that where the wheelchair came in. Around the swamp it was a board walk, so getting pushed in that was easy also. It was the gravel paths off the boardwalk the posed a challenge but everyone made it possible and got it through the loose gravel.

Fatigue also came into play. When fatigue sets in I will start seeing double with my glass's on. Thats when I know I should lay back, close my eyes for a bit and rest.
All in all it was the first trip of that length since the most severe symptoms set in went pretty well. I don't know how it would of been had I been traveling alone, but with the right kinda vehicle, Ide try it.


Try on MS

So you wanna know how most all of us with MS go through..what we feel?
Check out this video and the demonstrations they do and try them yourself some time and you will soon find out. Try going all day, every day doing some of these.

Click HERE for the video


(un) Happy Anniversary

Today (2-6-12) marks the 5th anniversary of the day my life changed..when the symptoms of multiple sclerosis first appeared.
It was this morning that I woke up not feeling like myself. Feeling dizzy. Thought I may have over done it shoveling snow the night before, now I can only wish that was the cause.
It was on this night at work.. Monday, that I got a load to Chicopee Massachusetts. The run went fine, felt fine. Until I woke up Tuesday evening. Thats when the dizziness came back, this time causing me to get sick.
The next week, on a Wednesday in Chicago I asked to be sent home so I can see my doctor.
oral steroids were givin thinking it may be a virus.
That Saturday I wanted to go to the ER for a shot or something to make me feel better so I can get back to work that Monday. Thats when they admitted me.
I can only remember this because I wanted to see the ARCA 200 from the Daytona international speedway..and the hospital didn't have the speed channel!
That marked the first time in many years I missed that race.

This anniversary doesn't mark the day of my diagnosis, but when symptoms first appeared. It seemed like every year at this time something new came up. Hope thats not the fact any more.

If life was only like a DVR and came with a rewind button.


Scooter issues

So today I go to Wal-Mart. I can walk into the store by using a cart then getting an electric scooter to do my shopping. Sounds easy enough, right?
I think everyone and their brother (or sister) who has a handicap placard shops at the Wal-Mart in Elyria Oh. There is hardly ever an open spot when you get there, unless its all the way down by lawn n garden, but they don't have scooters at that door.

The Elyria Wal-Mart parking lot
There are wide spots marked "van accessible" but since not everyone has a van, and its not marked "van only" anyone can park there as long as your legal. These spots are marked out horizontal to the isles while the others are at the usual angle. Now, if they could of made these angled to with a wider mark off to the right, they could fit at least 10 more parking spots, even for a van, with an area for a ramp. But that would only make to much sense.

Soo..today I find a spot and there is an empty cart with in 10 feet of my truck that I could walk and make it to. I was on the phone talking to a friend of mine for a good 15 minutes. People were coming and going as I sat there finishing up our conversation. No sooner as I said bye, and popped the handle on my door to get out, someone walks up and takes the cart. GREAT! So I get out and finally ask someone passing by if they would mind grabbing me the empty cart that is in the next row over, he was nice enough to and I made my way into the store.

Well inside the store now, of course the two scooters that were setting there have signs on them "recharging". The lady ahead of me is offered the one that has the most juice and she leaves. The other is completely dead they tell me. So I sit on it and wait while they check the other entrance for me, only to come back and say there isn't any there. So I wait for one to be returned. Wasn't long until they say "here comes one now"..its the lady that got hers before me..hers is dead. She get up and just leaves. Luckily for me a friend was coming in the store, spotted me and stood there talking. Finally after 30 minutes I had enough and I unplug the one I'm sitting on and off I go. Finished shopping with no battery issues.

Which is more then I can say for my previous visit. Where the same thing happened more or less. The entrance I used had no scooters, I walked to the other end and got one there. Only to have the battery die a quick and painless death. Returned it to the front of the store, traded it in for another..only to have this one die on me to soon after I got it. Back the front of the store and another trade in. On the third one now I was able to complete the grocery shopping part. Last thing I needed was at the other side of the store. Wouldn't you know it, half way there and the light starts flashing and it slows way down. Ok, I've had enough. Its time to check out.
The Antique car ride at Cedar Point
This store needs a larger fleet of these scooters!..or better yet some of the Antique cars from Cedar Point in Sandusky OH! Now that would make shopping fun!