"Spasms in the night...rotating leg pain...this calf is too tight...I'm feeling insane...la dee da dee da...hum hum hum blah blah". I guess my career as a song writer was over before it started!
If a picture says it all, the photo at the left is a fairly accurate image/description of how my legs were feeling in the night...crushing pain from calf spasms.
I was awakened at 4:00AM (mind you, I had only just fallen asleep at 2:00AM) by the sensation I can only describe as a MACK TRUCK running over my right calf. Wow, that was a painful jolt to stir me from a much needed sleep! At first, I was rather discombobulated and disoriented...I think the real pain had seeped into my dream state and was experiencing it in some nightmarish form. But as I returned to consciousness, I became acutely aware my experience was quite real...I was having deep calf spasms.
I have occasionally experienced this type of pain before and it has usually been in conjunction with a relapse of my Multiple Sclerosis...so as you might imagine, a dark cloud of dread has been looming over my bed this morning, shadowing my subconscious, and trying to "rain on my parade".
But since awakening this morning, I have had a bit of time and perspective to bring to the situation and I DON'T think this is culminating into a full-blown MS relapse. As you may have read yesterday, I emptied my "tank of gas" last week and have been feeling punched in the gut by MS fatigue. I also experienced a fairly stressful medical procedure on Thursday (only 3 days ago), AKA colon blow/colonoscopy. With the addition of acute, monthly hormonal fluctuations occurring, AKA menses, it's no wonder my legs have gone into revolt. Frankly, it's amazing they are even working at all!
As most of you know, on a routine basis I have muscle spasticity in my lower legs because of a spinal lesion in my C4-C5 area. I've learned to live with this...I have medications to take on an as needed basis to assist me...I do morning exercises while still in bed (what I call Bed Ballet) to "loosen" my calves so I can walk without falling in my first steps...I have essentially adapted.
This crushing pain is a whole other story. I don't "do" pain well...not because I can't tolerate it, but because "it" annoys and angers me more than anything! I become quickly defiant toward pain generally (either that, or I experience intense, neurotic fear from it and will jump to the end of my life issues assuming the pain will just kill me! LOL) and I feel very irritable when I am experiencing body pains. Pain seems to be a big trigger for me, reminding me my body is in control of my physical being, and my mind may not hold all the cards of influence. I still struggle in my dealings with this MS symptom.
Since I have found no reliable medication that assists with my neurological pain, I am left to attempt to "compromise" with it...narcotics, common seizure meds, anti-inflammatories, and OTC (over the counter) medications do nothing to assist me with this type of pain. And believe me, they've ALL been tried.
What does seem to influence the pain receptors somewhat is basic biofeedback/meditation. If I can take my mental focus away from the sensations, they seem to lessen to some degree. That's exactly what I had to do in the wee hours of the morning to be able to fall back to sleep (that, and a pinch of Klonopin for the spastic sensations!)...I imagined myself in a typical meditation I have practiced in the past, where I am a feather floating down from the sky, moving back and forth on the wind, and able to see a wide expanse of fields and trees and pastures below me. Slowly, I am gliding downward and observing, feeling "light and carefree".
Fortunately this meditation worked this morning and I didn't fall into a neurotic fit of tears and hyperventilation! The meditation in combination with the medication seemed to do the trick, at least temporarily. Now I am awake again and feeling like maybe a smaller truck is running over my calves...maybe a small Toyota Tundra? Whatever. At least it's not "Mack" sized.
I see Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named on Tuesday for my Tysabri infusion,so if things worsen or don't get any better, I can get a consult then. As far as I can tell, I'm still able to walk, but just with great stiffness today...I can manage that.
My MS is giving a "shout out" to me right now and I suppose I'm going to HAVE to listen to it again. Sometimes I'd like to turn the volume off completely, though...sometimes tunes like "Spasms In The Night" are just not music to my ears...