Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More on Optic Neuritis

Current Meds:
1. Citalopram 10mg once daily

Current Symptoms
Physical: slight tremors in left leg and hand (usually worsens with physical exertion)
Sensory: Optic neuritis in left eye
Psychological (memory/mood): none
Medication side effect?: none

I decided to do a little more research on optic neuritis to see if the amount of exercise I'm getting is potentially harmful to my condition at the advice of my councillor. What I have found is pretty much what I've discovered on my own through the progression of the condition.

But here is a little more information I pulled from a website that deals with eye conditions, it's called

The following symptoms of optic neuritis may not occur in all cases; however, they are the most common problems associated with the condition.
-Pain with eye movement (more than 90% of patients)
-Tender, sore eye
-Mild to severe decrease in central vision
-Dull, dim vision
-Reduced color perception
-Decreased peripheral vision
-Central blind spot
-Decreased vision following exercise, hot bath or shower (activities that elevate body temperature)

The last one seems to be my biggest problem. I can't workout without a worsening of that symptom. But is it dangerous to exert myself as I normally would like to do?

I hope not. I'm not going to live a sedentary lifestyle; I'm not going to let MS sideline me. The only way MS can beat me is to keep me from being active, which to me is a totally mental fight. There are always activities to do--even in a wheelchair (God forbid). It's my responsibility as an MS patient to stay fit.

One source had this to say about exercise:
Some people with MS will experience numbness, tingling, or blurred vision when they exercise. These symptoms are temporary and decline within 35 minutes of stopping. They should not cause alarm. But you may want to avoid driving yourself home alone until you are back to your baseline or know that you are not affected by this.

However, it says nothing of my current symtoms. I may have to seek a physician on this one. I have some appt.'s coming up so it's not a problem.

Advantages of fitness:
Exercise builds a reserve of muscle strength and cardiovascular function. Then, if an attack or exacerbation of MS calls for a time-out from physical activity, the reserve is available. Exercise can be therapeutic for such MS-related problems as spasticity, poor balance, depression, fatigue, and emotion problems.

Another of my problems: caution: exercise may be so gratifying that it can lead to overdoing. Then comes fatigue and increased possibility of injury. Apparently, studies show MS patients who work more slowly at the beginning achieve more in the end. Oops, that is so hard to do. I want to jump right in. It's hard for me to hold back at all when it comes to this stuff. I'm really terrible at taking it easy.

I've been trying swimming, I find it really hard... anything that involves legs tires me out quickly. I've never been a good swimmer but good grief, even running is hard now a days... my legs just don't have it anymore. Hopefully this is only temporary. I'm almost back up to a mile running now. I keep thinking of when I was running 5, but I have to learn patience (so bad at that).

To end this post, here is some information that may be useful to my Judo friends and workout partners:

Like rude intruders, MS symptoms show up unannounced, without consideration for personal plans. Instructors, teammates, and exercise partners should be forewarned of the possibility of last-minute cancellations. Those unfamiliar with MS may need a short description of how symptoms can come and go.

Sometimes symptoms show up that don’t call for bowing out of an activity altogether, but do require making temporary alterations. Explaining this to class instructors ahead of time helps avoid embarrassment. Discuss any limitations that your MS is posing and ask about ways the activity might be modified. Some people might also want to request that corrections be given in private after class.

Members of an exercise group will need to tell friends or teammates that MS is imposing some restrictions. Be specific. Explain, for example, that optic neuritis is making it difficult to see a ball, or that balance problems mean you will need some help to climb out of the canoe.



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